Tuesday, February 15, 2011

IHE, HGTV and Me

Saturday I was catching up on Friday’s Inside Higher Ed (IHE) after a wonderful time at faculty retreat on Thursday and Friday. Lots to think about for a librarian interested in sustainability. A blog post on sustainability, another on tools of the research trade, one on marketing books, and  one on why to blog for higher eduction. Each of these had some really helpful comments. I started off with the “Getting to Green” blog on sustainability and had to laugh. I am always quoting “moderation in all things,” which was a motto in our family while I was growing up—shorthand, for “no, you don’t need it and we cannot afford it.” But the blogger points out how if we would just live in moderation, we would be doing a lot toward achieving sustainability. I had just seen a bit of one of those addictive house-hunting shows on HGTV—I had walked away because I felt distressed and I was unsure why, but seeing the last two minutes when the homebuyers announce their choice, I got it. These folks were looking for a green home and tsk, tsking whenever they saw something in a home that didn’t match their idea of “green.” But in the end, they purchased a house that was huge for two people (that blog on sustainability says that US houses have grown by 50% in one generation) AND they ripped out everything and completely put in everything new. Can it really be green to take out perfectly good cabinets, floors, lighting, and put in all new. I totally get energy saving appliances and stuff, but at some point, having to have everything new is not moderation.   

In “Library Babel Fish,” Barbara Fister discusses teaching research tools to students who are going on for further study. I am particularly fond of encouraging use of open source applications like Zotero or Mendeley—resources our students can continue to use after they leave CTU. Sustainability is habit forming—you start thinking of each process, task, everything you do in the context of sustainability, large or small. Our wonderful retreat facilitator, Margaret Carney, president of St. Bonaventure, was discussing how to achieve sustainability in universities and seminaries, something many of us are worried about these days—LARGE. I am worried about how to achieve sustainability of my documents! I just cannot seem to manage two computers and and iPhone and have the exact revision I want at the moment. Aha, Dropbox! (I was reminded of this app in the blog on research tools.)—TINY (except to me!)  There are lots of in-between things we can do to achieve sustainability of all sorts!

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