> But a lot of cracking good ideas from libraries, and the broader field of Information Science are also not making their way into development in the way that they should.

I think that this is an important point. As a community, we've learned
the value of using outside software. However we haven't learned the
value of outsiders using our software.

We are solving problems everyone has. How to organize information, how
to preserve it long-term, how to find and utilize it... These aren't
library specific problems. So why isn't the rest of the world looking
to us for solutions?

I would love for us to start seeing value in having others look to us
for answers. To do so we would have to dumb things down a bit and also
venture outside. We might have to give up on artisanal data. Doing so
could provide great gains. Forced compromise would keep our tech
honest. Plus the outside world has massive budgets and armies of

Libraries and librarians have been stewarding information for
thousands of years. We are uniquely positioned to provide guidance in
the information age. It's worrying to see the world move by without

To me, the most compelling counter-examples are Internet Archive and
public free libraries. There is so much more potential to engage with
the larger tech community.


Tom #rant4lib Hutchinson

On Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 3:01 PM, Jason Bengtson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In terms of their ability to thrive, it really depends on the person. When
> I got moved into an Emerging Technologies Librarian position, I had
> virtually no CS or sysadmin background. But I was given space to learn and
> experiment and I went out and found the knowledge I needed. I worked on
> projects of my own conception and design, and built increasingly complex
> things. When I needed more elbow room, I set it up for myself, and learned
> something about systems administration in the process. Make no mistake, I
> have no illusions about being the sharpest person around. Libraries need to
> create space, be flexible with boundaries, and embrace mixed modalities
> that stretch across the information spectrum. My Information Science
> interests and training are as much a part of my development as immersion in
> programming languages and development modalities. Too many academic
> libraries that I've worked for, or worked with, were pathologically unable
> to break out of anachronistic patterns which lead them nowhere. I agree
> with Tom about modern development not making it into libraries. But a lot
> of cracking good ideas from libraries, and the broader field of Information
> Science are also not making their way into development in the way that they
> should. If libraries want to be real academic units they need to explore
> new academic ground, at the intersection of these concepts, much more
> vigorously, and work to provide the space needed for the field and the
> discipline to evolve.
> Best regards,
> *Jason Bengtson*
> * <>*
> On Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 1:49 PM, Sarah Weissman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> As one of these rare weirdos who is a software developer with an MLS, my
>> opinion from looking at jobs in the field is that one major barrier to
>> hiring developers into librarian positions is salary. I got my MLS after
>> having worked as a developer for a while, and after I finished my degree,
>> the amount of money I could make as a developer even in a non-profit
>> library/archives setting was significantly more than I could make in an
>> entry level librarian position. (For example, Glassdoor lists average base
>> pay for a software developer as $81,994 while average base pay for a
>> systems librarian is $55,664.) So, while I would have loved to be an
>> official “librarian,” I wound up not applying for any positions with that
>> title.
>> It may be possible to find someone right out of school with a CS degree
>> and an MLS who has no work experience and is looking for an entry level
>> developer or librarian position, although I have never met anyone who took
>> this academic path. Also, this person would probably not thrive as a
>> software developer unless they were part of a larger team with more
>> experienced developers.
>> -Sarah
>> On 12/7/17, 2:02 PM, "Code for Libraries on behalf of Edward Iglesias" <
>> [log in to unmask] on behalf of [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>     Sometimes you get lucky as I did when I got two developers as
>>     interns/student workers.  If you need someone in that position I would
>> say
>>     put it in the job requirements.  There are MLS librarians with CS
>>     undergrads or developer experience.  They are just few and far between.
>>     I've also seen Systems postions that work with or supervise developer
>>     positions.  Sometimes you can get away with outsourcing the
>> development and
>>     having the internal Systems person act as a liaison/PM.
>>     Edward Iglesias
>>     On Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 6:10 AM, Samson, Bob <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>     > I have a question regarding staff development and I am hoping
>> someone can
>>     > provide some advice.  I have two vacant librarian positions in my
>> Library
>>     > Systems department.  I need to fill those vacancies with
>> software/systems
>>     > developers in order to move our initiatives forward.  We have
>> encountered
>>     > reluctance on the part of our human resources to repurpose those
>> librarian
>>     > positions into developer positions.
>>     >
>>     > Has anyone had success in posting Systems Librarian positions using
>>     > education and experience requirements consistent with software
>> developers?
>>     > We have sufficient flexibility in hiring librarians, but the skill
>> sets
>>     > differ significantly between librarians and developers.  Ideally, we
>> would
>>     > want someone with backgrounds in computer science rather than library
>>     > science, for example.  I'm curious to know if anyone has tried this
>> and
>>     > been successful.
>>     >
>>     > Bob Samson
>>     > Head of Library Systems & Technology
>>     > University of Texas at Arlington
>>     >