David Rothman’s “Common Sense Librarianship: An Ordered List Manifesto”

When I first started thinking about launching this blog, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.  I definitely wanted to write about leadership, I definitely wanted to write about mobile technology, and I definitely wanted to write about my “brand” of librarianship.  But what exactly was this brand called? 21st Century Librarianship? No, that didn’t sound quite right.  Progressive Librarianship? No, sounded way too political, and besides, I didn’t want to accidentally get associated with an insurance company.  And as much as I love Flo, I didn’t really think being associated with her would do me any favors either.

Sure, she can save you money on car insurance, but can she teach a senior how use a Kindle like I can?

Later, after much thought, I finally figured it out…Common Sense Librarianship! Perfect! And then, much to my delight, I discovered David Rothman’s “Common Sense Librarianship: An Ordered List Manifesto”! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you absolutely must!  To quickly summarize, Rothman writes that information professionals and their institutions should adapt to the changing world of information (that is caused by technology) or perish.  Information professionals should be flexible, creative, and passionate about solving problems. Libraries should measure user needs whenever possible and keep these needs the number one priority above all else.  Barriers between users and information should be removed, and information should be delivered to users as clearly and concisely as possible.

What do I take from Rothman’s “Common Sense Librarianship: An Ordered List Manifesto”? We need to adapt not only to thrive, but to survive.  We need to be open to new ideas and be completely flexible when approaching problems.  We need to make sure customer service is a top priority.  We need to eliminate library jargon like “periodicals” and “OPAC” and “neutrino displacement grid” (that last one might not exactly be library jargon, but even I get confused by library jargon myself sometimes!) and deliver information to users wherever they are, at any time of day, on their device of choice.

See, all common sense, right? So what do you think? Is Rothman‘s “Common Sense Librarianship: An Ordered List Manifesto” something you can get behind?

Photo credit: Rob Speed

Ryan

Hi, I’m Ryan Livergood.  I am the Director of Libraries in Arlington, Massachusetts. I was previously the Assistant Director of the Dover Town Library in Dover, Massachusetts and I got my start in public librarianship with the Miami-Dade Public Library System.  I also spent time in the Library Automation field with Sirsi Corporation (now SirsiDynix).  Other positions I have had include teaching English in China and serving in the Peace Corps. I received my MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My wonderful family consists of the best wife on the planet, my adventurous young son, and a lovable cat.  I love sports, especially college basketball and football.  I also love to travel, watch great films, and enjoy amazing meals with a nice glass of red wine or a craft beer.  Oh, I love reading too (and discussing books with my "Guys Book Group"), but I’m a librarian, so you kind of knew that already, right?

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