leadership and the next generation librarian

Roundtable: Leadership and the Next Generation Librarian: Envisioning the Future

Bonnie Tijerina, Georgia Institute of Technology
Brian Matthews, Georgia Institute of Technology

These notes are sketchy… there were lots of discussion threads going on, so I only caught the ones I was focusing on. It was an interactive discussion!

Interested in integrating library with other areas on campus.
Moving beyond the reference desk.
Changes will only increase in the future: focus on flexibility.

The session used audio questions, chat answers, used white board to track ideas.

As information becomes easier to find and student gain more confidence with searching, how will this impact academic library collections?

  • Is it easy? It’s easy to find lots of information, but harder to find quality information. More need for instruction.
  • However, students think it’s easier, so they may not have patience for the information literacy training.
  • Instructors need to comment on information resources on their papers, that way students have incentive to find better information.
  • Who are we collecting for? Students? Grad students? Faculty? All the above?

As information becomes easier to find and student gain more confidence with searching, how will this impact academic library services?

  • Where are the reference questions coming?? Can we put reference staff in those places?

How are we preparing leaders for the future of the profession?

  • ALA chapter, local chapters do mentoring projects. Leadership institutes. Conferences.
  • learn from the business and the rest of the world, not just libraries
  • next generation librarians should get involved with committee work with more experienced librarians (there is more balance on committees now)
  • administrators create leadership development opportunities
  • Next gens tends to do things with wikis, podcasting, etc, while upper level management does different types of projects. Does this create a disconnect?
  • Is this (the above point) just a difference in attitude toward technology?
  • Collaboration within the library (and with colleagues at other libraries) to keep up with changes in the field. More and more important to share new skills.
  • Partnering with instructional technologist folks, instructional design folks, etc. But also useful for them to pair with us.
  • Change: ILS to be more modular (how to have a Google-like system that works), get databases to talk to each other, collaboration with other institutions.
  • Discussion of Google-ization being more of a next gen idea. And
  • Red Light Green Light, smart search, ProQuest, pointed out as examples of easier to use, yet still complex, searching.
  • Are we dumbing down undergraduate education with simplification?

Listservs, conferences, and publications have been the traditional means of communication in the profession—what is the impact of blogs, podcasts, and other technologies?

  • In some ways, they’re having more of an impact than traditional literature
  • Information overload!
  • How will this impact publications?
  • Provides a voice to new professionals that they wouldn’t have had 10 years ago.
  • Generational divide?
  • Lead to leadership skills, networking, informal (not worried about peer review)
  • Using web 2.0 tools helps us to know what our students are using.

There has been a lot of talk about the impending librarians shortage… is there really a crisis looming?

  • Yes, there is a crisis! But it’s in upper level management, not entry level positions.
  • Do we need to consider different organizational structures?
  • Maybe regional issue, rather than national
  • Will some places choose not to replace librarians?
  • Maybe the schools need to change.
  • They need to incorporate link resolvers, federated searching, etc.
  • Teach students how to do publication-quality research.

Most important skills for a future librarian

  • interpersonal/communication
  • collaboration
  • technical skills
  • competitive
  • visionary
  • adaptive
  • flexibility
  • cultural competency skills
  • educational technology
  • managerial skills
  • marketing
  • entrepreneurial spirit
  • creativity
  • Innovation: technology, structures, work flows, etc

Is the second MA degree necessary?

    Maybe programming skills instead of a second MA?
  • A MA in Ed. Tech or MBA may be better than a second subject degree
  • Maybe instead of a second MA, librarians spend a portion of time each month watching webcasts, online training sessions, compiling lit reviews, etc. to stay current. (How would this fit with tenure, though?)

Suggestions for the next generation (which really became a discussion of tenure)

  • Still far away from blogs being accepted for tenure, so important to publish in traditional ways.
  • Senior generation folks need to push for some of the newer forms, too.
  • Many folks seemed to say they appreciate peer review and tenure (which makes sense, since we’re all in the academic environment), but that alternative literature should probably be considered, too.
  • It’d be nice to include large-scale projects and collaboration should count.
  • Hybrid model allows for some of this inclusion.
  • Tenure can, at times, stifle innovation.
My name is Lauren Pressley. This is where I think out loud, document what I'm doing, and share the things that I like. I'm the Director for Learning Environments at Virginia Tech University Libraries and author of a few books. This blog focuses on libraries, education, information, & the internet. When not at work or blogging, I spend most of my time with John and our son, Leif.

3 thoughts on “leadership and the next generation librarian

  1. Thanks for doing this. We were told it was going to be a txt chat and sort of were not ready to blab on about this topic. Looks like you captured it all very well– and fast!

  2. Thanks for doing this. We were told it was going to be a txt chat and sort of were not ready to blab on about this topic. Looks like you captured it all very well– and fast!

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