My Job in 10 Years: Provisional table of contents

Yes, as promised I'm going to start workshopping the book I'm working on: My Job in 10 Years: The Future of Academic Librarianship. (Note title tweak.)

First of all, this is all just provisional; I'm at a point where I need to stop tinkering if I just going to get something out the door. Some parts are over-developed for an outline, others are under-developed.

I'm still thinking bout the book structurally. I'm also still thinking about what kinds of topic areas belong in or out. I've been picking nits with the TOC for a while now, moving bits here and there, and that probably won't stop, especially if all of you out there provide some feedback. The notes are also in pretty rough form, as is very obvious. I've also tinkered with those quite a bit.

I'm pretty sure there will be some chapters merging going forward as I probably have too many chapters right now. Some might find it interesting (or odd) to know that earlier versions didn't have chapter numbers, only names, and that the names I used were from the roster of The Legion of Superheroes.

You'll also note that the sections that correspond to ones in my original series of posts aren't fleshed out as much as the others. This is mostly due to the fact that my earlier efforts have already informed the stuff I want to talk about. For the newish sections, I wanted to get some ideas down here.

And speaking of feedback, have at it. It's all open to discussion at this point so any comments, suggestions and contributions are welcome. Consider this an invitation to participate and engage with the topics below: comment here, write your own blog posts, comment on Friendfeed, Twitter, email, whatever.

And FWIW, those that wish to read the original blog posts, they're here in pdf format for easy printing.

Provisional Table of Contents & Notes

Part I: Environment scan (15% of the book)

Chapters 2-4 may merge and/or demerge in various ways as they are developed.

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Discussion of what the book is about, it's focus on the future of librarians' jobs seen through the lens of trends affecting our users and higher education.
    • not about what I would like to happen -- what I think will actually happen, or more precisely a range of possibilities
    • every prediction will be wrong
    • every institution is different
    • the thing that you think is of primary importance may be something that I don't mention or give short shrift to. That's ok, I can't cover everything.
    • in the end, this is a very personal set of speculations, as many different takes on the future as there are interested parties speculating
    • there are an infinite number of versions of this book, every librarian could write her or his own. This is only my own version, not the version. As we advance into the future, all the various possible futures will collapse into one single academic library wave function.
  • What's an academic library for? What do we owe our patrons
  • look at what some doomsayers have said about the profession
  • look at some optimistic ideas
  • A couple of ideas that will inform all other sections, if only implicitly:
    • over riding theme and approach: The Reputation Economy of Academia To a large degree, libraries are what our patrons believe us to be. We must both get their attention and convince them we have something to offer.
    • Most transformational thing coming down the pipe: mobile & ubiquitous computing

Chapter 2: Environment Scan: Kids today & Changes in Higher Education

  • Some of the expectations that the coming waves of Digital Natives will bring to higher education, both as students and later as faculty. main source here is probably Born Digital and various Pew & OCLC reports
  • A brief discussion of trends affecting higher education as a whole, mostly technological and pressure on higher ed to be more efficient, effective and market driven, challenges from online universities, challenges to tenure model. What do people really want out of higher ed: self-directed career training vs. exporation of ideas

Chapter 3: The Wealth of Networks

  • A brief look at the social networking and media landscape with new media business models, crowdsourcing, social networking. Main sources: various books & articles including, well, The Wealth of Networks, Everything is Miscellaneous, Free, Here Comes Everybody
  • abundance instead of scarcity

Chapter 4: Scholarly Communications & Publishing

  • what is scholarly publishing?
  • what are articles going to become
  • how are they going to be published/disseminated
  • calculating research impact
  • open access tipping points?
  • blogs, wikis, open science/open scholarship
  • data data data: something separate or something integrated
  • digital humanities
  • university presses

Part II: My Job in 10 Years (about 35% of the book)

Each of these chapters will look at an area of our jobs and how it might change. Each section will emphasize preparing yourself for the changes. An emphasis on what functions will be new and what functions will be left behind, ie. text book reserves

Chapter 5: Collections

  • Preparing for the post-stuff library
  • direct implications of Free business models
  • local collections: archives & special collections (can libraries be museums, too)
  • What, if any, stuff will we purchase and license. What's worth paying for. Books, journals, A&I, data, other stuff.

Chapter 6: Reference

  • adapting to shift to mobile computing -- ours and theirs
  • Death of the reference desk?
  • range of delivery methods
  • blended models/deprofessionalization

Chapter 7: Instruction

  • we are in a golden age of instruction
  • curriculum integration, partnerships with faculty
  • how to gain credibility: use other areas to get in on curriculum vs. using IL as a way to engage faculty about other things
  • range of delivery methods

Chapter 8: Research Support

  • embedded librarians, publishing (hosting journals, etc), data curation/ cyberinfrastructure
  • digitization
  • importance of embedding IL into research, not just teaching
  • curating institutional content, ie. blogs
  • curating disciplinary content, ie. repositories, archival blogs, etc

Chapter 9: Outreach, Liaison and Marketing

  • these activities can market, support, expand other activities: instruction, research support, etc
  • don't be passive waiting for people to ask you to help
  • promoting the library, engaging faculty & campus communities
  • engage: students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, donors

Part III: My job as a advocate for a better library (about 35%)

In a collegial academic environment, part of my job is to partake in governance for the library and the institution as a whole.

Chapter 10: Physical Spaces

  • three c's of physical space: collaboration, content creation and contemplation
  • cafes, learning commons, function space
  • reclaiming collections space
  • renovate, renovate, renovate: be THE place on campus
  • adapting to shift to mobile computing

Chapter 11: Virtual Spaces

  • What's a library web site for? Will they even still exist? Discovery at the network level. Impact of mobile and ubiquitous computing (ie. mobile will be ubiquitous) , social networks, live web, social search.
  • May actually make sense to talk about a lot of this in the first section.
  • being a change agent for scholarly publishing
    • Semantic web, linked data
    • supporting open scholarship (ie. open science, digital humanities, etc)
    • cradle to grave research support systems

Chapter 12: Professional development and LIS education for the Future

  • what library schools should do to prepare new librarians
  • what strategies professionals should employ to keep up with trends and be ready for the changes that will come. The focus for professionals will be to keep up with what's happening in the world of our patrons, both students and faculty.
  • I'll look at some specific books, blogs, etc as well as more general strategies for things such as conference attendance. Also, list all the books and reports I compiled
  • This chapter will also cover the research and publishing that academic librarians do themselves.

Chapter 13: managing and staffing the library of the future

  • being a manager & a leader in transformational times
  • given what we've talked about above, imagine how a 50 librarian/100 staff member institution could be deployed, job by job. Two or three examples, some with branches, some not.

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So would chapter 3 be more a reflection on what your professional networking and interactions with patrons might look like in 10 years (rather than lots of detail on existing technology and writers/writing about networks)?

You have a lot of potential material here!

Love this quote: "To a large degree, libraries are what our patrons believe us to be. We must both get their attention and convince them we have something to offer."

Can't wait to read the book!

My perspective is as one who teaches undergrads literature based research strategies (life sci, health sci) so just wanted to make a plug for strong consideration of the instructional role. Although I love searching myself and enjoy using different search engine, I rely heavily on our librarians not only to teach students but to keep me up to date on what's going on in scholarly publishing. Before FF, librarians were my only source of info about this. Given all the kvetching about the miserable state of undergrads' lit abilities (actually, many new grad students also suffer a lot in this regard), the specific skills librarians have are crucial.

However, I have had problems with some librarians whose teaching skills do not match their research skills. I don't imagine that all librarians go into the field with the desire to teach, but it seems reasonable that as your profession gains more "insider" knowledge into scholarly publishing, you will be asked more as professionals to lead in this area. Is this what you mean by "a golden era of instruction"? Do you see the possibility of two tracks in librarianship, one closer to research, the other to teaching?

Rachel, a bit of both. Ch. 3 is one of the ones that will probably formulate more clearly in my mind as I actually write the darn thing. It's about a social media context that's going to influence and inform the stuff I talk about in later chapters, so yes, it's about networking but it's also about mass collaboration, metadata/tagging, abundance vs. scarcity business models and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Hi MIckey, Thanks for your input.

As for teaching, yeah, different librarians have different levels of comfort with that role. There are already a lot of librarians that focus on teaching and other that focus on research support. However, the most common model is probably the Jack-and-Jill-of-all-trades, which is a bit of a mixed bag, like faculty who also combine research and teaching.

Something I've always believed very strongly is that our different roles enrich and inform each other. Teaching makes me better at reference, reference helps me decide what materials to acquire, etc, so personally I would be loathe to give any of them up completely.

As for "golden age" that's in reference to the progress librarians have made in the last decade or so getting involved in helping faculty with teaching our students about searching&finding and about scholarly communications. I hope that it's a sustainable progress, one that we can build on.