I took time away from the lovely Boston sunshine (no I didn’t deny all of it, just some) to take in “Education and Media: Creative Advice from the Media Experts”. Me being a media fellow and all. But the audience question that stood out for me was “what will librarians be doing in 20 years?” Since we’re empowering librarians, faculty, students, researchers and patrons to “dig their own” social media holes, (and no I didn’t say graves!), and finding their own research easier, faster, more conveniently—-what will be the tasks left for Librarians? Excellent question, that the audience seemed to nod heads over.
I had a conversation with a colleague who stated that publicity and social media will take over the realm. It won’t simply be enough to have the keys to the kingdom, the kingdom (of knowledge) has turned into a timeshare. As a Communications Specialist, when I started doing social media I felt, perhaps this was more a perception on my part, that I was involved in some fun little educational “gimmick”. Something that certainly had a worthwhile place but wasn’t on par with the established intelligensia. Something without gravitas. I received one-too-many “oh, you’re doing social media” with a snarky helping of “but that’s not a real job” looks. However, over time, I now believe that Libraries MUST have social media not only for their own external use, but also for their internal “well being”. Translation: We need to show what we’re doing. While we can certainly be relied upon to find books and resources and do all those traditional Library jobs, in terms of ROI and all that bottom-line mojo that currently (and for the foreseeable future) holds EVERYONE’S feet to the proverbial accountability fire: we need to “put ourselves out there.” We need to show the larger marketplace that we’re part of that spanking, newfangled THANG Libraries now define themselves as being. Libraries have already done the heavy lifting, now we need to show The Video of us doing that lifting, in heavy rotation.
The presentations in “Education and Media” clearly reveal that, yes—the classroom is flipped, students and faculty are getting aggressively agile and armed with blogs, hashtags and community learning techniques. So where will that leave Librarians? I’m certainly not ringing the chimes for the demise of Librarians. No sirree. But we’re all in the midst of a game-changer. Is all I’m saying. This can’t be that original, I’m sure smarter minds than me have said it. I’ve heard over and over that Libraries do a bad job publicizing what they do. I believe the expression is “humble to a fault”. It’s time for a new expression. Is all I’m saying.
Loved my first MLA Confab. There was much to do and see. Strolling around this morning I took in the Marathon Memorials, and was just STRUCK by it all. I can’t find the words for that. Certainly none that haven’t already been said before. But it was beyond humbling.
Also great to see my old boss, the one who hired me ages ago to work the Circulation Desk, Beth Layton—she’s now at Northeast Ohio Medical University. We shared some old times.
Thanks for listening everyone. Have safe trips back. I want to thank the illustrious Kate Flewelling for bringing me onboard.