Writing

Weak, E. (2014, September). The Mountain View Public Library’s Bike Stop. BayNet.

The first of a series of posts describing Mountain View Library’s work on our Library Bike Stop initiative. In addition to purchasing a Dero Fixit station and materials, we committed to ten bike themed programs. For example, we’ve hosted a workshop on shopping by bike, taught Urban Bike Skills, started a monthly bike clinic, invited museum curators to talk about the history of the bike, thrown a BikeFest, and are in the midst of planning a multi-library bike tour. Upcoming posts will focus on each of these topics.

Weak, E. (2014). Simple Steps to Starting a Seed Library. Public Libraries Magazine, 53(4).

A seed library is a wonderful addition to a public library. Starting one need not be complicated. A simple tupperware full of seeds is enough to spark interest and new community connections. This article describes how the author launched a seed library at Mountain View Public Library, including the programs that helped it grow.

Weak, E. (2014). What Candidates Want: How to Practice Compassionate Hiring. Library Leadership & Management, 28(4).

This article describes job hunter’s opinions of the hiring process, and offers suggestions for how hiring managers can make the process kinder and gentler. Assertions are based on the author’s non-scientifically conducted survey of over 470 job hunters, as well as two years of blogging about the library hiring process. Suggestions include improvements to: communication, provision of feedback, offering a peek at the “real” employer, and not wasting the candidate’s time.

Weak, E. (2014, January). Getting Your Foot in the Door: Moving From a World of Possibility to One of Opportunity. Letters to a Young Librarian.

Describes moving from job hunting to working as a substitute librarian to finding a permanent position.

Weak, E. & Luo, L. (2013). Collaborative virtual reference service: Lessons from the past decade. In A. Woodworth & D. Penniman (Eds.) Advances in Librarianship, v.37.

In the past decade, library literature has witnessed a spate of studies documenting different aspects of Collaborative Virtual Reference Services (CVRS) and a significant amount of valuable information is spread across numerous individual reports. With the support of the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the authors of this chapter undertook a synergistic effort to examine these studies and identify the popular governance models as well as shared challenges and benefits. They conducted a supplementary survey of librarians with personal experience working in CVRS. The authors found that while collaborative structures are myriad, many utilize similar staffing and management strategies. Benefits of CVRS include shared staffing responsibilities, the extension of service hours, professional and community development, access to specialists, and mitigating the risks of a new service, while challenges include answering local questions, cultural differences, and software and technology problems. The literature on CVRS primarily focuses on single collaborations. While these in-depth examinations are valuable, they cannot provide a “big picture” of how libraries may work together to provide a service. As budgets shrink and ICT-facilitated connections grow, collaboration is an option to which many libraries are turning to for the provision of reference as well as other services. The quality of such collaborations may be improved by considering the lessons presented in this chapter, resulting in better service.

Weak, E. (2013, March) Career Paths They Don’t Tell You About: Building Experience by Working as a Pool Librarian. SLIS Descriptor.

Personal account of challenges and opportunities found in working as a pool librarian.

Luo, L. & Weak, E. (2013) Text Reference Service: Teens’ Perception and Use. Library and Information Science Research, 35(1).

Focus group interviews were conducted to investigate how teen library users perceive and use text reference service. Findings indicate that teens have a mixed attitude toward the service, and they anticipate using it primarily for imposed queries. Teens’ perception of three aspects of the service is also discussed: response time, librarians’ use of texting abbreviations, and the impact of texting constraints. Strategies are provided to increase awareness, motivate use, and meet expectations. Findings will help inform libraries’ text reference practice, providing them with a clear understanding of how teens can benefit from the service, and how their information needs can be fulfilled to their satisfaction. Such an understanding will then lead libraries to develop more effective strategies to promote and deliver library services to teens, strengthen the role libraries play in teens’ information-seeking process, and establish a positive and sustaining relationship between teens and libraries

Weak, E. (2012, November). Our Wonderful World: Making Connections Courtesy of Information and Communications. libfocus.

Examination of the operations and mechanics of running Hiring Librarians. Emphasis on opportunities provided by digital communication

Weak, E. (2012, June). Lessons from Hiring Librarians. LIScareer.

An overview of lessons from surveying and posting interviews with 122 people who hire librarians.

Luo, L. & Weak, E. (2012). Managing a Text Reference Consortium: The My Info Quest Experience. Reference Services Review, 40(2).

Purpose – This paper aims to describe management and operational considerations for collaborative text reference services.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted in-depth interviews with members of the My Info Quest (MIQ) management team. They report on the interviews in the context of MIQ’s operations as the first US nationwide, collaborative text reference service.
Findings – MIQ is a non-hierarchal organization which relies on frequent communication, enthusiastic and dedicated member librarians, and a collective sense of commitment. Challenges and lessons from MIQ’s operations are discussed in the following areas: policies and procedures, staffing, service software, training, marketing, communicating and problem solving, and overall project operation.
Research limitations/implications – This paper examines collaborative text reference service only from the management perspective. Future research should investigate other aspects of collaboratively providing text reference service.
Practical implications – This paper will help libraries implement and manage collaborative text reference services. Ultimately it will contribute to the development of best practices for text reference service.
Originality/value – Text reference is the most recent reference development and it does not have a large body of literature. Current reports are primarily of a single library’s experience. This paper reports on collaborative service provision. It is the only article to date which examines collaborative text reference service from the management perspective.

Weak, E. (2012, March). Laid Off: A Personal Account of Our Tough Times. SLIS Descriptor.

Personal narrative of being laid off post library school: what happened, how it felt, and what resulted.

Luo, L. & Weak, E. (2011). Texting 4 Answers: What Questions Do People Ask? Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(2).

This article was selected for inclusion in selected for inclusion the Reference Research Review for 2011.
Abstract: This study seeks to provide empirical evidence about how users use text reference service, especially what kinds of questions they ask, to further the professional understanding of this emerging reference service venue and how to best deliver text reference service via this venue. More than three thousand transactions from My Info Quest, the first nation-wide collaborative text reference service, were studied to identify the types of information needs fulfilled by text reference. Additional analysis of characteristics such as transaction length and interactivity provides a more in-depth picture of the nature of text reference. Findings of the study will be beneficial to libraries that are interested in starting a text reference service and developing best practices.

Weak, E. (2011). Various features: Ask A Naturalist Who Pooped? Spotlight On… Naturalist Notebook.

Fun blog posts designed to highlight Naturalist Center collections, engage the public, and present scientific information.

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