Effervescent Librarian's Blog

Thinking about the user experience

As We May Evolve

Posted by effervescentlibrarian on April 4, 2013

It has been an interesting day. I got to listen to the  ARL Executive Director, Elliott Shore, talk this morning at a town hall meeting at my library. And, then I rushed off to hear the President of Rice University talk at his town meeting on campus. It was amazing–because they were talking about the same thing! Dr. Shore is very interested in getting input from member institutions about how to adapt, change, and thrive in this new world of higher education. He’s wondering if we should have a Librarian MOOC, and what training institutes ARL should offer to help librarians develop skills that are necessary.

President Leebron opened his talk by stating that he felt many of us were anxious about the changing world of higher education, but that he thought that anxiety was a good thing. I do too! I am a worrier from way back!

Dr. Shore implored our library staff to not be defensive about users not wanting to learn the way or the material that many of us want to teach. Great lesson! Instead, let’s partner with our users. Form teams.

When we are defensive, we shut down more than a few paths to communication. What if we overcome our defensiveness? What if we remained opened and focused on the real issues confronting us in librarianship? I think we are at a truly transformative place in librarianship, and if we can really partner with our users, and understand their needs through usability and ethnography, we will be in a wonderful place to succeed at a new librarianship level. And, yes, everyone is feeling anxious right now! I had written a blog post a couple of years ago over on the ACRL space; I remain grateful for those in other disciplines, specifically anthropology and the sciences, that put their brain and soul into helping find sustainable solutions to issues of usability, open access, data management, and the list goes on.

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