>’Tis the Season

>Yes, to be jolly, but also to heighten that usual sense of the word “busy.” Ah, how well I know it after having spent over two decades enrolled in some form of school.

And I’ve got a bit of good news to post: I’ve been accepted into UNT’s PhD program in Higher Education! Yes, I’m back for more–but as my husband supportively points out, this degree has that helpful distinction of “terminal,” meaning that I could, conceivably, one day be done with school. (No, really.)

Why, you ask, particularly as I’ve argued in the past that most librarians don’t need PhDs, and that often it doesn’t seem to be worth the time or money invested in the degree? Well, because much as I currently love my job, I know my ambitions and my dreams, and I’d like to be able to move not only into library administration, but potentially into university-wide administration. And it seems pretty par for the course to have a PhD attached to your name in those positions.

Why in Higher Ed, instead of an Information Sciences doctorate? Well, I’m attracted to that program, it looks quite interesting–but at the end it seems to me that a Library/Info Science PhD is best if 1) you want to teach at a library school (I don’t), or 2) you are interested in a highly-focused area of library science research that you’d like to pursue (I’m not). I want to administrate, and I’m going into Higher Ed because that’s a good, practical preparation for university administration–lots of helpful courses on academic finances and of course the ever-present statistical information (which, being a documents librarian, I’m actually looking forward to). And I’m interested in researching library support for distance education–support both in terms of library services and library materials–and thus, I’ve already got a potential dissertation topic.

I embark upon that adventure in January 2008. In the meantime, our emerging technologies group at UNT is more deeply discussing options for standards in technology competencies for library employees… we’re trying to see if that’s a good road for us to take in the Libraries.

And of course there’s a desk full of stacked papers requiring my attention–Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday and it’s great to rest, but I’m mighty tired of moving some of my “to-do” items from week to week in my calendar. I’m pondering a work-fest week in the second week of December, to try to wrap up a lot of this end-of-the-year deadline stuff (and then hope to write an article or two in that “spare time” over the Christmas break).

Next week, though, it will be hard to keep up with the normal swing of work–Monday and Tuesday I’ll be in Austin for the Texas Library Association’s Transforming Texas Libraries Summit, which has a lot of potential to be interesting, and then Thursday I’ll be in Houston for a fantastic workshop on the visual presentation of data (no, it’s really not boring!!) by Edward Tufte. My father, an optics engineer, attended this presentation a few years back and said it’s about the best one-day seminar he’s ever been to, and promptly bought me one of Tufte’s books that Christmas. I’ve been fascinated with him ever since, and since my current position deals a lot with both graphics and statistics, this seemed like a good training opportunity.

Also, I’m on the Conference Program Committee for the TLA 2009 conference–we’re beginning to brainstorm sessions and speakers. If you know of anyone who would be a good speaker on graphic design and/or library marketing, please let me know. I’m particularly interested in organizing a session on that general topic, as it’s something that’s quite relevant to work I’ve been doing for UNT, and I’m sure it’s a problem for other libraries as well. Or if you have other session ideas, things you’d like to be educated on, people you’d like to hear speak–please just let me know!

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