The Shifted Librarian -

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* Monday, March 5, 2007

Keeping Up When You Don't Have the Time

I recently got a call from a former boss (one of the best I've ever had!) asking for advice on how to stay current about technology when you're a public library reference librarian, you just don't have a lot of time or money, and you don't want to become a "techie." I believe that staying current these days means reading blogs, so that is my core recommendation, and I'd recommend tracking 10-12 of them if possible, just to get a broad enough view.

My major criteria for the blog recommendations are consistent posting over time, frequency (more than once a week), sticking to the topic, and a general sense of value to a public librarian. This could have been a very long list and it's very subjective (it is not a "best of"), so this truly is a baseline - add on from here.

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Contract to Be a Virtual Scholar for ULC!

It's not on their website yet, but check out this interesting opportunity to help public libraries move forward.

Virtual Scholar Program

"The Urban Libraries Council (ULC), an association of large public libraries in the U.S. and Canada and the corporations that serve them, is now seeking a virtual scholar to provide technical support and help move an important new futures initiative forward with our member organizations.

In June 2006, the ULC Executive Board adopted a new initiative, ULC 2020 Foresight. The purpose of the initiative is to:

  • Provide broad contextual information about the public library industry, outside trends, uncertainties, and discontinuities

  • Infuse creative thinking about alternative futures in urban and suburban public libraries

  • Showcase existing adaptive thinking, adoption of new processes and practices, and organizational change initiatives among ULC public library members

  • Promote tools, such as scouting, scanning and scenario planning, to increase the quantity and quality of futures thinking in the public library industry

To support staff in moving this initiative forward, ULC seeks to contract with a virtual scholar to develop research, events, and executive conversations.

Several broad goals of ULC Foresight 2020 are envisioned:

  1. Map the Forces Impacting the Industry

  2. Identify and Expand the ULC Network of Futures Experts

  3. Develop Actionable Research Briefs and Communications Materials

  4. Support Informed Industry Conversations and Learning Opportunities

  5. Measure the Impact of the Initiative on Industry Attitudes and Behavior

The term of the contract will be from June 2007 through August 2008. The contract amount is $30,000, firm, plus expenses. The ULC offices will be located at 125 S. Wacker, Chicago, IL after April 13, 2007.

Specific deliverables we would like to contract for include:

  • Two briefing papers for an audience of library directors and trustees, one in January 2008, and one in June 2008.

  • Assistance with the design and implementation of a ULC Futures Forum conference that will take place in Annaheim CA June 25-26, 2008.

  • Assistance with content creation and production of an Audio Conference November 30, 2007.

  • Planning for the official launch of the ULC Foresight 2020 initiative in 2008.

ULC is now accepting Letters of Qualification that outline a commitment for contract services that includes specific ideas and tasks that could contribute to the previously mentioned scope of work and deliverables over the contract term.

The deadline for submitting your Letter of Qualification is April 12, 2007. Letters must be received at the ULC offices by 5:00 p.m. CENTRAL TIME.

Letters of Qualifications should include the following:

  1. No more than 3 pages describing specific research, ideas, and strategies you would develop over the contract term.

  2. A timeline of activities keyed to deliverables outlined above. Please describe any schedule conflicts you may have related to the dates mentioned in the deliverables section above.

Additionally, please provide

  1. Your complete contact information, including address, phone and email.

  2. Two references that can describe your work as a consultant.

  3. Two writing samples (brief pieces, please).

  4. Brief vita with client and/or publication list, if applicable.

All Letters of Qualification should be sent to:

ULC Virtual Scholar Program
Urban Libraries Council
1603 Orrington, Ste. 1080
Evanston IL 60201

ULC executive staff and a member review committee will review letters, conduct follow-up interviews. ULC staff will negotiate final contract terms. Criteria for selection include:

  • Demonstrated expertise related to scope of work

  • Quality of ideas developed in letter

  • Commitment of time to contract

  • Quality of references and writing samples

To further your understanding of this new program at ULC and to help you prepare your Letter of Qualification, an informational call will be held on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 from noon to 1:00 pm CENTRAL time. If you wish to join that call, please dial 1.888.311.0079 and enter 8000300# at the prompt.

Please submit all questions to with the subject line: Virtual Scholar Inquiry."

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