by Adrianne J. Washburn, Texas Chapter, Engineering Division
The Web 2.0 landscape has quickly changed the library’s role as the source for accessing information. With the arrival of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bit.ly, Blogger, Wolframalpha, StumbleUpon, Digg, Twurl, Flickr, Del.ici.ous, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, Rollyo, Skype…you might be asking where do libraries ﬁt in?
The library is a cultural icon – this is known. What is not known is how the library will weather in the world changing around it.
Icons (think Madonna!) are not afraid of change. If anything, they embrace change; they seek it out and use it in unexpected ways. While libraries have managed change for years, the rate of change libraries experienced was slow but consistent until the 1980s-1990s. Since the onset of the digital age, the rate of change has exponentially increased.
Libraries tend to mirror the command-and-control organizations they support, controlling the access and organization of information. However, many command-and-control businesses and organizations are realizing there is more risk in clinging to “business as usual.” Businesses are realizing change and adaptation is a must for survival, but moving from a structured and controlled type of organization to a collaborative organization is scary and probably seems risky. What if we lose authority control? What if this collaboration buzz doesn’t work? What if technology fails?
Unfortunately, libraries are losing control and library closures are occurring more frequently. Perhaps what we need is a better understanding of how to balance a command-and-control culture with a collaborative culture. We are more connected now than ever before and yet we are also more isolated. Creating a balanced culture will empower a sense of community that has seemingly been lost.
What are you doing in your library, knowledge center, information organization or research facility to impact the culture of your organization and the future of our profession? Collaboration is about connecting people, sharing information, and using tools to connect and share. What unexpected methods are we using to collaborate and connect people? How are you shaping your organization to be future ready? Let’s hear your comments!
Rosen, E. (2009). The culture of collaboration: Maximizing time, talent and tools to create value in the global economy. San Francisco: Red Ape Publishing.
Adrianne is a Project Manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and she is the SLA Aerospace Section Chair for 2011.