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Libraries as an ideal workplace National Workshop on Library 2.0: A Global Information Hub K Thyagrajan Mott MacDonald, Ahmedabad Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad Friday, February 6, 2009
Library 2.0???!!! • What is that??????????? • Where and when was 0.0, 1.0???
That has just turned 180 years old! • The Trivandrum Public Library, one of the oldest libraries in India and the first in Kerala • The library was set up during the reign of Swathi Tirunal, ruler of erstwhile Travancore, in 1829 A.D., a few years before the Imperial Library of Calcutta and the National Library were established
This happens ONLY in India! • Gujarat, India-The 125-year-old Jaysinh Rao library, oldest in Gujarat located in the knowledge city Baroda could soon become a thing of past. The ancient library having a collection of more than 25,000 precious books in Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu, Sanskrit and English literature is fighting for its survival due to lack of funds and political unwillingness • Read as a News Item in 2007…need to check facts as of today…hope it has survived!!!
Educating myself • Library 2.0 is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users. The focus is on user-centered change and participation in the creation of content and community.  The concept of Library 2.0 borrows from that of Business 2.0 and Web 2.0 and follows some of the same underlying philosophies. This includes online services like the use of OPAC systems and an increased flow of information from the user back to the library. • With Library 2.0, library services are constantly updated and reevaluated to best serve library users. Library 2.0 also attempts to harness the library user in the design and implementation of library services by encouraging feedback and participation. Proponents of this concept expect that the Library 2.0 model for service will ultimately replace traditional, one-directional service offerings that have characterized libraries for centuries. • From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Why me??!! • i wish i was on the other side! • Wearing the user hat • What’s new anyway?
My access to the world of books • Ravivari -Sunday Baazar, on the banks of Sabarmati, Ahmedabad • Khan chacha – the static but mobile library • Sastu Kitab Ghar • W. H. Wheeler • Strand Book Depot, Bombay • Higginbothams, Madras • Teksons Bookshop , Delhi • Libraries: Loyola Hall, VACSC, MJ, Guj. Vidyapeeth, ATIRA, PRL, IIMA, AMA, BCL, American Centre, Tata Institute, IITM, JNU, BHU, NU… • Nearly built one myself!!!
Have times changed? • Has the role of librarians begun to evolve differently? • Do they need to re-look at their own world and the world around them differently? • Have customers (readers/users) expectations changed significantly over the years? • Is this a profession that many find difficult to cope with changing times and environment? • Is the librarian of the yesteryear mindset relevant today? Was this a more satisfying profession then? • Can it be made more exciting now? • Can libraries be made as an ideal place to work-despite the limitations that the host institution or the sponsor may have and despite the fact that times are rapidly changing and more and more new exciting careers are evolving? • How can we bring a great sense of pride and recognition to the librarian as a professional and how do we make libraries as great place to work?
Defining a work culture • The "work culture" of an organization is a product of its history, traditions, values, and vision. Organizational culture expert, Edgar H. Schein defines culture as "a pattern of basic group assumptions that has worked well enough to be considered valid, and, therefore, is taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel.“ • The primary mission of any library (particularly in academic / research institutions) should normally include building, organizing, accessing, maintaining, preserving, interpreting, and educating in the use of scholarly information resources which enable the teaching-learning process and research. In order to fulfil this mission, libraries must have a staff that is qualified, informed, well-trained, dedicated, and appreciated.
Defining a work culture • Libraries should be committed to hiring, training, developing, and retaining a diverse staff in a creative and supportive work environment. Desirable work culture includes shared institutional values, priorities, rewards and other practices which foster inclusion, high performance, and commitment, while still allowing diversity in thought and action. • Ideally a libraries' work environment must rely on flexible guidelines and a team-based system, rather than rigid policies, procedures, and organizational structure. • Such a work culture will tend to reward the initiative of individuals and self-starting teams that identify and solve complex problems on their own. Library staff must be responsible for participating in defining the libraries mission, values and vision within the context of the libraries role in supporting the mission of the sponsoring institution. Such a mission can only be accomplished if staff take personal responsibility for its realisation in their individual job assignments and their group work /teamwork.
Inculcating right values • Accountability – very core to the job, a deep sense of personal responsibility in whatever you do • Effective Communication – lack of it can potentially stall your progress • Professionalism – needs to be of the highest order; importantly learning to keep personalities away from issues • Adaptability – tests you during rapidly changing times • Empowerment – can bring a great sense of belonging; responsibility and authority must go together • Quality – no compromise irrespective of task • Collaboration – an individual can only reach that far; it takes a team to reach farther • Equity – brings amazing sense of team spirit • Recognition and Rewards – their real value is in doing it timely, publicly and in enough quantity! • Collegiality – a firm sense of belonging with the host institution is a must • Excellence – the only mantra to career progression; continuous learning and skills up-gradation is imperative if you wish to keep pace with times
Inculcating right values • Risk-Taking – this is one trait more likely to get you the rewards! • Commitment – the work-place is where you spend most of your woken hours and that is what allows you (and your family) to sleep in peace! You better be committed! • Integrity – high ethical standards are a must-there needs to be zero tolerance with respect to this aspect, peer pressure and not rules will make this happen effectively • Flexibility – rigidity only leads to early breakage • Scholarship – Goddess Sarswati is not the sole monopoly of teachers and students; librarians have an equal right over Her-indeed they are Her custodians! • Continuous Quality Improvement – learn to bench-mark with the best and keep bettering all the time. Complacency and stagnation are very tempting in this profession • Good Morale – learn to feel and say “thank God it is Monday”!
Inculcating right values • Service-Orientation – this is not yet another job-there is great sense of service and satisfaction in return • Courtesy and Respect – must be the hall-mark of a good library professional • Innovation – the most valuable tool that you can use for career progress • Stewardship – you always need to play the helping hand • Over Self-Interest – life is all about “giving”-you will experience the joy only when you practice it • Diversity – the only way to beat boredom and bring excitement as well as value to yourself, the team and the work-place • Trust – last but not the least important of all above-you need to have the trust of colleagues and have the same in them
Bringing joy to the place • Reviewing periodically, a book and creating a book review culture • Facilitating users with recent book arrivals and reviews • Learning and appreciating other aspects of library management interfacing with host/sponsor institution e.g. budgeting and finance; spatial planning • Tracking global trends and technologies impacting the profession • Learning and teaching foreign languages • Exhibiting various allied areas of interest in the library like forms of art and culture • Creating a space and spearheading the task of intellectual debate • Organizing classical film viewing
Bringing joy to the place • Career counselling • Leading an institutional newsletter • Creating cross culture and cross discipline expose • Enhancing new media access • Exploring industry interface-adding resources to the library with industry sensitivity • Writing and presenting papers • Encouraging school children cultivate the habit of reading • Contributing a review or a column in the local dailies • Engaging in a social cause and inspiring others to do the same • Can we have a “Starbucks” here?
Hybrid Librarians • Gender sensitivity-it is still a male dominated society and profession and it is very important that men learn to sensitise themselves with feminine personal, family and professional needs and pressures. • Push for creativity-unless you do not demonstrate, encourage and support creativity in every aspect of library management, you will tend to collectively fall into the trap of mundane and routine. • Art of coexistence-it is better that sooner rather than later you and your colleagues recognise that we need to coexist with the “googles” of the world. The fact is that the future is already here and now. That is not to say that the past has no value, it is only a question of how skilfully one is able to handle, appreciate and present to the world that you have adopted tradition and the new together, seamlessly. This is an era of the hybrid librarian. • Finally, I think it is very important to celebrate this profession. You must thank God that He gave you an opportunity to be a part of this tribe - but for you, this world would have been a poorer place! • Thank YOU for choosing to be a librarian!
Thank You firstname.lastname@example.org