It doesn’t matter.
For those who may be inclined to respond TL;DR (“Too Long, Didn’t Read”) to this blog post, here is the summary:
Economic history is full of disruptions. We are and have been in a major economic disruption since 2000. What does this mean to us and to our patrons? I believe we can play a vital role in our community, whether it’s an academic community, the public, a law firm or company. We can help people learn the tools that are most commonly used, the ones that are already pretty main stream. We can do that through offering lunch time learning opportunities, to setting individual appointments with customers to help them move to their next level of competence. We can help our customers with learning to be comfortable with technology, and its rate of change, just as we need to do that better too. You don’t need to be a master at something, just a willing teacher of whatever you’ve just learned.
Can we accurately predict the next disruptive technology? A leading economist from MIT, Simon Johnson, shared on a Washington Post discussion from 2009 about Federal Reserve policy, that “Spotting bubbles is very hard – one person says “bubble” and another says “new fundamentals are emerging.” If economists and the Federal Reserve itself cannot reliably spot a bubble or new fundamental, how are we, with our level of information access, to spot and correctly prepare for any disruptive technology? The scales are massive, by definition.
In Paul Krugman’s New York Times article, “Sympathy for the Luddites” (June 13, 2013), the pain of transition for highly skilled workers at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is well described. Expending significant effort to acquire specific skills for a trade suddenly didn’t mean a living wage. Working hard, playing by the rules, having an excellent education, none of these will guarantee a living wage, let alone a job, in the current economy. And before you say we need higher worker productivity, there is ample evidence that American workers productivity continues to climb at least according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percent increase over the last 20 years is 23%. Mr. Krugman goes on to say that more formal education is also not the answer, and many of us know this truth from personal experience. A friend of mine lost his job when the technology bubble burst in 2001. California had a retraining program that accepted him and he learned a new trade (technology related) after an 18 month program that was pretty challenging. Once he graduated he found there were no jobs in that field either. He eventually found contracted work in what he had been doing for the last 20 years, but those contracts come and go.
So, what’s the next disruptive technology? Does it matter? Teach what you’ve just learned. Share the best resources. Help those around you “level-up.” Be what you already are, an information professional. That’ll do.
School Librarian's typically are involved in many aspects of their larger institution and Jill Herald, the Librarian at St. Ursula Academy, is no exception. During our recent visit, a teacher came into the library, dressed in Elizabethan costume no less, to discuss an event planned for later in the day.
On Jill's table was a copy of Images (pictured at right), the student created magazine produced every year. This beautiful magazine features, original art, photography, poetry, short stories and other creative writing and arts productions from the student body. Students perform all of the jobs: marketing; design, layout; webpage. The Editorial Board (all students except for Jill) meets monthly for the entire school year. What better start for a young woman interested in pursuing a literary career?
InfoPeople puts on some great courses and produces terrific webinars; the latter are free. Joan Frye Williams, library futurist, is presenting on what's happening with service models around the country in the December 4th webinar, "Life After Desk: Implementing the New Service Models."
She’ll share lessons learned about how to succeed with these new techniques, including practical advice for:
- Training and redeploying staff,
- Revising job descriptions,
- Rearranging library spaces,
- Rethinking library collections,
- Introducing the new model to your community, and
- Measuring success and productivity.
Sounds great. 'See' you there.
Visit a library website and you're likely to see some mention of the digital content they have available. With increasing digital collections and more types of content--ebooks, electronic journals, music and even movies--they ought to appear on the front page. But how?
Recently at our Outreach Special Interest Group Meeting, we had a speaker talk about programs and activities a library can offer to people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. One of the first questions Suzanne Piper (Certified Senior Advisor) fielded from our experienced group was, “How do I know if the person has Alzheimer’s?”.