Tour of Qualcomm library and UC San Diego library #sla2013

On the last day, I got to go on this tour to two libraries — one corporate and one university — and I’m glad I did. I first heard about Qualcomm’s library at Internet Librarian in November 2010, and I’ve been wanting to see it ever since.

Our first stop at Qualcomm was a tour of the in-house museum, led by Mark Better. It’s inside the security gate, so you need to have an appointment with a staff member to show you around. To hear Qualcomm tell it, they invented or had a big role in:

  • Truck tracking
  • Cellphones
  • The idea of the smartphone
  • Digital cameras
  • The insides of the Kindle
  • E-mail client software (Eudora)
  • Emergency phone systems (post-Katrina)
  • OnStar technology
  • Smart electric meter

Their future projects include:

  • Kid tracker, pet tracker
  • Something like the tricorder from “Star Trek” that could diagnose your health wirelessly
  • “Augmented reality” for 3D games and education
  • Displays that work in full sun
  • Wireless charging for phones and electric cars

Qualcomm Library

The Library serves c. 20,000 employees in San Diego and around the world. (I think they said they had 14 staff.) Our tour was led by Britt Mueller and Bee Bornheimer.

The collection is 70% electronic, but there are still some books that they can only get in hardcopy. When they buy e-books, they don’t use any of the wholesalers, but go directly to the publishers. They try to negotiate the right to own them in perpetuity and to load them behind their own firewall, with no simultaneous usage requirements and no DRM restrictions.

They make training videos to show staff how to do common research tasks.

They collect market research reports and demand that vendors supply metadata.

They don’t necessarily collect internal reports. Qualcomm “encourages some chaos” and lets different departments maintain their own data. The library, though, partners with IT in order to be able to find this information through searching the many repositories on the network.

The library has lots of seating areas to encourage staff to come in and use it. Low shelves in the front allow for a better view and more light.

They are open 24 hours a day and have self-checkout. Things go missing, but they come back.

They have a collaborative space that allows multiple computers to be attached to one monitor during meetings. (Steelcase/Mediascape)

The librarians have glass-walled offices to encourage users to ask questions.

UC San Diego library

It’s the Geisel Library, because Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and his wife Audrey gave the money for it. There’s a statue of Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat in front. They have Dr. Seuss’ papers in special collections.

They ran out of room about 20 years after opening and expanded underground.

Interesting collection: North Korean films (somebody has to collect them, right?)

The Judaic Studies program sponsored an exhibit on Israeli author and visiting scholar Amos Oz.

GIS lab.

Interesting things on display:

  • 1/4-size model of lunar landing module
  • Origami by engineering students
  • A poster on research into gnostic fields
  • Junkyard derby car
  • Human-powered submarine

Compact shelving.

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