Soldiers and revolutionaries

From a social media perspective I still fall into the trap of looking at a heading skim reading the abstract and thinking that I must retweet this to read later.  Often later never comes and the great thought or idea gets buried in another day’s load of tweeting, email and interactions.  The linking point for this article came about I think via a lunchtime quick glance through Zite.com @zite and flicking out a few good reads for later.  This one however was read with purpose by Sam Searle @datalibsam Stating that it is Really worth reading & reflecting on. A quiet culture war in research libraries by Rick Anderson @Looptopper

I’ve experienced a range of encounters over the week but the guts of this article of whether you are a soldier or a revolutionary is worth reflecting on.  In so many ways I feel we are a soldier to the institution’s cause.  A wage slave as a former colleague used to jokingly referring to fellow colleagues.  And from our viewpoint service level and mission are often flavored and directed by that by the institution that employs us.  However fundamentally as librarians with a passion for the greater good there are deeper causes afoot that make us want to be revolutionary.  The greater cause for access and the desire to extend our services.  Over so many years I’ve encountered within myself and with a number of my colleagues the thinking of a like a terrier dog to not let go of the bone.  Always desiring to find the ultimate answer.  When the database access or linkage is not working finding out why and reporting it to enhance the experience for the next person.  And often collegially sharing the answer or encounter for the greater good to extend others knowledge and to park that answer for a future cause.  Ultimately we are all a mix of both the soldier and the revolutionary.

During the week a discussion about a library refurbishment resonated with me.  The overarching thinking the speaker had was that they did not want to just get on the learning space bandwagon but wanted to be seen as an educational essential.  Maybe not funky,  but respected,  and drawn to the greater good.  How refreshing to not just go with the current trend but as per this article look at the greater good and longer term perspective.

For the greater good of our own personal staff development and the enhancement of librarianship in our life and mission how can the four fundamentals in this article be applied to us?  The concepts of access, cost, rights, and funding.  And beyond ourselves what are we contributing to the wider evidence based learning beyond the local responsibilities and to the global responsibilities.  I was not present at the Evidence Based Learning in Practice conference but from what I saw via tweets there was a challenge for us to contribute, write and reflect for the wider good.   They ended the conference with a call to commit to action and promise.

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