Going native with stealthy librarian ninjas

McMaster University colleague Andrew Colgoni (Twitter) has taken my Stealth Librarian Manifesto and tamed it a little bit and come up with his own version, which is here.

I like what Andrew has to say in a post titled, I prefer Ninja Librarianship, myself:

[T]here's much that can be learned from discovering where your faculty are reading/going and finding them there. This can be as simple as finding on-campus conferences that draw a broad faculty audience, and visit that. Here at McMaster, the Centre for Leadership in Learning annually hosts a teaching and learning conference, which draws internal faculty interested in pedagogical research, as well as faculty from other institutions. Typically, librarians have a showing at these kinds of events, which (I hope) reminds faculty that we are invested in student learning as well. I will often attend the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) conference, for similar reasons. At some point, I will definitely attend a science communication oriented conference, too.

...I suspect that finding a (personal) balance between library and faculty 'worlds' is probably best. One can adjust depending on how long you've spent in a career, and on which aspects are more rewarding and challenging.

I'll let you head over to Andrew's blog to discover what's he's done to my manifesto. And I'll note here again that I've released the manifesto under a CC0 license so Andrew and anyone else is perfectly free to take a crack at coming up with their own version. Take up the challenge yourself!

Katie Fraser (Twitter) has also put her thoughts down on bloggy paper on her blog at Chuukaku.com.

I'll let her speak for herself:

The stealth librarian's manifesto had me nodding most of the way through. We should become part of our users' landscape. We should be integrated into research and teaching and we should be collaborative. With all these I agree. However, I baulked slightly at the separation from the information profession the manifesto encouraged in parts: "We must stop going to librarian conferences" and "We must stop joining librarian associations"? Yikes!

On reflection I think this reaction is partly about my background. As an ex-academic (at the PhD student level) and relatively new librarian (I graduated from my librarianship course just over a year ago) I'm very conscious of what I've learnt from the knowledge and expertise of other librarians. I'm wary of the danger of 'going native' - a concept from anthropological ethnographic research, where those studying a culture can come to identify with it so strongly that they become estranged from their own culture. I still think that there's a lot I have to learn from other information professionals, and I don't want to lose sight of the new ways of seeing the world I've learnt as a librarian.

All of which is very relevant. I have to admit that the way librarians feel about the various communities they partake in during different career stages wasn't really something that I considered during the fevered writing of the manifesto. It makes a lot of sense for librarians to be more embedded in librarian networks earlier in their career and then to branch out as they become more familiar with library culture and feel confident enough to infiltrate another culture.

And so, my ideas and opinions evolve and change. Much like librarianship.

What do you think?

One response so far

  • Katie says:

    I do feel a lot more comfortable with the more moderated language of Andrew's revised manifesto - but as you've pointed out, the role of a manifesto isn't to make us feel comfortable!

    Despite my comments about career stage, I still think there's lots to inspire new librarians in the manifesto - I guess our personal balance between library and faculty is just going to be slightly different.

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