I have been blogging about the Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician over the last few months.

To illustrate how all of what I am talking about connects using a successful example from librarianship, I will briefly touch upon the Inter-Library Loan system (ILL). What would be helpful for further reading would be the PhD dissertations and academic publications that go into the history behind ILL, the genesis of it, the key decision makers, the administrative architecture that the managers employed to launch it, and how it was first implemented in actual libraries. While I will not go into much detail, I can make an educated guess that the process generally went something like this.

The Entrepreneur: A library director thinks about borrowing books/materials from other libraries out of their own area. The idea itself may have been planted from either frontline library staff  or customer suggestions. The entrepreneur thinks, would it not be grand if a book, that our library does not have, could be sent from another state for a patron/student to borrow at their local library?

The Managers: These folks were probably the forerunners to those working in IT departments. It is possible that staff that ordered, purchased, and cataloged materials were probably consulted. The questions they asked were probably: What type of medium do we need to record the pertinent information on to start making such a request? What pertinent information do we need to communicate/record? How do we plan to send this information to the library that has the book being requested? How do we know that a particular library has the book being requested? How do we guarantee that the request gets to the right place? What is the means of delivering/returning the book? In short these folks had to develop the administrative architecture/platforms to make ILL happen.

The Technicians: These were the people working in the actual libraries that had to fulfill these requests by grabbing the books off the shelves. They most likely asked questions such as: How are the instructions delivered to me to find a certain book? Where is the place where I prepare the book for shipment elsewhere? What instructions do I need to follow to make this work?

I am thinking about other illustrations that could work from modern librarianship. If you think of any let me know.


Just got Ray Dalio’s Principles as a gift. I have been flipping through it to get a flavor of what it is about. I love the brief commentary in huge font on page 164, which is as follows:

BAD: Worry about appearing good.

GOOD: Worry about achieving the goal.

My take: While appearances are important, if there is no substance behind the appearances it will produce a lack of credibility. This is the equivalent of talking the talk but not being able to walk the walk.  For me, “achieving the goal” is similar to doing the right thing. Better to do the right thing than to focus a great deal of energy to keep up a mirage. Doing the right thing seeks to serve a higher purpose than the self and will often cost something of value to carry out.