11 June 2009

NUMBER 1000!! Five Phrases I Hope I Never Hear in Libraries Again

This is my 1000th post! Amazing.

Five Phrases I Hope I Never Hear in Libraries Again (based on a true story)
by Michael Stephens, Tame the Web blog, 8 April 2006, http://tametheweb.com/2006/04/ten_phrases_i_hope_i_never_hea.html

1. We’ve always done it this way.

I think it’s time to red flag any utterance of that phrase in our libraries and make sure it’s not just an excuse to avoid change. It may however, be the best way to do something... so if you say it, add “and we examined other ways, and this way is still the best!”
If you are hiding behind that phrase because you’ve had enough new things or just want to keep things the same, it might be time to move on. Is it anxiety that puts up barriers?

2. He/She is a roadblock for anything to get done.
This is a tough one. It usually comes in a whisper from an exasperated librarian who can’t seem to get anything done because someone on their team or up above stops everything in its tracks to think. What did Abram say...? "When librarians study something to death, we forget that death was not the original goal."
In this climate of rapid change, we can’t take 6 months, form a committee, write agendas, meet, transcribe the minutes, make more agendas, have more meetings and on and on. The best librarians in the future will make good, rapid decisions, based on evidence, experience and a view of the big picture.

3. The IT department won’t let us.

I know there are many reasons why some things simply can’t be done in some libraries, but after many workshops, talks and receptions talking to librarians, this seems to be the number one hit on the Librarian’s Frustration Hit Parade. Thank Goodness we have folks writing about it:

4. I don’t have time for (insert new social tool here).

Ouch. Here’s where a healthy dose of evidence will help. Print some copies of the Newsweek story, The New Wisdom of the Web (http://www.newsweek.com/id/45976), any of the Pew Reports that discuss uses and their online activities and some of the wonderful real life examples we have of librarians using social tools.

5. Our director doesn’t like technology.

Attention library directors! If you don’t like technology, there may be a problem! You do not have to be a tech genius, but you need people under you who aren’t afraid of change, can innovate and will help guide your decisions. And you have to be able to talk to them. Failure to implement technological change can hurt the reputation of a library. Failure to allow your librarians, techie or otherwise, to move forward with improvements and new services in this 2.0 world, will send them running away screaming. (And they will tell their colleagues at conferences all about it! Trust me.)

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