213: Slow Librarianship with Meredith Farkas

Steve chats with Meredith Farkas, faculty librarian at Portland Community College in Oregon, about her path to librarianship, the concept of slow librarianship, avoiding techno-saviorism, and why she ended her long-running American Libraries column.

Read the transcript!

Meredith Farkas (she/her) is a faculty librarian at Portland Community College in Oregon, a perpetual beginner, and a recovering workaholic. From 2007-2021, she wrote the “In Practice” column for American Libraries, focusing on accessible technologies, collaboration, values-driven work, antiracism, and reflective practice. She has also authored the blog Information Wants to be Free since 2004. Meredith was honored in 2009 with the LITA/Library Hi Tech award for Outstanding Communication in Library and Information Technology, and in 2014 with the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award. She’s been in many different leadership and management roles in her career, but her favorite role is working with students and faculty as an instruction librarian.


Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing
Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.


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Information Wants To Be Free

89: Meredith Farkas

Steve chats with Meredith Farkas, faculty librarian at Portland Community College in Oregon, who blogs at Information Wants to Be Free.

Read the transcript.


Meredith Farkas is a faculty librarian at Portland Community College and a lecturer at San Jose State University’s iSchool. She is the author of the book “Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication and Community Online” (Information Today, 2007) and writes the monthly column “Technology in Practice” for American Libraries. Meredith was honored in 2009 with the LITA/Library Hi Tech award for Outstanding Communication in Library and Information Technology, and in 2014 with the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award.


Information Wants to Be Free (blog)
Technology in Practice (American Libraries column)
“Reputation is Everything”
“The Next Librarian of Congress?”
Social Software in Libraries (book)

25: Work-Life Balance

Guest host Kate Sheehan assembles a panel to discuss work-life balance, including Meredith Farkas, Jenica Rogers, and Karen Schneider.

Read the transcript.

(l. – r.) Kate, Meredith, Jenica, Karen

Kate Sheehan is the special projects coordinator for Bibliomation,a consortium of public and school libraries in Connecticut. She joined Bibliomation in 2009 to work on their migration to the Evergreen ILS as the open source implementation coordinator and has been fortunate that the good people of Bibliomation have been willing to scrape together funding to keep her popping up at meetings. Kate has been the coordinator of knowledge and learning services at Darien Library and the coordinator of library automation at Danbury Public Library, which was the first library to implement LibraryThing for Libraries. Prior to joining Danbury Public Library, she was a technology and reference librarian at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut. A graduate of Smith College, Kate’s post college experiences in the corporate workplace inspired her decision to get an MSLIS from Simmons. She finished library school in December of 2003 and has been happily ensconced in the public library sphere since then. When she’s not coordinating, she works as a writer and consultant and blogs at loosecannonlibrarian.netebookprimer.com and ALA TechSource.

Meredith Farkas is the Head of Instructional Services at the Portland State University Library in Oregon and is an adjunct faculty member at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science. She’s also the author of the book Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication and Community Online (Information Today, 2007) and writes the monthly column “Technology in Practice” for American Libraries. She’s the creator and manager of Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki and has created a number of well-known national conference wikis (ALA 2005 and 2006, Internet Librarian 2006-2008, etc.). She has presented internationally on topics such as social technologies, managing library technology projects, encouraging innovation organizationally, and LIS education. In 2006, she was named a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal for innovative uses of technology to benefit the profession and in 2009 she was honored with the LITA/Library Hi Tech award for Outstanding Communication in Library and Information Technology.

She lives with her wonderful husband and adorable toddler son in one of the best places in the world and feels lucky to have been able to achieve what she has in both her professional and family life.

Jenica P. Rogers is Director of Libraries at the State University of New York at Potsdam, coming from a background in cataloging, collection development, and staff training.

Jenica serves as the chief administrator of the Crumb and Crane Libraries, with responsibilities that include short-term and strategic planning, fiscal management, fundraising and donor development, representing the libraries to outside constituents, and supervision of 24 FTE employees spanning NYS Civil Service employees, professional staff, and librarians.

Jenica’s current professional interests include interrogating the ways our information economy is breaking down and reforming now that the internet changed everything, figuring out what the role of a library is in a reality in which warehousing books is sort of passé, and informing, mentoring, and supporting new library professionals as they hit the real world face first and at full speed.

Jenica earned her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 after graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1998 with a BA in English Literature. In 2009 she received a SUNY Potsdam President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service and was was nominated one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers for 2009.

Karen Schneider is the University Librarian at Holy Names University in Oakland, California and she has just embarked on a PhD program at Simmons College. She blogs at Free Range Librarian and she has published over 100 articles and 2 books.Her less technical writing includes essays, portraits, travelogues, video reviews, and a historically dubious account of Washington crossing the Delaware. She has been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009, The Best Creative Nonfiction Volume 2, Gastronomica, White Crane, Nerve, Ninth Letter, Linux.com, IT Managers Journal, American Libraries, Library Journal, The Bottom Line, the dear departed Wilson Library Bulletin, a few other places she can’t remember, and has articles forthcoming elsewhere, but chooses not to jinx the process by naming the lucky publications.

Schneider’s technology writing has been recognized in a variety of venues for being both lively and learned (“venues” in this case meaning “homes of close friends or relatives”). From 2005 through 2007 she wrote at ALA Techsource, where readers showered her with compliments such as “Stop using the work ‘suck’, you tramp!” and “My cataloger can beat up your metadata specialist!” From 1995 to 2001, as the Internet Librarian columnist for American Libraries (circulation 66,000), Schneider consistently ranked in magazine surveys as AL’s most popular author. In 1998, her article “The Tao of Internet Costs,” one of the first discussions within librarianship about sustainable technology funding, was selected as an article of the year for The Bottom Line, a journal of library finances. In 1998, as author of A Practical Guide to Internet Filters, Schneider provided expert testimony for Mainstream Loudoun vs. Board of Trustees, a pivotal First Amendment case about free speech on the Internet.

An Air Force veteran (1983-1991), graduate of Barnard College, University of Illinois, and University of San Francisco, and skilled treadmiller, Schneider now divides her free time somewhat unevenly between housework and watching television when she is not working on her collage of rejection letters she receives for those depressing little belles-lettres she insists on begging editors of fine journals to read.

Schneider, a world traveler who has lived in such exotic locales as Clovis, New Mexico and Tallahassee, Florida, now lives in her lavishly overpriced home town, San Francisco, with her long-suffering partner Sandy and their spoiled cats, Samson and Emma.