How can I encourage others to actively contribute towards the future of the profession?
For me, being a qualified professional means that I don’t stop contributing to the ‘tribe’ now that I have joined it. I want to grow the tribe to ensure its future. I want the tribe to change & adapt to the future. I can’t, & won’t, be able to do that alone.
As I touched on in my video assignment for #hyperlibMOOC, tribes with members who actively recruit others to the ‘tribe’ (such as followers of Amanda Palmer’s tribe or the #nerdfighters tribe led by John & Hank Green – links are over on my #hyperlibMOOC blog) are engaged, passionate and enthusiastic. That’s what I want for the profession.
Step away from your desk. Turn around and look at your work colleagues.
Is there anyone in your immediate workplace that is currently studying towards a qualification in librarianship?
What if … you made a decision to take them out for [insert beverage of choice]?
Take half an hour to ask them about their studies, about their assignment(s), about their research project, about their stumbling blocks, about their hopes & dreams for the future.
Alternatively, you could offer to take a walk around the block with them. By stepping outside of your workplace, you can change the focus from workplace to profession. It’s not a time to talk about the day-to-day routine of work, it’s a time to focus on their place in the profession.
Listen. Encourage. Support.
While it might only seem like a small thing to you, it can make an enormous difference to someone who is bravely stepping into this career choice. They need to hear that their decision to commit time & money to this career path is worthwhile, and is supported & encouraged by someone who has gone before them. You might in fact be the first person (other than their manager) who has actually acknowledged that they are studying and wants to know more about it. I guarantee you’ll learn something just from listening. You will learn to see librarianship through the eyes of the newbie again.
Focus your attention on them. Remember what it was like when you studied (whether that was 5 years ago or 25 years ago). They might have hit a stumbling block in their assignment topic, it could be anything from punctuation & grammar to specific content. Offer to walk alongside them to find the answers they need. Let them know that you actively support their commitment to become part of the profession. Encourage them to be curious about the profession. Support them to create the future of the profession. Welcome them into the tribe.
How can we collectively contribute to the future of the profession?