Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change

Article excerpt

The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change. By Michael Stephens. Chicago: ALA, 2016. 158 p. Paper $48 (9780838914540).

Having worked in libraries since her undergraduate days, this reviewer found that reading The Heart of Librarianship as she approached her fiftieth birthday helped rekindle some professional fires that may have begun to do more smoldering than burning. This small volume focuses on the importance of learning, teaching, and fostering the skills needed to meet the ever-evolving needs of library patrons.

The words and concepts that seemed most significant in this book are chaos, playtime, and visibility. Stephens correctly asserts that visibility is and will continue to be a key to a library's success within its community, and that we can longer wait behind our information desks for patrons to come to us. We need to change our roles to join patrons where and how they are working. We also should encourage and enable staff to take playtime to explore new technologies, and we must connect with colleagues not just at conferences but via blogs, libchats, and MOOCS. In one essay, Stephens outlines the notion of "embracing chaos," which is really another way of encouraging library staff to remain ready and willing develop new services and try new approaches to problem solving. …

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