NWILL Keynote Presentation: Learning at the Speed of Libraries

I’m headed to Portland, Oregon later this week to give the keynote presentation at the Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference. I’m looking forward to meeting the conference attendees and talking about learning and leading through change.

What can libraries do to instill a lifetime of learning and relearning?

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.”

Darwin Quote

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.

Stop everything you are doing and read this report: Library Services in the Digital Age

This morning Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new report Library Services in the Digital Age. If you work in libraries this is a must read. Why? Funding for libraries is critical, and one of the keys to funding is community support. To gather community support, you need to know your community.

This report gives insight into what the American public as well as library staff have to say about libraries–what’s important, what’s not important, what needs to change, what can be improved. Filled with statistics as well as quotes from focus groups,it’s going to take me a while to read and process the 80 page report. From scanning the report though a couple of things already jumped out at me.

Libraries matter!

80% of Americans say that it is “very important” to the community for libraries to have librarians available to help people find information they need.

Libraries need to do a better job communicating their products and services to the community.

  • 22% know all or most of the services their libraries offer now
  • 46% know some of what their libraries offer
  • 31% know not much or nothing at all of what their libraries offer

I found it especially interesting to read what the public sees as a priority for libraries compared to what librarians see as a priority. The big question that remains is do those priorities align? More importantly, do the priorities of your library match the priorities of your community?

 

Stay Up-to-Date on Free Continuing Education Opportunities for the Library Profession

WebJunction announced that they will begin posting a monthly listing of free continuing education opportunities for library staff. This is a fantastic resource that you will certainly want to bookmark!

From the home page on WebJunction, click Find Training on the main menu, then click View Monthly List of Free CE Events  in the drop-open menu or click here: http://www.webjunction.org/find-training/free-events.html

Thank you WebJunction for the awesomeness you bring to the library training and education realm, and thank you to Jamie Markus, Library Development Manager for the Wyoming State Library, for aggregating this list!

ALA Learning Round Table Continuing Education Award (Deadline this Thursday)

Are you a learner?

Do you want to attend a training event between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014?

Are you keen on sharing your knowledge with other Learning Round Table members?

Apply now!

The ALA Learning Round Table will award up to $1,000 for a member to attend a professional development event and share their new learning with other round table members. This could be a conference, workshop, or other event in your town or the funds could be used for travel as well.

The deadline is January 10, 2013 to submit this application (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LearnRT )and two letters of support. Letters of support and other supplemental application materials can be emailed to smorris@coloradostatelibrary.org.

This grant, named after our much admired past-president, the late Pat Carterette, is designed to honor her passion for professional development in the field of library and information sciences.  A former staff development coordinator at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library and the first Continuing Education Coordinator for the State Library of Georgia, Pat always focused on providing outstanding educational opportunities for her colleagues to grow and develop within their career field. She believed in quality library service, leadership development, and continual learning. In honor of Pat’s spirit of learning we offer this award to the Learning Round Table membership.

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