Alice Platt, ANO Editor
Lately I've enjoyed reading books about Arctic exploration: the tale of the ill-fated Greely expedition (Ghosts of Cape Sabine: The Harrowing True Story of the Greely Expedition, by Leonard Guttridge); Polar Wives: The Remarkable Women Behind the World's Most Daring Explorers, by Kari Herbert (herself the daughter of a polar explorer), and on deck, Arctic Labyrinth: the Quest for the Northwest Passage, by Glyn Williams.
Polar exploration, while certainly safer today than it was in prior centuries, is still a risky, often treacherous endeavor. While the bitter cold is obviously a factor, my amateur reading indicates it is the constantly shifting surface characteristics of the Arctic that makes these journeys, both by land and by boat, most treacherous. An icy surface that seems perfectly stable one day might simply crack apart the next. A life-threatening gale might blow in out of nowhere. A polar explorer must be ready to meet the challenge of this constantly changing environment.
Call it a stretch, but I see similarities between this aspect of polar exploration and librarianship. We are all tasked with working to meet the needs of our constantly changing environment. Whether they be small (backing up files to hard drives instead of CDs) or large (transitioning to RDA), change in our field can be a challenge.
I have great confidence that we are prepared to meet the challenges change can bring. I know we can, because much like the Arctic surface, change in our field is constant. Why, it wasn’t so long ago that we were known as the Resources and Technical Services Division (RTSD)! How we describe ourselves and our work continues to change. In this issue, ALCTS President Carolynn Myall discusses how the very terms for what we use to describe our work are changing; Executive Director Charles Wilt discusses the importance of futuring.
Much like life in the Arctic, life in our world requires adapting to constant change. We know we can adapt; we always have. My challenge to you: let’s make it fun.