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Jason GriffeyJason Griffey
Head of Library Information Technology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
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What You Need to Know to Succeed in the Present & Future of Libraries
So a few weeks ago, I was sent an email by one Michael Porter. In it, he outlined a crazy scheme to write a song, create a video, and launch a website all dedicated to something he called “Library 101″. He asked me if I’d be interested in writing something for the site, and even in the midst of speaking trips, Internet Librarian prep, and putting together my Tenure Dossier…I had to say yes. When Michael asks you to do something, his energy is infectious.

And thus, I give you:

What You Need to Know to Succeed in the Present & Future of Libraries

Be adventurous 
No one has any clue what libraries are going to look like in 10 years. But there’s very little chance that the digital world is going to shrink, and equally unlikely that the analog world is going to get appreciably larger, especially as it relates to libraries. Navigating the new mechanisms of digital communication are going to challenge libraries, and the sooner you become familiar with them, the better off you will be now, and especially in the future. The best way to do so? Be adventurous in your experimentation with technologies…even if only one of the 20 you sign up for and try out sticks around, that’s one ongoing technology that you have knowledge of that others probably don’t. Advantage, you.

Learn constantly
The only constant is change, the saying goes, and nowhere is that more evident than technology. Technology is an area where, quite literally, the stuff you learned 6 months ago is not completely superseded by something better, faster, and more powerful. Be comfortable with this change.

Remember the past
So that we are not condemned to repeat it.

Make connections
In a recent presentation, I paraphrased Cory Doctorow in saying that if the Internet is designed for anything, it’s designed to help people connect with each other. The connections you make will follow you throughout your career, and they can help you in ways that you can’t even imagine when you’re in Library School. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that, as big as libraryland is, there’s never more than a degree or two of separation between you and that person that will give you the job you want, or help you with a project, or find you that resource. Cultivate your network.

Have fun
Nothing is worth doing unless there’s some fun involved. All of us have parts of our jobs that aren’t our favorite…I hate paperwork, and yet I’m in middle management, where paperwork goes to die. But a willingness to play, to have fun with your job, allows for the freedom to fail, laugh at yourself, and then figure out how to make it work the way you want. That’s what makes a successful librarian.

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