The rapid development of emerging disruptive technologies is a driving force behind the evolution of the library and information science (LIS) profession and is causing a redesign of the traditional approaches to LIS professional development. Historically fairly static, LIS environments have evolved into dynamic reflections of the enormous societal changes occurring as a result of open communications and access throughout the Web. In addition, 21st century LIS professionals must consider and prepare for the new roles they might play in network-enabled, large-scale learning environments. Several decades of research on self-directed learning (SDL) have shown the social, non-linear, and serendipitous process to be transformational. LIS professionals, who once relied upon yearly conferences, employer-provided seminars and workshops, and association newsletters in order to update their knowledge, have embraced SDL opportunities to expand their understandings and skill sets. The first wave of SDL and networked platforms for LIS professional development (Learning 2.0) may have been precursors to the connectivist learning environments designed into the free, not-for-credit, massive open online courses (MOOCs). Because these new environments of participatory and transformative learning offer the potential for LIS professionals to test emerging technologies, experiment and play with new roles, and self-select teams for collaborative artifact creation, the author has adapted his existing online graduate course, called the Hyperlinked Library, at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS) in order to explore how LIS professionals can use emerging technologies and participatory practices to serve their communities. Launched in September 2013, the Hyperlinked Library MOOC pilot (#hyperlibMOOC) provides a sandbox in which LIS professionals and students can play the roles of learner, connector, and collaborator in a self-directed yet social learning experience. Results from the pilot course will contribute to a better understanding of how the not-for-credit MOOC can serve as a transformative environment for professional development.
Thanks to SJSU SLIS student Margaret Jean Campbell for her invaluable assistance editing and formatting this piece. Thanks to Kyle Jones, PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies and SJSU SLIS lecturer, for his incredible work designing the site architecture and for co-instructing the Hyperlinked Library MOOC.
The winner of the #YLibrary of the Future Writing Competition is Sophie Manion. Sophie will receive an iPad mini. Congratulations Sophie!
Here is her winning entry:
I want to hear the voices of a million lives. I want to brush their hearts with the tips of my fingers and feel as they feel, with their skin and their lungs and their ears. It takes a moment – a light on a screen, a battery cord plugged in – but then I can. In a moment I am timeless. The library is a passport to worlds that exist only in the mind. I am lost amongst these places with my greatest friends, my most treasured heroes. Words can transport me. I can listen or I can read but I will always experience. It doesn’t matter whether I can touch the ink, smell the fresh pages or instead, scroll down the electronic page with a gesture of my hand. The future is a grand place but it is those words, the magic that I can only find in a library, that can teleport me away to somewhere I’ve never been. Whether I walk through those open doors from my computer, or on my phone, or physically – I will always find a new world waiting in that maze of books. There are some things that will never change.
This isn’t a new idea. The Melvil Dewey quote that I used to open this essay resonates with me. “The time is when the library is a school and the librarian is in the highest sense a teacher…” He wrote that in 1876, and as librarians, we are evolving, and it is still true. Librarians should seek every opportunity to be teachers in their communities. Library users should look to the library for opportunities to experience new things, new ideas, and new technologies
Click the link to read the whole thing. And here’s a link to all of the essays:
On October 19th, 2011 a group of library and museum innovators from over 31 countries gathered in Salzburg, Austria to discuss “Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture.” During the event co-sponsored by the Salzburg Global Seminar and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, one of the discussion groups developed recommendations for skills needed by librarians and museum professionals in today’s connected and participatory world.
The working group identified the isolation of library skills from museum and other professional skill sets as a weakness, and instead developed a framework for a comprehensive and joint library/museum curriculum. The group focused on the concepts, knowledge, and processes that librarians and museum professionals need to understand and know, realizing that participatory culture has ramifications both for traditional functions and emerging skills. The initial framework was an overview because of limited time, but many seminar participants, including major library science programs and museum continuing education coordinators pledged to use it. By better developing the framework with the original Salzburg participants and by opening the conversation to the entire library and museum worlds, it is proposed that the two systems of education and continuing education will experience positive and possibly unexpected synergistic benefits.
There are benefits to breaking down barriers between these two professions. Participatory culture requires libraries and cultural institutions to be innovative in the ways that they connect with the communities that they serve, not just through the use of technology, but in daily interactions as well. People are invited to explore The Salzburg Curriculum in further detail via the new website. Here are a few highlights:
Transformative Social Engagement
Transformative social engagement is the most essential skill set for information professionals to develop. Most institutions want to positively contribute to the community they serve, but to truly do so requires establishing connections with the community and maintaining those connections with things like activism, advocacy, and relevant public programming.
Using technology to engage with a community is essential. It is important for information professionals to teach people how to use new technologies, but it’s equally important for professionals to be able to co-learn and co-build with their community.
Management for Participation (Professional Competencies)
Institutions need to have clear goals and be aware of long-term sustainability. Big ideas are a welcome and necessary part of new librarianship, but there must be teamwork to put those big ideas into motion and sustain them. A strong infrastructure within an institution is necessary, but so are strong partnerships with the community. Another important part of participatory culture is teaching others the necessary skills to see projects through so that projects can remain in capable hands.
Asset management is more than just adding items to a collection. Participatory culture requires that institutions remain in constant dialogue with their community to assess what is important to a community and when it’s important to a community. It goes beyond collecting things like books or artifacts and also considers what other resources a community needs.
The concept of “culture” can be defined in many ways, ranging from the demographics of the community an institution serves to the environment an institution wishes to create. Developing communication skills is imperative and can impact everything from the way a community perceives the institution (language barriers, etc.) to the types of literacies the institution considers in its programming (such as visual learning vs. hands-on learning).
Knowledge, Learning, and Innovation
Museums and libraries are dynamic spaces where people go to learn and build. Innovation is needed in order to build and maintain strong community ties.
The Salzburg Curriculum is just the beginning. We invite everyone to visit the website and contribute to the conversation!
The working group and initial IMLS grant was lead by Dr. R. David Lankes, Syracuse University, School of Information Studies. The dissemination phase is being lead by Dr. Michael Stephens, San Jose State University, School of Library & Information Science. Melissa Arjona serves as research assistant and site architect.
Don’t miss this article about “23 Things for SLIS Students & Alumni” that Elaine Hall wrote for Alki, Washington Library Association Journal. Elaine Hall is a Washington Library Association (WLA) member and a MLIS graduate student at San Jose State University. She lives in Arlington, Washington and is pursuing interests in academic libraries, emerging technologies, information literacy, and research.
The students and alumni of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) have developed a Learning 2.0 pro-gram, “23 Things for SLIS Students and Alumni: Essentials for Success,” to build alliance among students and alumni for lifelong learning and professional development. Hosted by SLISConnect, SLIS’s student and alumni association, this program is unique in that it is created for SLIS students and alumni by students and alumni, fosters solidarity as well as asynchronous learning, offers digital badges as rewards for module completion, and involves more than thirty-five student and alumni volunteers. With three target audiences–new students, current students, and new LIS professionals–the modules presented in this program offer a mix of technologies, resources, and tools for social networking, time management, presentation development, career development, research, and more. Other library or LIS schools can also build a collaborative and sustainable Learning 2.0 program as a way to engage the community on multiple levels and foster lifelong learning.
Sharing images of library signs—especially those related to mobile devices and their use within library buildings—was part of my early focus on how libraries interact with their users via signage. Aaron Schmidt, writing LJ’s User Experience column, has also explored these ideas, most recently in “Signs of Good Design.” Language usually attached to an image of a mobile phone with the red circle and line through it was of this variety: “Violators will be asked to leave,” “Conversations not allowed,” and one signed ominously by “the Library Director.” Other signage you may have seen passed around Buzzfeed and LIS blogs warn that food or drink near library computers would bring “the wrath of the library director.” When did the position of director become so scary? When did we become so mean?
I poked a bit of fun at these signs at the expense of the library that posted them and was called out more than once. But for every bad sign that went up, I believe many more came down, as librarians took to making kindness audits of signage and spaces. “Quiet conversation, please” and “Don’t forget to set your phone to vibrate” are much more user-positive admonitions.
Public libraries are the best platforms for success with community-focused online learning of all sizes. It’s easy to create successful MOOCs in an academic environment. It’s something else to make them successful in a nonacademic environment. Jeff Jarvis, on This Week in Google (9/11/13), discussed the idea of unbundling education from universities, unbundling lessons from courses, and looking at new ways to view/score outcomes. Public libraries, with limited resources of staff and time, could still create unbundled MOOCs—smaller, shorter lessons that, when combined, total a full course. Busy patrons plus busy librarians still can equal quality learning opportunities.
The above may seem daunting to some or far from the library’s mission. Many of the folks in our MOOC have been confronting their own ideas of what it means to be a learner in a new and sometimes unsettling landscape. I’m here to learn, one participant told me, “and figure out how I might play a role in MOOCs on my campus.”