New England Libraries Team Up to Become Carpentries Members

Developing the New England Software Carpentry Library Consortium and a Community of Practice

By Joshua Dull, Thea Atwood, Andrew Creamer, Julie Goldman, Kristin Lee, Lora Leligdon, Sara Oelker, Chris Erdmann

How can libraries get involved and become Carpentries members? The New England libraries had an innovative approach to this question: work as a team. The New England Software Carpentry Library Consortium, or NESCLiC for short, brought together library staff from seven academic libraries: Yale, Harvard, Tufts, Dartmouth, UMass Amherst, Brown, and Mt. Holyoke.

NESCLiC shares the costs and benefits that go along with Gold Tier membership, but the Consortium also allows staff from the different areas of academic librarianship and technology, including the digital humanities, statistics, high performance computing, sciences, engineering, medical libraries, and data services, to work together on Carpentries initiatives in their libraries.

Instructor training workshop at Brown

What was their motivation?

NESCLiC library staff initially discussed developing advanced training for their staff on new technologies, data services, and computer programming in-house, but after attending a Library Carpentry workshop held at MIT in May, 2017, they realized they could take advantage of Carpentries lessons and its network of instructors instead. Developing these materials themselves would have taken months of dedicated work, with the additional challenge of contributors being spread out across New England.

Following the MIT Library Carpentry workshop, their goal was to create a network of Carpentries instructors in New England, to share instruction, and ultimately, to develop new lesson material. Sharing the membership between the seven libraries allowed NESCLiC members to pilot the Carpentries approach together, rather than separately, and to lower the costs for each institution.

Library Carpentry workshop at Yale

What has NESCLiC been doing since?

Members of the Consortium recently presented a poster at the 10th Annual University of Massachusetts and New England Area Librarian e-Science Symposium:

See The New England Software Carpentry Library Consortium: Developing a Carpentry Instructor Community of Practice

All 15 founding NESCLiC members recently completed instructor training in the Winter of 2018 and are busy setting up the following workshops over the coming months.

Moving forward, NESCLiC plans to extend their membership to other academic institutions and help onboard additional certified instructors.

Instructor training workshop at Brown