Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Perception


On Saturday Penelope Trunk  (@penelopetrunk) tweeted the following:
 "Why are we quiet in libraries? Collaborative learning is loud. And if you read everywhere you go, you're used to reading in loud places." 

And I thought, are we really still having this conversation? She isn't a librarian, but that is how she sees libraries. And she usually thinks outside the box! So where does that leave us? Will we be allowed to transform? Libraries are changing in so many ways, but will public perception of libraries ever change? If not, the consequences are serious: more and more budget cuts, and the potential end of our institution.

So many institutions and professions are at a point of redefinition. Publishing, retail, design, architecture, education, religious institutions, everywhere we look times are changing. A fellow Independent School Librarian posted a conversation starter about coming together as a profession on the role of libraries, and referencing Clay Shirky he states, "[r]eporters and news organizations don't seem to have consensus about how this can be achieved and neither do libraries and librarians." Not only do we need to come together, we need to be loud about it! How can we reach non-librarians?

A big difficulty is helping people outside our professions (and used to the old ways) re-think the institutions. Some institutions are trying to change, but their reputations and old public perceptions are holding them back. Let's remember to let other institutions change as we work hard to change ours.

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