Radical Trust

I'm reading The Cluetrain Manifesto and following along at the ALA Library 2.0 blog, and I'm feeling really inspired by both, but I'm wondering about how we can take the idea of Library 2.0 beyond technology. The ideas of empowering users and offering them tools to interact and contribute are wonderful, and I think that it's great to think about how we can do this by improving our OPACs, offering blogs and wikis, and providing opportunities for users to truly affect the way they experience library services. I'm wondering, though, does radical trust stop at technology? I don't think it has to.

What if, for instance, in academic libraries we trusted our students enough to actually believe that they want to learn, that they're interested in what they're studying, and that they want to participate in a community of scholarship? Information literacy instruction seems to come so often from a place where we're telling students to swallow their medicine; we present instruction and learning as if it's something for them to survive rather than something that can actually be fun and engaging. It's fun to learn stuff! And I don't think students are ignorant to that. Of course they sit there, though, slumped over, txting on their phones, sneakily listening to their ipods underneath their hoodies at the back of the classroom when we assume from the start that they don't want to be there.

What could library outreach and instruction look like if we did radically trust our students in a way that went beyond letting them tag catalog records and order pizza in the library?

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