The Next Chapter in the Book

by Dean Duane Strojny

This is it. I am at the end of three years participating in the RIPS blog. I will admit that I wasn’t sure I could fill the space or that I had anything to say that people might be interested in writing in. I was wrong. I seem to always have something to say and some people actually read it. I’m a bit old fashioned, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try new things. So, while this is an end of blogging for now, I am at the beginning of a new venture beginning this month. I will be teaching a three-credit required class this summer called Advocacy. It is basically Research and Writing II, but we focus some more on the advocacy part. I’m nervous. I’m excited. It’s a big change, but I know it will be a good one. It’s like a new chapter in the book. I have great colleagues who are very helpful already. The topic is one that I am confident I can teach. I will be using Canvas for the first time as a course management tool. Overall, despite my concerns, I feel that all the right building blocks are in place to successful.

So, it would be wrong of me to not make a few predictions and observations for the future concerning law librarianship at this point.

  1. This is an evolving profession. If you don’t like change, you really should look elsewhere.
  2. Librarians need to continue to develop effective teaching techniques. If you are not already in the classroom teaching a for-credit class, you likely will be at some point. Be prepared and walk into the classroom ready to present learning outcomes and effective assessments.
  3. When someone encourages you to do something different, take that as a hint to accept the challenge. If an interesting opportunity comes up, don’t pass it by.
  4. Seek out both mentors (they’ve done it all) and mentees (they offer a fresh perspective).
  5. Remember why you got into academic law librarianship (for those of you who are). It is all about the success of the students. You need to remember that without them, you do not have a job.
  6. There is a delicate balance between online and print resources. When you find the line, let me know. Not everything is online. Patrons, including younger ones, still like some print options. Online always seems easier to search even if you have to dig a little deeper for the answer.
  7. Blockchain and coding don’t seem like required librarian skills. If you have the skills or want them, that’s good, but remember that at its heart, librarianship is about connecting people and information. It may be good to be very high tech these days, but coding alone does not make you a librarian.
  8. Working well with others is a skill that can’t be emphasized enough. It appears in nearly every job posting, but some applicants don’t realize that this is a very important skill to learn and enhance over time. It will ultimately make you a leader.
  9. The library of tomorrow may look different than the library of today, but it will likely offer very similar services. The reference desk, circulation desk, service desk, or whatever you may call it will always serve as the center of the law school.
  10. RIPS is a great SIS. It always has been, so it likely always will be. Get involved if you are looking to be involved in the national organization. It’s not a very political group and everyone is helpful and friendly. You cannot go wrong by volunteering with this group.

As you go through the summer, think about what has gone well in the past year. Definitely do some planning for the coming year. Take on the task that will challenge you the most. Going out of your comfort zone will propel you into future success. Keep reading. The next chapter might surprise you.

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