PALS staff members are planning to be at the Minnesota Library Association Conference in Rochester next week!
We will have a booth (# 17), and will be looking forward to talking with you about all the DAM work that comes with starting a digital asset management initiative. We’ll also be quite happy to just chat about anything else on your mind.
We will be located at Booth 17, near the silent auction.
Please see the latest spreadsheet of Library discards and contact Danielle if you’d like any of them for your department. Most of these books are about finance, families and children, social welfare, and graphic design.
As librarians, we place great value on accurate, unbiased information. Perhaps the most frustrating thing for us in regard to current internet trends is the intentional manipulation of information to influence people’s beliefs, with little or no regard for accuracy. Most people, it turns out, are less interested in accurate information than they are in comfortable information, and will actively select and collect information that confirms their beliefs. This is not evil, it is human nature: librarians and others who try to collect accurate information regardless of their personal beliefs are the exception, not the rule. I am proud to have worked with such exceptional people for the past 27 years.
How technology disrupted the truth (The Guardian | Katharine Viner) “For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page: knowledge was primarily delivered in a fixed format, one that encouraged readers to believe in stable and settled truths. Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumour, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between the open platform of the web as its architects envisioned it and the gated enclosures of Facebook and other social networks; between an informed public and a misguided mob. What is common to these struggles – and what makes their resolution an urgent matter – is that they all involve the diminishing status of truth. This does not mean that there are no truths. It simply means, as this year has made very clear, that we cannot agree on what those truths are, and when there is no consensus about the truth and no way to achieve it, chaos soon follows.”
Further reflections on truth, politics and education (Public Seminar | Jeffrey Goldfarb) “We noted together that the assault on factual truth seems to be global and organized, but then debated our various interpretations. The systematic lying that constitutes post truth politics is sustained because of the present media environment, as people depend on their social media friends to keep up with current events and to inform their opinions. It is a result of algorithms of social media giants that feed us with all the news that confirms our already formed opinions.”
Twitter founder: Trump election shows social media helping to ‘dumb the entire world down’ (The Hill | Rebecca Savransky) “‘The much bigger issue is not Donald Trump using Twitter that got him elected, even if he says so,’ [Twitter founder Evan] Williams said. ‘It is the quality of the information we consume that is reinforcing dangerous beliefs and isolating people and limiting people’s open-mindedness and respect for truth.’ Williams said there is a media ecosystem that ‘is supported and thrives on attention.’ ‘And that is what’s making us dumber and not smarter, and Donald Trump is a symptom of that,’ Williams said.”
The meaning of scientific “truth” in the presidential election (Scientific American | Dan Kahan) “As a consumer, a voter, or participant in public discourse generally, an ordinary indivdual’s personal behavior is too inconsequential to affect climate change. Accordingly, if an individual makes a mistake about the best available evidence in any of these capacities, neither she nor anyone she cares about will be adversely affected. But because of what positions on climate change have come to signify about who one is, and whose side one is on in the struggle for dominance in American cultural life, someone who forms beliefs out of keeping with her social group risks losing the trust and confidence of her peers. In this situation, then, the formation of habits of mind that conduce to beliefs in line with one’s cultural group is thus perfectly rational for ordinary individuals.”
As part of the 2017 summer internship program at OCLC, one of the first things I learned was that many long-term employees really appreciate its culture. They told me they like working somewhere with a service focus, and where work-life balance is really encouraged. But for new student interns, it’s a whole new environment, and one that we have only a short time to experience. And while we came from many backgrounds and schools, our program’s focus on group learning is one of three things I’d recommend to anyone looking to make an internship program successful.
1. Two kinds of teams: functional and relationship
Each of our 25 interns worked in a different part of the company, and so we brought a diverse blend of talents. We also worked with OCLC staff with very different backgrounds, some new to the company and some who’d been here decades. That made our individual experiences very different. Which made group learning for us even more important. As Sungtaek Jun, an intern in the Legal department, said, “It was great that, as interns, we were in a group together, because OCLC built up a team spirit in us that united us together.”
If your library is hosting interns, consider doing something like that: give your interns a chance to go through the process together, or in a group that’s dedicated to professional development, not just a functional area. In our case, we got together several times during the summer for both fun and learning activities. And group lunches in the OCLC cafeteria were a time for us to share stories and get to know one another better.
2. Make as many introductions as possible
While at OCLC, we were given a tour of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and saw how OCLC directly impacts their daily work. The guide continuously emphasized that online cataloging is essential to the future of libraries. Graphic Design Intern Katria Judkins expressed that, “Seeing all of the information the library has access to was amazing.” Personally, I was amazed to learn how much library technology has evolved in the past decades. The history of how libraries moved from print-only materials and card catalogs to online systems, digital access, and interactive media was fascinating.
We also had “Lunch and Learns” with OCLC leadership. The meetings were led by Skip Prichard (President and CEO), Tammi Spayde (VP of HR, Marketing and Facilities), and Andrew Pace (Executive Director, Technical Research). These were very open, conversational experiences. Global Website Management Intern Nora Nguyen said that it was her favorite part of her experience and that she was thankful that we were being taught about libraries by leaders within the industry.
That’s my second recommendation: expose interns to as many situations as possible. You never know what might spark their interest.
3. Share your passion
Our managers at OCLC gave us meaningful work and shared why they’re passionate about working with libraries, no matter what department we were in. If you’ve got interns in your library, I’d suggest exposing them not just to the work, but to people in different areas and who are in different stages of their careers.
For example, in working with WebJunction, I found out about the collaboration between Wikipedia and libraries. I’ve heard from some teachers in the past that Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source—I think it’s great that OCLC is working with librarians to improve the credibility of Wikipedia entries. That’s personally very interesting to me, and something I wouldn’t have learned if I’d done work only in the marketing department.
Focus on team building and group learning to make an internship program successful. Click To Tweet
A personal work milestone
To the OCLC staff who encouraged us throughout this summer—thank you!!! This was my first internship experience, and my first time in a professional work environment. It has given me more confidence for when I’ll enter the workplace next year (hopefully!).
To librarians hosting interns, I’ll close with one more thought: you may be the first real mentor your interns ever have. If it’s a great experience, they’ll feel the same sense of lasting gratitude toward you, your library, and the profession that many of us in the “Summer Class of 2017” feel toward OCLC and the whole library community. You made us feel welcome and appreciated. That will stick with me for the rest of my career.