Relearning, unlearning, information overload????

June 29, 2011

This quote was shared on one of the blogs I follow, and it seemed so true:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~Alvin Toffler, Rethinking the Future

As I continue on my journey (15+ years as a librarian), I find that things are changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up/current.  I have found that flexibility and the willingness to constantly seek out new experiences (such as following blogs, downloading apps, and having an open mind) make me feel at least a bit on top of things.  Most places I have worked have not been real progressive, and, as with most jobs, just having time to do the day-to-day trumps any time that may be spent on innovation and exploring new options to better efficiency. 

However, I think that it may be necessary for the future of libraries to provide opportunities to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” in new and different ways, both for the good of the patron, and for the satisfaction of the librarian.  The feeling that we are on a constant treadmill of information overload with no time to make processes better, or to try something new (such as QR Codes) because of time and budget constraints, is disconcerting and frustrating.

What we should do is set aside a time each quarter for a “day of innovation”–a way to introduce new ideas, new processes, outside or internal speakers, and just time for brainstorming.  Once new ideas are introduced, librarians can work on their own time in exploring any of interest outside of work or as part of professional development.

Relearning and unlearning will stimulate your brain and can only result in new and fresh experiences.  My advice is to not be afraid of the new, but to embrace it with a spirit of excitement.


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