Daily Archives: February 9, 2011

21st Century Librarian Mindset

Last April I published the brief outline of what I called a 21st Century Mindset. It included simply the following four actions. It is one of those catchphrase things that is intended to inspire. I have it hanging close by my desk, and look at it often. When accomplished with heart, purpose, courage, imagination, determination and will, it makes a difference. It will take all of those characteristics and more for librarians to achieve their 21st Century Library.

Since these characteristics are highly important factors in enabling one to achieve becoming a 21st Century librarian, I thought I’d expand on the concepts, and provide some more context to these actions. This is in keeping with the assertion that 21st Century libraries are MORE, and since everything begins with the librarian………………

CARE MORE than others think is WISE.
A 21st Century Librarian is more caring. They care more than others think is wise about the library’s customers, and about every customer’s library experience, because they know how vital it is to instill that loyalty to customers if we expect their loyalty in return. They care more about their role within the library, and the library’s role within the community, because that is how the library will survive – through having a relevant role within the community. They care more about their professional development, and about their profession, because they know the challenges ahead are new and daunting. They care more about preserving their library than others think is wise, because it is hard to manage the future and the challenges ahead for libraries. But, just stop to imagine the alternative to not caring more.

EXPECT MORE than others think is POSSIBLE.
It has long been accepted that children will rise to the level of learning that they understand is expected of them, at least that is what educators have finally figured out. The same principal is applicable to athletes, and generally every type of performance. The same is true of librarians. We should expect more of ourselves and each other than others think is possible, because that is how we will achieve great things within our libraries. THAT is how we preserve our libraries! Do your library customers expect to be ignored when they walk in the doors, because you’re too busy with some housekeeping chore? Do your teens expect to be quieted if they get too loud, because you think libraries are quiet places? Do your colleagues expect to be inspired by you to achieve excellent performance? Do you expect more of yourself than others think is possible?

RISK MORE than others think is SAFE.
Risk is a risky business. There is recklessness on one end, and there is educated risk on the other. Some people never risk anything, because they prefer to hold on to what they think they have rather than lose it. There is a longer poem about Achievement that ends “At length some feet shall stand, On heights yet unattained. Why not thine own? Press on, achieve, achieve.” We seldom know what we can accomplish until we apply our talents with determination. History is filled with accounts of people who beat the odds against them and accomplished great things.

DREAM MORE than others think is PRACTICAL.
Every great thing began with a dream, or vision of what could be. Senator Edward Kennedy eulogized his brother Robert by saying; “As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ’Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.’” What is your dream for your 21st Century Library?

What do the actions in this Mindset mean to you?


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