Saturday, September 13, 2008

First thoughts

There are so few resources out there for librarians interested in EBL/EBLIP (whatever you'd like to call it)! I don't know if I'll keep this up but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Here's my primary goal, other than finishing my dissertation and returning to gainful employment: enabling an active discourse among multi-type librarians about the profession itself, especially about how we make decisions.

I keep quoting Pat Thibodeau, Duke University Medical Center's Library director, who made a half-joking comment that 'librarians are anarchists.' It is her sense that we focus so much on serving our communities, defining collections, policies, and activities by those whom we serve, that the mere thought of identifying best practices in many areas is anathema. I don't mean to jest about this any more than she did, though. In a profession defined by service, it is most appropriate to shape practice in response to need.

One question that occurs about this, however, is just how we do that (I know, I know - Libqual). That's a terrific advance. But what if, at your library, you recognize a need that is not adequately measured by such tools, or if you are unprepared to go beyond user satisfaction measurements - and then find you need to do so, or risk budgets?

There's another question, too. This one is rather self-evident as well. What do we say we teach patrons in any kind of library where teaching is involved (I mean, the overarching goal of it)? Isn't it information literacy... critical thinking? - (and I see you nodding). Where is our own form of literacy, does that stop at competency?

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