I had a great visit with folks at Woodruff Library at Emory University on Monday. They have some very cool things going on at Emory–from processing and providing access to the Salman Rushdie born-digital archives, to a new combined services desk, to planning for a Digital Scholarship Commons. I was also intrigued by the “grass-roots” Digital Library Initiatives group–staff from across the library who meet regularly to keep up to date on digital library topics (at Emory) and beyond. The group produces White Papers for the rest of the library staff on emerging digital library topics–short summaries, with suggested readings. The group is a volunteer, open-membership group, not an official working group of the library. I might have to steal this idea for our staff!
They also have a very active and well-attended weekly Info Forum program of talks for staff, for library project updates and other hot topics. The program is run by the HR department, but apparently library staff are not shy about suggesting topics and/or volunteering to present.
In exchange for the folks at Emory generously spending the day chatting with me, I gave a presentation for their staff on things we are doing here at Stanford: Public Services at Stanford: Good times, bad times (with apologies to Led Zepelin)*. Although I spent much of the presentation bragging about cool stuff we are doing (especially SearchWorks), I made sure to leave time to talk honestly about our challenges. I am very glad I did, because it set the stage for some really fruitful conversations throughout the day about some of the common issues facing large academic libraries.
* I link to the presentation on Google Docs, because it really makes no sense unless you can see the Notes View, and SlideShare doesn’t seem to accommodate that very well.