How values guide our understanding of trends and transition

Center for the Future of Libraries | Library Trends | Core Library Values

future-web

For many futurists and trend spotters, “futuring” is fundamentally about the study of change.

“We can learn a great deal about what may happen in the future by looking systematically at what is actually happening now,” wrote Edward Cornish, one of the founders of the World Future Society.

We study change so we can prepare for the many futures that might happen. We start seeing what’s coming next. We study so that we won’t be surprised. And we study so that we’ll be better prepared to start creating the future.

That’s good news for library and information professionals. We are expert in finding, organizing, processing, and prioritizing information. From wherever we are in our organizations, we all have opportunities to observe changes in our communities and consider the implications over the long term.

But observation is simply not enough. One of the biggest lessons my colleagues and I have learned while developing the Center for the Future of Libraries is that studying change is useless without considering values. We need to look at trends and changes with consideration of our own professional values (confidentiality and privacy, diversity, equitable access, intellectual freedom and expression, preservation) and the values that we seek to provide to our communities (a civic commons, democracy, discovery, education and literacy, public discourse).  And so, looking at changes, we need to ask ourselves what they might mean for intellectual freedom, for education, for equitable access, or for any of the other values that drive our work. Read more….

Stand, Fight, Resist

 

December 16, 2016

 

The idea that libraries are neutral spaces has been well and disabused over the last few years. From the services we offer to the collections that we curate, the decisions that libraries and librarians make are political ones that reflect values. Sometimes those are the values of the organization, sometimes the values of the individuals, and sometimes they are the values of the communities that the library serves. Those values are illustrated by our technologies, our ontologies, and our descriptors. Those who attempt to hold that “neutrality” of information access is an ideal for which to strive have had a hard time holding to that stance as increasing numbers of librarians question and deconstruct our profession. I would like to suggest something even stronger…that even if it were possible for libraries to be neutral spaces, that to create such a space would be morally questionable, and potentially actively morally wrong.

I say this as someone who firmly believes in the maxim of combating bad speech with more speech. I am not here advocating controls or restrictions on speech. But it is not the responsibility of every library to collect and distribute literature of hate, or falsehoods, or lies. Some libraries do need to collect everything, the good and the bad, for archival and historical study purposes, but those libraries are fairly obviously identified in practice and the vast majority of libraries should and could take a stand with their actions, programs, policies, and collections to be on the side of justice and scientific fact.

Neutrality favors the powerful, and further marginalizes the marginalized. In the face of the current political climate, with the use of opinions as bludgeons and disinformation as the weapon of choice for manipulation and intellectual coercion, it is up to those who value fact and believe in the care of those in need to stand up and positively affirm that to do otherwise is evil.

I say this as someone who firmly believes in the maxim of combating bad speech with more speech. I am not here advocating controls or restrictions on speech. But it is not the responsibility of every library to collect and distribute literature of hate, or falsehoods, or lies. Some libraries do need to collect everything, the good and the bad, for archival and historical study purposes, but those libraries are fairly obviously identified in practice and the vast majority of libraries should and could take a stand with their actions, programs, policies, and collections to be on the side of justice and scientific fact.

Neutrality favors the powerful, and further marginalizes the marginalized. In the face of the current political climate, with the use of opinions as bludgeons and disinformation as the weapon of choice for manipulation and intellectual coercion, it is up to those who value fact and believe in the care of those in need to stand up and positively affirm that to do otherwise is evil. Read article

 

Best LL&F Advice of 2016

dumpsterfire-2016-t-shirt-black-midnight-swatch-400x400This past year has sucked. The world is less melodic (Bowie, Prince, Cohen, etc.) and safe now more than ever. There is no better time to step up and be a leader. Below is a list of some of the best LL&F posts of 2016. If you are new to our blog, consider this a sampler of the great advice from library leaders all over the world. My hope is you find some wisdom and direction too help kick ass in 2017.

9 Ways to Become an Even Awesome Library Leader in 2016

You’re a Librarian 24 Hours a Day: Interview with Heather Lowe of Dallas Public Library

Don’t Overthink It: How Librarians Can Conquer Perfectionism with Mindfulness

4 Ways to See Your Library from a Patron’s Perspective

Advice on Being a Good Library Boss

Why We Talk Crap About Patrons

Fix Your Library’s Internal Communication in 20 Minutes with Standup Meetings

Lead From Where You Are

Introverts and Extroverts: Interpersonal Dynamics in a Library Workplace

Write Your Own Story

Do you you advice or a story to share about your leadership journey? Maybe 2017 is the year you contiribute to LL&F! Please email librarylostfound@gmail.com if you want to write for the blog. Read on LL&F Blog

Career Transitions for Librarians : 5 Questions with Ray Pun and Davis Erin Anderson [INALJ]

by Naomi House, MLIS

career-transitions-for-librarians-inalj

In this post, I interviewed the co-editors of Career Transitions for Librarians and asked them 5 questions about the book!

 

  1. Tell us about yourselves and your new book, Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library !

Ray Pun: Thanks for inviting us to speak about our new book! We are excited to be sharing what we think would be helpful to INALJ readers!

So I’m the first year student success librarian in Fresno State in California. I thought about this project in 2014 when I was writing a blog post for ACRL on career transitions. At that time I made a move from NYPL to NYU Shanghai and I thought this was an interesting transition; many colleagues asked how I did it and I tried outlining it in the blog with some tips. I started speaking to more and more library professionals and seeing how many used to work in corporate, public, school and academic libraries and I thought this would be a great story to tell. There has not been much literature about career transitions in our field and it’s time there should be one!

 

Davis: I work for a wonderful non-profit that’s a hub for librarians, archivists, and museums where we focus on the nexus all kinds of different library types. Read more…

 

The progressive librarian: 10 ways to be more forward-thinking

by Sarah Tanksalvala

For librarians, being more progressive means embracing new ways of approaching their job and the role of the library in a university. Progressive librarians are working to revitalize libraries by making them more than simply places that store information. Part museum, part lab, progressive libraries are exploring and defining their services based on people’s needs.

“Librarians find themselves in the midst of trying to reinvent themselves and what they do,” says Sebastien Marion, virtual services librarian at New York Institute of Technology. “The challenge is how to go from book-storage places to collection places to places that engage with skills.”

Progressive librarianship has a number of defining components. Progressive librarians support reading culture, in an academic environment in which many are pushing for all-digital libraries. Progressive librarians support personal learning, and see the library as a place where personal learning and lifelong exploration can take center stage.

Here are 10 tips for librarians looking for ways to become more progressive.

 

1. Focus on the human component: Libraries might be seen as places to go work quietly, but progressive librarians look for ways to make libraries more human-centric. Read more…

From Both Sides Now Mentoring the next generation of librarians

farkas-meredith-col2016

For most librarians, their first year working in a library is the biggest learning experience of their career. I remember coming into my first library job so clueless about, well, everything and feeling a year later like a completely different person: a professional. But that time in between was filled with cringeworthy mistakes and a whole lot of anxiety.

At the same time, I felt like I had unlimited stores of passion, energy, and ideas that year. My colleagues took me seriously even though I was green, and some of those rookie ideas became services the library still offers, like chat reference. I frequently hear about new-to-the-profession librarians who are treated by their colleagues as if they need to “pay their dues” before they
and their ideas can be given consideration. I can’t imagine how quickly my passion for my work would have waned had my ideas been met with cynicism and dismissiveness.

This attitude is not only harmful to a new librarian’s morale, it also prevents the library from taking advantage of an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on what it does. There is a golden period when someone new to the library can see everything that might be strange, confusing, or problematic. In time, we all become accustomed to our surroundings, and those problems become the barely visible flotsam and jetsam of our everyday work. We should make the most of that magical newcomer vision. I always make a point of asking new colleagues to keep track of problems they see because those fresh insights can push us out of our comfort zones and create positive change for our patrons. We want to encourage these audacious ideas, even if they’re not all feasible. Read more…

 

Top Five Skills Required For Librarians Today & Tomorrow

istock_000025341238xsmall-300x152

Because today’s librarians must be experts in dealing with both physical and digital information, we have identified the Top 5 skills every librarian must have, or develop, in order to succeed now and into the future. I will touch on all five today and explore them individually in the weeks to come.

1. Information Curation

Since the primary role of any type of library is information curation, the need for that skill set will never go away. However it will evolve as volume and variety of information expands. As content creation becomes available to all, information curation becomes a more critical skill. Librarians are becoming increasingly vital in the process of evaluating and editing what is most valuable, as well as categorizing and classifying it for easy retrieval and use.

2. In-Depth, High Value Research

The digital information environment operates mostly on a ‘Find It Yourself’ paradigm, a model that has threatened the very existence of librarians. Yet finding what they need and want can be a significant challenge for consumers and users of information. Most people lack good research skills and all of us are dealing with a velocity and volume of information that is difficult to manage. As the proverbial haystack gets bigger, finding the needle gets tougher, making librarians a valuable go-to resource. Read more…