Are You Dreaming?

By Michael Stephens | Michael Stephens, librarian, educator, blogger, and dreamer"All I ever wanted was to know that you were dreaming..."

Allow me a tangent here today—not to really talk about technology directly, but to talk about innovation, thinking creatively, and looking at our services in a new way. I've been writing a lot and reading a lot to prepare my proposal for research at UNT, to start toward my dissertation.

I'm very interested in how libraries have changed their social landscapes by using the tools of Web 2.0. Has, for example, using IM changed the social purpose of the library? And what about Weblogs, wikis, and the coolest innovations in the ILS you have ever seen? How will these tools change the social nature of our services?

I think they'll only stregthen ties between library users and the libraries/ librarians that serve them. But we have to make sure we're always looking forward and thinking differently, to borrow a phrase from Apple.

That's where dreaming comes in. Have you had the chance to dream at your library job? Have you had the chance to stop for a minute in the buzz buzz of your routine and think about the future? Are you encouraged to innovate?

If not, then I urge you to do so. And I urge library administrators to encourage dreaming on the job. Formalize it—call your innovation group “Dreamers,” or use the more-grounded moniker "Emerging Technology Committee". Give 'em a couple of hours a month to talk emerging trends, about trendspotting, and about creative thinking. Read some cool stuff like Business 2.0 and Wired and ask yourselves, "How might the technologies occuring outside of the library impact library services?"

Why? Because we have the potential to bring about the next big thing. We have the potential to be the leaders as we all move toward a seamless information and knowledge environment.

I'd hope my director would be happy if he stopped by my desk and asked, “What are you up to today?” and I replied: “I'm Dreaming.”

For more on the Emerging Technology Team and libraries, see Michael Casey's recent post, "Evolutionary Technology and the Emerging Divide."

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