Archive for the 'sustainability' Category

fire it up with a radio show

tomorrow I do a radio segment on this show: Fire it Up (updated link) with CJ. It’s on a local talk station in the northeast, but also picked up by an subscription service called transformation radio. neat! i am looking forward to my first radio interview. we’re doing two segments, each under 15 minutes.

first, we’ll be talking about the values, principles, and roles of the public library.
second, we’ll be talking about transformations currently taking place in libraries, and the future of libraries in a digital age.

in my comments, I’ll be briefly noting what libraries have meant to me personally, and sharing stories of the impacts that libraries have had communities around the globe. I’ll share stories from Bangladesh, Africa, Denmark, and here in the U.S. I also plan to point to recent research (impact study and technology and public library study) that indicates the status and impacts of technology in libraries; if i get the chance, I’ll talk about the role of librarians in this incredibly complex ecosystem.

if it’s any good (cross your fingers for me around 1PM pacific time tomorrow), I’ll post it here.

my co-guest tomorrow is the guy who started world-reader, a philanthropic enterprise that brings digital books to areas, like Bangladesh, that may not otherwise have access to them. it’s a paradox, right, that American citizens are now barred from public access to some digital content in this country because they are not available via U.S. libraries? It’s a striking inequity, and I hope I get the chance to bring this up as well.

building the global library field

I spent the last several days in a room with the strategic advisor network of the global libraries program at the gates foundation. It’s exhilarating to have the time and the space to sit with the collective intelligence of a dozen or so library professionals who are managing global library associations, building the most innovative public libraries in the world, advancing scholarship and practice, developing local economies with the public libraries they lead or support. Exhilarating, honestly, feels like it doesn’t do any of this justice.

By the end of our time together, the group came up with three priority suggestions for the team on where to invest resources in order to “build the global library field” (in my own words):

- human capital and leadership networks

- measuring impact and communicating value

- shared solutions and infrastructure

Implicit in all of these was the notion of “articulating a vision for the future of libraries” and a strong emphasis on “community engagement” and “partnerships” in doing so.

I left the meeting with a renewed, and still profound, sense that this team is the best positioned organization in the world to advance the field globally. They’ll do it with their continued deep engagement with stakeholders (our group is just one small way they engage inside the field) and their commitment to working with others to get the job(s) done. I also felt extremely grateful for my time there. I am so lucky to know every individual in this group; and am changed myself by my interactions with them whenever we have the chance to meet and exchange. I also left the meeting feeling that there should be concerted, coordinated effort to articulate the future of libraries - in context with how content and learning is changing. It certainly wasn’t missed in the discussion, but I would have traded “human capital” investments for more focus there.

It’s hard to prioritize, and really, working in any of these critical areas will do much to energize the institutional change we need now. If you were personally tasked with “building the global library field” - and you had significant resources to apply to this challenge - what would you do?