Transformative Librarianship

The Idaho Library Association Annual Conference participants were challenged by nationally-known library futurist Joan Frye Williams to view librarianship as tranformative.  Rather than looking at the traditions, rules, and perceptions of librarians — view librarianship through the following filters:

  • Generosity
  • Flexibility
  • Trust
  • Hope
  • Teamwork
  • Laughter
  • Gratitude

Joan noted that the reality is technology “jerks” you around — human nature is more reliable, more predictable — and gives you lots to ponder and smile at!

She charged the group to

  • create an enticing environment where people want to be
  • provide more sharing opportunities — less guarding
  • simplify
  • make browsing easier
  • accomodate exceptions — they will happen — one rule does not fit all!
  • provide more tools, less rules
  • allow people to come to libraries via their way
  • serve as a first responder — allow anyone who works in the library to provide service
  • thank everyone for their service — not their time!
  • convene community conversations — allow the community to describe the cake rather than just provide the ingrediants

For more thought-provoking, conversation generating audio, listen to “Thinking OutLoud” — engaging conversations between Joan Frye Williams and George Needham. 


  • Underutilized Library Skills
  • Going Back to Schools
  • Some Big Existential Questions
  • Amazing Developments in Libraryland

There are many others — listen, think, and enjoy!