News from the Field

David Free

Labor college history online

The newsletter of Commonwealth College, a controversial labor college that operated from 1924 to 1940 near Mena, Arkansas, is now available on the University of Arkansas Libraries’ Special Collections Department Web site. Commonwealth College was one of the nation’s most famous and longest lived experiments in cooperative living and labor education. Labor colleges, an outgrowth of the noncommunist reformist labor movement, flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, an era rich in educational experimentation. Socialists Kate Richards O’Hare, Frank O’Hare, and William E. Zeuch founded Commonwealth in 1923 near Leesville, Louisiana. The college moved to Arkansas in 1924. “Commoners,” as students and staff were known, carved a campus and farm out of the wilderness 13 miles west of Mena near the Oklahoma border.

Student group at Commonwealth College, March 1925.

The newsletter, titled Commonwealth Fortnightly, documents the school’s social activities, curriculum information, lectures, plays, cooperative living projects, and community relations efforts, along with satirical pieces, labor union news, letters from prominent supporters (including Eugene V. Debs), and commentaries on social issues and current events. Digitization of the Commonwealth Fortnightly was made possible by University of Arkansas Department of Communication Professor Stephen A. Smith. The Walter B. Reuther Library at Wayne State University and the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania provided assistance to the project. The newsletter is freely available online at

2010 ACRL Legislative Agenda

Each year, the ACRL Government Relations Committee, in consultation with the ACRL Board of Directors and staff, formulates an ACRL Legislative Agenda. Drafted with input from the ACRL Scholarly Communications and Copyright Committees, along with additional committees, ACRL leaders, and the ALA Washington Office, the legislative agenda is prioritized and includes objectives for legislative action at the national level on issues that may affect the welfare of academic and research libraries. The ACRL Board of Directors recently approved the 2010 ACRL Legislative Agenda in time for Library Advocacy Day on June 29 in Washington, D.C.

The 2010 ACRL Legislative Agenda focuses on eight priorities, including public access to federally funded research, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, network neutrality, government information, orphan works, fair use and anti circumvention, lead in books, and supporting school librarians. The complete legislative agenda is available online at

EBSCO acquires NetLibrary

OCLC and EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) have signed an agreement for EBSCO to purchase the assets of the OCLC NetLibrary Division and the rights to license a select number of vendor-owned databases currently available through the OCLC FirstSearch service, including the NetLibrary eBook and eAudio-book platform. NetLibrary eBook content and eAudiobook subscriptions will continue to be available on the NetLibrary platform. EBSCO plans to provide access to the NetLibrary eBook content on the EBSCOhost platform. NetLibrary eBooks will also continue to be discoverable through WorldCat. org. A FAQ for customer and member support, ordering, billing, and service transition is available at

NCSU Libraries appoints 2010–2012 fellows

The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries recently announced the appointment of the NCSU Libraries Fellows for 2010–2012: Brian Norberg and Adam Rogers, effective July 1, 2010, and L. Hill Taylor, effective August 2, 2010. The program develops future leaders for academic libraries, with a focus on science, engineering, and digital librarianship, on diversity, and on library management. NCSU Libraries Fellows are appointed for a two-year term as members of the library faculty, combining a project assignment on an initiative of strategic importance with a half-time appointment in a home department.

BCR, LYRASIS to merge

BCR and LYRASIS have announced a collaborative agreement to transition BCR members to LYRASIS membership in the fall of 2010. The agreement will allow members of both BCR and LYRASIS to purchase products and services offered by either organization. The provisions of the agreement will enable BCR members to experience a seamless transition with immediate access to LYRASIS training classes and the ability to purchase electronic resources at discounted rates. Current BCR members will become members of LYRASIS effective October 1, 2010.

In order to ensure continuity of service for BCR members, LYRASIS is adding some BCR employees to its staff and will maintain a regional office in Denver to facilitate operations on a long-term basis. BCR will phase out its operations by the end of December 2010. More information on BCR is available at and LYRASIS is online at

IMLS on Twitter

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is now on Twitter. The IMLS Twitter feed provides information on grant announcements, best practices, and other time-sensitive information. Follow IMLS at Links to additional IMLS social media resources, including UpNext: The Future of Museums and Libraries Wiki, a podcast, and RSS feeds, are available at

New publications from ACRL IS

The ACRL Instruction Section’s Research and Scholarship Committee has issued three new publications, “A Bibliography of Research Methods Texts,” “5 Things You Should Read about . . . Gaming and Learning,” and “Selected List of Pedagogical Journals in Fields Outside of LIS.” The publications were collaboratively authored by 2008–2009 Committee members Jaquelina Alvarez, Caroline Barratt, Roxanne Bogucka, Christopher Cox, Amy Deuink, Catherine Johnson, Larissa Gordon, and Ramona Islam.

“The Bibliography of Research Methods Texts” includes nearly 30 new reviews written by committee members. Many entries also include citations to other published reviews. The bibliography includes several entries for introductory research textbooks for the beginner and books on specific research methods, such as quantitative analysis and focus groups.

“5 Things You Should Read about . . . Gaming and Learning” presents readings that illustrate some of the issues and challenges of incorporating gaming into education, highlights good learning principles, and discusses commercial, modified, and custom-designed games. The recently updated “Selected List of Pedagogical Journals in Fields Outside of LIS” provides titles from nonlibrary academic fields that focus on instructional strategies within higher education disciplines, organized by broad category.

All three publications can be accessed from the committee Web site at

ACRL 2011 registration to open mid-May, keynote speakers announced

In today’s fast-paced and changing world, keeping current is more essential than ever. Access cutting-edge information, discover new ideas, and engage in conversations with academic and research librarians from around the world at ACRL 2011. You can’t afford to miss it!

Registration and housing materials will be available in mid-May at Register by February 4, 2011, to take advantage of discounted early-bird registration fees and save more than 20%! Group discounts are available for institutions that register ten or more employees. Save up to an additional 20% off conference registration fees.

Be challenged and entertained by ACRL’s three keynote distinguished speakers, who double as activists, authors, filmmakers, and television personalities. Opening keynote speaker Tiffany Shlain (Wednesday, March 30, 2011) is an award-winning filmmaker, artist, Internet pioneer, and activist. Founder of The Webby Awards and co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, she was honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century.”

Her films have been selected at more than 100 film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, and Rotterdam, and have won 20 awards including Audience and Grand Jury Prizes.

Shlain’s films are a fusion of documentary and narrative and known for their whimsical yet provocative approach unraveling complicated subjects like politics, cultural identity, technology, and science. Shlain is currently working on a feature-length film and Internet project, “Connected: A Declaration of Interdependence,” set for completion in winter 2010.

Activist and academic Raj Patel (Friday, April 1, 2011) is an authority on the world economic system and the international food crisis. Patel brings the idea of interdependence to his writings about sustainability, the food crisis, and democracy. He is an award-winning author of five books including Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us?, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and his 2010 New York Times bestseller, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy.

He has written more than a dozen articles, all of which are open access and freely available on his Web site,, along with a link to his blog and several thought-provoking videos.

What happens when a renowned fashion expert with an international following comes to ACRL? Find out when Clinton Kelly, cohost of TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” delivers the closing keynote at ACRL 2011 on Saturday, April 2, 2011. A renowned fashion expert and author who specializes in helping individuals achieve personal and professional transformations, Kelly will discuss why we are often averse to change and how to turn this fear into positive action.

Kelly achieved his own transformation to television stardom from the world of fashion journalism where he worked for such publications as Marie Claire, Mademoiselle, and DNR. You’ll want to be there when Kelly delivers the closing keynote address and sends thousands of academic and research librarians home with inspiration and ideas for a better self and a better library. Just don’t expect $5,000 for a new wardrobe.

Visit the official conference Web site ( for complete information on ACRL 2011.

ALA Library Support Staff Certification Program

In January 2010, ALA began accepting applications from library support staff (LSS) for the Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program. This national, voluntary certificate program is the culmination of decades of surveys, focus groups, research, pilot programs, and requests.

Many of the 160,000 LSS workers in U.S. libraries share a desire to gain recognition of an LSS career and have a widely acknowledged career path. These aspirations may hold true even on campuses with defined promotional structures. Candidate Kareen Turner, who works in an academic library in Arkansas, was one of the first to enroll in the program citing, “personal satisfaction” as the reason, and saying, “I want to be able to explain to other staff members here and in state that this is a wonderful career and you receive personal recognition.”

All supervisors want their staff to increase their skills and knowledge. The LSSC Program offers a way in which to do so. The certification process provides a holistic learning experience, as candidates discover new ways to think about the work they do and see the value of their work to libraries through portfolio creation or completing courses in six of ten competency areas. Required are Foundations of Library Services, Communication and Teamwork, and Technology. Electives are Access Services, Adult Readers’ Advisory Services, Cataloging and Classification, Collection Management, Reference and Information Services, Supervision and Management, and Youth Services.

You may be surprised by the reasons the more than 80 LSS have already become candidates. Our surveys showed that the most commonly selected reasons (in order) were learning, achieving recognition, and providing better service. All candidates have a high school diploma or GED, but more than half have an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree. Candidates work in every area of the library.

To receive the certification, candidates must complete online portfolios or courses (most are online). Candidate Molly Moore says, “On a personal level I am interested in increasing my skills and expertise in library operations. In Serials we are in close contact with subject specialists for adding and withdrawing materials, making the Collection Management elective ideal for me.”

LSS may apply to the LSSC Program at any time and have four years to complete the program. The application fee is $350. Course fees are additional and determined by the providers, which include Library Technical Assistant Programs, state libraries, and ALA divisions. Portfolio submissions require no fees. Candidates may complete the competency sets through only portfolios, only courses, or any combination thereof.

Managers can help candidates in many ways. With reduced budgets, employers might find it difficult to financially support candidates. However, some employers can partially assist with registration or course fees. Employers can also allow time off for candidates to complete portfolios and courses, and provide feedback to candidates on portfolios and assignments. Employers can increase morale by recognizing the candidate upon enrollment and after the candidate successfully completes a competency set.

These investments may show a quick return if you have staff like Lisa Fife of Louisiana who says, “I expect my studies in the LSSC Program will positively impact my job performance. I hope to offer new and innovative ideas to other departments within the academic library, as well as to the Cataloging department where I work.”

LSS who choose to be a part of the program want to provide better service, learn more about their work, and how the library operates. Some want more responsibility and a few want mobility. Most simply “believe that an LSSC would finally legitimize and accredit the vital contributions made by support staff,” like Lisa Shoup, an academic LSS in California.

To learn more or schedule a Webinar about the program, please contact ALA-APA at (800) 545-2433, x2424 or visit the LSSC Program Web site at—;Jenifer Grady, director, ALA-APA, E-mail:

Copyright © American Library Association, 2010

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