I participated in the ACRL/NY Metropolitan Chapter’s symposium yesterday on “Connecting With the Net Generation,” at Baruch College in Manhattan. A highlight of the day for me was an opportunity to meet Joan Lippincott, Associate Director of the Coalition of Networked Information. It also reminded me that I had wanted to encourage ACRLog readers to listen to a podcast interview with Lippincott that was recorded at this year’s EDUCAUSE conference. It’s 30 minutes well spent. If podcasts aren’t your cup of tea just yet (although this is a good time to try one) that’s no problem. You can still read what Lippincott has been writing about the netgen and how libraries can do a better job of making the right kind of changes that will help us better connect with our students. Lippincott had a good article in Library Journal‘s October 1, 2005 issue. That article contains a link to another of Lippincott’s must reads, her chapter “Net Generation Students and Libraries,” in the EDUCAUSE publication Educating the Net Generation, edited by Diana G. and James L. Oblinger.
What I really liked about Lippincott’s presentation on netgen learners yesterday is that while she presented a number of suggestions about what academic libraries could be doing to better serve or reach the Millennial generation, she made a point to tell the attendees, “I realize that many of you are not going to rush back to your libraries to make all these changes, but if you can just accomplish one or two of them it may help to make a difference.” I think it was great for her to acknowledge that many of us are in situations where we have many pressing issues to deal with, often with limited or shrinking resources, but to encourage us to attempt creating change – slowly. This is a refreshing change from other library pundits who come up with clever catch phrases that ultimately ring hollow and perhaps do no more then make front-line librarians feel badly that they aren’t changing quickly enough, that their systems stink, that their programs aren’t hi-tech enough, or any of the other things you read that fall into this category of non-help (you can read more about this in a Library Journal “Backtalk” column). We need more speakers who come from a non-library situation who will stand up and give us sensible advice.
I spoke about Googlelization and Google Migration and my presentation materials (slides, websites of interest, and handout) are available at my website if you are interested.