Library Awesome!

library awesome!

David Lankes wrote an truly excellent post a few months back discussing the issue of some working librarians worrying that libraries are doomed, complaining, finding excuses, and saying “yeah, but…” when faced with change. He went on to talk about how librarians should somehow find ways to stop “worrying about their future, but instead go about creating it.” It was a really great post and touched on a lot of things I had been thinking about recently.

There can be a fair amount of negativity in librarianship. People worry about the future of libraries. I hear complaining about resistance to change.

These concerns are real and should be critically examined and addressed. There certainly are problems that we need to be solving and challenges that we are facing, but it is easy for all the positive, awesome stuff to get drowned out. It’s easy to get discouraged when all the messages that you are hearing are negative. But that’s not what I see, and I don’t want that to be what others always see.

I see and meet so many passionate, fun, engaged new librarians coming into the field. I hear about colleagues building libraries in Uganda. I read about library educators who are constantly coming up with creative ways to reach their students and teach them to think critically about information. I hear about libraries popping up as part of the communities at Occupy Wall Street and elsewhere. Awesomeness abounds in libraries and among librarians.

Consequently, I wanted there to be a fun way for people to regularly share and be aware of all the awesome that goes on in libraries. The things libraries and librarians do, and the things they allow their members to do are awesome. They promote literacy, inspire creativity, strengthen communities, educate citizens, and do meaningful good around the world. In that spirit, I set up a Tumblr called…

Library Awesome!

On it you can share videos, links, images, quotes, or stories of awesomeness related to libraries. They can be your own stories or ones that you come across and you feel need sharing. In a world where there can be a lot of negativity and un-awesomeness, hopefully this will be a place where you can share inspirations and be inspired by others.

Share your awesome today!



Catch And Release For Ideas

lightbulbs in a cage

image by Graham and Sheila on Flickr

We have ideas all the time. At conferences, in the shower, talking to co-workers, lying in bed, riding the bus, there is no shortage of ideas. Some are great and some are duds, but it’s necessary to capture them if we ever want to act on them. In fact, generating and capturing ideas is a key step in the innovation process as I learned in a presentation by David Dahl at the ACRL national conference. If we do not purposefully and regularly capture our ideas, it’s easy to lose them.

On a personal level, I am sure most people have preferred ways of capturing their ideas. My colleague Sarah uses nice notebooks and different colored pens to capture her idea in an analog format. I use Evernote on my two PCs, my iPad, and my Android phone to capture notes anywhere at anytime and automatically have them sync across devices. Other people might use lists or sticky notes or different digital methods to capture their ideas. There is a wide variety of ways to capture ideas and not every solution will work for every person. You need to find what works best for you.

But we also need to capture ideas on a shared staff-wide level. We have good ideas about how we can improve library resources, but if those ideas aren’t shared, they’re useless. I have a Evernote notebook titled “Work.” My colleague Sarah has her stack of notebooks with library thoughts and ideas in them. I bet if we brought some of these ideas together, we would both get excited and some of them would get implemented. There can be a lot of magic that happens when ideas collide.

Just like personal idea capture, there are a variety of ways to bring staff ideas together. David Dahl in his ACRL presentation mentioned some of the more obvious ones like wikis, intranets and even less obvious ones like innovation management software. In talking to Steven Bell at the ACRL conference, I learned about another cool way of capturing ideas as a staff. At a library staff retreat at their institution, staff members were given small notebooks. They were to use the notebooks to capture ideas about library stuff or ideas that came from observing library users. Then at some point in the future they will come together again and share their ideas. I thought this was a creative and fun way to collect ideas, and it showed that not everything has to be shared digitally. Analog can work just as well and sometimes better.

No matter how ideas are captured, they can’t just sit there. Ideas die in captivity. They need to be shared and examined and studied to be able to flourish and become an actual change in your library.

How do you capture and share ideas?