Do you ever have times when something has been percolating for a while in the back of your mind, and then comes along to push it to the fore? For me, it often seems that I have multiple thought streams running around in the head, quietly bubbling away. Some come to a quick dead end; others simmer until something concrete come out of it. Others just seem to run and run, nagging at me as every now and then they get pushed to the forefront. Right now there is a stream that has come back to the forefront, and as I just don’t know the answers I will dam it up and push it back under. But before I do I think I will share it with you.
A few weeks ago a student doing the MLIS came up from Wellington to interview me about out library Facebook page. We had a good wide-ranging discussion on web 2.0, Facebook, digital strategies and staffing. This brought to the fore the problem that is simmering, and has been simmering for quite a while. And that is staffing a small library, in a rural district, with people who are keen to adopt some of the newer technologies. From my experience, it seems small libraries like ours have difficulties in recruiting staff with the mindset, interest or technological skills to develop and maintain technologies like blogs or Facebook. More often than not people with my sort of interests are drawn to the larger centres. I worry that if I was to leave my position now, our web 2.0 presence would stumble to a grinding halt.
In the latest New Zealand Library & Information Management Journal there is an article by Craig Cherrie called 21st Century Skill Set for New Zealand Libraries. It was quite an interesting little article which discusses the evolving skill set needed by librarians in this digital age. I found nothing in the way of an argument against what Craig said, which concerns me as again I am struck by the problem of how that relates to the smaller rural public library service.
In many ways I like to live and work on the cutting edge of new technologies, yet I am aware that many out there working in similar libraries are not. It is a problem that I will continue to mull over as I seek to encourage my co-workers into the digital world.