Library Software Is Changing—How Can We Change Too?
Marshall Breeding Webinar, Part 3 of 4
In Marshall Breeding’s webinar about the future of library software, he emphasized the need for constant adaptation to changing trends. But in order to adapt, librarians must first learn how.
What is it that librarians should do to stay apprised of the evolving climate surrounding library software?
Consider Every Point of View
In the library ecosystem, there is always one or more decision makers. But, to stay up-to-date on trends, the entire staff has to not only make considerations involving their individual roles, but also put themselves in the shoes of everyone involved: staff, stakeholders, and patrons.
With the inevitable reality of library change in the future, Breeding emphasized the need for a 360° approach to our understanding:
“It’s important to be able to understand what’s happening in the realm of consumer technology, business technology, and library technology,” says Breeding.
These three realms of technology are not only related, but interdependent. When library technology changes, it affects everyone involved. And so it goes in every other direction.
Where to Look
There is no question that it is vital to be well-informed about library trends. Breeding noted that “it’s important that...when it comes time for libraries making changes, decisions about new systems, investing in new products...we know the options in order to make those decisions.”
In reality, it is a matter of making educated decisions that will ultimately affect decisions. But where can librarians and decision makers go to become educated?
- Social Media
Breeding mentions the three big players in social media: (in order of importance) Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Breeding suggests first going to Twitter, where news breaks first; then to LinkedIn for more fine-tuned, industry-specific conversations; and then finally to Facebook where users can then commune on a more informal level. Social media allows librarians to not just be an audience to the bubbling conversation, but to actually participate and contribute as well.
In the end, Breeding advises libraries to “stick to the social media [they] know” instead of venturing out too far because “the important things are going to happen on the big three.”
While many of the most robust library online groups are pointed more towards a technology-minded audience (Web4Lib or Code4Lib, for example), it is still vital for a library’s operations to at least have a basic knowledge of the conversation happening there.
Industry websites and online hubs
For a repository of authoritative information on libraries and software, there is a wealth of industry-related websites to peruse. Library Technology Guides, ALA, Library Journal Digital Shift, and Information Today are just a few of the many that provide a detailed and up-to-date database of knowledge for anyone within the library industry.
Even within a single industry, blogs can cover a wide variety of topics. Breeding recommends focusing on the ones that are aligned with your interests, whether they be more technological or more professional. But, when it comes down to it, most industry blog posts come via social media channels anyways. So staying plugged in to the vital social media is likely sufficient.
Staying plugged in to the industry conversation is what will ultimately make a difference for libraries looking to keep up with the changing times. These resources allow libraries to “hear the churn of what is being talked about” and to participate in the conversations that affect their institutions.
The small investment of time and effort that it takes to stay apprised will pay off in dividends for the diligent librarian.
To learn more about what Marshall Breeding has to say about the future of library software, click here to see the entire webinar.
To read the previous webinar report, click here.
To read the final webinar report, click here.