PAR-TIC-I-PA-TION, or 37 pieces of Library Flair!
Short version: If I’m willing to participate in an organization that is still largely “1.0″ and populated with traditional librarians, why can’t traditional librarians* put aside their fears and perfectionism and choose to participate in social software/web 2.0 activities in their libraries?
Long version: I am a “next generation” librarian, librarian 2.0 (1.5!), “young librarian,” whatever you want to call me, and I recently made the choice to get involved in ALA. I am currently attending the annual conference and having to make hard choices about what programming to attend and what to research later. Rather than continuing to believe that it’s hard to get involved, I chose to show up and agitate–ask people how to get onto committees, talk to those around me who are already involved in the organization, not be shy about talking to presenters, giving out my card, the whole nine yards. As a closet introvert, this is kind of hard for me.
So, if I’m willing to get over myself and get out there and (sssh, don’t tell anyone) try to transform the organization from the inside, what is holding traditional librarians* back from participating in the new web, which could transform every library in the world (for FREE, I might add)? The questions that were asked at the end of the “Reinventing Reference” pre-conference session were very revealing; it was as if people *heard* what was said but didn’t *listen* to what it meant for them, their libraries and their library users.
*I use the phrase “traditional librarians” because I have no other label, and I don’t mean to disparage librarians of long experience, advocates of books (*I* am an advocate of books), meticulous folks, those who are intimidated by technology, or anyone else. If the image below describes you, I am talking about *you*:
Thanks to David Lee King for “the culture of no”; Michael Stephens for “the culture of perfect” and the lead to Death by Risk Aversion. And to the great libraryguy who loaned me his tshirt. You are all super stars and I am privileged to know you.