Be Where The Conversation Is.

Lately, I’ve been speaking publicly quite a bit on the importance of communication and collaboration amoung different units in an organization. (This has pre-empted my regular posts on this blog.) Yesterday, I summarized this to a colleague by reminding how vital it is for librarians to move beyond our offices and seek out our students, users, and stakeholders if we want to best understand their needs and make ourselves essential to their own work. That’s when she pointed to the quotation I keep taped to my door:

Like RD Lankes tells us, "Be where the conversation is."


Dave Lankes has made this statement, a lot. I agree with him, and I make it part of my practice to initiate conversations with people who are affected by or have an interest in my work.

Some people may think that this idea to be “where the conversation is,” or to interview, collaborate, and work with our stakeholders (be they students, faculty, staff, librarians, etc.) goes without saying, i.e,. that networking, collaborating, and speaking with others should be natural to our everyday work. Well, it *should* be natural to our work, but I don’t think it always is. It’s easy to get side-tracked, and it’s easy to become so involved with one’s work that we put up blinders to what’s going on around us.  That’s human nature sometimes, and we’ve got to fight it if it happens.

So let’s do what we can not to inadvertently put the blinders up. Don’t be an island. Go and involve yourself with others’ work. And go and involve them with your own. Query your students and your colleagues on how your projects affect the organization. Doing so will benefit them, your library and your students, and yourself.

P.S.  Happy Bastille Day, France!  Pour Liberté, égalité, fraternité!