So several conversations with people in my professional and personal circles have led me to the conclusion that it’s not terrifically important or effective to try to be interesting. Either as an individual, or as an institution, it’s just too subjective and hard to figure out how to be interesting, and who on earth can define for sure what “interesting” means in a given context?
Working in an academic library since 2009 means I’ve been witness to ongoing low- (and occasionally high-) level anxiety about how to get people interested in libraries, which I usually interpret to mean a concern with levels of engagement with us as institutions. How do we get people on campus to come to us? How do we make sure they know we are important? How can we convince them we are interesting?
Well, telling people we are important doesn’t work (showing them, OTOH…). And I am skeptical of the “hey, we’re interesting!” tack as well. What we can to is be interestED. We can reach out to people doing cool work on and off campus and ask questions, find things out, and then connect what they are doing with stuff that we are doing. Expressing interest in other people is, not incidentally, a great way to make friends as well.
Basically, Be Interested. Interesting things will follow.