The Transparent Library: Reasons for Optimism

MS: I just concluded a section of my favorite class to teach: LIS768 Library 2.0 and Social Networking Technologies. Centered around the concept of participatory service, the class encourages students to experiment, play, and think critically about improving services in a changing world. I close the session with some counsel to students as they head out into the job market.

  1. Make Issues Opportunities. Look at any of the issues impacting libraries right now, for example, the economy, new converged devices, and digital streaming and downloads. Then look at what innovative thinkers have done regarding such issues. Learn to be such change agents.
  2. Never Stop Learning. By graduation, our students should have learned, through successes and stumbles, how to address a problem and find solutions via evidence and their own thinking. When one student expressed her excitement at mastering Facebook, I commented, “Now you can take on anything.” The master’s degree is just that, not an end point for librarians’ learning.
  3. Be Curious. Marketing guru Seth Godin suggests, “To be curious means to explore first.” New grads should emphasize this trait and even add it to their résumés, saying something like, “I’m curious about how libraries and librarians can help change the world, one library user at a time.”
  4. Focus on the Heart. No matter where they find work, new grads should remember they’re human-focused. Consultant and blogger Karen Schneider reminds us that “the User is the Sun.” If we help people achieve the best they can—satisfying information needs, providing entertainment, enabling social connections—we’re reaching the heart.

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