Meredith Farkas

Less Is Not More

November 1, 2017

When I was in library school 14 years ago, I didn’t hear anything about workload, emotional labor, self-care, or burnout. What I did hear a lot about was how librarians are creative, resilient, and good at doing more with less. My first job as a librarian was at a small library where we were constantly … Continue reading Less Is Not More


Meredith Farkas

Framework Freakout?

September 1, 2017

In some ways, the Framework was a major departure from ACRL’s previous Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Organized around six information literacy threshold concepts, the Framework is not an exhaustive list of threshold concepts or dispositions and practices. Instead, its developers encouraged libraries to determine their own programmatic learning outcomes based on local … Continue reading Framework Freakout?


Meredith Farkas

Beautiful Music Together

June 1, 2017

I live in Portland, Oregon, which has a thriving music scene with many artists achieving national recognition. Local music has great value to the cultural fabric of a city or town, and libraries can play an important role in collecting, supporting, and promoting it. The D.C. Public Library’s D.C. Punk Archive not only preserves artifacts and … Continue reading Beautiful Music Together


Meredith Farkas

Information Literacy Toolkits

May 1, 2017

Two recent publications envision this type of instruction as a shared responsibility of the librarian and the disciplinary instructor. The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, adopted by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in 2016, represents a significant departure from the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. It recognizes … Continue reading Information Literacy Toolkits


Meredith Farkas

Access and Resistance

March 1, 2017

When I started working at the library, we handed out time-limited computer access passes to anyone who wanted them. Users included library cardholders, people who were homeless, the residents of a local halfway house, and people who worked in the city but didn’t live there. I loved that we provided a valuable service to those … Continue reading Access and Resistance


Meredith Farkas

Never Neutral

January 3, 2017

Over the past few years, critical librarianship has become a force that pervades every area of our work, from reference to library instruction, collection development, cataloging, and storytime. Biweekly #critlib Twitter chats (crit​lib.org) address topics across all areas of librarianship. Many librarians are thinking about how they can fight for social justice in their work, which … Continue reading Never Neutral


Meredith Farkas

Worth a Thousand Words

November 1, 2016

One technique I tried was putting all of the comments into Wordle, a tool that creates word clouds showing by size the relative frequency of each word. One of the largest terms in the cloud was quiet. Our library had been focused on building and enhancing collaborative spaces, so the word cloud provided a valuable … Continue reading Worth a Thousand Words


Meredith Farkas

Accessibility Matters

September 1, 2016

I’d been aware of screen readers, which read what is on a computer screen to a visually impaired user, but this was the first time I’d actually seen one in action. While the platform we were testing was deemed accessible because it was compatible with screen readers and its videos contained closed captions, multiple design … Continue reading Accessibility Matters


Meredith Farkas

From Both Sides Now

May 31, 2016

At the same time, I felt like I had unlimited stores of passion, energy, and ideas that year. My colleagues took me seriously even though I was green, and some of those rookie ideas became services the library still offers, like chat reference. I frequently hear about new-to-the-profession librarians who are treated by their colleagues … Continue reading From Both Sides Now


Meredith Farkas

Our Digital Heritage

May 2, 2016

Libraries have always played a role in preserving local history, but that job has become more complex as the formats in which materials may be available continue to multiply. On the other hand, the technologies to digitize and post local history resources online have become cheaper and more readily available, even to small libraries. Some … Continue reading Our Digital Heritage


Meredith Farkas

A Learning Organization

March 1, 2016

There is no one working in a library who wouldn’t benefit from continuous learning. At some institutions, only those in professional positions are granted time and money for professional development. This not only creates an uncomfortable divide between colleagues, it also suggests that only professionals really need to learn on the job. This couldn’t be … Continue reading A Learning Organization


Meredith Farkas

The New Digital Divide

January 4, 2016

But ask someone to fill out a form, search a library database, or edit a term paper, and it quickly becomes clear that a phone is not a perfect replacement for all of a computer’s functions. According to a recent Pew Research Center study of smartphone use, for approximately one in five Americans, their mobile … Continue reading The New Digital Divide