Eating for today or fishing for tomorrow
Sigurd Rinde has a piece on the purpose of information technology that rings a bell for me. A quote from the close of Teaching how to fish - IT's ultimate purpose should do the trick:
IT today is mostly built so as to satisfy your craving for yesteryear's menu, don't get caught by the lure of that. Request that IT shall open new doors and new ways - IT should allow you to learn to fish.
This is the frustration with new IT projects. We're promised that the new gizmo will make us more money (or solve some problem), but there is no process to change how things work so that the money will keep rolling in (the problem goes away).
I suspect this is why people treat new IT projects with skepticism. They've seen them come and go to no great benefit. So, when you suggest that social software is a great mechanism to get people connected, it's no wonder that people aren't particularly interested. While the tools might enable that connection, it is all the underlying rules and ways-of-doing-things that need modification.
So, if I buy that groovy X platform, what do I need to do to make sure it actually solves the claimed problems?
One of the things people love (and sometimes hate) about librarians is their helpfulness, if you show least interest in wanting to become more self-serving. Wanna learn how to use that card catalog, let me show you. Don't know about our resources, here is how they are organized. Librarians are stewards of information, and they want to make it as easy for you to get to it, whether that is by setting up the homework help desk, or by showing you how to do it yourself. Just think how many more librarians would be employed if they operated under the "hire more librarians" mantra: no access to the stacks, all questions funneled through the reference desk.
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