Battleship.Letter from Gene

I have not written a letter since Nov cos I have been figuring it out. So today at AGM I read out my latest letter. For all who were not here this morning, we missed you. I have also enclosed a copy of my slides presented today.

Fri 13th May was the inaugural When Librarians Meet session. Other than our conferences, it was probably LAS’s most well attended session. And shockingly, a good group stayed after what was unmistakably the reason a lot came in the first place – CEO NLB’s take on What Makes a Librarian.

I saw Battleship the day after – a Hasbro Toys-inspired special effects laden movie that one reviewer said was for those who found Transformers too subtle.

In Battleship, some alien super high tech ships had landed somewhere near Pearl Harbour where some also high tech digitally run american destroyers were having some naval exercise. Invariably the more high tech aliens decimated our digital stalwarts one by one. In a plot twist a la Space Cowboys involving an aging Clint Eastwood saving the world, the only ship left to face the rampaging extra terrestrials was a 70 year old battleship which had somehow become a museum for school kids cos – guess what – it’s all analog. Yet somehow it was unsinkable and in a strategem that was all about reading the right book and extracting just what was contextually appropriate, the hero with help of a crew of old shipmen who all looked like our grandpas… well, won’t spoil the movie for you.

I am not a Luddite. I have all versions of the iPad, a MacBook air, an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, an IMac. I even have a magic mouse and a magic tracking pad to go with my Apple Time machine.

But the movie moved me cos i felt the ones who saved the day were like librarians – the greatest human tech ever conceived – and we have to work hard to avoid us retreating into non contention.

I also loved the passion and the love for the profession that the librarians who came for Fri the 13th showed. So many of us are so involved in our jobs that even as libraries flourish, librarians sometimes retreat. So at that session, A mantra of our worth came to me:

Librarians Make Sense

It makes sense to have librarians for librarians can make sense of the world.

The year 2011 was a difficult year for LAS as we grow into the digital phase and continue in our quest for the profession to be cared about.  It also got me to have newfound respect for Puspa Yeow and her amazing work.

For that i have a lot to be thankful for, the tireless council members and all the committee members who stepped forward, the other committees the LAS Awards Panel and the PDS Board and Committee.

Recently 31 of us librarians went to Melaka for the first LAS-PPM conference in 7 years.  For the first time in my many trips to Malaysia, no traffic either.

So my second mantra of our power.

Librarians can clear traffic.

What else can stand in our way?



Let us meet again:

We are planning our 2nd When Librarians Meet networking session in Jul. We hear Jul 13th is a Friday 😉 So if you have anything you would like us to use as the key theme or have any inputs on how else to make the session better than the last one – let us know.

On 25 Sep 2012 at Biopolis, we will have Librarians for Tomorrow, LAS Seminar 2012. This follows the mode of the very successful quickfire, panel-brainpower-driven, new media-addled Libraries for Tomorrow II we did in 2011. We hope you will book your diaries and details will come your way soon in June.

Finally, further afield. President Tony Tan Keng Yam has accepted our invitation to be our Guest of Honour at the next LAS Awards, we are holding this at the Istana on 18 Aug 2013 to co-incide with the IFLA WLIC.

There are also a large number of opportunities for you to get involved and help spread the word that Librarians Make Sense – please look out for our recruitment drive to join us and build up our membership base to support the wonderful things that are coming up as a result of IFLA WLIC 2013.