The link to David Lankes lecture was posted in the Linkedin ALA group and many, including myself, found it extremely inspirational (as well as entertaining). My first thought to the video was “Wow”, that is what I want to do. I want my job, my personal mission and my professional mission to be part of something bigger then books and the stuff. I want librarianship to not feel like an outdated profession that has to simply adapt, but rather a profession which exists to create and promote innovation, to help members and society try big ideas and to make sense of information in a whirlwind of change. I do want to improve society and the world and make a difference even though it is hard and I’m not too sure what exactly the change is yet and how librarians are going to achieve it. Not only that, but I want to have a kick-ass time with my colleagues while doing it. I’m not too sure how the hell I’m going to do it, especially the specifics when it comes to real world implementation of these ideas. But at least I have a “big idea” and I am studying in a university with a fantastic library where I can play, learn, listen, ask questions and experiment. I am extremely fortunate to have such an opportunity.
I am not going to summarize the talk. That is why I have embedded it for your viewing pleasure. Instead, there are two concepts I wish Lankes had included or at least alluded to. The first concept is failure. A big part of innovation, experimentation and leadership is failure. As librarians we must not be afraid to fail. Part of learning and perfecting the real world application of an big idea is failure and it’s very easy to become discouraged. The second concept, which builds upon failure, is honesty. Failure will happen, but we cannot build upon it unless we as librarians recognize why something failed, when it is time to pull out, and what can we learn and use to modify our approach or edit the idea as a whole. Additionally, librarians must be honest about the obstacles faced both on the small scale and large scale when trying new things, so we do not become overwhelmed when we do fail.