Thursday, April 28, 2011

Librarians Between Cultures: A Call To Celebrate and Cultivate

I was honored to present the  keynote at the Massachusetts Library Association's Teen Summit on Monday. I introduced myself as a survivor of life between cultures, and then invited the 100+ librarians in the audience to see themselves along the border as well. You won't get to see the powerpoint or hear my bad jokes, but here's the gist of my speech:

Librarians Between Cultures: A Call To Celebrate and Cultivate

What does it mean to be "between cultures"? You're ...
  • Trapped on the margins between an old world and a fast-changing new one.
  • Stifled by old world customs and overwhelmed by new world expectations.
  • Worried we might be losing more than we’re gaining.
But you learn to fuse—to celebrate the best of the new world and cultivate the best of the old.

How can teen librarians celebrate the best of the new world when it comes to stories?
  • teens still need and want stories—in songs, video games, movies, television, books, online
  • teens expect and demand diversity in stories
  • new technology engages a generation that thrives on connections
  1. facebook
  2. formspring
  3. vYou
  4. youtube
  5. skype
How can teen librarians cultivate the best of the old world when it comes to stories?
  • books make better sense (all five, in fact)
  • authors of books share collaborative power with readers
  • the magic of the re-read
How can teen librarians celebrate the best of the new world when it comes to writing? Teens are ...
  • finding a voice through new media
  • building community and justice with words
  • showcasing humor and storytelling via video
  • contributing to collaborative fiction (www.figment.com)
How can teen librarians cultivate the best of the old world when it comes to writing?
  • writers still need silence and solitude to create beautiful poetry and meaningful prose
  • the depth and shared power of traditional-length books can change the world—and our lives
  • the brain needs time to rest from multi-tasking,
In the film clip below, count the catches made by the white team. Then keep watching to see how our brains like to focus on one task at a time.


How can teen librarians celebrate the best of the new world when it comes to research?
  • teens feel confident about finding information
  • the internet is fast and user-friendly
  • flattening of access to information
How can teen librarians cultivate the best of the old world when it comes to learning and thinking?
  • serve as trusted curator in a chaotic world of information overload
  • serve as champion of teens without digital access
What's the secret to a successful vocation between cultures?
Master “new world” innovations and language and stay fluent in “old world” customs and values to serve teens with the best of both worlds.

3 comments:

Kristi Bernard said...

This is an excellent post. My local libary does a great job of keeping thier finger on the pulse of our community and the ever changing digital world. Thanks for sharing.

mclicious said...

I love this! I start library school in the fall and I'm excited to become a part of such an exciting field with so much to offer and so much to learn.

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