Metadata Librarian

Metadata Librarian

Health Sciences and Human Services Library

University of Maryland Baltimore

Position Summary: Under the direction of the Metadata Management Librarian, the Metadata Librarian takes a holistic approach to metadata development and management to maximize discovery of the Library’s content. S/he participates in planning, establishing and achieving the goals of the Metadata Management Department and the Resources Division. This new position will support the Library’s adherence to best practices in metadata methods, ensuring the interoperability and sustainability of metadata in bibliographic systems within the library as well as metadata contributed to the University’s Digital Archive and other sources. This position will participate in the development and implementation of metadata strategies that support the discovery and curation of the Library’s digital content.

Appointment: This is a 12-month library faculty position on a permanent status track that will be filled at the rank of Librarian I or II. Entry-level candidates are welcomed. Librarians are expected to progress successfully along the promotion and permanent status track and participate fully as members of the library’s faculty. For more information see the University’s “Criteria and Procedures Relating to the Appointment, Promotion and Permanent Status for Library Faculty”: http://cf.umaryland.edu/umpolicies/usmpolicyInfo.cfm?polid=19&section=all

Responsibilities:

  • Perform original cataloging and enhancement of catalog records using MARC, RDA and AACR2, LCSH and MeSH
  • Implement and sustain metadata strategies associated with resource description and digital initiatives and projects
  • Work closely with the Head of Resource Development and Sharing to facilitate discovery of and access to digital resources, and to promote the Digital Archive
  • Keep abreast of emerging standards, tools, and developments in resource description and access such as BIBFRAME and Linked Open Data (Semantic Web)
  • Document the assigning of metadata to diverse types of resources
  • Prepare batch loads of metadata for electronic resources for ingestion into the Digital Archive and ILS
  • Perform quality control for metadata, electronic access verification, and scanning projects
  • Serve as a liaison with internal and external partners on collaborative metadata projects
  • Participate in the design and development of services to support preservation of and access to digitized and born-digital content from the Library’s collections and other University sources
  • Assess requirements for data sets to be included in the Digital Archive
  • Contribute to informatics projects that develop and utilize ontologies for data mining and data federation
  • Lead projects and serve as a member of project teams within and outside of the library
  • Participate in the University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) library consortium
  • Participate actively as a member of national and local professional associations and engage in scholarly and service activities as outlined in the Criteria referenced above

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited program
  • Experience related to metadata development and management in an academic, research, special collections library or an institution with a substantial digital collection
  • Demonstrated knowledge of metadata standards and schema
  • Working knowledge of cataloging utilities such as OCLC Connexion, integrated library systems, and digital repository software
  • Demonstrated understanding of the digitization process and preservation standards
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written
  • Ability to handle, manage and initiate a variety of projects
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively
  • Ability to interact effectively with a diverse group of colleagues within the Library and the University and to translate concepts effectively to a variety of user communities including researchers
  • Demonstrated interest in professional advancement evidenced by membership in related professional associations, participation in scholarly activities and continuing education

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with metadata in a health sciences library
  • Working knowledge of DSpace or other digital archive platform

Applications:

Interested, qualified candidates may email or fax cover letter; CV/resume and three (3) references including names, affiliations, and contact information to: rgleiberman@hshsl.umaryland.edu or fax to 410-706-3101. Visit our website at http://www.hshsl.umaryland.edu/ or call 410-706-6747 for more information.   Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.   The University of Maryland Baltimore is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary is commensurate with experience, starting at $47,000. Benefits include choice of retirement, medical, and dental plans; 22 days of annual leave; 15 days of sick leave; 3 personal days and 14 holidays. Regular employees, their spouses and dependent children may receive tuition remission for most programs at many campuses of the University System of Maryland.

Environment:

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus is located in downtown Baltimore, blocks from Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Raven’s Stadium, and the Inner Harbor, a recreational waterfront destination. Forty-five miles north of Washington DC, Baltimore City and the surrounding metropolitan area are noted for high quality-of-life indicators offering historic parks, great neighborhoods, and world-famous art collections, museums, theaters, and symphony orchestras. The city has accessible public transportation systems, superior health care systems, and renowned university and educational resources.

The HS/HSL is the second largest health sciences library on the East Coast, providing access to over 374,000 bound volumes, 8400 unique electronic and print periodicals, 96 databases and an array of progressive services, products and programs. Sixty-five FTEs including 25 faculty librarians staff the library. Our attractive facility, which opened in 1998, provides over 900 seats, 40 group study rooms, 130 individual study carrels, 60 public-access computers, wireless Internet access, three computer classrooms, a presentation and production studio, an art gallery, and multiple meeting spaces.

The Library supports the 6300 students, and over 7500 faculty and staff members on UMB’s 60-acre research and technology complex consisting of 58 buildings including the University of Maryland BioPark, the University of Maryland Medical Center, and the VA Hospital. UMB’s professional and graduate schools comprise a dental school, graduate school, and schools of law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and social work. More details about the UMB can be found at http://www.umaryland.edu/

Workshop Announcement: Alternative Revenue Streams: Development, Fundraising, and Grant Writing for Libraries

Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Library Development and Services will be hosting a workshop and panel discussion called “Alternative Revenue Streams: Development, Fundraising, and Grant Writing for Libraries.” The event will include a panel discussion by development and fundraising specialists from across the state, an introduction to and presentation on Finding Funders by Maryland’s Foundation Center Funding Information Network Supervisors, a lightning round discussion of fundraising events that have succeeded and failed, and a grant writing workshop focused on developing a specific idea or project into a grant proposal that can be used to win grants and entice funders.

The program will take place at Miller Library on September 9 from 9am to 4pm. The day’s agenda is attached. You can register here.

Please contact Rocco DeBonis with any questions at rdebonis@msde.state.md.us

 

 

 

Rocco DeBonis
LSTA Grant Coordinator
Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Library Development and Services
200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore MD 21201
410.767.0437 phone | 410.333.2507 fax | rocco.debonis@maryland.gov

Head of Content Acquisitions and Management

 

Head of Content Acquisitions and Management
Georgetown University Law Library

The Head of Content Acquisitions and Management is responsible for the supervision and management of all aspects of acquisitions and serials operations, which includes ordering and receipt of library materials in all formats, implementing collection management policies, and overseeing vendor relations and purchasing/licensing agreements.  This position directly supervises seven staff in the library’s Acquisitions and Collection Care department.

The Head of Content Acquisitions and Management also plays a key role in the assessment and management of the library’s collection.  This includes coordinating the selection and de-selection of library materials; compiling and reporting statistical data for collection assessment; coordinating and pursuing intercampus and interlibrary collaborative collection development opportunities; and working cooperatively with subject selectors, staff across all departments in the library, and faculty to provide access to information.

Required
Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited school of library and/or information studies, or equivalent; strong supervisory skills; excellent written and verbal communication skills; at least two years of collection development experience; familiarity with integrated library systems.

Preferred

Law library experience or familiarity with legal publishing trade and vendors; Acquisitions experience; JD or equivalent.
Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.
To apply for this position, please submit applications via the Georgetown University Jobs website by using Job Number 20141165. Address applications to Stacy Queen, and include a cover letter, a current resume, and the names and contact information for three references. 

Review of applications will begin on August 6, 2014 and continue until the position is filled.

Georgetown University is an EOE/AA employer.  

 

Reference Librarian – Venable LLP

 

Venable LLP, one of the top 100 law firms in the U.S., is seeking a Reference Librarian to be responsible for daily operations of the Baltimore office reference desk.  Responsibilities include working with other reference librarians at the firm conducting research, responding to research requests, and delivering in-house training and outreach to legal staff.

 

Requirements include a Master of Library Science degree and a minimum of two years library reference experience.  Law firm library experience is preferred but not required.

 

At Venable, employees enjoy a professional work environment, competitive compensation and a comprehensive benefits package.  We strive to foster a culture of teamwork, enrichment and work/life balance to allow our employees to grow professionally and thrive!

 

If this sounds like the right opportunity for you, we invite you to apply:  https://careeers.venable.com

 

Venable LLP is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

LLAM Dine Around in San Antonio

Join the LLAM Dine-Around in San Antonio
Saturday, July 12th at 6:30 pm

If you are you attending the 2014 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference in San Antonio, please consider joining the members of LLAM for the annual “LLAM Dine-Around.” This year, the group will meet at La Paloma Riverwalk, 215 Lasoya, on the San Antonio Riverwalk, which is a short distance from the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The reservation, under the name of “Maryland Law Librarians,” is for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, July 12. We have requested a patio or Riverwalk table, if available. To view photos and a menu, visit http://www.lapalomariverwalk.com. Vegetarian options are offered. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to james.durham@mdcourts.gov, so that the reservation can be amended to accommodate the actual size of our group. See you in Texas!

By: James G. Durham, Deputy Director of the Maryland State Law Library

 

404/File Not Found: Link Rot, Legal Citation and Projects to Preserve Precedent

SAVE THE DATE for this upcoming symposium about link rot that will be held at Georgetown University Law Library!

The Web is fluid and mutable, and this is a “feature” rather than a “bug”. But it also creates challenges in the legal environment (and elsewhere) when fixed content is necessary for legal writers to support their conclusions. Judges, attorneys, academics, and others using citations need systems and practices to preserve web content as it exists in a particular moment in time, and make it reliably available.

On October 24, 2014 Georgetown University Law Library in Washington, D.C. will host a symposium that explores the problem of link and reference rot.

Preliminary Agenda
•                 Keynote speech to contextualize the issues and discuss conflict between the naturally fluid state of the internet and the expectations by legal professionals that once something is published (in whatever form) that it should be static.
•                 Presentations and panel on “Whose problem is this?” with members from academia, government, the judiciary, law reviews
•                 The webmaster’s view – what pressures are there to continually change websites to reflect current look/feel trends, new usability technologies, etc. that contribute to link rot?
•                 Presentations and panel on current initiatives with members from organizations like The Chesapeake Project, Perma.cc, Archive.org, etc. What tools exist, and what are the remaining needs?
•                 Wrap-up detailing current, pragmatic steps attendees can take upon going home.

Presenters include
•                 Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard University
•                 Robert Miller, Internet Archive
•                 Prof. Karen Eltis, University of Toronto Law School
•                 Rod Wittenberg, Reed Technology and Information Services
•                 Kim Dulin, Harvard University
•                 Carolyn Campbell, Georgetown University Law Library

We will post additional information as it gets finalized to the event webpage at: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/404/

Access 2 Justice LRI A Success!

LLAM’s All Access to Justice Legal Research Institute was held last Friday, March 21st at the University of Baltimore Angelos Law Center.  The event was a huge success; Kate Martin and her committee did a terrific job and we thank them for their efforts!

Librarians from across the state and all over the country convened at UB to learn about current issues and solutions for ensuring Access to Justice for all of our patrons. The programming covered the A2J topic from a variety of aspects; discussions included the basics of what Access to Justice is, how Public Libraries play a role in the future of the movement, what Private Law Librarians can do to advance the cause, the Academic Library’s role, and the type of assistance State and County Law Libraries should provide. The major theme throughout the day was that we need to remember we are librarians and while we can help a patron locate and utilize the correct resources, we must be careful not to give legal advice.

The number of Self-Represented Litigants (“SRLs”) in the country is growing for a variety of reasons and the Librarian’s role in helping them navigate the confusing and tumultuous legal landscape is an essential one.  It was exhilarating to gather with librarians from a variety of backgrounds and learn how each of us can contribute to this effort.

You can find more information, videos, slides, and PDFs of all of the handouts from the seminar HERE.

-Sara Thomas
Communications Committee Chair

We want to make next time even better! If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to give us some feedback about your conference experience at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/justice2014.

Important Information about Maryland Uniform Electronic Materials Act (MUELMA)

Photo   Tonya Baroudi LLAM President. Emily Feltren AALL Director Govt Relations, Steve Anderson AALL President

Tonya Baroudi LLAM President. Emily Feltren AALL Director Govt Relations, Steve Anderson AALL President

LLAM needs your help in advocating for the Maryland Uniform Electronic Materials Act (MUELMA). Pre-filed HB46 is sponsored by by Del. Sam Arora, District 19, Montgomery County.

The First Hearing was held on Thursday, 1/23/2014 before the Health and Government Operations Committee. Testimony in favor of UELMA was provided by Delegate Arora; Steve Leitess, Uniform Law Commission, Maryland Member; Emily Feltren, AALL Government Relations Office; and Tonya Baroudi, LLAM President. Steve Anderson, Mary Jo Lazun, Paul Lagasse, and Joanie Bellistri attended the hearing to show support for the panel.

An interlineated copy was provided by Delegate Arora to the committee that included amendments to the pre-filed bill that removed requirements for reported decisions of the circuit and district courts and for certain administrative materials. The revision also added the Maryland Register to the list of legal materials. Tonya and Emily both voiced support as amended.

The Committee Co-Chair, Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, District 13, Howard County, had three questions:

  1. Why has the Act only been adopted in only 8 states in the last two years?
  2. Are there major differences between the Model Act and the Maryland Act?
  3. Have there been any problems where the Act has been adopted that have required a retroactive fix?

Answers were provided by Steve Leitess of the ULC who stated that it is not unusual for a Uniform Act to take more than one year for adoption, that there are no major differences between the acts and that there are no known instances of a fix being needed after adoption.

Now that the first hearing has taken place, LLAM members can advocate for UELMA by contacting their delegates who are on the Health and Government Operations Committee. Read on to find out how.

HB46 Action Alert:

LLAM members can help by contacting their delegate if a member of the Committee:

  1. Who are your delegates?
  2. Is one of them a member of the House >Health and Government Operations Committee?
  3. If so call or write to your delegate requesting support

~By Joanie Bellistri, Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

AALL Local Advocate Lobby Day – March 27, 2014

AALL Logo

Date:         Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time:         8:30 am – 5:00 pm EDT

Location:   Capitol Hill*, Washington, D.C.

Who:         Washington-area AALL members and local chapters, including LLAM, LLSDC,
SEAALL, VALL, and others who can visit D.C.

Join AALL President Steven P. Anderson, AALL’s Government Relations Office staff, local chapters, and AALL members at AALL’s second-annual Local Advocate Lobby Day on March 27.

Last year’s lobby day was such a success, we’re doing it again! At this full-day event, you’ll become an expert on our top priority issues and learn best practices for successful advocacy. Then, you’ll put your knowledge into practice, attending pre-scheduled meetings with your members of Congress and/or their staff to advocate for AALL’s policy positions.

According to a 2011 survey by the Congressional Management Foundation, 97 percent of congressional staff say that in-person visits from constituents have an influence on the member. As law librarians and members of AALL, you are experts who represent not only yourselves, but your profession, other librarians, and your patrons. Exercise your influence to make a difference for your libraries!

The Lobby Day is free of charge for all AALL members and chapter members. Breakfast, coffee, lunch and an afternoon snack will be provided. Participants will have the opportunity to visit area sites including the Library of Congress, Law Library of Congress, and Folger Shakespeare Library during afternoon free hours.

RSVP to Elizabeth Holland at eholland@aall.org by March 1.

*Training will take place at a TBD location on Capitol Hill within close walking distance of the Senate and House Office Buildings, where lobby meetings will take place.

What Happens When Books Freeze?

This Polar Vortex and our current “arctic” temperatures have gotten me thinking…  What happens when books freeze?  Is it damaging to the paper? Does the extreme cold cause deterioration? Or are there hidden possibilities to be found there….?

After a bit of research, I discovered that freezing is a common method of preservation after a water disaster and can actually be effective for recovering wet books and paper records.  Freezing water-damaged materials prevents (further) mold growth and also inhibits additional water absorption into the paper. (For the record, it can also eradicate insects – should you have that sort of dilemma!)

Freezing can be used as a temporary solution to preserve materials while deciding how to ultimately salvage, treat or replace the damaged collection.  Or items left in freezing conditions will eventually dry on their own, if left indefinitely, but this is not a particularly efficient method since it takes several months to a year to thoroughly dehydrate.

While water-damaged materials will always exhibit signs of their trauma, freezing can vastly prolong their “shelf-life” (how’s that for a librarian joke?) and save them from untimely ruin.

Now you know… I hope you never need to employ these techniques in your own Library; but if you do, I found these resources particularly helpful in researching and writing this post.

http://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/3.-emergency-management/3.12-freezing-and-drying-wet-books-and-records

http://www.lib.umich.edu/files/services/preservation/wetbooks-1.pdf

http://www.lib.msu.edu/preservation/wetbooks.jsp

-Sara Thomas (Head Librarian, Miles & Stockbridge PC)

SAVE THE DATE! Maryland Legislative Day: Help Make UELMA a Maryland Law

LLAM members, your presence is needed more than ever at this year’s Maryland  Legislative Day. If at all possible, PLEASE find room in your schedule on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act is an important issue on the table for discussion in the legislature and by attending Legislative Day, you can make sure your local delegate is aware and informed!  This link has more information so you can educate yourself about the topic.  http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/UELMA

Perks to attending:

  • Eat a hearty breakfast at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Law Library
  • Chat other Maryland librarians
  • Hear the General Assembly proclaim librarians as indispensable
  • Practice your elevator speech techniques
  • Meet your delegates and senators
  • Attend gorgeous evening reception with librarians, delegates, and senators
  • Feel good about making a difference!!

We hope to see you there!

Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2014!

Discussion on Legal Link Rot

Finally, Online Legal Information Is a Topic of Serious Discussion!

Legal link rot has been a newsworthy topic since the publication of  “Something Rotten in the State of Legal Citation: The Life Span of a United States Supreme Court Citation Containing an Internet Link (1996-2010) in Yale Journal of Law and Technology.  The New York Times featured the study in its September 23, 2013 article In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere.

The ABA Journal has joined the discussion this month with “Link rot’ is degrading legal research and case cites.” The article features Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group (CDPG) which includes the Maryland State Law Library, Virginia State Law Library and the libraries of Georgetown and Harvard law schools.  CDPG harvests and preserves legally significant publications based on the collection development plans of its member libraries. Annually the members of the group check to see if links to a sample set of publications still work. The number of dead links has grown annually, but the 2013 report was significant because for the first over 50 percent of .gov links no longer worked.

It is gratifying to see the preservation of online legal information a topic of serious discussion and the work of groups like CDPG recognized. New tools like permaCC offer the promise of a consistent and permanent links to online legal information. Maybe by the end of the decade link rot will become a quaint artifact, like the sound of a 56K baud modem.

Mary Jo Lazun, Maryland State Law Library

Getting UEMLA on the General Assembly’s Agenda

Many counties in Maryland have open forums to allow community organizations to make an “elevator pitch” to their delegations. This Tuesday, Joan Bellistri, Paul Lagasse, and I attended the Anne Arundel County delegation’s forum in order to give them a quick introduction to the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA).

Although we were the second-to -last organization on the agenda, the delegates examined our packet of materials and appeared to be engaged by what we had to say. Of course Joanie is an excellent public speaker and came prepared with a succinct four-minute talk based a sample speech from the AALL UELMA resources page. (Thank you, Emily Feltren Felton of AALL’s Government Relations!)

Following our presentation, one of the delegates asked a question regarding funding; no big surprise there. And after the forum, Paul and I had an opportunity to chat with one of the delegates about the importance of preserving born-digital legal materials. We referenced the Chesapeake Project linkrot study that revealed that after five years, over 50% documents with .gov domain were no longer available at their original URLs.

Forums like this are a great (and easy) opportunity to educate our delegates and senators about UELMA. Keep an eye out for similar forums in your county. Joanie and I have a packet of material and a speech ready to go. Won’t you volunteer to the same in your county?  Consider volunteering with your county and bring a fellow librarian…it is more fun with a colleague.

Mary Jo Lazun,  Maryland State Law Library

LLAM Holiday Party and Silent Auction 2013

HolidayPartyBaltimoreatNightSave the Date!

The Law Library Association of Maryland invites you to a

Holiday English Tea

Friday, December 6, 2013
4:00-7:00 P.M.
at 17th Floor Bistro

100 Light Street, 17th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202
http://www.17thfloorcafe.catertrax.com

Join fellow LLAMers in viewing the magnificent Baltimore Inner Harbor at a festive Holiday English Tea complete with sweets, savories, wines and sherry.

Holiday shopping: This year’s silent auction benefits Rebuilding Together and the LLAM scholarship fund, so please get your auction items ready.

Special Offer: Invite a non-member friend or colleague and get your second registration fee at half price.

Tickets: $25.00 per person ($12.50 for a non-member guest)
You may pay by check. Make the check payable to “LLAM” and mail to
Pat Behles
University of Baltimore Law Library
1401 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

We hope to see you there!

Questions? Contact
Kate Martin, LLAM Program Chair
kmartin@mcccourt.com
240-777-9121

Fabulous News: UELMA to be Introduced This Year in Maryland

Fabulous News: UELMA to be Introduced This Year in Maryland
by: Mary Jo Lazun and Joanie Bellistri

Next year, hopefully, will be Maryland’s turn. LLAM has just received word that the Maryland state delegate Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County) will be sponsoring the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) in the 2014 Maryland General Assembly.

UELMA provides a technology-neutral, outcomes-based approach to ensuring that online state legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form. UELMA has become law in eight states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon and hopefully this spring, Maryland.

LLAM is in a unique position to help stakeholders and legislators understand the importance of UELMA. Now is the time to seek out opportunities to educate our attorneys, educators, and government officials about the importance of UELMA. The AALL Government Relations Office has made this easy by providing a useful selection of background information, advocacy materials, and sample letters at http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/UELMA.

Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself on the law and its importance so that when an elevator moment presents itself, you will be ready to provide information and answer questions about UELMA.

This year’s library Legislative Day in Annapolis will be a great opportunity to talk face-to-face with our legislators about the importance UELMA. We’ll be announcing the date soon.

November LLAM Program: Judge Irma Raker on Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions

JudgeIrmaRakerHear the Honorable Irma S. Raker speak on

“Everything you need to know about Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions”
November 6, 2013 at 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Anne Arundel Circuit Court Library, Room 303
7 Church Circle
Annapolis MD 21401

A dynamic speaker, Judge Raker will recount her 30 years chairing the committee producing the popular Maryland criminal and civil pattern jury instruction books.

These books are relied on by judges across the state and cited by attorneys for their succinctness, clarity and attention to detail. Retired Chief Judge Bell calls them “of paramount importance to the court.”

The Honorable Irma Raker, a distinguished jurist and legal pioneer, was the second woman appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. She currently chairs the MD Access to Justice Commission and works in private mediation.

An open Q-and-A session about her illustrious legal career will follow the talk.

RSVP to Kate Martin at kmartin@mcccourt.com, 240-777-9121.

How Librarians Can Make the Shutdown Work for Them

This post is LLAM’s Maiden Voyage into the blogosphere and there is one hot topic boiling in the hearts of all Americans. Whichever side of the political fence we fall on, we are all faced with a disturbing reality – the United States Federal Government has shuttered all “non-essential” doors and shut down. We each recognize that on some level this affects everyone; some more than others.

As law librarians, this situation threatens to have a colossal impact on how we perform our jobs. Some of our colleagues have been furloughed and aren’t even able to go to work. Those of us that are still standing face a number of frustrations because the government resources we use have been suspended. Many of the government websites that we access daily to perform reference services are already shut down. If the situation continues much longer, there will be more that go dark.

Some of our most essential databases, like FDsys, aren’t being updated. When we visit many government webpages, we are met with glaring messages about budget appropriations and lapses in funding. How long will it be before the Federal Courts close? And PACER shuts down?

Fdsys Shutdown Image

Some of the less-essential (but still important) services are also closed. For example, there is no one at National Library of Medicine to pull the medical articles that my patent attorneys need.

This situation should motivate us all to step up to the hypothetical plate and provide some clarity in this crisis of uncertainty. We Librarians need to provide stability. We need to use this state of affairs to our advantage and demonstrate our VALUE to our user communities. In this time of confusion we must emerge as the knowledge experts. We should know the alternate sources that are available and be prepared to guide our patrons to them. Dig deep in your bag of Librarian tricks and think of every clever way you can prove your Library to be the authoritative resource. This is the moment that we Librarians must to seize to show our continued need and importance.

I certainly hope this shut down doesn’t last much longer. I hope our lawmakers can come together and do what needs to be done to get up and running again. In the meantime, let’s be the best information providers we can be, use this as an opportunity to show our ingenuity and in the words of Tim Gunn, “Make it work!”