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Wildcard Wednesdays

Summer in the Stacks

Temperatures are rising. Graduates have walked across the stage at commencement. The fiscal year is winding down. It’s summer, but depending on our contracts, many librarians are still at work. The summer months are often characterized by fewer classes, fewer students, and a slower pace to campus life. This lull offers opportunities to dig into projects we couldn’t get around to during the rush of fall and spring.   

I use summers as a chance to work on new projects and annual tasks like updating our libguides and handouts. Although this is my fourth summer at my current position, it’s only the second I’ve spent on campus. The last two were remote during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time characterized more by scrambling to create new workarounds than engaging with leisurely projects. But our library is open again for regular summer hours, and that means summer tasks are back. 

Now that I have access to the stacks, a summer project I’m hoping to sink my teeth into is a collection review. The departure of key staff members involved in acquisitions opened an opportunity to reimagine our collection development process. In the past, all librarians in our reference department participated in suggesting titles from periodicals like Choice and Booklist. Two staff members made the final decisions without consulting collection or circulation data. Over time, this led to a lopsided collection reflecting librarians’ interests and impressions.  

Our new approach involves dividing up our collection by classification ranges and reviewing each range with an eye toward the college’s programs. We also recently gained access to Innovative Interface’s Decision Center, which we can use to detect circulation patterns. I hope that this more methodical strategy will help us update our collection and better align it with the needs of our users. Along the way, we may catch books in need of weeding, like some computing guides from the early 2000s we discovered this spring! 

Are you working this summer? What projects will your library be tackling during these quieter months? 

Categories
Collections Programming

Global Literature in Libraries Initiative

Global Literature in Libraries Initiative

By Lindsay Davis

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign isn’t just for school libraries or public libraries. Community college, college, and university libraries also need diverse books. When I attended the National Diversity in Libraries Conference, I attended a great lightning round program, Academic Libraries Spearheading Diversity and Cultural Initiatives on University Campuses. In that program, the University of Cincinnati Libraries discussed their Reading Around the World book club.

What is your community college or community college library doing to highlight materials from other parts of the world? Do you have a collection of translated works from your international students’ home countries? Do you have a book club focusing on books from around the globe? How do you learn about books from other countries?

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI), newly founded by Rachel Hildebrandt, works to raise awareness of world literature:

…for adults and children at the local, national and international levels. We intend to do so by facilitating close and direct collaboration between translators, librarians, publishers, editors, and educators, because we believe that these groups in collaboration are uniquely positioned to help libraries provide support and events to engage readers of all ages in a library framework that explores and celebrates literature from around the world.

We want to increase the visibility of international works in English translation so that more readers can enjoy the amazing diversity in these books and the perspectives they present. And we would like to do this by increasing cooperation between literary translators, international literature advocates, and librarians, who are already experts at guiding readers to new titles. Whether you are a children’s librarian or a YA blogger, a rural library director or a teacher at a large urban school with a diverse student population, we would welcome your insights as we explore collaborative opportunities to encourage readers to explore beyond the boundaries of their own culture and language.

Goals & Projects:

  • Book lists and guides tied to major translation awards and library themes

  • Programming ideas for various library user groups: children, teens, college students, adults, English Language Learners, etc.

  • ALA conference involvement: workshops and sessions, networking through various ALA units and offices to explore the best ways to provide information and services to librarians

  • Joint webinars with various ALA offices

  • Publisher and journal lists organized by vendors/distributors to help librarians more easily acquire books in translation

  • Advocacy on behalf of small publishers to increase their visibility on the review platforms that librarians commonly use for their acquisitions decisions

  • General education efforts to help librarians understand more thoroughly the value of translated literature and of contemporary foreign-language literature

  • Pan-publisher catalogs crafted specifically for librarian users, as a form of “one-stop” shopping to learn about new works coming out in translation

  • Exploration of ways in which non-US publishers of English translations and non-US, non-English-language publishers can more easily promote their works among libraries (Global Literature in Libraries, “About,” 2016)

If you would like to get involved with GLLI, please contact Rachel Hildebrandt at rehildebrandt@gmail.com. GLLI also have a Facebook group, which you can find here.