what’s in my librarian toolbox?

Keeping with what Roy Tennant mentioned a few weeks back, here’s what i told Blake about my librarian toolbox.

1. Hardware/Software – I can use computers with basically any operating system with nearly equal fluency. Mac, Windows, Linux, command line. Firefox, Opera, IE, Chrome. I don’t expect other people to have this flexibility, but it’s good to know if a problem you’re looking at is due to a misfit in terms of this sort of thing.

2. Access – it’s sort of a dirty secret, but I have library cards (mine or loaners) at maybe ten different libraries which gives me access to pretty much any database that I might need access to. Looking up stuff that is a little esoteric is just a few clicks away. Knowing which database has what then becomes the big trick.

3. Discerning Eyes – I can usually tell if an answer is in my Google results list without even clicking on the link. This helps me be fast and accurate.

4. Wetware – I’m pretty patient and pretty tolerant but at the same time, I know when to say “no” and know when to say “that is a suboptimal solution” It’s important that as professionals we need to be able to “play it as it lays” but also be open to newer and better solutions.

5. Tenacity – I don’t like to let go of a problem, particularly a technological problem, until I’ve solved it.

6. The hot potato thing – if I find out something that is awesome, I want to pass it around. This goes equally well for my ideas as well as the ideas of others. Pass it along so that others can benefit too!

What’s in yours?

make sure you know the gazingus protocol!

Every now and then I’m asked if I know how to do something I don’t know how to do. Most recently this came about when the staff at the school I work at wanted to learn Macromedia Contribute, for messing with their web site. Did I know how to use Contribute? No I did not. Could I learn it before I had to do a training on it for novice computer users in a few weeks? Sure I could. And, unlike those questionairres you had to fill out when you signed up with a temp agency, I didn’t even have to fib, I just said “I’ll start learning it today.”

Everyone’s lists — like this recent one on LISNews — are great. However, the world changes and what is right for today’s librarian might not be right for tomorrow’s. So, I’d add to this list and to these lists generally, the ability to learn as you go and teach yourself new things. If someone tells me that the job I want requires intimate knowledge of the gazingus protocol, then I guess I’d better learn it, and fast. Since I have a good working knowledge of computers generally, learning something specific about them is usually not too difficult. This is helpful at my job and I bet it would be helpful at yours.

advice on library school and learning technologies

Meredith and Jenny have both posted very astute summaries of technology competencies that either are or should be required for incoming professionals to the librarianship field. Meredith focuses on what you should think about learning while you’re at school and Jenny adapts a list of skills for educators into her 20 Technology Skills Every Librarian Should Have list. Not a surprise that there is more than a little overlap between these lists. If you’re already out of school and in the field, think of this as a laundry list of opportunities for professional development, or catalysts for librarian skillshares.