Imagining with Members: New York Chapter

Dinner with NY Chapter members

Late in July I spoke to the Association of American Publishers, Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division (AAP/PSP) in New York City. While in town to discuss scholarly publishing, our work at Los Alamos and developing tools, I had the opportunity to visit with SLA New York Chapter members.

Visiting Metro
Visiting Metro

I began my visit at the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), where my fellow SLA Board candidate Tom Nielsen and SLA member Davis Erin Anderson work. METRO is a library membership organization that provides services and training to regional information professionals. In addition to locally produced training and an annual conference, access to external training such as Library Juice Academy and Lynda.com are provided. METRO serves as a regional service hub to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). A METRO project, Culture in Transit, brings scanning equipment to smaller institutions to assist in getting collections online. These collections will eventually become part of the DPLA. Tom and I discussed the role of library organizations in advocacy and advocacy training, both of which are critical to the current and future success of information professionals and centers.

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Career Series: Paths to Employment, I

We’ve all been told that most jobs are found outside the classifieds. So true! What is your story? What has been your path? I have many stories from my career, and will be sharing them in this blog series.

For my first post I’m going to flash back to circa 1997, when I worked as an engineering librarian at Helix Technology Corporation, aka CTI Cryogenics. I was active with SLA’s Information Futurists Caucus, and decided to begin a discussion of Peter Schwartz’s Art of the Long View.

The book introduces scenario planning, and caucus members joined me to discuss looking forward, thinking win-win, and understanding current culture and events to inform future context. Nearly a year later, while at MIT, I was contacted about a position at Weiden + Kennedy, an advertising agency. A member who followed the book discussion on the Information Futurists’ Caucus list wanted to know if I would be interested in applying for a position in advertising. I would have the opportunity to create a corporate library in a new facility.

When I interviewed for the position, my prospective manager had a copy of Peter Schwartz’s book on his shelf. I noticed the title, and asked him about his connection with scenario planning. We spent the balance of the interview discussing the book, the author, and the Global Business Network. I became the Agency Librarian at Weiden + Kennedy, and my discussion of Schwartz’s title on the Information Futurists’ Discussion list had a direct impact on my career path.

The take-away? Step up. Volunteer. Start a discussion. You never know who is listening!

Gates Foundation 2015 Letter: Major Goals, Optimism for Future

Health, farming, education, and mobile banking are addressed in the Gates Foundation 2015 Letter. Full of pop-out sections and imbedded videos, the letter is a media-rich report on upcoming advances and a call to action.

The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.

There is a fifteen-year timeframe, and in that time child deaths (< 5-years) will be cut by half. Polio, Guinea worm and potentially two other diseases will be eradicated. Only one other disease, smallpox, has been eradicated in human history.

Food yields in Africa and other parts of the world can increase by half through knowledge of crop rotation, fertilization, and knowing when and how to plant specific crops. Mobile phones in the hands of farmers will drive education. More varied and nutritious food will drive food security.

Mobile phones will also transform banking for the poor, allowing more control over assets through mobile banking and micro-lending. Finally, global education will be transformed through smart phones, tablets and online learning. This is where we, as library and information professionals, may have the biggest impact. Whether we help develop courses, make resources available through repositories and digital libraries, or participate in the one laptop per child program, we can impact the lives of thousands through global education.

In the Call for Global Citizens section, Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks about putting boot prints on the moon, and how that accomplishment made everything else seem possible. He asks:

Will there be an end to war? Possibly. Will there be an end to hunger? Possibly. But you have to envision it first. You have to bet on it. Then you’re invested in the outcome. That’s where change comes from.

The Gates Foundation 2015 Letter is inspiring, and calls for each of us to imagine a better future and to help create that future. Interested in becoming a Global Citizen? Sign up here: http://www.globalcitizen.org/

Belfer Center Meeting on Solving Societal Challenges

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center sponsored “Inventing the future to address societal challenges.” The meeting discussed 2 AAAS reports: “Advancing Research in Science and Engineering II” and “Restoring the Foundation Report.” Attendees spoke of the need to move from interdisciplinary to transdisciplinary thinking to solve today’s problems. There was a call for greater public dialog and improved K12 education. Major topics included Challenges to a More Effective U.S. Science and Technology Enterprise, Bell Labs 2.0, the University of the Future and Addressing Global Grand Challenges with Science and Technology.

Moving beyond silos, disciplines and borders to solve problems together will be essential for tomorrow’s success. What steps can we take as individuals and professionals to move beyond our own borders?IMG_3666