Recently I was speaking at the Academic Librarians 2012 Conference in Syracuse, NY. Although I made the audience fall asleep, the night before one of my favorite library speakers kept the audience enthralled. Believe me, it’s really rough having to follow David Lankes at the speaker’s podium. But enough complaining. I’m here to steal.
What I immediately stole from David’s great presentation was a wonderful example of the kind of change academic librarians need to make. We need to insinuate ourselves more deeply into the institutions we serve. This will mean, in part, finding ways to become indispensable to our faculty. So I really sat up and took notice when David sketched a scenario where a faculty member up for tenure is approached by a librarian who says, “Hi, my name is John, and I’m your tenure librarian.”
The fictional “John” would have already pulled together citations to as much of that professor’s work as they could find, and would continue to assist the professor to make his or her case to achieve tenure by chasing down any missing citations, etc.
This is of course but one example of the kind of creative thinking, imaginative service creation, and entrepreneurial spirit we must infuse our libraries with. Academic librarians need to figure out ways to be essential to faculty and students, and it isn’t simply buying books anymore.