On Writing The Darien Statements
Following the “Not-Quite-Summit on the Future of Libraries” event at Darien Library, John Blyberg, Kathryn Greenhill, and I spent a day in John’s office (literally) drawing out the ideas that had sprouted there. Our intention was to spend a day writing a Thing that expressed our concern and hope for the future of libraries, regardless of library type or community served. We spent the next week in a three-person unconference, the product of which is now posted to John’s blog. It was an amazing, enriching, exhausting experience, forming interstices in our attendance at the Computers in Libraries 2009 conference.
We hope that the statements we’ve crafted on our future spark conversation to move us forward in a positive way. There is a groundswell of passion and interest that we in our profession must harness, lest we become irrelevant in a rapidly-changing world. A big thank you from the three of us to all the librarians who have been publicly writing and thinking about the future of libraries. I hope we channeled your thoughts with respect.
My own personal response to what we have written involves the concept of openness. We already embrace “open source,” “open access,” “open space technology,” the “open library“; the openness I want us to espouse is not only related to libraries and our profession but to all of us as human beings. I believe we are on the cusp of an historic, societal change that libraries can push forward, be a part of, and preserve.
Openness requires us to trust instinctively, and to be open and honest with those around us. Openness grows trust; trust grows connection; connection enables us to grow as people. Conversely, hurt and hatred sever connection; lack of connection breeds mistrust; mistrust causes us to close ourselves off from each other. If we are closed, we do not grow. For librarians to grow, and concomitantly, for our libraries to grow, we must throw the doors open: we can no longer afford to live in silos, whether it’s the silo of our individual or departmental expertise; the silos of data that comprise many library systems; the silo of a single library among institutions with similar missions; or the silo of libraries in the universe of other entities that gather and provide information.
A quick note on collaboration: John, Kathryn, and I used email, google chat, meebo, EtherPad, cameras, a whiteboard, flickr, an iPhone, iTalk, and Skype to do this. Grateful that there were so many tools to get the job done, and grateful to John and Kathryn for their hard work and friendship.
The Darien Statements on the Library and Librarians, at Blyberg.net
On Writing the Darien Statements, by Kathryn Greenhill