by Kendra Levine, San Francisco Bay Chapter
Librarians as a profession seem deeply worried about the future. That concern is comforting in that it’s clear we are forward thinking, but at times it also verges on the absurd. Some, in attempt to not appear complacent or unwilling to adapt, love wagging their fingers and constantly re-branding themselves (and the rest of the profession) to appear relevant. It’s a lot of posturing and I’m not convinced entirely productive, though it probably makes people feel like they’re doing something.
The meaning is lost in the message. What is at the heart of it is this: The world is changing. Change is inevitable. It didn’t start with computers and it won’t end with the semantic web. The key to being Future Ready is to be flexible and adaptable, keeping an eye on the horizon but also one on the direct road ahead. How can you set yourself to be better today and years from now? That’s what we need to focus on, as well as recognizing that there is no single solution.
One of the qualities I value in SLA is the diversity of its membership. We work for many different organizations, fulfilling several roles. Together we learn, evolve, and grow, while directly benefiting our organizations and ourselves. To keep this up, we need to limber up and have fun. Moving forward, the key to success will not lay staying on top of the lingo but re-evaluating our roles and communicating with our stakeholders to better serve them and ourselves. Nothing fancy about that.
Kendra Levine is a member of multiple divisions and caucuses within SLA. She was most recently Secretary of the Academic division. She is a Reference Librarian, at the Institute of Transportation Studies Library, part of the University of California at Berkeley.