Ann Koopman, Philadelphia Chapter, Multiple Divisions
It’s over thirty years since I entered library school, armed with a fresh BA in the liberal arts, and hoping to go into rare books and archives. We students thought we were hot stuff, running to the computer center with our shoeboxes full of punch cards that contained PL1 code, or learning to search online services using a phone-cradle modem – skills every “modern” librarian would need!
But we weren’t so much learning specific skills as how to think about professional issues, and how to open our minds to receive and act on new ideas. For me, that’s the core of being future ready, in any decade and any place.
What are some of the characteristics that allow a person to be flexible, to flow with change and even thrive on it? What should we all be cultivating in order to shape our own futures?
- Curiosity & willingness to experiment with new ideas and technologies.
SLA is an especially good source for exposure to new trends and for opportunities to learn new skills.
- Sharing, teamwork, and collaboration.
Social animals thrive on community and inclusion; we all need the support of our colleagues, both as mentors and mentees. We also need to integrate ourselves powerfully with our clients, demonstrating our value to the team. It’s through engagement that we earn validation.
- Solid foundations and respect for the past.
Knowing who we are and what we believe in provides the confidence needed to build new models.
I love the “pick yourself” post (Dale Stanley, http://futureready365.sla.org/04/06/pick-yourself/). When we take responsibility for our own continuous learning and for acquiring the new skills needed to cope with a changing professional environment, we position ourselves to embrace and even make new opportunities. Step up to volunteer yourself for assignments or association tasks that expand your horizons.
- A sense of humor and pleasure in accomplishment.
If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss” has proven to be a pretty good mantra over the years.
Of course, participation in SLA is one key to professional growth, from CE courses to networking, to leadership development. It’s where you can find your voice to shape the conversation about issues that are important to you.
Over the years I’ve owned a paper conservation business, worked as a science & engineering librarian, become a medical librarian, morphed into a web content editor, and who knows what the future holds? It will surely be fascinating.
Ann Koopman is the JEFFLINE Editor for the Academic & Instructional Support & Resources (AISR) at Thomas Jefferson University. She is a candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-Elect for the 2012 SLA Board of Directors.