by Ulla de Stricker, Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect
- seeking employment outside the traditional domains;
- strategies for gaining professional visibility; and
- means of navigating the politics and inevitable challenges encountered in any workplace.
Posted on March 1, 2011.
by Ulla de Stricker, Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect
Posted on February 27, 2011.
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.
Posted on February 25, 2011.
by Jane Kirby, Oregon Chapter, Government Information Division
A few weeks ago, a library customer hailed me in the parking lot as I returned from lunch. “Hi Jane, I have a DVD to return. I’ll stop by the library when you open at 1:00.” I glanced at my watch: 12:50. “No need wait,” I said. “I’ll take it now so you can be on your way. I know you have a manager’s meeting this afternoon.” I smiled as I walked into my building. “Working in a special library is like being a librarian in a small town,” I thought. “You represent the library wherever you go and you always know what’s going on.”
We special librarians are in a position to know our customers very well. After all, we have a long-term clientele made up of co-workers and business associates. This close-knit relationship offers a unique opportunity to anticipate and respond to our customers’ information needs. If we simply tap into the grapevine, we’ll quickly learn how we can help.
Is the government affairs manager convening a task force and looking for volunteers? Step up and join the team. Who better than a librarian to provide research and analysis for a high-visibility project?
Does one of the engineers have a reputation for being demanding and difficult to please? Win her over with the current awareness service and you might find your library’s best advocate.
Or, how about the young data analyst who is overwhelmed with a major project, not to mention a new baby at home? Save him some time by delivering information to his cubicle. It only takes a minute.
Reach out. Listen. Be flexible. The Future Ready special library melds high touch with high technology.
Posted on February 16, 2011.
by Judy Anderson, Oregon Chapter, Academic Division
What keeps you coming to SLA? Is it because you are making things happen that benefit you and those you know? Is it meeting new people and making contacts? Supporting a strong volunteer campaign and program can bring that enthusiasm and interest to others, too. One of the saddest comments is, “I would like to get involved but don’t know how.” Or even sadder, “I said I’d like to be volunteer but no one got back to me.” Making getting involved easier may spark new life into our Chapters. Volunteers bring fresh ideas and positive energy that can’t be beat.
A few thoughts to keep in mind when working with volunteers:
Like many of you, Oregon added a volunteer coordinator position to our Board. Not only does it provide a volunteer opportunity, but it’s helping us reach our members to let them know how they can take a more active role in the organization and is keeping track of their areas of interest so we can match projects with volunteers. After all, we’re all volunteers, so think about why you’re enjoying our association and work to bring that life and joy to others in the membership and beyond.
Judy Anderson is the current Past-President of SLA’s Oregon Chapter. She is the Head of Reference & Instruction at Concordia University-Portland, Oregon.
Posted on February 15, 2011.
by Jason Kramer, Executive Director, New York State Higher Education Initiative
Here we are in the information age and librarians – information professionals – everywhere seem glum. Shrinking budgets and changing technology are frightening and worse, but if librarians do not take a more active role in defining the future someone else will do it. The result for the librarian and the library could be disastrous.
The firmament has been shaken and we are in the midst of the third great revolution in information. In the first the great Library at Alexandria sparked a revolution in collecting information. In the second, Gutenberg’s press changed forever the way information is disseminated. Now, in our digital age, information is being collected, disseminated, and created like never before. Amidst this eruption in information the librarian should be more important than ever.
If this opportunity were not enough to motivate you to be “future ready,” consider the challenges. The rise of the internet has many questioning the relevance of libraries and widespread fiscal and budget problems threaten the funding of even the most beloved library.
Ready or not, the future is here. The choice before you is to affect the change all around you, or merely absorb it.
One way forward is to wield a none-too-subtle mace. Through Marketing, Advocacy, Collaboration, and Experimentation, you can mold the future.
Marketing the library involves educating everyone about the role and importance of libraries. With a clear consistent message it is possible to capture attention and minds.
Advocating for the library is a task that falls to each of us. The decision-makers and stakeholders of our libraries must be persistently lobbied. They must be brought to understand that libraries are not a money-eating building, but a dynamic tool that can solve greater problems. Information is the raw material of the information age, with libraries the vital infrastructure for progress.
Collaboration is a habit that must be extended beyond the usual partners. Think of non-traditional collaborations. Business, entrepreneurs, researchers, health practitioners, mechanics, programmers and nearly everyone else relies on information to succeed in their jobs. Work together and they will become your best advocates.
Finally it falls to us to experiment. Pursue your goal, but always try new approaches, different angles, and creative collaborations. No one has ever succeeded in anything grand on the first effort. Keep at it.
Now is the moment to build the library of tomorrow. The future is ready for you, are you ready for the future?
Jason Kramer is the Executive Director of the New York State Higher Education Initiative, a non-profit organization advocating for the interests of the public and private academic and research libraries of the state. He has held various public affairs and communications positions and served as a guest lecturer at several colleges and universities in New York.
Posted on February 14, 2011.
by Berika Williams, PR Chair 2011, IT Division/Web Services Librarian, UH-Victoria
I love this profession and I’m completely fulfilled in the work that I do. As information professionals, we adapt to emerging technologies surrounding the access to information we provide. As a result this poses fresh opportunities to organize, manage, represent, and access it.
I believe that being Future Ready is about knowing where your values lie and having goals, dreams, and pursuits that support them. I value the work that I do, time spent with family, friends, colleagues, giving back to the community, and being open to new skill sets and technologies. I am learning to say “no” to commitments, things, and even people that pull me away from my vision.
I am Future Ready at my job and beyond the office by being under the mentorship of those more experienced and absorbing as much training, knowledge, professional development (and interpersonal) skills to be truly successful as a newbie librarian. The greatest part is that this development is continuous and built on life-long learning.
We are service oriented, but we also enhance the goals and missions of organizations by providing consultation in being more efficient in information management. Many of us sit on the brink of technological developments and create new tools and systems that meet a variety of information needs. The versatility of our knowledge base provides immense value. This is why I love this profession.
Berika Williams is the web services librarian at the Victoria College/ University of Houston-Victoria Library. She is currently the PR chair for the Information Technology Division of SLA.
Posted on February 10, 2011.
by Kevin Carroll, Kevin Carroll Katalyst LLC
Think back to your childhood and to the years dominated by playtime, when there were endless hours to fill and the only agenda was to be captivated in the moment, to have fun. But playtime was also productive time, even if as kids we did not realize it. What we thought was entertaining was also instructive. Activities we called tea party, show-and-tell, kick-ball, finger-painting, hide-and-seek, daydreaming, and tag were also exercises in planning, strategy, design, decision-making, creativity, risk-taking, conflict resolution and teamwork.
In play we did not avoid obstacles, we looked for them by voluntarily challenging ourselves. We eagerly tackled insurmountable odds—height, speed, lack of money—to make our desires reality. Using imagination, we climbed Mt. Everest, competed in the Super Bowl, conquered the world or made a house out of a cardboard box. We voluntarily tested ourselves and accepted failure as part of the play. We ran, stumbled, and got up to run again. When we lost a game we simply started a new one. When something did not pan out as intended, we tapped into our seemingly endless supply of cleverness, resourcefulness and/or our creative agility to prototype or experiment with new solutions until we were satisfied. When faced with an enemy or new challenge—be it a competing team, a broken toy, or our friend playing a cop to our robber, an ogre to our princess—we figured out how to win, remedy the malfunction, or flee the imagined danger.
Far from frivolous time, our childhood play was constructive because it strengthened our resolve as well as our skills. Play gave us courage and instilled confidence. No doubt about it, the many forms of play—board games, sports, pretending, arts-and-crafts, writing, exploring, building—required us to invent, analyze, innovate, socialize, plan, communicate and problem solve. Play was serious business in our youth and play should continue to be serious business in our adult life.
Lifelong Play + Creative Confidence = Future Ready!
Kevin Carroll is the founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst/LLC and the author of three highly successful books: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?! and The Red Rubber Ball at Work. As an author, speaker and agent for social change (a.k.a. the Katalyst), it is Kevin’s “job” to inspire businesses, organizations and individuals – from CEOs and employees of Fortune 500 companies to schoolchildren – to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential and sustain more meaningful business and personal growth.
Posted on February 9, 2011.
by Sharon Morris, ALA, Colorado State Library
Thinking about the future is an odd thing. How do we imagine something that has not yet been? The best thing to do is to open our minds up to new ways of thinking. Below are some strategies to try.
–If you have remarks or would like to contribute your own strategies for being future-minded, please add them to the comments below.–
Posted on February 4, 2011.
by Dan Trefethen, SLA Treasurer
As the SLA Treasurer, to me “Future Ready” means financial stability. In my presentation last week at the Leadership Summit, I emphasized the importance of the annual conference, both to our coffers and to the vigor of the association.
To be Future Ready you have to engage with your colleagues, and the conference is the best place to do it. You can help yourself, your colleagues, and your association by committing to attend the conference this June in Philadelphia.
Early registrants help us generate excitement among the vendors who will be exhibiting there. A wide range of exhibitors helps to make a vibrant and worthwhile conference.
Here’s how to do your part: Register ASAP (meaning TODAY if possible) to show the exhibitors how valuable the conference will be for them. Also, if you are talking to the vendors you deal with, tell them that you’ll be attending the conference, will look for them there, and (especially helpful!) that you can bring a colleague by the booth to introduce them.
If you have colleagues who are in the market for a service or product, this is a very useful courtesy you can do, both for your colleague and for the vendor. Personal referrals are important business connections. Providing your colleague an opportunity for face to face vendor discussion and product demonstration at the conference is a great thing for you to do. And let the vendor know so that he or she will be ready to greet you there.
Members and vendors are partners in delivering great information services to our customers. Thanks for helping to make it happen.
Dan Trefethen is a long-time member of SLA and has held numerous positions including Treasurer of the Nominating committee, and President of the Pacific Northwest Chapter. He now serves as the Treasurer for SLA.
Posted on January 26, 2011.
by Christy Confetti Higgins, Rocky Mountain Chapter, IT & KM Divisions
Connecting and integrating is a critical piece in being future ready within your organization and in the delivery and management of your information services.
The term “connect” can relate to so many areas of the work that information professionals do.
Especially today, with the robust tools available to us to connect with our customers and create conversations around information services, it’s even more critical to leverage these tools within our organizations to stay relevant to the organization.
Tools such as blogs, wikis, microblogs, virtual worlds, instant messaging, and community tools all provide natural ways for us to embed ourselves into existing communities, create our own communities and networks, and connect ourselves and our services to the organization. Here are a few examples of connecting and integrating by leveraging technology and social networking tools in the enterprise.
These are a few of the ways which have enabled us to more quickly and effectively impact our organization by providing them with information services that are highly connected to the business.
The efforts have resulted in new key relationships and partnerships with stakeholders and users. In addition, it has provided another way for current users of information services to connect with us and others users, and to stay informed.
So, Just Connect and grow your information presence in your organization, start meaningful conversations, integrate, and create additional value add to the business!
Christy Confetti Higgins is Cybrarian, Virtual Information Services (VIS) at Oracle Corp. She is a long-time member of SLA, and currently serves as the Bulletin Editor for the Rocky Mountain Chapter, and is a member of the Virtual Worlds Advisory Council.