Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Your Action Required

This is just an idea. If people really want to build such a community action committee, they should communicate that to the official leaders of their student, alumni, or community professional organizaiton.
[The original text of this was drafted several days ago or more, so my revisions for this posting may not be finished. This is simply for discussion.]


Community Action Committee to Save Paul Wasserman Library

Situation Statement:

Right on our own University of Maryland campus we face a grave risk of loosing one of the most valuable educational resources for current and future information professionals to an unknown, secretive, administrative agenda. The plan, its intended objectives, and ultimate consequences need to be considered and made clear to all parties in a transparent way.

While this country faces a political and social environment that does not understand important issues of information management, it is not the time for one of the nation’s leading conferrers of credentials to information professionals to be closing its own library.

Mission Statement:

The Community Action Committee to Save Paul Wasserman Library works to ally current students, staff, faculty, and administration with alumni and community and professional leaders to address questions regarding the protection of the Paul Wasserman Library as a mission-critical resource in each party’s production of educational services, resources, and other knowledge products.

Objectives:

A public meeting with Collegium President Marilyn White, Dean Jenny Preece, Dean Charles Lowry, Provost Destler, official alumni and current student leaders to educate each other about this pending and currently secretive plan that does not appear to be at all in line with an educational mission.

Assurance that PWL will be retained and work publicly begun to identify, evaluate, and execute managerial solutions other than closure.

Apology to the CLIS community for the secretive nature of these proceedings that affect everyone.

A press release to the wider community explaining the situation in a positive light and enumerating the steps to identify, evaluate, and execute managerial solutions other than closure.

Organizing Opportunities:

  • Phone and Email campaign to current student leaders, alumni, and faculty

  • Create a website using non-University Resources (more than a blog)

  • Write letters of protest to administrators including Jenny Preece
  • Gather data to help make an informed recommendation

Members:

Does this mean you?

4 Comments:

Blogger batgirl said...

This program needs to move into the future. How many of us have taken courses where the teacher is using material created 10 years ago or more?

Wasserman has been a convenient meeting place and close to the classrooms. It is a tomb in the summer. It is "full service" because the librarians and GAs don't get that many questions--and when they do, they put themselves into it totally. What are the circulation numbers? Numbers of questions per month? year?

We're the information professionals of the very near future and more than capable of learning the collection over at McKeldin.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Dear Batgirl,

Thanks for writing. That this conversation didn't resonate with people beyond the point of the issues of convenience (I use McKeldin all the time) and that keeping Wasserman open could mean creative ways of improving the learning opportunities is definately instructive.

Yeah, CLIS totally needs to get on with it in many ways, but I have yet to see a plan that sounds like a good idea when you consider the different kinds of niche communities in the program.

So visioning the future at CLIS will mean not even an improved Wasserman, or a significantly improved learning lab.

Hopefully those town meetings will reveal the Dean's vision in more detail.

Later,
Kevin

1:29 PM  
Blogger batgirl said...

From my experiences, (1 year) I don't feel that new 'creative opportunities' or 'learning opportunities' is something that this faculty is possible of executing in Wasserman or anywhere else. A very strong student driven plan would have to be presented once all the information is in from the dean.
Let's see what happens and thanks for keeping us posted.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Dear Batgirl,

Yeah, I dream of a good student-driven plan. One that is data-informed in detail, big-picture in vision, one that allows students hands on experience in building in theory and practice new-to-the-College approaches to the execution of UMCP collection and educational mission. This is a perfect learning opportunity to turn students loose with tools to solve a problem and gain from it in many ways. This is in part what I mean the college has not built the intellectual infrastructre to leverage (YUCK, I used that word) the resources it already has.

You have strong words about the limits of the current faculty. I've been mulling how so many very very smart and talented people are caught in the way they are (they may not feel caught, but who knows?). I think they as a group are capable of much more than we know of them to date. I'd love for the school or broader community to help themselves, the faculty, admin, and students out of whatever cycle they're in.

Maybe the discussion is moving in that direction. I hope you keep sharing your thoughts here as often and as extensively as you choose.

Best of luck to you in your studies, in McKeldin, in Wasserman, online...the truth is out there!

Teachers have to be willing to learn from their students for a vibrant productive knowledge community to evolve, I think. I'm not saying they don't at CLIS, I'm thinking that the environment does not allow for that kind of mental collaboration to be celebrated in view or experienced first-hand a lot. [Student groups really help round this out for CLIS, I think, and do pretty well usually -- look at SLA's awards for example.] We are as students recipients of wisdom. Which is why we're in school, but there's an environmental or cultural issue here that lies not with individual faculty, but the faculty as a College. In a very large, busy, community there's not the time, space, energy always to live outside very narrow paths/roles/rotines - and students and faculty, everyone included in that....

Wow! I've rambled......I really liked your posting....


Rock on,
Kevin

4:28 PM  

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