Librarians as Entrepreneurs

While researching open access journals, we stumbled across this early 2011 paper published in Collaborative Librarianship by Mary Scanlon and Michael Crumpton. In “Re-conceiving entrepreneurship for libraries: Collaboration and the anatomy of a conference” they describe the process of organizing a conference to “celebrate entrepreneurism within the field of librarianship”.

What excited us about this paper was not simply the fact that library staff from two different institutions were able to come together to successfully organize a well-received conference. More important to us was the notion of librarians as entrepreneurs. As they note in the paper’s introduction, entrepreneurism is celebrated—and compensated—in America for more than simply creating useful products and services. It is the entrepreneur’s socially responsible spirit of promoting a better society by creating new opportunities and resources for its citizens. In this way, librarians are very much entrepreneurial in nature. Recognizing and nurturing this spirit is helpful for librarians as well as the public at large. The perception that librarians can be about more than books might push the profession toward more innovative uses and development of resources. Anything less and librarians are not fulfilling their mission of being socially responsible shepherds—not gatekeepers—of knowledge. Hopefully, with two meetings of the Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians held so far, librarians and the public will further embrace the profession’s propensity for social good.

Read the full paper here, and perhaps we’ll see you at next year’s conference!

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