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Library Journal/ Temple University: #futurelib11

November 17, 2011

LJ/Temple posterLJ/Temple registrationLJ/Temple room

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” notboth/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

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

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