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Matthew Gunby Author Archive

Email: chosenofwyrd@gmail.com   Twitter: @MatthewGunby

Hi, I am Matthew Gunby, a master\'s student in Library and Information Science program at Syracuse University. I have taken several courses on innovative uses of public libraries. My major areas of interest are the usage of public spaces, collaborative efforts with non-profits, and non-traditional education. My only working experience in a library was as an intern in the local history collections at the Conway Public Library in New Hampshire. I have attended two library conferences, PLA 2012 and NYLA 2012, participating in an unconference at the former and making a Pecha Kucha presentation in the latter. I am currently working to create an unconference in Syracuse, and I also blog for Infospace at Syracuse University.

library of things logo

Library of Things Shapes Dialogue on Library Collections

For many years, libraries have been primarily associated with books. What might be considered an extreme case of this is the Sacramento Public Library’s recent initiative to create a Library of Things.

high tech makerspace

High Tech Makerspaces

The makerspace movement encompasses a wide berth from the basic to the high tech, and the free to the highly expensive. Determining what the library can afford, what it wants to accomplish with its makerspace, how best to utilize its resources, and whether partners can be found to support these efforts is incredibly important.

teens sharing a song

Teen Programming – Who Comes and Why

A teen may actually benefit more (both educationally and with regards to self-efficacy) by tutoring a tween in a particular subject than by being taught the information by an adult. In creating activities, however, a librarian needs to consider if opening an event up to a wider public will alienate some of the potential participants.

John Adams Collection at Boston Public Library

Thanks for Ungluing

Access to digital content is one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century, not only for libraries, but also for the public. Unlike physical content, which has material costs and must be stored at a cost, digital content can be copied without cost. Yet the marketplace for e-books greatly resembles that of physical books with copyright holders creating virtual scarcity. There are works in the public domain and also those written with Creative Commons licenses, but particularly the latter can be difficult to find. Is there a way to increase the accessibility of e-books written under a Creative Commons license, move more content into this space, and still support content creators?

A tower of used books

Weeding Collections

Recently, I was placed in charge of a weeding project of the non-fiction collection at Meredith Public Library, where I work as a library aide. This task, combined with a recent discussion at New Hampshire Library Association’s Annual Conference and a news story out of the University of New Hampshire, have gotten me to think about the importance of curating our collections. Also, it has brought on the realization that perceptions about weeding, both within libraries and in our broader communities, tend to be pretty negative.

brooklyn bridge

The Bridge Between Where We Are and Where We Could Be: The Urban Librarian’s Conference

On April 11, I had the opportunity to participate in the second annual Urban Librarians’ Conference, Next Stop Libraries, in Brooklyn, New York. This trip was thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor supported by the organizing body, Urban Librarians Unite. While my experience is not in urban librarianship, I attended for three reasons: I believe there are many issues that librarianship faces regardless of the community served, and it is interesting to see different perspectives on how libraries best face these challenges. I could see a future in an urban library, but I have not had an opportunity to come to appreciate the unique challenges that come in this arena. Finally, I have been impressed by presentations by ULU in the past and had heard great things about last year’s conference.

football field

Super Bowl Sunday @ The Library?

On January 11th 2013, the Seahawks’ fans created a man-made earthquake that registered on the Richter Scale according to an article on ESPN’s website. This was not actually the first occurrence of such crowd noise, which was captured by seismographs in a 2011 playoff game.[1] Some of Seattle’s residents caught the event live, but, according to the Seattle Times, others viewed it from an even more exclusive venue: Seattle’s Central Library.[2] This creates an interesting dichotomy of perceptions: the shushing librarian and the raucous NFL crowd.

card catalog

The Evolution of Library Collections

What is a library collection? Many would answer books. For several centuries in the United States and to a large extent today this would seem appropriate, however, I believe it is too limiting of a definition for a modern library. The definition I would posit is the resources a library owns or leases to serve the needs and aspirations of its community. If a community needs equitable access to print materials, then the book collection is still accurate, however, this definition also gives credence to lending DVDs, ebooks, CDs, and many materials that alter the traditional paradigm of a library collection.

students working at computers

Meet YA Patrons Where They Are

Young adults have a unique set of needs, motivations, and points of contact (social media and text messages may be their primary means of communication instead of older media or even emails, and this may vary significantly from community to community and even within a given community).

people using computers

New Librarians and the Civil Service Exam

As a student at Syracuse University it is natural I seek future library positions in New York state. According to the New York Library Association public librarians are public employees, and as such fall under the civil service laws.[1] I applied for a librarian certificate and when a civil service exam was issued in one of the counties, I applied to take it.


The Evolution of Open Source in the Library

Libraries and individuals use open source software everyday. If you are surfing the web, Apache is likely playing a part in your activity. Do you use Firefox or Google Chrome? Android tablets use a Linux-based operating system. Open source technologies often seem esoteric and unwieldy, and in some cases this is true, but many of their core principles align with libraries, and while they may not always be the right solution for a project, they should likely receive more attention.

registration at an event

Unconference on Spaces and Places

On February 26th, a group of library students came together with librarians and other professionals around Syracuse, New York to create the 2013 Unconference on Spaces and Places. The nature of an unconference is explained on our wiki and the associated links, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that it was a participant-driven conference. The four student organizers, including myself, were internally tasked with promoting the event, finding a venue, and determining the overarching schedule and theme of the unconference.

computer with lock and chain

Safeguarding Against Identity Theft

Identity theft and other forms of fraud have been consistently growing from the years of 2000 to 2008 according to the Congressional Research Service. In 2010, 1.7 billion dollars were paid in fraud complaints according to the FTC.[1] A recent Pew Research poll shows that eighteen to twenty-four year olds are the most vulnerable in part because of their participation in social media and their willingness to share information to a greater extent than older generations.[2]


The E-Book Dilemma

The wait and see decision by many librarians has not only placed us in an awkward situation with publishers, but it also damages our credibility with our communities. How will they translate our actions?


NYLA Conference – A Library Student’s Perspective

From November 8-10th, one of the largest groups of students from Syracuse University in recent history, approximately twenty in all, attended the annual conference for the New York Library Association. Why the high student turnout?  I would posit that as future professionals, we are highly concerned about the direction of our vocation. Librarianship is in […]