someone else’s blog: Information Tyrannosaur

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Clicked on, admittedly, because I just couldn’t ignore a tyrannosaurus rex with glasses on; the most recent post, though, is titled “Positive Vision and Questions in Libraries,” and that seemed right up my alley.

In the post, blogger Andy is discussing the concept of Appreciative Inquiry, “an organizational development model and a way of implementing change that focuses not on the problems or deficits of a group or organization, but instead focuses on the positive and increasing what they do well.”  Though I’ll admit I have critical tendencies, this description is one of how I would prefer to go about my life and my business, professionally and socially.

I tend towards meliorism in life: “the doctrine that the world tends to become better or may be made better by human effort.”  I think this can apply to librarianship, too: the field can be made better by effort.  “If we have a positive vision of the future we will create that future,” Andy says, describing self-fulfilling prophecies, and it’s easy to see how that can relate to the field.

He then displays a tweet of Matthew Reidsma’s: “no profession, other than maybe journalism, is more fixated on their own death than librarianship.”  This hit home, too: I don’t think that librarianship is dying, no, but that’s the central issue I’ve been dealing with when discussing the profession with, again, my parents.  “Are you sure you aren’t just going into a field that won’t have any hope of jobs?” “Schools are cutting librarians everywhere.”  Andy the blogger states that yes, “there’s a lot of hype” about the negative future.

But that’s not productive.  That becomes a different kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, the kind that spells out disaster for everyone.  “Focusing only on fixing what’s wrong with libraries is a waste of energy,” he writes; instead, the thing to do is to “[focus] on the strengths of libraries, [capitalize] on them and [innovate] in those areas.”  Information sciences are not dead.  There are new things to discover everywhere.

Andy the blogger suggests that we ask ourselves the questions “what do libraries look like when they are at their best” and “what would an ideal library look like.”  Even if we cannot achieve the ideal library, we can strive for it.

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