Future dreaming Part V #libraryfutures

How am I contributing to the future of the profession?

I’ve finished reading Derek Handley’s heart to start. Amongst other things, he talks about carving out dedicated time to focus on your plans-for-action in distinct chunks of time – 10, 100, 1000 days. While it is sometimes hard to justify allocating work time for action planning, as well as allowing ourselves legitimate time & space for future dreaming, ideas, planning, by not making this time & space a priority, we are not giving ourselves permission to succeed.

It’s a challenge, but I have started to make small steps towards making this 10/100/1000 planning an integral part of my work, my career, the profession & also more broadly in my life. Funnily enough, it is the 10 day action plans that I’m still struggling with the most! On reflection, it turns out that I’ve been doing 100 day planning, and 1000 day planning for much of my (young) adult life. I find it easier to focus on big plans & big chunks of time rather than the minutiae of everyday life. I prefer big broad brush strokes of a plan, an outcome and a calendar for a project plan (but without the line-by-line, time allocated structure of how to achieve it).

By starting at where I want to be (the outcome of a project), I then work backwards to identify the key steps needed along the way, and then be able to allocate rough time/dates to those key stages. I don’t have to create a perfect detailed plan. (It’s probably the reason why I am not a cataloguer, as I usually have too many grey areas in a plan, where the details will eventually be clarified rather than starting out with all the details.) I identify areas within the project for time slippage. I identify potential risks & derailments from external & internal factors. Once I am content with the overall plan, I can set to work towards my desired outcome(s).

So, to apply this concept of action plans to my aspirational goals for the library profession, I’m going to ask myself some what if … questions.

What if … I invited a small group of new graduates to be part of a team focused on getting their research projects published?

After they’ve had a 100 day (~3 month) break from their final research project, & their studies overall (because I know at the end of my studies, I didn’t want to face re-reading my final project for at least three months!), I could support them by providing access to a network of other practitioners to support them to review & rewrite their research findings for publication.

We can discuss where & how to get published – in a journal, as a poster, as a conference presentation. We can discuss what their research means for the profession, and how it might be applied more widely. While I am not an experienced published researcher, what I do have is access to a wide network of practitioners who are. Having a wide network may not yet be something that many new graduates might have access to.

For me, this is a proactive way to lead by example of how to facilitate knowledge creation in our community.

For me, this is a tangible way to create inter-generational collaborative connections within the profession.

What if … I publicly acknowledge my personal discomfort in being unable to speak te Reo Māori beyond short phrases & words, and admit to feeling culturally clumsy in applying appropriate tikanga in my library career?

For me, this a public acknowledgement that I recognise that I am out of step with the current generation of Māori library practitioners in not knowing more, and a public acknowledgement that I recognise that I will be significantly out of step with the coming generations of library users if I don’t draw a line in the sand now to put in place a plan for action to learn more & grow my understanding until it becomes second nature instead of ‘other’.

For me, this is a way to acknowledge my uncomfortableness and actively address it.

For me, this is a way that I can demonstrate to others that uncomfortableness is no longer a valid excuse not to do something about it. I can be part of the future by being part of the solution now.

For me, this is a way to acknowledge that the lens of Te Ao Māori will shape our collective professional future.

What if … I set myself a challenge of attending at least three substantial non-library professional development activities every 1000 days?

I could attend an education conference, a design conference, a web development conference, a museum conference, an archives conference. All of these are topics which we often talk about through the lens of librarianship. However in viewing them through another lens, i.e. without libraries being the primary focus, I could learn new ways to apply these key ideas & concepts to libraries.

For me, this is a distinct way to take the discussion of libraries outside of our usual profession circles.

For me, this is a concrete way to bring new ideas to the library profession.

For me, this is an identifiable way to strengthen networks across sectors.

How can I encourage others to actively contribute towards the future of the profession?


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