Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Dawning of a New Age

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This morning I received an email from a colleague of mine. It was about a blog post from The Ubiquitous Librarian regarding the recent announcement by Amazon of its new Kindle books service. While I had already heard the news about Amazon (I'm a prime member--from way before the current publishing house vs. Amazon issue) via email directly from Amazon.

Truth be told, the only surprise here is the whip-quick time it took for this to happen. It was inevitable, I think, and as The Ubiquitous Librarian mentions, some of this could mean really exciting news for readers all over the world.

Beyond the initial issue of a David and Goliath mega-store book seller situation, and the what-will-this-mean-for authors (and publishers, and everyone in the book industry), my initial thoughts run, of course, to what will this mean for libraries?

This is not a new conversation by any means.  The Kindle subscription service is merely the latest in a long line of happenings that should be causing us as to take a really good, hard look at what we do and why & how we do it.

Seriously--if you AREN'T yet having these conversations, you MUST begin.  If the conversations have started, it is TIME to put those thoughts into ACTION.  The time is NOW, folks.

"The only thing that is constant is change." 

It is a new age, for sure.  One of the many, many reasons librarians simply MUST start thinking outside the box is that we are certainly no longer the only game in town when it comes to information and we haven't been for quite some time.  First Google, now Amazon, right?  And while WE know what we do is actually even more important in today's global world, do our patrons, our administrators, our communities and our lawmakers understand that?  

I believe our public librarians are doing a GREAT job of moving forward.  Even in my small little town we have an amazing public library.  My greatest concern is for the school librarians.  I know there are some absolutely fabulous & connected ones out there. My PLN is full of them, thank goodness.  I learn and share with them via Twitter, listen to amazing podcasts, and read great information about really cool programming on their blogs.   

We MUST up our game, both in terms of WHAT we actually do AND in promoting our libraries as forward-thinking spaces (both brick and mortar AND virtual) for information, collaboration, curation, and learning in all its forms.  

We MUST keep this in mind when planning out our goals/events/programming for the upcoming year. Do our plans tie in and give added value to the Campus Improvement Plan?  Are we assisting in meeting the goals set for our students?  Are we constantly sharpening our saw so that we can be ready to prepare our students for the future that awaits them?  Are we able to assist our teachers in their growth, as well?  

I know that these are a few of the questions that I will definitely keep in mind as I prepare for the new school year.

The cool part is that while change can be hard, and this sure is a mighty paradigm shift we are going through, if you look at this as a fantastic opportunity we can work  to expand ourselves and our libraries beyond our wildest dreams.

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