Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Keeping in the Flow (Forum)

Keeping Libraries in the Flow: Being Relevant in the World of Amazoogle
Richard Dougherty, Dougherty and Associates; Gary Pitkin, Dean of Libraries and Professor, University of Northern Colorado; Steven Bell, Philadelphia University; Wendy Lougee, University Librarian, University of Minnesota; Michelle Jacobs, Instruction Librarian, University of California-Merced

What is driving change in libraries today?
· Technology
· User expectations
· Accountability
· Lack of money
· Changing curriculum
· Generational shift
· Changing demographics
· Online education
· Globalization
· Space constraints
· Information competitors
· Assessment
· Administrative ignorance

When campus administrators refer to libraries as black holes, sink holes, pits, etc. it denotes a problem, but it’s OUR problem, not the administrations’; must ensure that library’s mission is/becomes critical to the mission of the institution as a whole

Must build stakeholders on campus by becoming full partner in teaching and learning process; can no longer be viewed merely as support; realize that it takes time to change our role/perception with faculty, administration

Meeting needs, expectations of legacy faculty is a challenge and how you balance their demands/needs/wants with those of younger faculty depends on campus culture and power of faculty; can work to improve culture by assisting faculty in bridging the technology divide

Academic libraries play a key role in retention of students; must be structured so that we can keep pace with [possibly lead?] change

Must be committed to:
· Keeping up
· Being open to change
· Integrating ourselves in teaching and learning
· Finding what is broken and fixing it (we can provide innovative services for our users, but if the circulation policy is too restrictive, then we still aren’t meeting their needs)

Three trends we should pay attention to:
· Privatization
· Emphasis on learning experience
· Shifting focus from product to process

Embracing technology, working collaboratively, and interacting with diverse people are three necessary elements of students’ learning experience for the 21st century; libraries need to ensure that we serve/meet these needs

Eliminate library jargon: compare ILL to Amazon (find what you want, wait a couple of days, delivered directly to you); compare Google results (50 good ones) to those gleaned from library database (3000 good ones): note that while running a Google search might be faster, you save time in the long run because you don’t have to sift for authoritative results in library databases; show students how to play in our world, only don’t tell them that it’s our world!

One presenter’s suggestion [with which I take objection]: Make sure you do things that are both engaging and time-saving, such as eliminate the physical reference desk in favor of email/IM/text messaging for quick answer questions, and scheduled office hours and appointments for in-depth reference questions, which gives students more real world experience when we don’t simply drop everything to help them when they walk in the door
[Ahem, meaning not at their point-of-need, not when we’re needed most, we don’t want to actually do this?! To think, I thought librarianship was a SERVICE profession...]

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