Building academic library 2.0: Advice for Evans
The “Building Academic Library 2.0” video, part of a symposium sponsored by Librarians Association of the University of California, Berkeley Division in 2007, provides some interesting ideas for where we can go, as we shift our libraries from the static, traditional, quiet buildings that proliferate the stereotypes, to the dynamic participatory centres of learning that we owe our users.
Make some plans! Wagner, Associate Vice Chancellor at UC Berkeley’s opening remarks about the need for “Planning, partnership and privacy” rang true for me in the directions that the [email protected] needs to take as we move towards a more participative Library 2.o. Wagner highlights the fact that it’s difficult to make plans when you don’t know what people want, so it’s vital to consult with your users. What do our students want and need? What do teachers want and need?
This leads to my second key takeaway message – technology isn’t about what you buy, but about what our clients can do with what we buy. Our laptop and iPads are fantastic additions to our technology offerings in the library, and supplement the existing computer labs, but they are just tools which can be used in a strategic plan to support teaching and learning. They aren’t solutions. They don’t enhance a student’s ability to embrace and develop their own lifelong learning love. They don’t facilitate engagement with critical literacies. They can be used as part of a proactive plan, rather than a reactionary approach to teaching which sees us responding to issues, rather than leading the conversation.
We need to question everything. I’ve discovered, since taking over the library at the beginning of last year, that so much of what happens in the library is a result of tradition. About 9 months into the year, we discovered that we were able to scan the ISBN of books directly into SCIS when doing a catalogue entry for new items. It makes perfect sense, right? We scan barcodes when we are doing circulation tasks. But, in the library manual, written 10+ years ago by a librarian long gone, it instructs us to type in the ISBN. The library assistant has been so used to keying the numbers in that she never even thought about scanning them. This is a minor example, but really illustrates the habits that we fall into in our profession. And, it’s something that we need to consider as we move towards being the kind of library we want to be. We encourage our students to
Another direction that we can consider is the benefits of marketing. Our social media accounts, particularly our Instagram account, are our first step in highlighting and marketing our collections to our key audiences. Using flickr and RSS feeds are some interesting suggestions from Farkas to consider as we shift our focus away from just the “new books” stand traditionally located in the high school library.
The final point that I took away from this video is the one that will perhaps be most challenging for many librarians and educators. It’s about embracing the idea that we don’t have to be the experts. Users have expertise that can and should be used more effectively in our libraries. How can we use that in our high school libraries? Social bookmarking, something that I’ve only really gotten into through my own post-grad study, is an interesting approach which can be employed to draw on the collective intelligence of our users.