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John Jackson

Librarian Day in the Life

It’s been a while since I did a “Librarian Day in the Life.” It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but today of all days seemed like a good day to share.

6:30a-8:45a: Wake up. Get kids ready for school. Get ready for work. The usual morning routine. Drop kids off at school.

9:00a-9:30a: Arrive at work and fire up all the devices. Review email to see if anything can be quickly completed (i.e. can be done in under 2 minutes). Including:

  • Sent a survey to all library staff assessing internal communication methods
  • Invited two faculty members to serve on a November panel discussion event
  • Received and uploaded two graphics for the library’s digital displays to help promote athletic events on campus
  • Gave instructions for student worker to create first drafts of social media content

9:30a-10:30a: On Mondays I set aside the first hour of the day to plan my social media content for the entire week. This week, I’ll be promoting our Faculty Pub Night and Archives Opening Reception, looking at a few titles from our Popular Reading collection (on Instagram), and highlighting historic anniversaries with resources from our collections (on Facebook and Twitter).

10:30a-12:00p: Library management meeting. All the unit heads and deans get together weekly to discuss current projects, issues, and library initiatives.


  • Worked on the table of contents for the library’s annual Year in Review publication (which will consume most of my attention for the next few months).
  • Took photos of staff members for an article on their new publication
  • Edited blog post about current archives exhibition written by student intern (and took photo of human hair)
  • Updated library homepage slider to highlight our staff statement on DACA
  • Posted to library social media about upcoming events. Retweeted a few useful links
  • Grabbed a smoothie for lunch.

3:00p-4:00p: Had my weekly meeting with the dean. Among many topics, we discussed updates on library orientation for transfer and honor students, the Year in Review (see above), and new methods for assessing the success of library programming.

4:00p-5:00p: Led my bi-weekly Outreach Department meeting. We discussed upcoming Fall events (Haunting of Hannon; Human Library), the file organization of our shared department folder, and a new role for our student workers: “event correspondent” (where we are asking students to attend library events, talk with attendees about their experience, and draft up brief summaries of what they learn).

5:00p-5:15p: Quickly address a few open loops via email.

5:30p-8:30p: Pick up kids. Get kids dinner. Watch an episode of Octonauts. Get kids ready for bed.

8:30p-9:30p: Watch a few YouTube videos I saved earlier in the day. Meditate.

9:30p-11:30p: Read an article on library outreach. Create a flyer for an LMU Common Book event in November. Finish drafting the blog post from earlier. Clean out inbox (I maintain Inbox Zero daily).


Protecting student work

A group of us were just lambasting “plagiarism software” the other day:

“We do not protect scholarly work by creating a culture of suspicion about student writing. We do not protect scholarly work by turning originality into an algorithm. And we do not protect scholarly work by requiring students to upload and thus license their intellectual property to a corporation that profits off the database it builds from that work. That is Turnitin’s business model.”

Source: Who Controls Your Dissertation?

Aletheia is giving me grief for not putting up xmas lights on the house. So this is how it begins.

Reliability of a source is not binary

A few of us at mpow have been talking about ways to put more “science” into library science, mostly in the context of using more robust research methods to study user behavior and assess library services. With that in mind, Lane Wilkinson’s recent post on using Bayesian inference to understand how users contextualize the credibility of an information source strikes me as a particularly useful thought experiment (if not an actual research agenda… which you should totally do, Lane!). There is one insight in particular that caught my attention:

“Values like credibility, reliability, or trustworthiness are not binary; they exist on a continuum between 0 and 100%. We need to stop asking ‘is this source reliable?’ and start asking ‘how reliable is this source given what it is reporting?'”

If there is one thing I could help our students to understand right now, this would be it. Perhaps simply framing the question of credibility in this way is enough to inspire them to be more critical of what they read via their everyday information consumption. One can hope.

We’re all in this together

I love that it looks like the continents are holding hands. From Mental Floss, A More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Japanese Design Award:

“AuthaGraph faithfully represents all oceans [and] continents, including the neglected Antarctica,” according to the Good Design Awards, and provides “an advanced precise perspective of our planet.” No longer does Africa look the same size as North America, or Antarctica look like one of the biggest continents (it’s smaller than everything but Europe and Australia).


Standing Rock syllabus

The NYC for Standing Rock committee has created a resource for understanding the controversies and protest surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“This syllabus brings together the work of Indigenous and allied activists and scholars: anthropologists, historians, environmental scientists, and legal scholars, all of whom contribute important insights into the conflicts between Indigenous sovereignty and resource extraction.”

The syllabus contains key search terms, maps, a timeline of U.S. settler colonialism, and suggested reading arrange by theme and topic.

Aletheia’s new favorite way to begin a sentence is “Well, actually…”