And from on high Library Mountain came down these rules that shall be followed by those charged with carrying out the most noble of professions, Librarianship.
#1 Thou shalt be proactive not reactive.
Jason Griffey gave a presentation today about future trends in libraries, charging us to think about what’s coming next, not just what’s here. He brought up the interesting point that it can be hard for our patrons to ask for what they want because they’re not aware of what we can do. Basically the old Henry Ford adage of “If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.” Seek out new technologies, new methods, new products even if you can’t fully adopt them. We should be a step in front of our patrons where ever they are.
#2 Thou shalt not ignore the world outside of libraries.
How can you discover new things coming down the path? Read Wired or other tech magazines, follow blogs on User Experience design or hell any kind of thoughtful design. Griffey brought up that our patrons’ experiences in other environments become the expectation universally even in libraries. If Amazon is quick, cheap and easy, libraries should be as well. We should look at our competitors and take their successful models and adapt them with things we do well.
#3 Thou shalt not covet other libraries.
It’s easy to look at other libraries and become jealous and depressed. They have shiny new toys that walk, talk and more! They have amazing community support. They have money growing on trees. As lame as it sound each library IS a unique and special snowflake. We need to assess, with quantitative data. the needs of our communities and work from there and not a place of pouting jealousy.
#4 Thou shalt not get mad at techno-challanged coworkers.
Frustration at coworkers slow or out right resistant to implementing new technology is a common emotion. I struggle the most with this. Constant training that have direct impacts on people’s work flow along with recognizing everyday teachable moments help calm the anxiety on both sides.
#5 Thou shalt not ban.
#6 Thou shalt value our patrons above all else.
Yes, they do in fact pay your salary. While that does not give them a right to mistreat and harass it does mean all goals and assessments must come back to the ultimate question, will it help the patron? Will they benefit or see an improvement? Are we making our jobs easier or their lives better? Answer carefully because we need patrons to be our partners and not enemies to be kept at bay.
#7 Thou shalt not let the technology win.
You are at all times technology’s master and liege. It must bend to your will and desires. It is your tool, not the other way around. If not might as well lay down now and wait for robots and AI to evolve enough to overpower us and take over the earth. Laugh all you want but just know when it all goes to hell, I told you so.