Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rant about someone else's Rant

So we all went to see this fellow speak about leadership, or value, or something...

There's a picture of Peter Bromberg, looking all happy :-D Click it and you'll go to his website which links to his blog - Library Garden - which is located somewhere here on blogger, and which he so shamelessly plugged at the dinner (the food wasn't half bad, that said, it wasn't half good either... oh well, on to the talk)

His talk was about what librarians can do to keep their libraries needed by their communities.
He started out by giving a brief history about information and how some people failed at it because they thought they were only publishing it, disseminating it, or hording it.

I really enjoyed the part about the "Exponential Pace Of Change", and how the internet has made so much information available to so many that often, they really don't know what to do with it, much less how to make good use of it, or most importantly, find what they need.

I agree that libraries are less vessels from which knowledge is poured and more filters for those that don't have the skills, time, or want to put the effort into sorting it all themselves. Not that librarians sort through everything, though all information is sorted at least once by someone.(I think.)

He also used the metaphor of "Permanent Whitewater" to describe the changes we are all always going through with technology advancing so much faster every day. So hording knowledge doesn't work because before you know it, it may be irrelivant or divulged by someone else and made freely available on the web. In this kind of world, the role of librarians is to help direct people the right way by looking ahead at what kinds of information they will need, acting like guides as well .

He also talked about how important it is that libraries make sure they are important members of their community. That they are pleasant, useful places for patrons to come to. It is not enough to just make our services available, we must make an effort to draw patrons in, and keep them there not out of frustration but because they want to be there. He said that this is a tactic used by most peoples favorite businesses and that a library is like a business in that it is providing information management, filtering, educational and etc. services. We do not want to make the same mistakes as other businesses have by not changing. We can not be afraid of change.

This is why gaming is becoming more popular in libraries, because people want it and have responded to it. To all those libraries that say gaming has nothing to do with libraries, then please, remove all the computers, billboards, personal touches, maps, artifacts, and local lore from your facilities, and we will see how long you remain. A library is nothing without a community to serve. Remember, we are here to help them with their needs, and if you don't agree with them all the time, hey, fake it.

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