Do we practice what we preach?

I am still trying to figure out how to plan my work, house, and napping needs around the hours of my day. I think I am finally getting an idea of what is and is not possible in a 24 hour period for the stay-at-home Jane.

I am catching up on some much needed reading this morning and read Meredith’s post (finally) on Building 21st Century Librarians and Libraries. Meredith points out that it is not just SLIS schools that are to blame. As I have stated many times in frustration, our organizational cultures are not equipped to be flexible enough to allow for the growing need of tech skills in ALL our public services staff. Meredith says:

It’s also the way organizations are structured. So many libraries have a 1.0 org chart for a 2.0 world. They’re not structured to support public services technologies like blogs, wikis, etc. They’re not set up to allow for the sort of experimentation and agile decision-making that is required to meet the changing needs and wants of our users. So I don’t know that in an environment like that, hiring an emerging technologies librarian or a 2.0 librarian or whatever is the answer. You’re just putting a band-aid on a problem that goes to the heart of how your organization is structured and how decisions are made.

How do we make our organizations more nimble?

I think we have to start with the belief that all public services staff should have some level of tech skills. We have to stop relying on those one or two people to figure things out and then hopefully find time to teach the rest of the staff. We should all be learning and sharing with each other all the time or we should have someone on staff to train and plan for technology.

That kind of sharing is how the online tech oriented librarians learn from each other. We learn and share all the time. I certainly do not know everything and see all the cool stuff first. I am linked to a plethora of really smart people that I keep my eyes on, librarians and non-librarians. That is the only true way to “keep up.”

Not only do we need to believe that public services staff should know how to use technology, we should require it. Our users, our customers expect us to know it; we should expect it of ourselves.

This also begs the question: If an organization is unwilling to devote time and money to training its staff in technology skills are they really trying to be flexible and innovative? If an organization does not allow time for their staff to learn new skills are they really supporting continued learning?

–Jane, put your money where your mouth is