About to get started with the second day of R-Squared, the Risk & Reward Conference. I'm almost acclimated to the 9,500ft-plus altitude, after spending Sunday exploring the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, Colorado. The location couldn't be better for a retreat-style conference, and more than 350 librarians have come into town lately to prove just that. In and amongst the mountain peaks, we've been tackling the thorny questions of risk and reward in the library setting.
As a library student, I've been fortunate to participate in a bunch of library conferences, and all of them have their own themes and undercurrents. R-Squared is proving among the most closely aligned with my own interests in the library world, with its focus on flexibility and risk, entrepreneurial thinking, and creative solutions to age-old problems. Even nicer than that, though, is the population that chose to attend. Every person I've talked to - and they're a diverse bunch - proves through their interests and actions that the library world is changing. As a personal affirmation that I'm not crazy for caring about this stuff, it was worth attending, but more exciting than that is the chance to engage the conversations I care about in a proactive way, avoiding the endless explanations and justifications that "yes, these are issues we should be talking about."
I'm fairly sure I'm the only student here, and I think the lessons I'm learning apply just as much to me as they do to any of the librarians working in the field. To whit:
Stay curious! It's simple, but vital, for information professionals to stay just as curious as we wish the members of our communities would be.
Ask engaging questions! Question design can make all the difference between engagement and apathy.
Work publicly, fail big & often, and don't be shy, even when you aren't certain.
All of these have been said before, but they're worth saying again. We're entering a changing field, and we have the privilege- and the responsibility- to change it for the better.
Keep it up!