by Kyle Naff, Wisconsin Chapter, Business & Finance Division
I’ve never been one to put much thought into themes. I understand the point of them, uniting presumably unrelated concepts into one cohesive statement or catchphrase. Yet, sometimes they just seem to stretch a little bit too much. The same could be said about our association’s themes. As an academic librarian, I have often thought that all of the corporate jargon employed in the Alignment Project didn’t apply to my situation, and I know that I wasn’t alone.
However, this year has been different, as President Romaine has directly challenged all of us to take our profession into the next stage of its evolutionary process. As I listened to her remarks on ‘Future Ready’ at the Leadership Summit, she described the past role of the information professional, as curator, guarding the materials in the physical space. This has obviously given way to the information explosion that has occurred, like a fire hydrant being emptied into the street for the masses. The role of the information professional, regardless of setting, is to stand in front of the fire hydrant to ‘save’ the rest from the brunt of the information overload.
That’s when I had the light bulb moment – our role as ‘future ready’ academics is something that we’ve been doing for quite a while: information literacy. Our job of arming students, the future leaders of our society, with the searching and evaluation tools, allows them take on the fire hydrants of information that they’ll encounter in their own careers. [Of course, one would hope that they will know about the information professionals in their organization should they need that safety net.]
Being ‘future ready’ to me means isn’t actually about me. It’s ensuring that I instill the value of credibility, reliability and critical thinking in my students. I would hope that other academic librarians would agree.
Kyle Naff is the Business Reference & Instruction Librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has been involved with SLA since Day 4 of library school and is currently President of the Wisconsin Chapter and Webmaster of the Business & Finance Division. He can be reached at email@example.com.