Joy Banks, Florida & Caribbean Chapter, Museums, Arts & Humanities and Solo Librarians Divisions
I recently started working as a solo librarian in a collection closed to just about everyone. As I have been thinking about being future ready, I find myself overwhelmed. My supervisor doesn’t own a cell phone, I only own a stupid phone (that’s the opposite of a smart phone, right?), and the audience I serve is not real big on technology. So how do I move all of us into this future?
Answer: baby steps. I start by maximizing our online presence. Since we are so small, I am seeking collaborative opportunities outside my institution to push our collection out to as many places as possible, shepherding my users back to the library. I want to meet my users where they are, slowly drawing them into digitization (they like paper), email (they like phone calls), and social media (social what?). If I take a huge leap into the future, ignoring the fact that they may need to take quite a few more steps to reach where I am now, I will lose them and the value that my collection can hold.
Being future ready cannot possibly mean the same thing to all people. Or perhaps it does, but we will each reach this future in our own way. No one process will be adequate to meet the needs of every institution. As a profession, we also need to recognize that the digital divide does not just impact our audience; it also influences the way that institutions are able to implement “future ready” ideas. I want to lead my users into the future on a path they (and I) can follow and take their hands when it seems they may be losing their way.
Joy Banks is the Librarian at the Anton Brees Carillon Library at Bok Tower Gardens and arguably has one of the best office views in central Florida. She is enjoying her new adventures in the world of music libraries after serving just over four years as the cataloger in an academic institution. She earned her MSLS from Clarion University of Pennsylvania where she was an active member of the SLA student chapter. Currently, she is serving as the President-Elect and First Five Years Ambassador for the SLA Florida & Caribbean Chapter.