In that room were some amazing thinkers. IMLS brought together people with different points of view and different library/museum situations, including a museum startup, a 501(c)3 academic library, a tribal library, a broad range of academic and public cultural heritage institutions, library-related associations, and a few faculty. Regretfully, a one-day event did not allow us to deeply tap into the wisdom of the room.
My big take-aways, at the moment, are:
- The need to talk about libraries, archives, and museums using the word "platform." In this meeting, we talk about libraries as a digital platform. However, libraries are platforms for other things in our communities. The word "platform" is a way for us to get away from talking about specific services and thinking about a bigger picture and different impacts.
- The need for our cultural institutions to work together to build a platform, i.e.g, a shared way of thinking about an approaching our digital capability and capacity. Working together means working across institutions types and sizes. In means engaging the smaller institutions, so they are not left behind.
- Some libraries and museums are developing creating approaches and "pushing the envelope." What they are doing is not a secret, but most have not likely heard about it. We need to get what they are doing known by more. That might mean getting people to present webinars, speak at regional conferences, or write for our trade journals.
- Funding continues to be important. It is also important that funders be willing to take risks with their funds. That may mean streamlining applications so that institutions can apply for funds more easily. It could also mean providing funds to for-profit cultural heritage institutions, who need assistance to preserve what they have and make that content more widely available.
- We need to push for more open resources (e.g., software, platforms), which will help this effort.
- We need to instill our MSLIS students with the knowledge and attitude which will allow them to be a part of developing, maintaining, and pushing forward the idea of libraries as a platform. This means that students need to be able to:
- Understand and explain the bigger picture.
- Have the technical language and knowledge to be able to participate in discussions and the development of solutions. Technical knowledge does not mean that they need to be able to "do", but they do need to understand what is happening (or not) and why.
- Relate what is occurring in for-profit organizations to the needs of our cultural institutions.
- Create project plans and grant applications.
- Track impact.
- Collaborate across space and time with other organizations. These collaborations could be with non-profit and for-profit entities in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
- Act entrepreneurial by taking risks and be willing to work towards a l-o-n-g term goal.
- Be a part of the conversation, whether the conversation occurs in-person, through virtual platforms, or using asynchronous methods. Listening is a virtue as is providing your own opinion and knowledge.
If our work results that people can get to the Internet to view fake news and pop up ads, then our work is not done.Here are links to all of my #NDPthree blog posts: