Barbara Fister

I'm a librarian who works at a liberal arts college in a rural corner of Minnesota where I write blog posts, articles, grocery lists, Tweets, and sometimes fiction. Delighted to become a scholar in residence with Project Information Literacy in 2019.


Creative Commons License
The content of the Library Babel Fish blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY-4.0) License. I'm grateful to Inside Higher Ed for being so open-minded and progressive about these things. Feel free to share, reuse, and remix.

To reach this person, click here.

Most Recent Articles

December 16, 2010
The library is never more packed than during fall final exams. A few students are still approaching the reference desk with the kinds of questions we're used to, only tighter deadlines. ("I need some sources for this paper that's due in, uh ... two hours. Oh, and the teacher said they need to be scholarly.") Most of the questions we get, though, are asking for advice on how to cite something that isn't described in whatever style manual the student is required to use.
December 6, 2010
Google launched on Monday . They have a happy little video about it. It's all about choice! You can choose any book and read it anywhere on any device! Sounds pretty sweet. their e-book retail platformBut it's not quite true. Google would like us to think that they've digitized every book, that any book ever published that you may want to read can be plucked from the cloud and read anywhere.
December 2, 2010
Libraries are often in a tricky place when it comes to removing books from the collection. It makes some people think we we are so enamored of shiny new electronic toys that we have turned our backs on the traditional purpose of libraries, or that we want to devote space to trendy espresso bars and gaming rooms for adolescents who should be writing papers instead of goofing off. Sometimes we are so eager to demonstrate how hip we are, it makes some people think we hate books and the people who love them. And when we actually throw books away, those awful suspicions are confirmed.
November 22, 2010
Can you remember what life was like before the Internet? I can ... but barely. I remember sending my first e-mail, and putting the entire message in the subject line, not knowing how it worked; the person to whom I was responding kindly phoned me up to explain it to me. I remember using Gopher, burrowing down through files and folders to see what was there. I recall a friend telling me about a new development that he thought would change everything, and it did; he was describing the World Wide Web and the browser that opened the door to just about everything.
November 15, 2010
Librarians and faculty in the disciplines have different lines of sight on students who struggle to find sources and use them effectively in writing. Faculty tend to see the Alpha and the Omega: they explain the assignment, often at length, to get the students started, and then puzzle over the wreckage once they get the results. ("What? But I explained this . .
November 11, 2010
The buzz at the recent Charleston Conference (and practically every other recent conference at which academic librarians have gathered) is a combination of new formats and a new collection development philosophy, shifting from print collections with titles chosen by librarians and faculty to making thousands of e-books available and letting the purchasing choices be made by "patrons"--an old-fashioned term for library users of all stripes, a large contingent of which are undergraduates writing "research papers" that
November 1, 2010
Project Information Literacy has a new report out based on surveys of over 8,000 undergraduate students at 25 campuses, as well as some follow-up interviews. The findings are both cheering and sobering.
October 26, 2010
At the risk of e-mail overload, I still find it useful to belong to some old-fashioned discussion lists that engage different communities in discussion. Sometimes they set up intriguing resonances.
October 21, 2010
As Open Access Week comes to a close, I thought I would share some ideas that bubbled up last year in a weekly column I write for Library Journal's Academic Newswire.
October 10, 2010
I've been following the Georgia State case in which publishers sued the university over e-reserves and am trying to read the tea leaves in the federal district judge's recent ruling on the motions to dismiss filed by each side. It looks like good news for now.

Pages

Back to Top