April 08, 2005
What Mission Statement?
A librarian’s professional mission statement would be pretty darn impressive. Sure, Google says they want to “do no evil” but we library professionals are really striving hard to “do only good” while swimming in an increasingly Googlefied information world. Because of this, my professional mission statement is in what seems to be a permanent state of flux. I like it like this, even though I get dizzy on occasion. Like many of the fine folks reading this, most of the flux in mission is due to technological changes and the speculations that can be extrapolated from reading a great deal and talking with smart library and technology professionals.
Along these lines, while doing a bit of my daily professional reading, Panlibus had a post about the super keen new PSP and emerging hacks for the device. I talked about the PSP and Nintendo DS in a blog post last year in the same spirit that Panlibus is today. In reference to hacked PSPs they say:
Taking one speculative step forward, a constituency of young people carrying around high quality screens that are Wi-Fi connected, with browsing, video, audio, e-book capabilities, and storage, will be a fertile community for new innovative ways of delivering services.
Just a couple instantly come to mind. The PSP enabled museum, would be a great place for kids, and adults, to wander around taking in the exhibits with the assistance commentary, explanatory video clips, relevant games. Or how about the PSP enabled Wi-Fi exam revision guide download point in the school library?
Now take this four steps and ten years down the road. Now throw FOLED into the mobile handheld computing mix. Now welcome to my vision of what libraries will be for the next century.
My professional mission statement now involves understanding as much as I can of the sea change we are in the midst of in the library and information science world then using this understanding to ensure the growth and strength of the library as an indispensable community resource, regardless of community size and wealth.
My readings and watching and discussions and thoughts tell me libraries will be drastically different than what they are now. My gut tells me a lot of folks reading this won’t have a job in libraries in 20 years if we aren’t very, very careful, active, thoughtful, creative and hard working. What will libraries do and be in 20 years? They will be all about technology (however small and portable), resource sharing, partnerships, training, and acting as physical spaces to play, learn, share and develop community. Yep, those are all words in my professional mission statement. I hope they are in yours too.