Dr. Lankes’ “The Atlas of New Librarianship” provides a very definitive lens for library students to consider–or, more accurately, reconsider–the relationship library professionals have with their respective communities. What strikes me in particular is the notion of the librarian as motivator.
“You must facilitate the knowledge from access, to knowledge, to environment, to motivation.”
The two questions this statement raises are:
“what CAN motivate your patrons?” and “how can we motivate our patrons?”
The supposition that fruits in the shadow of these questions is that everyone can indeed be motivated to (want to) learn. Librarians I’ve talked to about this have been fairly divided on this point. One of my supervisors posits that motivation in academic libraries goes as far as “empower[ing] them to find the resources.” The mindset here is that successful independent searches can lead to further attempts to search for information. An elementary school librarian on the other hand, is ALL ABOUT fostering that drive to learn any and everything and motivating students when that drive seems to languish.
In my interpretation of Dr. Lankes’ point, the role of the librarian as motivator should strike an appropriate balance for the particular user or group of users in question. I imagine that the larger/broader the audience, the more subtle the manifestation of active motivation should be.
So how do we as library scholars go about figuring out the answers to these questions? How will I know what will motivate my patrons? and how?
As I continue to participate in the near west side, Little Free Library project, I hope to find the answer to these questions. If they exist.