05/24/2013 04:58 pm ET Updated Jul 24, 2013

The Next Librarians

Thanks to our colleagues at Beloit College, we are reminded each year about the characteristics of our incoming college freshmen. This list is always fun to read and often a sobering reminder of generational change. It also serves to keep us in touch with our students, which is so important. But we want to turn the tables and think about our own profession. The literature abounds with how libraries and librarians need to accept change, but with the economy still in such a volatile state, many librarians are resisting retirement. So we thought it would be fun to develop a mindset associated with the new generation of librarians, with very special thanks for contributions from two of our colleagues at the University of Cincinnati, Sarah Maguire and Katie Foran-Mulcahy.

With this Mindset list we welcome our new i-school graduates into the profession -- we need you!

The Next Librarians

Their culture...
Ga Ga is a performer, not a reaction.
Transgender. Transnational. Transracial.

Their education...
Meeting rooms, not carrels.
Portfolios, not papers.
Scanning, not photocopying.
PDFs, not coursepacks.

Their reality...
iGeneration, not Me Generation.
Clouds aren't in the sky, tweets don't come from birds, streams aren't made of water.
Multitasking, multidisciplinary, multiplayer.

Their style...
Expressed, not repressed.
Likely tattooed, (maybe) sensibly shoed.
Lovers of all thing vintage, save technology.

Their technology...
Gestures, not clicks.
Podcasting, not broadcasting.
They use apps for content, not for getting jobs.
The cloud IS their computer, and their OS, and their apps, and their data.

Their library...
Metadata, not cataloging.
Access, not ownership.
Facebook walls, Chrome fixtures, and Java for everyone.

Their patrons...
Memes and hastags, not keywords and headings.
"might also like," not see also.
Relevance ranking, not authority control.
"I can..." not "Can you...?"

Their workspace expectations...
Real job security is the ability to add value.
The workplace is a matrix, not a hierarchy.
The traditional academic monopoly is being challenged by online learning, open access, and a global educational marketplace.
Change is the new constant-the dominant library paradigms of the next decade haven't been invented yet.

Their communication...
Chatting has gotten snappy.
Geospatial notification, not handwritten invitation.
140 characters to say it all.

Their worldview...
Future-centric, not past-present.
Don't tell them it didn't work when you tried it five years ago.
Rebellious - but for the common good.