by Pamela Wall
OK, already! I get it. I really do.
In order to be Future Ready, you have to be actively getting ready. You (and when I say you, I really mean me) can not be on the sidelines anymore believing that the skills gathered and gleaned to prepare the library and the library professional for the twenty-first century and centuries to come should be put on a shelf somewhere awaiting some perfect time.
According to a blog post I read recently, the future is now. Waiting for some mystical, magical, and mysterious time is not the wisest course of action and continuing to wait while not putting any of my hard-earned professional skills to use is tantamount to malpractice. Malpractice was the theme of another post. I just want to let you (this time, I really mean you) know that I’ve been inspired by someone else’s original thoughts. The rest that follows really is mine. With this post, I am not trying to revolutionize anyone. I am only trying to revolutionize myself. Keeping that in mind, this is what I resolve to do.
I will work hard to organize my library. I inherited the library at the engineering firm for which I work from another co-worker. You may be saying “OK. Big deal!” To those of you who uttered that thought, allow me to tell you that the co-worker who organized the library was not a librarian. I am not sure that she has ever worked in one. I am sure that she’s been to one because she worked for months to get the collection in order. She used what skills she had to generate call numbers for each of the books. She got the library together without the assistance of any library professional and for that, I commend her. She subsequently left the company, and the library became my responsibility. I had absolutely no idea how to manage it. I knew that the call number system of Book1, Book2, etc. was no longer appropriate especially since materials were coming into the library that belonged between Book1 and Book2. One thing I did was to enroll my pretty self in an accredited Library Science program. I have also begun to broker discussions with a real librarian, and she helped me to select a real, viable system for organization. With other relationships I will develop and the techniques I will learn, I will analyze what is done to manage collections and use those methods to manage my own.
The engineering firm for which I work has four engineers in our office. You may be thinking “Four engineers? Big deal!” To you I say that they are some of the best I’ve ever worked with, and in our town, my little firm has an excellent reputation. I can certainly say that they’ve been able to keep this sister in soft shoes for the past nine-plus years. They are not walking around the office saying, “Well, when we get 15 P.E.’s on staff, then we’ll really be awesome.” They are not waiting for that. The standard of care for engineers states that they will exhibit quality workmanship for all projects on which they work. The standard of care does not say that they have to have a labor force of a certain size to produce quality. This principle works for one as well as it works for 1,000. As the engineers in my office are doing, I will most emphatically do. I am the only librarian (well, not a real librarian. I don’t have my degree yet) on staff, but I will not wait for an increase in the company’s labor force or the library’s collection before I can exhibit the quality of my profession. I will do these things and more so that my library and I are Future Ready. My co-laborers in the information field, this is my standard of care…my resolution.
Pamela Wall is a student in the MLS program at the North Carolina Central University.