Thursday, December 06, 2007

Are You Ready For Library 3.0?

Are you ready for Library 2.0? We might just be too late because Library 3.0 is just around the corner according to some observers. How can libraries learn from the other service industries, how will librarians keep up with subject specific skills (evidence-based medicine, law, problem-based learning? Are librarian skills out of alignment with these trends? As Saw and Todd point out in Library 3.0: Where Are Our Skills, the future of academic libraries will be a digital one, where the successful librarian will be flexible, adaptable, and multi-skilled in order to survive in an environment of constant and rapid change. Drivers for change will require this new generation of librarians to navigate not only new technologies as well as understanding their users’ behaviour, but ultimately themselves (Generation X and Y’s). So what are some attributes of Librarian 3.0?

(1) Institutionalization – Creating the right culture. Flexible hours and attractive salaries, without micromanagement while encouraging working in teams and individual praise and recognition for their accomplishment. The key to retaining these employees is the quality of relationships they have with their managers - Gen X and Y's see their work demand a better balance in their work and personal lives.

(2) Innovation – Doing things differently – Innovative services will mean taking-the-service to the clients. An example would be “Librarian With a Latte” program from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

(3) Imagination – Changing the rules. Collaboration with a wide range of information providers, where rethinking of the catalogue means it is no longer relevant in its current form – the catalogue should be a “one-stop shop” for searching resources, providing access beyond local collections, and to different types of resources in a seamless way

(4) Ideation – A Culture that encourages ideas – In creating the appropriate working environment, it is necessary to be also supported by professional associations.

(5) Inspiration – Doing things differently – As competition increases for the future workforce, ongoing professional development as opposed to formal training in a library school is necessary. Already free web-based instruction similar to the popular Five Weeks to a Social Library are already popping up.

So what does this all mean? It might sound like an eye-rolling cliche: information professionals of the future will have to be prepared for lifelong learning. This is a challenge for many professionals, who argue that their plates are already full to the brim. What to do? The authors leave us with a daunting reference from Charles Darwin:

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am really excited for this Libray 3.0 to surface out in the information world..,,this could probably raise the calibre of information and service given to our library customers.,,

nice article.,,