Habits Worth Developing

In his essay in this week’s Chronicle, Todd Gilman shares his “Four Habits of Highly Effective Librarians“. Having followed some of Stephen Covey’s work the title immediately captured my attention. Gilman’s take on Covey’s advice suggests that by adopting four behaviors we can be more effective in the workplace. Those behaviors are openess, responsiveness, collaboration and communication. Much of this boils down to being a good colleague.

One who is open to new ideas and is open to sharing them and listening to those of others – and as Gilman suggests – is open to accepting change. One who is responsive to new ideas and is willing to give them a try – and who responds to co-workers when asked for input and participation. One who is willing to collaborate internally and externally with co-workers and fellow educators and academic support professionals to accomplish shared objectives. One who pays attention to the need to share information and communicate it to fellow librarians. I think most of us would like our colleagues to internalize these behaviors, and we should try to do so ourselves.

I also like that Gilman makes mention of the Columbia reference debate, and uses this as an example to reinforce the need to be open to new ideas and models for the delivery of services. I would point out that from my perspective the debate did not focus solely on the value proposition of the desk, but did in fact present – in additon to philosophical arguments – some concrete reasons why the reference desk was likely to become obsolete. But Gilman’s assessment of the proceedings is spot on in stating that despite the evidence presented at and beyond the debate, the majority of those in attendance expressed their commitment to maintaining reference service in its current model.

2 thoughts on “Habits Worth Developing”

  1. I have a minor argument with part of Gilman’s analysis. In the section on “Responsiveness”, Gilman states that ” …librarians to move physically closer…comfortable seeking academic of other kinds of assistance…rather than remaining tethered to the print reference collection, itself increasingly underused.” This seems like a broad generalization, especially considering the amount of NextGen librarians graduating from library schools with broader technology skills than even those who graduated in the early 1990s, let alone the 1950s-1970s. A friendly debate may now ensue…GO!

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