2

Bridging the Gaps – Library Journal/Temple U. Symposium

covered bridge

Image CC on Flickr by Gregg Obst

Next month Library Journal and Temple University are going to be hosting an event called The Future of the Academic Library Symposium: Bridging the Gaps, and I am a panelist during one of the morning sessions. This is the second year that LJ has held this symposium and it seems like a great event. Not only are there a lot of great folks on the panels who I really respect and love hearing speak (like Erin DorneyAmanda Etches-JohnsonJenica RogersAaron Schmidt, and Courtney Young), but it’s also FREE. If you are in and around the Northeast area you should definitely try to make it. Did I mention it’s FREE?

As for the segment that I am in, it is focused on people and is about strengthening the culture in the library. Here’s the brief description:

“Why can’t my colleagues tolerate change?” Don’t these new librarians realize how we do things here?” “How come the deadwood always rejects my great ideas?” “Technology? That’s the new librarian’s job.” Our academic libraries can become fraught with misunderstanding and stereotypes about our colleagues, and when the gaps grow wide they lead to organizational dysfunction. To build better libraries we must confront these gaps. Doing so requires that we engage in authentic conversation focused on creating a better understanding of each other. Once we learn to appreciate our differences, and how our organizations thrive from the mix of skills we bring to it, we an begin to bridge the culture gap.

I am really excited about my co-panelists and the topic that we’re discussing. This summer I volunteered to participate in a 25 hour intensive program about intercultural understanding at Champlain College. We had amazing discussions, watched videos, read articles, debated one another, and gave presentations. Ultimately I think many of us came to a better understanding of our own lenses through which we see the world as well as the lenses of others. After the experience I feel a lot more empowered to have conversations about different cultures and how we can go about bridging the gaps.

I’m looking forward to 11/11/11 in Philadelphia. Hopefully I see you there!

Andy Burkhardt