Sunday, 23 June 2013

From knowledge consumption to sharing to creation

I've been thinking about moving from consumption to sharing to creation of knowledge for a while now, in terms of my own learning and professional development, and also when I think of the 'future of libraries'.

Know Knew Books
Know Knew Books by Earthworm, on Flickr
Let's start with me: I've spent years trying to absorb as much knowledge about the profession as possible, by attending events and training, and reading everything that comes my way. What I realised a couple of years ago was that I was simply consuming all this valuable knowledge. I was using some of the ideas to improve my own practice, but not actively sharing them with others. I was a knowledge hoarder!

When a call for volunteers for ALIA Sydney came out at the end of 2011, I jumped at it, thinking 'right, I've benefitted from attending their events - here's my chance to put something back and help share with others'. It's been incredibly rewarding, and that drive to share has spilled over to my working life. I'm now confident volunteering at work to present on conferences and training I've attended, and I regularly share my notes from presentations and interesting articles with my colleagues.

I see my next logical step as creating new knowledge - conducting research or coming up with new ideas to better the profession. Wish me luck!

Now, how does this relate to the library and information world? There's been some debate lately about knowledge consumption vs creation in libraries, and clearly we collect and share (enable access to) knowledge. The idea is that our customers will then put this to use to create new knowledge. But can we go further ourselves?

Open Access has opened up possibilities for libraries, especially academic libraries like mine who are currently struggling to provide access to high quality scholarly information in the face of ever-increasing costs. Perhaps, as Peter Brantley suggested in a recent post for Publishers Weekly, we can also create new open publications for the profession to share and debate ideas. What do you think?

Amy Croft
ALIA Sydney Convenor

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