Next Gen Librarians & a lack of fusion

March 5, 2007, 8:56 am

I was invited to join a Next Gen Librarians facebook group, but the thing is, I don’t really consider myself Next Gen (NG). I mean, maybe to a Boomer I am NG but to me, NG are the kids in 6th grade right now. That’s the generation that will have real breakthroughs. Those of us in our 20’s and 30’s are really just taking baby steps, we’re doing things now that the real next gen will consider a joke in 10 years. Like that “aw, at least they’re trying” attitude.

I guess it’s a matter of perception. The NG Librarians probably feel they need a badge of distinction. I get it. I used to feel that way too. But honestly I know a lot of Boomers that are light years more progressive then many Gen X and Y, at least in terms of libraries. Originality counts BIG in my book and my peers are BIG on imitation. Now, don’t get the wrong impression. There are many Boomers that will let you down with their conservative values, lack of passion/vision, and fear/inability to do something new, exciting, or BIG. But my point is: the real radical ideas I hear don’t come from my peers but from cool Boomers.

So ACRL in Baltimore is approaching. I will be pretending to be a Next Gen Librarian talking about the future of reference. It should be good show. If you’re up at 8:30 am, check it out on the Friday. I wish that there were more interesting excursions though. I mean, the Aquarium? Elsevier’s chocolate strawberries? Yawn. Where are the Emo Librarians who are going out to see bands like Thursday, TBS, or a very good Wash DC group? Sign me up for that!

Speaking of music, I watched KoRN unplugged (commercial free!) this weekend and it was interesting to see them collaborate with Robert Smith. They did a Cure cover, but re-invented it. And that’s the thing lacking in library job ads today: fusion. They blended the melodic, melancholy of the Cure with the dark driving edge of Korn, together with Japanese ritual drummers, and an orchestra wearing pagan animal masks. I’m not a big KoRN fan, but the spectacle was compelling enough to grab my attention for the entire show. Fusion Librarians, that’s what we need to see. Loosen up those job descriptions. Hire good talent and let them do what needs to be done. I’d rather see an ad that says: come work here and you’ll get a chance to do lots of innovate projects and we won’t just pigeonhole you into the same old thing. 6th graders, set us free.

Korn1_1 Korn2

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