Empowered to Seize the Golden Age

Iyanna Sims
Iyanna Sims

This Forum Update was provided by Iyanna Sims, Head of Bibliographic, Metadata, and Discovery Services, North Carolina A&T State University, F.D. Bluford Library.

We are at the beginning of a new golden age of librarianship and you have the opportunity to be a part of it, to help create it.

Bonnie Tijerina’s eloquently stated truth resonated with me weeks after the DLF Forum ended. It cannot be denied that libraries are at a pivotal juncture. This is evident in the new services libraries are now offering and new initiatives being developed. Libraries are undergoing a paradigm shift from information dissemination to playing an important role in information creation and preservation. Attending the DLF Forum as an Underrepresented Groups Fellow gave me a chance to see how others are navigating the shift and seizing this new golden age of librarianship.

The presentations and working lunch sessions gave deeper insight to the trends, challenges, and opportunities libraries face in this new era. I was inspired and encouraged by presentations on successful digital initiatives. Projects presented during the Digital Public History: Community Connections and Collaborative Teaching Initiatives were excellent examples of how libraries impact not only on campus but on the community at large. The sharing of innovative projects – Planning Atlanta, SOLOGO, Archives Alive, and crowdsourcing transcription to name a few– helped me to begin to brainstorm new criteria when prioritizing digital projects. For one, I plan to start using an “impact scale,” measuring the level of potential impact a project could have not only in the classroom but the community as well.

The interesting works discussed during Beyond the Digital Surrogate: Discovery and Analysis of Digital Collections exposed me to new ways and tools libraries are using to work with researchers in the humanities. The discussion brought to the forefront the complexities libraries face serving as a liaison between database vendors and researchers.

The working lunch sessions – From Zero to 60: Lessons Learned From Setting Up Digital Initiatives in Small to Mid-sized Academic Institutions and Future Commons: Imagining a Shared Vision of Scholarly Communication – really enhanced my Forum experience. At my current library, we are in the process of launching several scholarly communication initiatives which include increasing the use of the institutional repository and supporting e-publishing. It was good to speak at length with colleagues about building a sustainable service, gaining buy-in, and important considerations when supporting digital scholarship. I gleaned a lot from others sharing candidly about their challenges and successes.

The DLF Forum truly exceeded my expectations. Due to the generosity and commitment of DLF and ARL, I feel even more inspired and empowered to continue to make strides in the area of digital librarianship. As I stand at the “intersections of tech, civil society and academia,” I am excited about applying all that I have learned from the Forum to help shape this new golden age of librarianship.