We’ve spent almost four years rethinking every aspect of talent management in libraries. Feels long but not when you consider it’s a 4,000-year old vocation relying on a 400-year old culture and using 40-year old technology.
Reimagining an institution with such entrenched techniques, cultures, and practices as libraries requires the perfect balance of proximity and distance: hard to identify the problems without navigating them yourself; hard to see another way when it’s all you’ve ever known.
Few institutions are as central to society as the library. Each year 2.5M libraries across 200 countries spend $30B serving over a billion people’s information needs. Ensuring the 2.5M library workers have the requisite skills to serve their communities in the future is critical.
Arguments framing technology as a replacement for the library are generally misinformed and overstated. The library is society’s anti-fragile container for technology — whether parchment, periodicals, .PDFs, or some other form of pixels — taking on new forms for new generations.
As long as society needs access to information, there will be a need for people trained in serving society’s diverse points on the information learning curve. The more information to navigate, and the greater the digital divide, the greater the need for librarianship.