University of Michigan education professor David Cohen says that no education occurs until what he calls “inert” assets (books, teachers, rooms, curricula, rules, budgets, and so on) interact with each other and with students. Education is interaction. People in educational organizations, he says, often behave as if the inert assets were essential and the interactions expendable. They fight political wars over budgets, space, and personnel, and spend little time defending and perfecting the interactions among these assets through cooperation, communication, teamwork, and knowledge about students.
The above passage struck me as having a direct parallel to some of the recent changes I've noticed in academic librarianship. Putting it in broad strokes, we are going through a fundamental shift in libraries from being collection-focused to being user-focused. What I like about the above quotation is that spending time "perfecting the interactions among these assets through cooperation, communication, teamwork, and knowledge about students" sounds very much like what good Information Literacy practice aspires to be.
Its from an essay that calls for a fundamental organizational change in health care titled Escape Fire: Lessons for the Future of Health Care [pdf]. I read this essay because of this recommendation to do from Brett Bonfield on the ACRL blog. And I would second the recommendation. Its worth reading for its own merits relating to health care and for reminding us how important transparency and access to information can be in a person's life.