Grand Challenge of Librarianship

Today is the start of Week 4 and the focus is on issues within the community and how the librarians engage with the community.  However, I am reading the discussion on the grand challenge of librarianship first because I don’t think I have grasped the concept.

The Instructor, in a video-clip I watched last week, said this is it: The grand challenge is coordinating the knowledge infrastructure (technology, people, sources of information/knowledge, permissions – intellectual property) to unlock the potential and passions of society.  In discussing the infrastructure there were other challenges. These are the ones that I can recall:

  1. How to balance the goal of profit with the goal of information.
  2. How to move from information consumption/production to participation or How to turn people from passive information consumers to active builders of the knowledge economy.
  3. How to coordinate the infrastructure to eliminate the digital divide of haves and have-nots.

Here is one librarian’s view of the grand challenge. The librarian/blogger asked in March 2013, How would we create a library that had the ability to change or grow remotely? I thought the grand challenge of librarianship, the rallying call would be something to do with change or innovation.

Jian on the discussion board came up with a grand challenge template which looks like this:  “A grand challenge [for libraries] is a fundamental problem in the information [knowledge] society with broad applications, whose solution would be enabled by the application of […] that could become available in the near future.”

Another “conversant” wrote her grand challenge for her school community: How  to get more of our students to be proactive [on] their own learning. I can identify with this challenge but is that grand enough?


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