Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CILDC & LARC Wrap-up: Innovation, Implementation & Change

Protest in front of the White HouseIn  seven day period in April, I moderated a track the Computers in Libraries Conference and then spoke at the biennial conference for the Library Association of Rockland County (NY) (LARC).  I also was in the same hotel as President Obama, who was attending the White House Correspondents Dinner at the Washington Hilton, and I visited the grounds around Lafayette Square and the extended White House complex.  I was very busy and here is what I learned.

In a sample size of 80-100, most librarians did not consider themselves innovative.   This was shocking.  We have been talking for years that libraries and their staff need to be innovative, and you would think that talk would have turned to changed attitudes and actions.  However, it could be that we've talked a good game, but haven't changed how we act. 

National Gallery of Art Sculpture GardenWe need to implement what we learn.  Those tools and techniques that we're learning in our libraries, at conferences, and during professional development event are things that we need to use.  If you have someone attending training session, you can help them implement what they learned by asking them what they learned, and asking then to teach others.

How we work is changing.  I learned this during a conversation and it shouldn't have been surprising, but it was.  Our younger colleagues are used to working in very different conditions than we are. They work in noisy cafes, open spaces, and informal offices.  That office environment, that we think is important, isn't important to them.  This impacts the space that we create for our new, young colleagues, as well as the work space that we create for our community members.  If you're creating work spaces for your community, I encourage you to talk to that community about what their needs really are. You might be surprised.

We need to challenge ourselves to be the best presenters possible.  Every conference has someone who needs more practice in giving presentations. If you're presenting at a local, national or international conference (or some other type of event), practice out loud and, if possible, in front of others. You don't have to do it perfectly when you practice, but you do have to hear yourself say the words and give the presentation as a first - and important step - for getting better. trivia...We don't know what "The White House" is.  Our news media mentions the White House every day, but is it a building, a group of buildings, an organizational structure, or...?  Walking around Lafayette Square and passed the White House and Executive Office Buildings, you come to recognize that how we describe concepts like "the White House" is inadequate.  If we're defining that badly, how are we doing on other concepts and ideas?