There’s nothing like the 39th anniversary of your library school graduation to cause you to reflect. I have many memories of a young, newly minted, newly married and very green librarian heading out into the big world. Ironically, my first task in those pre-Amazon days was to order a book—and I didn’t know how and was a solo librarian. Learning started fast in professional practice. What have I learned in the last 39 years, and is any of it useful?
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The origin of this quote is unclear, but it is often cited in the education sector during discussions about how best to motivate students and improve teaching skills. The concept is equally relevant to customer service, and therefore applies to librarians and other information professionals.
Librarians are more relevant than ever. We have no good reason to be on the defense and every reason to take the offensive. Conversation in our field is fraught with too much navel gazing and not enough looking at external evidence that many things are going well. We share too many stories about the bad stuff and too rarely share the successes. Yet we are an adaptive profession. Positive change is our tradition; let’s talk about that!
In a recent article, Knowledge Management in the Age of Social Media, author Robin Singh suggests that social media presents serious challenges to the traditional "knowledge base," and asks whether it can transform knowledge management. Please read on for some additional thoughts on social knowledge exchange as a supplement to classic KM.
One of the most popular buzzwords in library-land at the moment is ‘curation’. It’s used to describe anything from old-fashioned collection development to human filtering activities on social media like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The word ‘curator’ gets used too liberally to describe the stuff people do on the web and, in my humble option, dilutes and pollutes the professional things that librarians do.
The biggest mistake people make when selecting a KM system is to choose a platform instead of an application. The business case is dazzlingly simple—yet many organizations overlook it.
There are plenty of articles and studies on information literacy in our professional literature. However, these almost always address the issue of information literacy in public, K-12 and academic libraries, and focus on end users. But what about workplace literacy?
It may come as a surprise that knowledge management isn’t simply about paper and electronic resources. Today's KM systems also capture the information in people's heads: the tacit knowledge, that when added to explicit knowledge completes the picture. The art and science of KM involves synthesizing the two for maximum impact.
A meme in the Millennial generation is that they hate to be called Millennials. Same goes for hipsters, punks, etc. So, forgive the shorthand in this post to describe the cohort of new professionals in our field. They offer as much diversity as there always has been, and no generalization can make up for that. That said, there are some themes emerging as newer professionals comprise an ever-increasing share of our field.