Our deputy director asked for input from staff on being a 21st-century librarian – what skill sets are needed for the librarian of today/tomorrow/next year.
I had some thoughts, and I also poked around on some articles and posts discussing the topic. A lot of them mention “the ability to embrace change” as an important skill set.
I don’t think “embracing change” is necessarily the end result we’re looking for. Here’s why. It’s quite possible to do nothing until you are told to change, and then to embrace that change. One of those “ok, the boss says I have to blog now. I can do that.”
You could be patting yourself on the back for your mad “embracing change” skills, but are missing the point entirely. I think there are some librarians in our profession that go about change in this passive way – and to be fair, many of them are well-meaning. They’re just doing their jobs. The job changed, so they accept – even embrace – those changes as they occur.
Let me ask: Managers – is that what you meant by “embracing change?” I’m guessing the answer is “no, not quite.” It’s part-way there, but not all the way.
Here’s what I’d like to switch the “embracing change” idea to: “Being a Forward-Moving Thinker.”
To me, being a “forward-moving thinker” means that the librarian is actively pursuing and making and suggesting changes – to the boss, to the team, to the library – rather than passively waiting for those changes to happen. To me anyway, this hits on that active approach I’m thinking about. It’s a librarian DOING SOMETHING to make his or her job better, to adapt to new technology as needed (maybe even a little before it’s needed). It’s a librarian thinking strategically about their job.
From the Library Renewal blog – The debut of our first video here at Library Renewal features our first brochure/zine and also features the debut of the first song made for Library Renewal. PS-We fixed the typo! Thanks for catching it!
The song is performed by Portland band, Lackethereof and we are grateful for their support here. Thanks, Danny!
Me again – make sure to find out more about Library Renewal by visiting our website (or by following us on Facebook or Twitter), signing up for the newsletter, etc. We are gearing up to do some pretty cool things, so stay tuned for that!
Yes, that’s right. I recently participated in a conference call (for Library Renewal). Via Skype. In my car, using my iPhone.
… and yes, no texting was involved, and I used a hands-free setup, so I was as safe as anyone talking on the phone while driving …
And it worked, and I was amazed! Something that took fancy headsets, a computer, and a great Internet connection a few years ago is now easy enough that I can do it on my iPhone in my car. And a day before that, I talked to someone from Australia, to go over a webinar I’m doing soon … I’m even planning to share my slide deck via Skype.
I have to admit … stuff like that blows me away sometimes. Pandora on my iPhone would be another one of those things (streaming music on my phone – no way!) or perhaps a uStream video shared from my cell phone (live, streaming video from a cell phone that anyone in the world can watch – really? Wow!).
Maybe I’m just easily amused…
But yeah. I had a Wow moment. Are you having Wow moments these days? If so … what is it? What’s giving you a Wow moment?
Yay! It’s National Library Week! It’s the week libraries remind their patrons they should love a librarian. We make buttons. We remind people that a community thrives when they have a good library. We ask people to tell us their stories. We bake cakes.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with National Library Week. It gets press. It gets us librarians organized a bit for at least one week during the year. And it can be a lot of fun, too.
But I get a little miffed during this week. Some libraries pour a lot of money and planning and time and festivities into a week … that no one else really cares about. It’s just a made-up week sponsored by ALA. Sorta like National Health IT Week (ooh! That one’s coming up on September 12-16, 2011. Be there or be square!).
As I was writing this post, I received a canned email from Michael dowling, Director, Chapter Relations Office at ALA, that starts like this: “Thank you for supporting your state’s libraries during National Library Week, the perfect week to let your state legislators and governor know how important libraries are to you!”
Why is this week the perfect week? Why don’t we do this stuff the OTHER 51 weeks of the year?
What would happen if we very actively pushed the idea of libraries, of loving your librarian, of reminding our community that libraries thrive with a good library (and then backing up that claim with proof) ALL YEAR LONG?