Posting here has been sparse (read: nonexistent) since I moved and started my position at the NCSU Libraries.  Part of that is pure busyness, part of it is being cautious about what I post about publicly, as much of what I’m working on now is still in the early planning stages.  I can say for now that it’s really, really cool stuff and I hope to have lots more to share as we proceed.  Browsing around the James B. Hunt Library site will give some clue as to what I’m talking about, but there’s also a lot going on the back end to prepare for the awesome toys at Hunt that won’t be obvious to an outside observer.

One thing that I think is safe to post about and also currently on my mind is divisions in the libraries.  Hunt is going to feature an as-yet-to-be-officially-named central service desk, as some other academic libraries already have done.  This naturally leads to some sort of merging of the circulation and reference staff.  As I just said, other libraries have covered this ground–it’s not exactly new, though it’s still rare.  What I think is new, at least in my (limited) experience is the degree of overlap between public service staff and IT forced by the high tech public spaces within Hunt. In a way, it’s a microcosm of the larger trend in libraries for IT itself as a core public service, not just a piece of the infrastructure.

I know that’s not much of a thought, but that’s all I have right now.  I need time to think over what this means, both for my institution and in a general context.


Listening to: Dave Matthews Band, Live Trax Vol. 10

2 comments to ITAAS

  • Karen Calhoun

    Hello Mike, and congratulations on your move to NCSU and your degree from Valdosta. I (finally) ran across your review of my “Calhoun report” for LC and Yee’s/Mann’s responses. As I was reading your excellent analysis I couldn’t help but wonder “Where was this person in 2006 when the report came out?” You would not believe the storm I lived through at the time. I think your winnowing out of the main theme — libraries face discontinuous change — shows insight and I wonder why no one else wrote about that at the time. Only thing in your analysis that I seriously paused over was your interpretation of the role/position of LC vis a vis the report. We could talk about that someday. Feel free to write to me if you still are interested in what became of the whole thing.

    Nowadays of course, the report reads like common sense and many libraries/librarians have adopted at least aspects of what I suggested. Anyway, I’m writing because of your remarks about Hunt and its central service desk plans. As it turns out, I am currently leading a project at Pitt to redesign public and collections services. I take it your job is in IT? I like your remark about IT itself as a core public service. Hope you keep writing, though I know it is a very busy time, starting a new job in a new place. Karen

  • Welcome Karen. I’ll save most of my reply for email. A couple things I don’t mind posting here: my job (I’m a fellow at the Libraries) is mostly in IT, but I also sort of tripped and fell into a spot as the most junior (by a mile) member of one of the teams planning services for the new library. Mostly, I keep my mouth shut and enjoy being in the room :) I’m thrilled to be working at the NCSU Libraries–looking back over what I wrote about your report and Mann and Yee, I noted that I made mention of the latter two authors as representative of the conservative-with-a-lower-case-“c” strain of librarian. It’s great working at an institution that explicitly and implicitly is progressive and proud of it.

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