What a “get”, right? Vincente Fox, former President of Mexico, to close out the 2011 L1brar1an Conference. Wait a minute, you say? What does the former President of Mexico have to say about libraries? Well, truthfully, nothing directly. His speech was about economics and international relations. Yet, I think sometimes library conferences fall down when they book library cheerleaders, authors, or fan’s of libraries to be their speakers. How can we break our silos, collaboration, and network if we simply talk to and about ourselves. Where is the potential in that? As librarians we need to make connections to the real world with our work and services. Vincente Fox was a great choice to inspire change, collaboration and thinking outside the box. For example, did you know that President Fox is an advocate for legalizing drugs? Pretty radical right? But from his viewpoint it serves a legitimate purpose, the people of Mexico are in the middle of the US drug trade and hurting terribly. It is kind of inspirational to completely change the playing field by removing the problem altogether or as he said “we are paying too high a price for too little of a return”. It might not be the ideal solution but it is an example of playing the game a whole different way. Libraries need to play the game a whole different way. As the morning keynote speakers pointed out changes in technology, patron demands, and library funding are going to require libraries to rethink, re-imagine, and do things differently.
All in all, a great closing speaker, which left me with a lot to think about. Here are some of my take-a-ways from the speech:
-Lead with purpose. What is your purpose?
-Don’t forget your neighbors as collaborators
-Don’t ignore the expertise and lessons learned of those who have experienced repeated crises
-Democracy must also DELIVER not simply be a form of government.
-You can build the future you want, because we are all leaders.
A replay of President Fox’s press conference about his visit to Western Oregon University is available here: