Emerging Leader

An Update from RUSA’s Emerging Leader

What is going on with Libraries as Publishers?
Last January, I sat with a group of Emerging Leaders as we tried to figure out how to answer this question. Luckily, this particular team of librarians lacked neither ideas nor in enthusiasm. Several poster-sized sticky notes later, we had refined the question and made a plan. What are library publishing services, how are they supported, and what can RUSA do to help? We were determined to find out.

Over the next five months, RUSA’s team of Emerging Leaders met weekly to discuss our research. We developed a definition of library publishing services, found examples from around the world, and inventoried related resources and learning opportunities offered by ALA and other organizations. With this information in hand, we surveyed RUSA members and other librarians to find out what they think about library publishing services, learning opportunities, and RUSA’s involvement.

We discovered that libraries both within and outside of academia are offering many kinds of patron publishing support. Most of our survey respondents were interested in learning more about these services, especially through workshops, webinars, and standards or guidelines. Although ACRL provides ample support for academic library support of publishing, there is very little cohesive support for non-ACRL librarians. In fact, nearly 20% of our survey respondents indicated that they have never learned how to provide library publishing services. We determined that there is a need for resources and services that support library publishing beyond academia, and that RUSA could use this focus are to support its strategic agenda for recruitment, collaboration, and virtual participation. Our research culminated in an extensive report and a poster presentation at ALA Annual in San Francisco.

I had the privilege of presenting our report to RUSA’s Executive Board at Annual. The leadership will be moving forward our recommendations. Among them are opportunities for RUSA members to learn more about successful library publishing services – look for learning opportunities both online and face-to-face in the coming year. RUSA also hopes to engage a future team of Emerging Leaders in the task of developing a toolkit for libraries that want to support patron publishing.

It was a distinct pleasure to serve RUSA both as a sponsored Emerging Leader and as the first Emerging Leader team to work on a RUSA-sponsored project. The success of this project was only possible because of the dedication and talent of my teammates: Crystal Boyce, Sarah Espinosa, Angela Kent, and Rebecca Marrall. Elizabeth German and Linda Friend provided invaluable help as project sponsors. We’re also grateful to the entire RUSA Executive Board for their support and feedback, especially as we developed our survey.

I look forward to sharing more about my Emerging Leaders experience through RUSA Voices, and I would be happy to entertain questions about the program or our project. You can reach me at Beth.Boatright@ipfw.edu. You might also look for me at an upcoming conference – I hope to continue serving RUSA as an “emerged” leader for many years to come.

Beth Boatright