Future dreaming Introduction #libraryfutures

This topic is going to be a challenge to explore cohesively. I have had so many disparate ideas jumbled in my head for a while now, fizzing away & bubbling over. I am going to attempt to put some comprehension around them. Over the past week I have had several conversations that have inspired me to try and make sense of these slightly out-of-reach ideas that haven’t quite fully connected, yet.

For the remainder of this month, I am going to put on my future-looking glasses and switch on the dreaming lens. I am going to explore what I want the future to be, and what I am actively doing to influence & shape the future of libraryland.

Celebrating the #makerspace philosophy

I’ve been heartened to read widely & be inspired by the philosophies & ideas that underpin the #makerspace movement. Here’s just a selection of great stories that capture some of this:

And the most exciting part of this past month is seeing #makerspace and #libraries becoming a reality here in New Zealand!

For me, the #makerspace movement celebrates the power of the community – it allows the community to make the space into what they want it to be, how they want it to be, why they want to the space. Libraries & librarians acting as facilitators: we can tap into funding, we can open up the spaces, then we walk alongside our communities to share in the joy of creation. Our communities are the heart of all of this.

Inspired by #IdeaBox

I’ve been participating in the #hyperlibMOOC and the following clip is a guest lecture given by Monica Harris, from Oak Park Public Library.

I was so inspired by Idea Box, hearing about the engagement & participation from the community was fantastic. I am especially taken by the monthly switch-around of the space, ensuring that it doesn’t grow stale, & also giving people a sense of “must go check it out” each month.

What if … we re-purposed an empty shop space to create something our own version of Idea Box?

What if … we supported 12 groups to take ownership for creating each monthly idea Box-like space?

What if … we had a map in the library foyer over Student Orientation week?

What if … we created a digital “walk-through” version of Idea Box for our online communities?

Be open : share & invite discussion

OBe a role model. Share with others how it can be done, warts and all.

Don’t wait to be perfect. Don’t wait to be right.

Tell the world what you are up to. Give them an opportunity to collaborate with you. Invite participation. Invite discussion.

Find the space where you can share your experiences, your trials, your successes, your failures. Don’t be discouraged if your conference paper doesn’t get accepted. Don’t get mad because your journal article didn’t make the grade. There’s plenty of other ways to publish, be heard, encourage discussion. Find a place to put your voice out there in the world.

On the flip side, admit what you don’t know and be honest about what didn’t work out. There will be someone out there who will know what you don’t, and who might offer suggestions and possible solutions. Ask for help.

Stop trying to re-invent the wheel. Someone has already done it, and someone else is tinkering with a better version. Unless you are the original inventor or the current tinkerer, why not ask others for their experience & ideas?

We don’t know all the answers, but we do need to know where to find them. Isn’t that the point of librarians?

It’s likely that the answers you might be looking for lie outside the four walls of your library, and indeed outside the profession.

Stop staring at the walls. Venture out into the wilderness. You’ll be amazed at who and what you’ll find.

What if … you asked how other school & public libraries shelve & catalogue their graphic novel collections?

What if … you asked how other academic libraries create TOC alerts for faculty?

What if … you shared your experience of creating tailored subscription newsletters for local law firms?

What if … you shared your experience of creating individual reading maps for students?

Inspiration from Making a Collection Count

Making a Collection Count book cover imageMaking a Collection Count : a holistic approach to library collection management by Holly Hibner & Mary Kelly (2010) is one of the clearest & most concise books written on collection management that I have read since I became a librarian.

This book is great way to get a handle on how a collection takes shape, what issues may impact on collection development, through to practical explanations of creating policies & measuring performance. It discusses the lifecycle of a collection, outlines collection organisation, how to streamline staff workflows and how to maximise vendor liaison. While it does lean more to discussion of physical collections, most of the ideas can be applied across to digital collections.

My aha moment : Chapter 8 : Everything is connected, in which the authors illustrate “how staff impact collections in a holistic library” (p.128).

This chapter clearly explains the inter-dependent relationship that all staff (Selectors, Cataloguers, Information Librarians, Library Assistants, Shelvers) have with each other & with their collections. It stresses the importance of sharing knowledge about collections to build greater understanding of how what you do, no matter what your current role, impacts on the information lifecycle. For example, “Selection has perhaps the biggest impact on collection quality because the succes or failure of a library to satisfy its users depends on the materials it makes available” (p. 129).

I like the analogy of hopitality that the authors refer to. If you work in a commercial kitchen, you have to understand what your role is in the “whole kitchen” to ensure that the service does not become bottlenecked. Kitchen staff need to understand what others around them do, and how their role relates to other kitchen work stations.

I’d recommend this to : a wide-range of Librarians, from LIS students to new staff in Collections teams, as well as using it as discussion book for more experienced Collections staff, to ensure what they think they do actually matches what they are trying to achieve with collections.

What if … this book served as a “Staff Book Club” discussion? Everyone in the team reads it, then a facilitator could spark discussion in a Collections team to refine & reframe Collection statements to better reflect #what & #how they do/don’t collect, and #why.

What if … your Collections team shared their knowledge with all colleagues using the Collection & Information lifecycles models as a basis for discussion? From answering questions at branch team meetings, to encouraging job shadowing, and by running training sessions.