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“Darwin and Librarians” or Adapt or die: the current and future roles of information professionals. Sheila Cannell Director of Library Services University of Edinburgh.

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“Darwin and Librarians” or Adapt or die: the current and future roles of information professionals

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Darwin and librarians or adapt or die the current and future roles of information professionals l.jpg

“Darwin and Librarians”orAdapt or die: the current and future roles of information professionals

Sheila Cannell

Director of Library Services

University of Edinburgh


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  • Charles Robert Darwin (12 February1809 – 19 April1882) was an Englishnaturalist who achieved lasting fame by producing considerable evidence that species originated through evolutionary change, at the same time proposing the scientific theory that natural selection is the mechanism by which such change occurs. This theory is now considered a cornerstone of biology.

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Could librarians face extinction?

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LibraryThing

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Changing information behaviours and perceptions…satisficing……we are all librarians now…


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Is the Internet our meteorite?

  • Are we dinosaurs or mammals?

  • Do our users want us to adapt?

  • Do we want to adapt?

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  • Are we:

    • Cordwainers and fletchers (extinction) or

    • Candlemakers and sailmakers? (niche) or

    • Brewers (redefinition & adaptation)

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What are the strengths and weaknesses we bring to the current environment?

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Strengths: our USP

  • We have collections

  • We understand information resources

    • We procure information

    • We arrange information

    • We provide navigation tools

    • We have Quality

  • We have personalities

  • We have a strong brand

  • We are trusted

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Weaknesses

Users are getting ahead of us:

  • Users adapt to change faster than we do

  • “Users are all librarians now”

  • Users don’t come to us

  • The “Library” is disappearing in the virtual environment

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Weaknesses

As a profession:

  • We have failed to capitalise on the brand

  • We have failed to manage resources on the Internet

  • We are obsessed with control

  • What we do is “sticking plaster”

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How can we adapt?

2 options:

  • The candlemaker approach

  • The brewer approach

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Creating a niche

  • Quality of our work

  • Quality of our interactions with users

  • Quality of what we procure, organise

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Redefinition, transformation

  • Radical evolutionary approach

  • Transform our understanding of our users

  • Establish our core competences

  • Redefine ourselves

  • Move out of comfort zone

  • Find new ways of working

  • Embed ourselves with the users

  • Let the “Library” disappear?

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Some of my answers

  • Move the library to the users’ space

    • Virtual learning and research environments

    • Web 2.0

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Second Life

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Some of my answers

  • Move the library to the users’ space

  • Provide an easy to navigate trusted digital environment

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Full-text articles onlyInclude Edinburgh University Library Catalogue In Search

Full-text articles onlyInclude Edinburgh University Library Catalogue In Search

Full-text articles onlyInclude Edinburgh University Library Catalogue In Search

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   Clear   A |B |C |D |E |F |G |H |I |J |K |L |M |N |O |P |Q |R |S |T |U |V |W |X |Y |ZList of resources in alphabetical order

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Select your subject to find relevant library resources, then press search

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Select your subject to find relevant library resources, then press search

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Some of my answers

  • Move the library to the users’ space

  • Provide an easy to navigate trusted digital environment

  • Use (exploit) our collections

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Some of my answers

  • Move the library to the users’ space

  • Provide an easy to navigate trusted digital environment

  • Use (exploit) our collections

  • Curate the intellectual output of the University

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Some of my answers

  • Move the library to the users’ space

  • Provide an easy to navigate trusted digital environment

  • Use (exploit) our collections

  • Support learning and research

  • Curate the intellectual output of the University

  • Transform the library space

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Some of my answers

  • Move the library to the users’ space

  • Provide an easy to navigate trusted digital environment

  • Use (exploit) our collections

  • Curate the intellectual output of the University

  • Support learning and research

  • Transform the library space

  • Information literacy

  • Measure the impact

  • Ensure the funders understand

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What does this mean for us as librarians

  • Be proactive—do stuff in your environment

  • Collaborate

    • With users

    • With other professions

    • With each other

  • Think about new entrants to the profession and leadership

  • Listen to users, think and reflect all the time

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Darwin and librarians

  • Librarians helped Darwin make a revolution in our understanding of evolution

  • Librarians curate evidence of Darwin’s contribution to society

  • Librarians allow others to understand and build on Darwin’s work

  • Are we librarians now capable of radical evolution?

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Discussion

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