Director's Blog

Executive Director's Blog: Open Access as the Napster of Scholarly Communication


In 2021, I was asked by a nonprofit scholarly publisher of scientific journals to respond to a prompt inspired by an Inside Higher Ed article (Tepper, 2021).  The prompt asked for a comparison of the disruptions to scholarly communication from the Sci-Hub (n.d.) and Open Access (OA) initiatives (SPARC, 2022) to the disruptions of Napster to the music industry at the turn of the century.  To refresh our collective memories, Napster was a free, peer-to-peer music file sharing se

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Executive Director's Blog: Service in Times of Disruption

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world’s people, institutions and economy.  In order to limit the virus’ spread, countries have prohibited group gatherings, closed most places of business and cultural institutions like libraries, and sealed national borders.  The effect has been disorientating to all. Routines have been broken, livelihoods jeopardized, social interactions “distanced,” normal life disrupted.

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Executive Director's Blog: The Power of Our Differences

Rob's Blog: power of our differences

We frequently talk about the importance, value, and necessity of building diverse organizations.  What we don’t discuss enough is how to utilize our diversity to achieve organizational excellence.  Everyone is familiar with examples of the power of diversity at work.  How often do we refer to two individuals as complementary?  The word “complementary” presumes two things:

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Executive Director's Blog: Lessons from the Road

Rob's Blog Lessons from the Road

I’ve done a lot of travelling recently.  All over North Carolina (naturally), South Carolina, Ohio, Italy, and Malta.  I met locals from these places, as well as fellow travelers from the UK, France, Israel, Australia and Spain.  Language barriers and cultural differences sometimes led to misperceptions and misunderstandings, but these experiences reminded me of a few good practices that can improve our work lives.

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Executive Director's Blog: On Stewardship

Our Truths

Recently I began mentoring a talented librarian in the early-middle stage of her career.  During our first meeting, I began to pick up on her professional values, beliefs and perspectives.  Some of these rang with deep conviction; others were shared with less certainty; and still others sounded downright tentative, ending with the rising lilt of a question.  It occurred to me that the mix of values, beliefs and perspectives she was sharing had been accumulated from a variety of sources.  Some - those shared with conviction - were clearly personal value

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Executive Director's Blog: Advice for Working with Vendors

Advice for Working with Vendors

Although librarians and vendors have shared a symbiotic relationship for as long as libraries have existed, there seems to be an unhealthy and unnecessary level of time and energy spent tussling with and complaining about vendors.  Having worked on both sides of the library/vendor ecosystem, I wanted to try and share some perspectives learnt through experience.  What follows are some best practices for working with vendors.

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Executive Director's Blog: Discovery from the Outside In

Author’s Note:  Last week Serials Review published an article I wrote this spring about library consumer expectations, popular services in other industries, and the art of trendspotting.  The final version of that article can be found here:  If your library doesn’t subscribe to Serials Review, below is an earlier, draft version that I’m allowed to share.


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Executive Director's Blog: Guest post by Andrew Pace

Editor’s Note:  I am pleased to share the NC LIVE blog spotlight with guest blogger Andrew Pace.  Andrew and I worked together at OCLC and, during that time, I was continually impressed by Andrew’s passion, focus, and tenacity in overcoming the inevitable obstacles associated with building a complex service for a complex market.  Andrew arrived at OCLC from NCSU and, in the post below, shares some of the formative lessons learned during his stint in North Carolina.  – Rob Ross

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Executive Director's Blog: New Year’s Resolutions

Wouldn’t it be great if you could choose someone else’s New Year’s resolutions?  You could get your boss to try being nicer and more supportive, your kids to earn better grades, your dogs to stop chewing up shoes, or your internet service provider to care.  You’d have the power and they’d have to do the hard work.  Brilliant!  What if I told you that you can decide the New Year’s resolutions of one special something in your life?

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Executive Director's Blog: On Self-Doubt

In the course of my career I’ve encountered many professionals who struggle with self-doubt.  Peers, direct reports, mentees, friends in other fields.  Over time I noticed that the brighter and more talented the individual, the more that individual doubted him or herself.  Initially I simply added this to my running list of life’s ironies, but then I began to think about what made these individuals talented in the first place.  In most cases it wasn’t a manifestation of genius or “natural ability” that set them apart.  Rather, what made them talented

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Executive Director's Blog: Back to the Future

Like many of you, I participated in the NCLA conference last week.  As a first-timer, whatever expectations I brought with me stemmed from recollections of other state conferences I have attended.  At those other state conferences I remember small crowds, grim venues, lackluster, scanty-attended sessions, cliques of old friends roaming in exclusive “packs,” and a general sense that the state conference was a prelude to some other, bigger event, for which the attendees were saving their best.  In short, these weren’t my favorite conferences.

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Executive Director's Blog: Introductions

Dear NC LIVE Community,

I’m Rob Ross, the new Executive Director of NC LIVE.  I could not be happier to join an organization as impactful as NC LIVE and to serve a library community as revered as that of North Carolina.  I want to use this space to tell you a little about myself.

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