Is it a dinosaur, or is it a… library?

OLJ Task 17: Thoughts for the Future

(NOTE: The above is a linked video version of the speech referenced below)

Write a 400 word analysis of The global transformation of libraries, LIS education, and LIS professionals by S. Hirsh (2013),  that addresses the following issues:

  1. What is the potential for the future of an organisation you are familiar with.
  2. What impact might the future have on us as information professionals.

In this speech, Professor Hirsh conveys her belief that technology has already changed the world of libraries and librarians exponentially and will continue to do so, because of the next wave of digital disruptions that we are facing (p. 2-3). Her analogy about dinosaurs dying out because they did not adapt to change, is uncomfortably applicable when we think about libraries in a changed/changing environment.

ABOUT INFORMATION INSTITUTIONS

Professor Hirsh highlights the way our interaction with information has been disrupted and modified by development in digital technology. She lists examples (the Internet of Things, portable/wearable devices, virtual reality and big data) of emerging technologies and discusses their impact on the library environment (p.3). She identifies emerging trends in libraries who successfully adapt to these disruptive technologies, namely creation of collaborative learning spaces and great user experiences(p. 5).

What is the potential for the future of school libraries?

The school library clearly has potential to become a dinosaur, if it remains a place of only bookshelves and study spaces. However, if a school library is able to adapt by:

  1. creating a physical and virtual environment that fosters and encourages learning, mentoring, collaborating, creativity and knowledge creating (p. 7)
  2. facilitating and supporting the use of new technologies (p. 13)
  3. finding ways to reach out and deliver service into the community (p. 8)

THEN it has a future. It can become a hub in the school, a place where members of the community connect and have a great user experience, THEN it has potential to not only survive but thrive.

ABOUT INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS

Professor Hirsh addresses the changing role of information professionals. She identifies essential skills for success in the field: interpersonal-, relationship-, leadership-, customer-, multi-tasking and problem solving- skills. They should be knowledgeable about foundational information and technology applications, as well as developments around the scholarly record and information dissemination (p. 15).

What impact might the future have on teacher librarians?

Teacher librarians have to be flexible and adaptable, as they support student learning and development in the changing information environment. As custodians, they need to create safe physical and virtual spaces with curated resources and tools that are relevant and appropriate for the students, taking into account privacy and cybersecurity (p.10-12). As counselors, they need to support development of online behaviour, social media presence and development of digital identities that show appropriate integrity, social citizenship and social responsibility (p. 10). As mentors they need to model and support knowledge creation and information use that displays integrity and honesty.

By credibly presenting relevant evidence and examples, and through logical reasoning, Professor Hirsch persuades the reader of the need for libraries to prepare for the future by adapting to change (p. 20).


Reference

Hirsh, S. (2013, October). The global transformation of libraries, LIS education, and LIS professionals. Paper presented at Library 2.013 Worldwide Virtual Conference, San Jose, CA, USA. Retrieved from https://rikkyo.repo.nii.ac.jp/index.php?action=pages_view_main&active_action=repository_action_common_download&item_id=16425&item_no=1&attribute_id=22&file_no=1&page_id=13&block_id=49

Library 2.0. (2013, November 3). The global transformation of libraries, LIS Education, and LIS professionals [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/pXPDCv4XkWs

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