Library Aquariums

You know, this what I really love about putting thoughts and ideas out there on this blog ... conversation!! And along with that, occasionally a great comment comes along that helps me think of things a different way.

I just love Sarah's aquarium analogy to my recent Technology is not a service post, dont' you?

You make an excellent point, and I agree with the idea of a model showing technology as part of the larger foundation. However, I would suggest that “Highly Trained and Skilled Staff” is actually another layer of the foundation, rather than one of the supported “silos.”

While I agree with you that “Because of the implementation, support and use of technology, our staffs are more skilled and highly trained,” I would also argue that without highly trained and skilled staff to envision the practical applications of new technologies, they simply remain expensive novelties. What good is funding for New Technology if you don’t have “Highly Trained and Skilled Staff” to take that funding from Dollars to the actual useable, integrated Thing (email and phone communication, electronic databases, cataloging systems, etc.). And how do you get funding? Sometimes it’s with the pursuasive skills of “Highly Trained and Skilled Staff” who can visualize and explain the implementation and eventual benefit of the new technology. Which came first, the chicken or the network?

My point is, it’s almost impossible to separate technology from staff. Ultimately, new technology is only as good as the staff that’s available to make it a reality.

And while we’re speaking of models, instead of a plateau supporting numerous columns, perhaps a more accurate representation would be a library system as aquarium. Our community is constantly demanding more fish… the best fish, the prettiest, most tropical fish (current collections). But the acquisition of these fish means a need for larger and better tanks (facilities), more water (staff), constant monitoring and adjustment of the PH level (technology), and a consistent oxygenation process (planning, training and visionary thinking).

If any of those elements falls out of balance, you risk being left with a tank full of smelly, dead fish.

PS: It also helps if you have a light above the aquarium so the public can see the fish (marketing).

Thanks Sarah. What a great analogy!! You make many good points about highly trained staffs and technology. PS: You know you really should be blogging. :)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sarah's analogy of the aquarium is perfect. However, it seems to me that whether technology is the water or the pillar is less the question than what is "Highly trained and skilled staff". In this performance based economy, we need to be less concerned with what people have and more concerned about what people actually do. Just a thought from someone who thinks that skills and training is only the bare minimum of driving peak performance.