Library Journal/ Temple University: #futurelib11
Last Friday I participated in a panel discussion during the LJ/Temple Academic Library Symposium in Philadelphia. I really enjoyed the smaller, more intimate setting of this one day conference. The organizers did a great job of inviting a wide variety of front lines, new, and more experienced librarians and administrators to reflect on some really tough issues within the field.
I took some notes during Kristin Antelman’s keynote address on bridging culture gaps. Antelman is the Associate Director for the Digital Library at North Carolina State University and I found her talk to be inspiring and a good framework for the rest of the event:
- Gap: Everybody vs IT – communication style, constrained resources, decision making process
- Gap: Everybody vs administration
- What preconceptions do we bring? Agendas & past experience. Organizational myths with meaning attached
- Where is the real power/influence within the organization? Doesn’t necessarily align with positional power
- Information & trust = keys to bridging the gaps
- Scary gap: Library as a symbol – there is a common understanding of the purpose of libraries but also stereotypes relating to librarians as “guides” through information overload. We “can’t build on sand”
- Scary gap: Library as brand – google “library” = books
- Organizational culture – competing values framework by Cameron & Quinn, adhocracy (new term for me)
- New leaders want to move from hierarchy to autocracy, that’s the biggest gap
- Organizational life is not static, could be cyclical
- Do we have a strong or weak organizational culture?
- Assess gaps and set goals. Be in perpetual beta, ask forgiveness, choose “either/or” not “both/and”
- Can there be a shared vision if there is not a shared understanding?
- Some projects never leave the gate because people want assurance up front that it will be a success (how do we change this expectation?)
- Consensus model is unwieldy, inclusiveness hinders progress
- People who aren’t contributing - how do we deal with this?
- Affinity group or team based approach instead of committees - opt into a project
To read recaps/reviews by other presenters and attendees, check out the following blog posts
- Academic Library Summit: Bridging the Gaps, by Courtney Young, Head Librarian and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus
- Getting Past Misunderstanding, by Andy Burkhardt, Emerging Technologies Librarian at Champlain College
- the future of academic libraries, by Shannon Marie Robinson, Access Services Librarian at the Philadelphia University of the Arts
or search for the Twitter hashtag #futurelib11.
What are your thoughts on bridging the different gaps we have within academic libraries? What gaps are we missing in these conversations – beyond generational, IT, diversity, experience, leadership, administration, change-agents/resistors, status, cultural, etc?
Erin Dorney is the Outreach Librarian at Millersville University of Pennsylvania and outgoing Treasurer of the PaLA College & Research Division. She can be found on Twitter at libscenester and blogging at www.libraryscenester.wordpress.com.