Some Thoughts from Minneapolis

May 23, 2011 at 10:13 am | Posted in Meetings, Professional Development | 2 Comments
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[Posted by Sally Gore, Chair, Electronic Communications Committee]

As part of my agreement for receiving professional development funds to cover my registration at MLA this year, I promised to offer a summary post on something I took away from the Annual Meeting. Even if it wasn’t required, I’d share some thoughts because I think it’s part of the collegiality of our group and professional development for me. I actually wrote a post yesterday, on my personal blog, that I want to share here as well (see below, then follow the link to my blog to read the rest). I’m not trying to cheat or anything, not trying to get out of the assignment, but I’d like to hear what others might think about what I shared (there and here). Please feel free to comment on either post.

As an electronic communications aside, there was also a very active twitter community during the meeting (#mlanet11) and a number of official bloggers shared some great posts about things they encountered throughout the meeting. You can find those on the official MLA ’11 Blog.

It was a GREAT meeting and I thank everyone who is a part of NAHSL, as we all contribute to make professional development funds available for one another.

(Sunday, 5/22/11, “blahg, blahg, blahg…”)

Give Me Some of that Real-Time Inspiration

I’m no naysayer. True, there was a time when I was known amongst friends as “the prophetess of doom”, but that was many years and countless hours of self-work over the bridge. I believe in inspiring people. I was drawn to the pulpit, literally, and even lately, after enjoying several months filled with opportunities to write and speak about the future of librarians, toyed with the idea of becoming a consultant; a professional cheerleader for our profession. Two things I really take pleasure in are (1) making people laugh and (2) making people feel good about themselves, feel as if they are and/or can be who they want to be. That said, I find myself now, a few days removed from the pep rally that was the annual meeting of the Medical Library Association, in a bit of a quandary. (Continued here…)

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  1. Thank you, Sally, for underscoring the need to face the realities that challenge us as information professionals. It is significant that you “…believe everyone has value”, however, in the ‘new normal’ (or abnormal), I question if everyone truly has value that is applicable to a profession that is in a maelstrom of significant change – at least if they are not willing to do the hard work to change themselves.

    I trust my comment is interpreted as devoid of judgment, because it is not intended to be judgmental in any way. But, there are resources and services that were once provided by our noble profession that are no longer relevant, yet some people have a difficult time giving them up and moving on. There are those among us (perhaps including myself?) that no longer add the same value that we did 3, 5, or 10 (or 20) years ago.

    You state that your reality is “more with less”. I’d like to add to that, and suggest we also think about doing “more and less” and to be very prudent about where we focus and apply our resources and energy. We each need to do more value-added, strategic, high impact work, and do less tactical, transactional work.

    Yes, there are bigger priorities with more power resting in the hands of people beyond our control. After a promotion quite a few years ago, a very wise ‘boss’ told me that I’d reached that stage in my career where I could no longer control people, and that the best I could ever hope to do is to influence those around me. I’ve always found inspiration in those words. With sound judgment, a solid knowledge base, and a commitment to succeed, I feel poised to continue to make a difference. With colleagues like you, I have no doubt that most any current reality can be overcome. It’s not always easy, but together, we will find a way.

  2. Thanks for those thoughts, Layne. I appreciate your statement, “I question if everyone truly has value that is applicable to a profession that is in a maelstrom of significant change”. It’s not judgmental, but a very hard and true fact. I’ve seen a number of friends and colleagues over the past few years lose their jobs and struggle to find work in our profession again, maybe not because they were unwilling to change or learn, but they just couldn’t under the circumstances. It’s a difficult time – a really difficult time – and that’s really all I wanted to hear, in combination with the hopeful message, from the lecturers at MLA.

    I also like your thought of “more AND less”. That was a big part of the discussion at the library publishing workshop I attended right before MLA. We talked about our (i.e. the library’s) ethos, how we always say “yes”. Oftentimes it feels as if we’re afraid to say “no”, afraid that such a reply will be taken as a knock against our value. But it’s another hard reality that we simply cannot do everything that is brought to us anymore, and we really do need to think strategically about value-added services. Absolutely.

    Great to see you in Minneapolis, even if only in passing in the hallway.


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