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Potpourri in the swamp, but it is all good!

OITP staff at Stratton Library, a branch of the Cobb County Public Library system.
OITP staff at Stratton Library, a branch of the Cobb County Public Library system.

Yes, this is a weird title — but I was involved in several activities from the last couple of weeks that I wanted to communicate. One or two of these could each merit a full post themselves. Given Midwinter and the frenetic pace of Washington at the moment, I did not get around to it, unfortunately. So, here is the anthology as of late.

First, the U.S. State Department released the Open Licensing Playbook, a tool for federal agencies and others that want to develop grant-supported open licensing projects, especially for educational purposes. The Playbook was developed by the Global Education Subcommittee (of which I was a member) of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a reception for the participants of the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program. The Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services established the NDSR program to provide hands-on experience to complement graduate education. I met participants from a broad range of institutions such as the Chicago Botanical Garden, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, and the World Bank. The participants spend a full year in residency and I was impressed with their intellectual capability and enthusiasm. I learned a lot about this leading-edge digital preservation program and had the opportunity to relay a bit about ALA’s work in Washington on behalf of the nation’s libraries.

On the topic of fellows, I spent some time at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) serving on a selection committee for one of their many fellows programs. I can’t provide details, but merely suggest it to characterize another dimension of the kinds of engagement here in Washington.

I conclude this post with a commentary on our recent visit to Cobb County Public Library system (CCPLS). You have have seen our earlier post about this visit, focusing on CCPLS’s coding and computational thinking programming. To add to that summary of their good work, I would like to acknowledge how essential these visits are for us in Washington. They help us to retain a continuing tie to the profession and ensure that our advocacy at the national level is in sync with the needs and directions of library communities across the country. Reading articles and collaborating with committee members help, but there is nothing like seeing libraries in person and talking with staff on-site.

And we saw a lot! Always instructive for me is the enormous range that a system must manage, from the central library with its array of services, to a small branch library. CCPLS has new programming that uses virtual reality technology as well as offering basic bread-and-butter services such as job search and literacy. Putting my political hat back on, I also admit that it is especially useful to know more about Georgia libraries at this point in time, as a number of prominent Georgians are headed for leading roles in the government. For example, Rep. Tom Price, who represents Cobb County, is the nominee to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

I am really grateful to both library director Helen Poyer and branch manager (and long time OITPer) Pat Ball for arranging this visit for us.

See? All good news from the swamp.

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Alan Inouye

Alan S. Inouye is the director of ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy. Previously, he was the coordinator of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee in the Executive Office of the President and a study director at the National Academy of Sciences. Alan completed his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley.

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