“Challenge Yourself to Make Things Better”

IMG_0992  The panel discussion at the SLA-HPC fall event on August 28, 2015, was full of wisdom, great advice, and many interesting topics for the lens of librarianship. The event was well attended by LIS students, faculty and library professionals in a variety of areas.

The event started off with great food and a chance to mingle and network with other professionals and led to the panel discussion inside Chaminade University’s Sullivan Family Library. The panel consisted of three heads of important library organizations: Dr. Irene Herold-University Librarian at UH Manoa, Stacey Aldrich-State Librarian of Hawaii, and Susan Shaner-Hawaii State Archivist. IMG_0981All panelists shared struggles, current topics of interest, and advice related to their particular organizations. The following details a few highlights of the evening:

  • Dr. Irene Herold shared insights related to the academic library environment. She noted the trend toward Open Access resources and its importance, especially as federal grants are now mandating open access requirements in order to gain funding. She also shared her thoughts on future trends in terms of short, mid- and long-term goals. The topics included: increasing the value of the user’s experience, multi-content and delivery (short term), evolving scholarly records and research data management (mid-term), and research content and rethinking the library space (long term). Dr. Herold shared information regarding digitization, cultural heritage mandate (knowledge creation and storage), copyright, and legislation of knowledge sharing and access. One last thought noted from her talk, included the significance of thinking broadly about needs and changes. How can information be presented in ways not yet perceived? New formats will ultimately lead to new connections.
  • The quote, which acts as the title for this post, comes from Susan Shaner’s talk. She began by explaining the purpose of the state government archive; she described how the organization is mandated by law to make and keep archives to then make those records available for the public. She then shared the statement, “challenge yourself to make things better.” With this quote she shared her experience of pushing for change in her organization. The records, when she first arrived, were all in paper format (none of which were even acid-free). She noted that change was needed, but it took many years and much persistence to overcome hurdles. Her advice included persistence, forward thinking as to what will be needed in the future (historical importance, etc.), education and preparation (both of employees and superiors), the need for comfort with technology and strong interpersonal communication skills–including ability to talk “IT speak.” She shared a few current issues like retention of employees once they received certain training, the difficulties of digital technologies (easy to created/difficult to keep), the question of social media and whether or not to save it, and last, the worry of commercialization of access including the selling of public records.
  • Stacey Aldrich focused her presentation on advice and current issues for thought. She spoke of the need for futurists, or those who could think outside the librarian’s realm of understanding–the need for a change in perspective. This included scenario planning, or forward thinking, similar to what Ms. Shaner spoke about. Other issues facing current libraries she said included external impacts such as collecting/preserving/connecting/creating/conversing and how to mesh all of these principles. She also touched on the question of whether to own or lease content and the issue of access being gone if you do not own it. She brought up the question of the social contract of government–what should everyone have access to? Also, privacy, fluency and rapid change were other hot topics she implied needed to be looked at in the near future. Ms. Aldrich also spoke a great deal on the need of connection. She said we need to “be in control of our data to tell our stories.” Lastly, she shared a list of traits needed for future leaders:
    • Resilient Learner
    • Searcher for Opportunities
    • Optimistic
    • Creative
    • Good with Data (to demonstrate the difference made)
    • Good Storytellers
    • Community Builders
    • Future and Forward Thinker
    • Designers; “Builders and designers of human connection”

Overall, the event was a success and a pleasure to attend. Our student chapter is grateful for the leadership and organization of our state chapter for putting together such a wealth of information. We look forward to the next adventure!

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About UHM SLAsc

Webmaster for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa SLA Student Chapter.
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