State of Library Pipeline: April 2016

Library Pipeline put out a call for volunteers nine months ago. We heard from 68 volunteers at institutions of all types and set up Slack channels to facilitate collaboration. Our committee members have been working productively together ever since.

Library Pipeline is a platform for projects. We have prioritized four areas in which modest funding, paired with guidance and collaboration, should lead to significant improvements within libraries. These four areas make up four of our five subcommittees: Professional Development; Strategic Problem Solving; Innovation and Startups; and Publications. Our fifth subcommittee is Governance and Sustainability for Library Pipeline itself.

By working together, we can support structural changes for libraries and librarianship by providing opportunities, funding, and services that improve the library as an institution and librarianship as a profession. If you are interested in joining us, we are still looking for volunteers. The rest of this post will give you a sense of the committees’ work, their structure, and the progress we have made. We hope you share our excitement about libraries and their capacity to improve, and we hope you will join us in our work.

Professional Development

A few initiatives, notably the American Library Association’s Emerging Leaders and Spectrum Scholars programs, increase diversity and provide development opportunities for younger librarians. Library Pipeline will contribute to these efforts by offering scholarships, fellowships, and travel assistance that enable librarians and others who are working on behalf of libraries or LIS-related organizations to participate in projects, site visits, and other opportunities that shift the trajectory of their careers and the libraries or LIS-related organizations where they work. We will emphasize participation in cross-disciplinary projects or conferences that extend LIS in new directions and contribute to increased diversity among practitioners, along with enhanced well being, especially for the traditionally underrepresented, within the populations we serve.

You can follow their work, including their progress on an environmental scan, on the Library Pipeline Professional Development Google Doc.

Professional Development Co-Chairs: Ellie Collier and April Hathcock

Ellie Collier is a co-founder and editor of In the Library with the Lead Pipe and is thrilled to see Library Pipeline finally coming to fruition. She currently works as a Discovery Service Engineer for EBSCO. You can find her on Twitter @elliehearts.

April Hathcock is Scholarly Communications Librarian for NYU. In a past life, she was a corporate litigator but now enjoys educating her campus community on ownership and rights in the research lifecycle. She is excited to be a part of Library Pipeline and can be found on Twitter @AprilHathcock.

Strategic Problem Solving

Organized, diverse groups can solve problems that appear intractable if participants have insufficient time, resources, perspective, or influence. Library Pipeline supports collaborations that last a day, following the hack or camp model, or a year or two, like task forces or working groups. These collaborations bring together librarians, LIS faculty, and others who are committed to supporting libraries or library-focused organizations (including nonprofits, vendors, publishers, and consortia that work on behalf of libraries or library organizations). Gatherings can be in-person or online, and can be as basic as brainstorming solutions to a timely, significant issue or as directed as developing solutions to a specific problem.

This group is working on compiling a toolkit on strategic problem solving and strategic partnerships in and among libraries. Additional resources and ideas are welcome.

Strategic Problem Solving Co-Chairs: Josh Finnell and Sarah Morris

Joshua Finnell is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Los Alamos National Laboratory and on the founding board of Make Santa Fe, a community makerspace opening in 2016. You can find him on Twitter @joshuafinnell.

Sarah Morris is the Co-Director of Nucleus Learning Network, an educational nonprofit that works to enhance innovative learning, with a focus on digital literacy and STEM, in Austin, Texas. Previously, Sarah was an instruction librarian at Loyola University Chicago. You can find her on Twitter @theinformaledu.

Innovation and Startups

We are inspired by incubators and accelerators and believe the library and information market, though mostly dormant, could support several dozen for-profit and nonprofit start-ups. We are committed to advising and either directly or indirectly funding library-related for-profit or nonprofit startups that have the potential to help libraries better serve their communities and constituents. We anticipate providing assistance with business plans and grant applications, as well as with networking, both in finding potential funders and partners, as well as developers, outreach specialists, technical writers, and others with domain expertise. We seek to gain insights on funding models and organizational management from successful LIS innovators, and to help disseminate those insights both to traditional organizations and startups.

You can follow this group’s work on the Library Pipeline Innovation and Startups Google Doc.

In addition, we encourage you to read its Innovation and Startups Environmental Scan. This documents authors are Joe Montibello, Robin Champieux, Lorena O’English, Rachel Frick, and Bonnie Tijerina.

Innovation and Startups Chair: Stacy Konkiel; Vice-Chair: Joe Montibello

Stacy Konkiel is the Outreach & Engagement Manager at Altmetric, a data science company that uncovers the attention that research receives online. She studies incentives systems in academia and informetrics, and has written and presented widely about altmetrics, Open Science, and library services. Previously, Stacy worked with teams at Impactstory, Indiana University, and PLOS.

Joe Montibello is the Library Systems Manager at Dartmouth College. He’s interested in the ways startup culture and entrepreneurial approaches can benefit the library community. You can find him on Twitter @firstweet.


Librarianship will be stronger when its practitioners have as much interest in documenting and serving our own field as we have in supporting the other disciplines and communities we serve. For that to happen, our professional literature must become more compelling, substantive, and easier to access. Library Pipeline will support existing open access journals, and restricted journals that wish to become open access, along with more traditional LIS publishers. We will also help promising writers and editors create new publications, publish position papers, and work with publications that are navigating the changing nature of communication. In addition, inspired by events like the Great Librarian Write-Out, we will host or promote events to encourage conversation about our field.

You can follow this group’s work on the Library Pipeline Publications Google Doc.

In addition, we encourage you to read the Library Pipeline Publications Environmental Scan, “The Future of Library Publishing (Draft).” Its authors are Marcus Banks, Lisa Gonzalez, and Stacy Konkiel.

Publications Chair: Marcus Banks

Governance and Sustainability

We are looking for co-chairs.