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

The digital age and possibilities for re-imagining our educational system

The convergence of computing, information and communication technologies into one device, affordable and usable by most, has resulted in the development of a transformed information-rich world. With these mobile devices, we became nodes points in a global information ecosystem, socially connected in interactive knowledge environments that transcend the restrictions of our physical world.

Almost every aspect of our personal, professional and societal lives has been transformed by the tools and products of this digital age. Two important examples should be emphasised:

• New participatory media formats use web-based technologies to enable recipients of information messages to be active participants in knowledge creation. Interactive platforms allow experts and voxpop voices to join, in creating, discussing and distributing user-generated information products in many formats.

• Cloud computing makes improved productivity and knowledge building possible through immediate communication channels and tools for collaboration. These improved data storage facilities make digitisation of our collective societal knowledge and cultural heritage possible in online digital repositories.

The new digital age is having a significant impact on the learning environment: on when, where and how we learn. Multi-formatted online resources and participatory media enables self-directed, self-paced, individualised, personal and differentiated authentic learning. The role of teachers is changing from deliverers of content to creators of context (Thomas, 2012). The classroom, where learning was traditionally initiated by teachers, has expanded beyond walls, lectures and textbooks and can become truly learner-centred. Connected learning provides an existing model that makes use of the products of the digital age to re-imagine our traditional education system.

While some educators suggests that the students of today are intuitive and “native” users of new media formats and tools, we need to better understand the competencies and proficiencies that are required of learners to be literate in this digital age.

What now is the role of school libraries in this digital age? Libraries should support learning where and when it takes place. This means a dynamic, physical learning space and an equally well-designed virtual space, where librarians meet the information needs of teachers and students through curation of digital resources and tools and help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. How we will get there… THIS is the challenge that I hope to meet through my studies!


A VERY critical reflection on what I have learnt this far:

I am fascinated by the reading provided for Module 1. While the content was not new, I was challenged by so many of the authors to imagine how this digital world can transform our educational institutions and our thinking about learning. I am inspired, but that is the positive side…

It took far too long to read and grasp the required reading. I hope that as I become more familiar with the concepts and academic writing again, that I will be more efficient.

I have not participating in the online discussions yet, because the reading and setting up of the blog took too much time (I will do so this week). I believe as I find my voice I will be bolder, less worried about seeming ignorant and more comfortable with the tools we have been introduced to. I am very excited and in the right place, but still getting up to speed.

REFERENCES:

Thomas, D. (2012, September 12). A new culture of learning [Video file]. Retrieved from
‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM80GXlyX0U’