ALA President 2007-2008, Professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information, Project Director, “If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything“, a national reading club for Native children, Trustee, for the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund. Loriene blogs primarily from here “From All Directions” site.
Nurture key aptitudes and behaviors to make Library 101 a reality in your library
“More than anything, the new basic skills that libraries and library staff need to acquire are skills that reflect a strong belief in the unique role of the public library in serving as vibrant and valued settings for learning and exploration. Rather than creating a list of technical skills, I believe that the acquisition and nurturing of key aptitudes and behaviors will do more to sustain us as library workers. These aptitudes include flexibility, modeling, listening, collaboration, risk taking, and respect for patrons and colleagues. Staff possessing and demonstrating these attitudes are our profession’s best expression of our commitment to a user centered library idea. Over the past several years I have been fortunate to visit many outstanding libraries starting with my own neighborhood Austin Public Library branch and the University Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin to libraries in China, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Spain, England, Mexico, and Canada. I recently attended part of the 100th anniversary celebrations for the Salinas (California) Public Library. This library typifies how a library can remain a bright spot of optimism in the midst of touch economic times. It is embracing the breadth of services and delivery approaches that we see in outstanding service centered libraries–building library staff skills in cross training in public programming; conversion of the library interior into spaces for public access computing, gaming, exhibits, literacy services, and the inclusion of a wide range of resources in formats including audio, video, print, to absorbing a large toy collection from a community agency. And the library is not content to be good at these basic and advanced services: it is entering into a yearlong community based discussion of what it means to be a City of Letters. These are the places we turn to for our nourishment, pride, and motivation and we are fortunate to play a part of the unlimited opportunities they offer.”