Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Talking to library school students

Last night, some of my colleagues (Eloise May from the Arapahoe Library District, Shirley Amore from Denver Public, Paula Miller from Pikes Peak Library District, Pam Smith from Rangeview, and Marcellus Turner [Deputy Director of Jefferson County Public Library System]) talked to a class of University of Denver Master's of Library and Information Science students.

We were given some questions ahead of time:
1. Describe the major initiatives going on at your district.
2. What skill sets do you think will be in the highest demand in the next few years at your library?
3. What technical skills do you think all librarians should have?
4. Name the three biggest areas of change that will impact libraries in the next five years.
5. Describe the role you see librarians playing versus paraprofessionals in your district and how these roles may change in the future.

In fact, the student hosts held it to just #1, 2, and 5, or we'd still be talking. They were good questions.

Here's the good news: all of the public library people talked about a host of new projects. We will definitely need librarians. Moreover, all of us are doing interesting things, from partnerships and community outreach to building new buildings.

Another point worth noting: there's a lot of mutual respect and affection among Colorado public library directors. We learn from each other.

We began to wonder if this would be a good topic for this year's Colorado Association of Libraries conference. It's certainly a smart recruitment opportunity for us.

But I've decided that although I'm happy to sit in on somebody else's session, my professional plate -- defined here as the initiating and organizing side of things -- is close to full. I won't be filling out the program request myself.

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