REAL PUBLIC LIBRARIAN

Friday, June 03, 2005

Interesting speeches continued...

The next speaker for the evening was Sue Hutley who is Manager of the University of Queensland Ipswich Campus Library. She spoke about the general characteristics of the different generations who use libraries and who work in libraries. "Baby Boomers" for instance are said to value variety, freedom, cooperation, achievement, etc. (who doesn't?); Gen x and yers are supposed to value lifestyle, fun, self discovery, unstructured, interactive, creative work places (again, who doesn't?). Maybe because I'm on the younger side of Baby Booming I take issue with these stereotypes. Isn't it just possible that as you get older, rather than remaining frozen solid in the culture you happened to inherit due to your age, you actually filter and absorb a whole lot of other cultures including the culture of your parents and of the younger generations? I enjoy Triple J music just as much as I still like the stuff I listened to in the 70s 80s and 90s (well, some stuff I liked in the 70s I really hate now) as well as the music that my 13 year old is switching me on to. And he is being introduced to the classic heavy metal that my husband enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) and he loves that as well. And I'm sure some of my 60,70+ library users value creativity, freedom, and unstructuredness just as much as the Gen xers are supposed to. So maybe there are indeed people who prefer different styles of leisure, learning and work but I think there is a certain amount of homogenisation going on, rather than banding strictly according to age. To market according strictly to age stereotypes is maybe a mistake for libraries (or indeed any other sort of business or service). That's not to say all libraries should be one flavour, one size fits all (which we know doesn't work), but just not to get hung up on the age thing. It's more about communities of interest that could involve lots of different agegroups. And as agencies for building social capital maybe it's public libraries who could consider ways of bringing the generations together, rather than separating them.

Finally we had a speech from Central Queensland University lecturer Greg Whymark who posed the question "Is Knowledge Management an Oxymoron?", which is a topic much debated. He posited that librarians are a subset of "knowledge workers" - people who: find existing knowledge, and/or create new knowledge, and/or package existing knowledge, and/or apply knowledge to a process or problem. His speech was quite witty and entertaining so I didn't take many notes. However the Big News is that the CQU is introducing a Masters Degree in Knowledge Management which, while not exclusively aimed at librarians, will be accredited by ALIA. This is great news for me as I have been considering a Masters Degree for some time and this one seems spot on for my interests.

After that exercise I have learned something about blogging. It is a great way to consolidate and add value to a professional development experience.

2 Comments:

  • Hi,
    I have some photos of the event if you wanted me to email them to you.
    Cheers, K8. http://riggerblog.blogspot.com

    By Anonymous K8, at 12:25 PM  

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