Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat, had a fantastic op-ed in the New York Times this week that says we need more than intelligence to survive in the 21st century and its economy. In the old days,” Friedman said, “it was assumed that your educational foundation would last your whole lifetime. That is no longer true.” Friedmans goes on to create some new acronyms declaring that we need “P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient).”
I can’t help but think the roles libraries play in these arenas. We’re all about passion, curiosity, and learning. We show it in the storytime we stay up all night preparing for. We show it in the conference presentation we spend weeks preparing for. We show it in the privacy rights we fight for. While these skills come natural some, how do we help instill these skills in our patrons? Our patrons who might be unemployed? Our patrons struggling to find new careers? Our patrons going back to school for the first time in twenty years?
Likewise, how do we help instill passion and curiosity in coworkers who might be hesitant to learn new technologies or new service models?
Friedmans writes in closing that P.Q. and C.Q. are essential to:
…leverage all the newdigital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.
When you think about the pace of change in our world you can see that Friedman is spot on. We can’t go to school for x number of years and say, “That’s it, I’m done.”
The world we live in requires constant learning and as libraries we are poised to become the center of lifelong learning in the community. Many of us have already discovered that learning = play + passion. Is it time to pass this message on to our communities? What can we do to teach the people in our communities not only the skills they need to find a job but the skills they need to develop a passion for lifelong learning…to play…to learn? There is no such thing as the 20 or 30 year job anymore–not even in libraries. We must all be prepared to prepare and adapt to the exponential change that technology and global communication brings.
If you want to see more, take a look at my slide deck on 21st century learning.