Posts in: November, 2016

Ranganathan on shyness: Get over it!

Saskia Leferink

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Advice from the father of library science

In 1931, S.R. Ranganathan, a mathematician and librarian who is widely regarded as a founder of modern library science, published his seminal work, The Five Laws of Library Science. His five principles about managing the library get most of the publicity, but tucked away on page 65 is a gem of a quote sometimes overlooked but extremely important in our fast-changing world.

“If you want to be a reference librarian, you must learn to overcome not only your shyness but also the shyness of others.”

Ranganathan used this quote to describe behavioral change librarians needed to make in his day, when they were transitioning to serving readers from preserving books. No longer were readers considered a nuisance—they became the focus of the library. Librarians had to lose their shyness and come out from behind the desk to serve users, as well as overcome any reader shyness.

As we in the library community wrestle with change management, Ranganathan’s words ring as clearly today as they did 85 years ago. You can’t be shy when tackling change. Change requires a boldness that leaves reticence behind in order to embrace something new.

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The power of library content to connect us…personally

Bonnie Allen

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As librarians, we digitize, collect, archive and promote content collections for many different reasons. Our digital collection management efforts often revolve around the idea of preserving materials for historic and scholarly purposes. That’s obviously important, and librarians have always played a major role in such programs. But sometimes we discover far more personal connections to these materials.

While I was working on the Montana Memory Project from 2009–2012, it made perfect sense that some of the students we sent to the National Archives would be Native Americans, as the materials they were digitizing were from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Local history being preserved by local students for the use of historians is often a part of these programs. What we were not expecting, however, was that some of our students would find materials that involved their own direct ancestors.

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A cooperative approach to naming: help name our new ILL service

Katie Birch

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Names are important. And naming things can be a lot of fun. Names conjure up feelings and emotions and even expectations. Here at OCLC we’re excited about a new ILL product that we’re developing with the help of the OCLC resource sharing community. And we want a name that captures the energy and teamwork that you, our members, bring to the cooperative.

As a unique membership cooperative, OCLC relies on your input for all kinds of things. Members provide feedback on product development, plans, road maps and features—as is the case for this new service. We also solicit ideas for events and programs. Our research depends on feedback from many libraries all over the world. And so we thought, let’s ask the community: what do YOU think we should name the product?

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“We are stronger when we can solve problems collaboratively.”

Helene Blowers

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As Community Program Manager for the OCLC Community Center, I have many conversations with our members that fall under a few simple categories. Most often we talk about insights and ideas that they have to increase collaboration around OCLC technology and services. But occasionally our conversations turn to talking about their organizations’ goals or their own personal goals for professional growth. Regardless of the conversation, I’ve learned that one of the most important things I can do is get out of the way and let other members lead the discussion, providing their own perspective and insight.

That final step is an important one. We’re always on the lookout for ways to create a culture of support and collaboration, which is why I’m so excited about the growth of the OCLC Online Community Center over the past year. A growth that’s measured entirely in member-to-member engagement.

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