Side Note: A Diversion into Libraryland
I recently completed a survey of a certain group of librarians in which I was asked to indicate whether a number of things – technologies, collaboration, justifying our existence, insert-other-libraryland-areas-of-interest – would be more or less important in the future. The follow-up survey let me know exactly where I differed from the mean in my estimation of the importance of those things, asked me if I’d like to adjust my answer to be closer to or identical to the mean, and, if not, to explain myself. I get that the surveyors wanted to know what the deal was with the outliers, but it was just kind of funny to me – justify your difference of opinion!
The thing is, my difference from the mean was mostly where I ranked things as being equally important in the future as they are now, and the mean was “much/more important.” Because I think those things are all critical things now. And they were critical things 10 years ago. And they’ll be critical things 10 years from now, just in different ways that maybe we can’t quite predict at the moment. I think there is a tendency to just assign “will be more important!” to everything, and to fail to distinguish the difference between “this will be Even More important” and “this will be important In New and Unexpected Ways.” And I wonder if, every time we say “technology and collaboration and leadership are going to be So Much More Important in TEH FUTURE,” if we don’t leave people with a curious mistrust of what the heck we’re valuing now.
As a side note to this side note, I’ve mentioned the current lack of internet and cable at home, and our primary entertainment has been DVDs (from the public library), board games, and classical music courtesy of NPR for the last week or so. In addition to which, I’ve been writing things down. In pen. On paper. With my hand. One of which is a little commentary on librarian value panic and e-resources, which I may eventually type up and post here for lack of a better outlet. Or maybe just submit it to the LSW zine. 😉 [which, as a side note to the side note to the side note, voting in the coloring contest is open.]