by Kathy Jordan-Baker, SLA IL Chapter Member
I am relatively new to SLA IL and I thought that Cindy Romaine’s presentation would be a good way to energize me in joining the SLA community. When I got to Osteria Via Stato, I felt intimidated and a bit shy. That plus, Cindy Romaine was just about to go out the revolving door as I was coming in. I stopped short, which was probably not a good idea to do in the revolving door. I thought…there is Cindy Romaine. She’s a person just like me. I can do this!
I got my name tag and went into the meeting room. I looked around a bit and finally found Kristie. I also introduced myself to some interesting women and eventually found a place at a table near the door. My table mates, Judy Alspach, Linda Ronan, Jan Sykes, Carol DeBiak, Jan Chindlund and I had interesting discussions until Cindy started talking, then we were focused on Romaine. I found her presentation inspirational, which is just what I was looking for.
Romaine likened the current information landscape to be disruptive similar to the April 2010 Icelandic volcano of Eyjafjallajökull, which she coached us how to say. The volcanic ash from that volcano closed many airports. No one could stop the volcanic action. The way in which we could and can affect outcomes are to control how we manage change. The Internet has disrupted how we do our jobs. Also, with the always on information infrastructure that we have access to, our clients’ expectations have changed. Our society has been transformed by the Internet. There is no going back.
Romaine states that the new model emerging is one of opportunity and that future ready is an attitude and a skill set. Opportunity allows the space to do things we never thought possible. We can go outside of our comfort zone and try new things, like I did with the meeting.
Romaine says, accept turbulence. Those who emerge are those who are adaptable and flexible and resilient. There will be more changes in the next five years than there have been within the last 50 years. We have a new playing field with new rules and need to transform and recreate our roles in libraries based on the current and future information deluge. All this change requires us to be future ready. We must adapt to our environment at least as quickly as our environment changes and we must do it with confidence: adaptive confidence. We need to keep our wits about us.
Two other things Romaine mentioned that I think speak for themselves are endemic uncertainty and liquid modernity (read Liquid Modernity by Zygmunt Bauman).
How am I future ready? One of my mantras is, “If it feels uncomfortable, then I should just probably go ahead and do it.” This got me through my recent masters with my head still screwed on. Some of the projects during my coursework caused me internal complaining and feet dragging. I had to ask myself what is my hang up? What is keeping me from proceeding in my normal, gung-ho and unflappable style? Most of my discomfort was stepping outside of my realm of knowledge, feeling vulnerable and admitting to myself and others that it is not possible to know everything.
I joined SLA in order to be future ready. By joining SLA, I am positioning myself to learn about what other special librarians are doing. I would also like to learn about current and future standards and best practices in our field. SLA gets me out of my routine and helps me to become more flexible.
I know you are thinking about being future ready, whether you are there or going in that direction. What inspired you about Cindy Romaine’s presentation? Have you been inspired to contribute to the future ready blog? You can access the blog on the SLA website at http://futureready365.sla.org.
As of 9/11/11, the future ready blog been over 3 million hits with over 300,000 unique visitors. Be sure to also check out the SLA promotional video that Romaine showed during the presentation regarding new librarian skills. http://futureready365.sla.org/07/14/future-ready-%E2%80%93-%E2%80%9Caction%E