Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Towards a Knowledge Rich Western Australia

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Towards a Knowledge Rich Western Australia

Article excerpt

Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind. (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of morals, preface, 1887 bans 1956)

Imagine ....

Alice asked the Cheshire Cat,

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought

to go from here?'

`That depends a good deal on where you want

to go,' said the Cat.

`I don't much care where ...' said Alice.

`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said

the Cat.

`-so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an


`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if

only you walk long enough.' (Carroll p88)

Unlike Alice, when we plan it is better to start with the end in mind. So often we focus on the problems to be rectified rather than the opportunity to move far beyond our current paradigms. Imagine from your own perspective how the employee, client and community of the future might approach their information seeking activities in relation to an organisation like the Library and Information Service of WA (Liswa).

The fulfilled staff member

First, let us take a look at this organisation from the staff member's point of view.

Imagine an organisation full of people who

come to work enthusiastically, knowing that

they will grow and flourish, and intent on

fulfilling the vision and goals of the

organisation. There's an ease, grace and

effortlessness about the way they get things

done. Work flows seamlessly among teams

and functions. People take pleasure and pride

in every aspect of the enterprise--for example,

in the way they can talk openly, reflect on

each other's opinions, and have genuine

influence on the structures around them.

That's a lot of energy walking in each day,

accomplishing an ever increasing amount of

work and having fun along the way.[1]

The delighted client

Secondly, let us consider the recipient of this staff member's efforts, the client.

Information services are technologically and personally time intensive. In the ideal scenario, the client would be comfortable in entering the information environment of libraries, archives or the internet, confident in his or her own ability to find the information whether through self help or asking a librarian for assistance. Technology would hold no fears--in any case, should a problem arise, the client knows there is always the friendly expert waiting to assist. Information from around the world can be found and retrieved for personal use. Of course, nothing breaks down since only the state of the art technology is available and there is little delay in needs being met. Each experience not only satisfies an information query but leaves a delighted client who becomes a perennial salesperson for the organisation and so spreads the word and returns time and time again to experience this wonderful service.

The client can choose to access many of the services from home or office so the concept of a physical library has changed. Online services and assistance are available at times that suit the client.

The information rich community

The community is well informed about the available information resources it owns and can access. Its citizens have excellent telecommunications and computing technologies with a comfortable ability to use the equipment. They feel they understand the equity, ethical and economic imperatives which drive the availability of information and participate actively in community discussions on these issues. The more disadvantaged people are able to access through local libraries the same level of service and resources that the more well off can do from homes and office. …

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