Seeing I’m rather alone with these themes I don’t mind using my personal experiences to hopefully set the frame for the greater picture you’ll will canvas as we go. This time around we’ll be touching upon the soul of librarianship. We’re always claiming to be information specialists but do we really have the skills to validate this rather boisterous claim? And how do make sure these skills remain relevant to the public we serve? This of course never should be a stand alone project and we can of course rely on relevant educational outlets that we’re spawned from for this, or can we? Do our hallowed educational facilities provide us with the right skill we need in a rather fast changing reality that makes up libraries in general?
I’ve worked in what can best be described as a rather changing setting, some due to personal choices, some due to restructuring and a lot due to the changing challenges of the profession I happened to ply my trade in. One question seems to linger: How does one remain relevant and up to date on the skills needed to provide the best possible access and services for our patrons?
One could obviously rely on peer-to-peer learning at the local facilities and we sure do that. I have some of the sharpest colleagues around and they are above and beyond what one could expect, both in skills and willingness to share information. Unfortunately we seem to share information surrounding certain services and systems, what we never seem to get to is that deeper understanding of makes up the core of our trade and how we utilize it. Not throwing anyone under the buss I do have a telling story to tell.: As you may have glimpsed from previous posts innovation workshops and 3D printing and I are no strangers. So it goes for some of my dearest colleagues. So creating an information skill seminar based on retrieving, validating and using 3D print files should be a breeze?
It really turned out to be something we both shirked away from, surprisingly the problem wasn’t rooted in tackling new technology but rather in the shift of our profession we faced. For me it boiled down to the chasm between utilizing and communicating search to landing on the side of actually teaching others to improve on their skills on those topics. I’m not thinking in the ways of didactics or pedagogic, rather, and with much more forceful impact, it was a question of core skills. What really led to our reluctance was not standing in front of a class it was standing in front of a class with the skillset that we wielded. There is a quite the gap from sitting behind a screen holding the “keys” to information to empowering others to use the same systems and trains of thought that makes up the role of an information specialist. The question is :does this come with our education as a somehow innate ability, or is this something we should seek out actively? Who’s going to help us with coping with new themes and still maintaining our skills albeit wielding for the power of information.
I’m a generalist, I’m a specialist, Am I any of the above?
At the end are we still stuck thinking of what libraries are instead of exploring what libraries can?