By Steven K. Frets, Wisconsin Chapter, Knowledge Management Division
Helen Partridge’s focus group study and scholarly article Becoming “Librarian 2.0”: The Skills, Knowledge, and Attributes Required by Library and Information Science Professionals in a Web 2.0 World (and Beyond) (Library Trends – Volume 59, Numbers 1-2, Summer 2010/Fall 2010, pp. 315-335) identified 8 primary themes to becoming a Librarian 2.0: technology, communication, teamwork, user focus, business savvy, evidence-based practice, learning & education, and certain personality traits. I would argue and expect that any librarian has these in mind and demonstrates them in practice. Nothing new here – books themselves are a technology, albeit an old-fashioned type. Librarians in institutions have been collaborating with other librarians since the early 1800s. John Dewey made an emphasis on user focus in the 1920s. So what’s changed in the 21st century? How should I as a first-semester LIS graduate student adapt to be “Future Ready”? I posit three words as an answer: pace, direction, and flexibility.
The confluence of new technologies and dynamic leadership in the library community has fostered a challenging pace. So I’m thinking “Future Ready” is a paradox: I need to make change a constant. This is why I’m not narrowing my academic experience to a track. I hardily appreciate library school but have applied to go to an i-school in Austria for a semester in order to embrace the interdisciplinary aspect of this profession. My motto of “Future Readiness” is to stand straight and authoritatively as a second baseman (ie. with the knowledge and ethics of a librarian) but always look to steal for 3rd. Change gets you farther, after all. So own it.
Steven Frets is a 31 year-old first-year graduate student at the School of Library and Information Studies-University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Before graduate school, he was a translator and educator. His main interest is in corporate librarianship. He interned at the Greendale Public Library and volunteers at the Milwaukee County Historical Society and Milwaukee Central Library. He speaks three languages and hopes to learn a fourth while in Austria.