The Shifted Librarian -

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* Friday, February 3, 2006

20060203 OLA - Technology and Education: Are Library Schools Doing Enough

Notes from a panel I was on with Mary Cavanagh (Mary, let us know if you start a blog!) and Michael Stephens
– this was a most excellent session, and I hope to see more like it, especially back in the U.S.!

Mary Cavanagh
looked at curricula and competencies
pretty basic competencies; they all have a required course in technology
the description for the University of Toronto course was nothing like its description and that’s good – included blogs, social software, etc.
all of the courses have lots of tech courses and tech is kind of implied in everything, but….
there are other ways to learn about technology at U of Toronto (workshops on “what you need to know when you need to know it”)
learn it at the point of need

at the operational level, there is someone at each library who knows the tech – easy to identify them
need to be able to talk the talk, the implications of the tech, why things are important
need to be able to support systems people
need to know politics, leveraging money, communicate
need to know enough to know where you’re going, not just where you are or where you’ve been
why aren’t the higher ups listening to our technology leaders?
– part of the problem is that people feel insecure about not knowing everything about everything
used the Access conference as an example
you’re the colleague that needs to know about things, not necessarily the one that implements it
at the end of the day, no one really cares about the box – have to keep the user in mind

there is a gap between what the library schools are doing and what is going on in the workplace
kids today have a whole new language that is very different from our way of thinking

is there a gap here? yes. why?
change – it’s hard, but we have to be perpetual learners; this is a role for the library school, and she thinks they do perform it; have to come out knowing about the information business, the users, and to know how technology will help us – and I’m ready and I’m teachable
the teaching comes from the inside – you learn when you need to learn; acknowledge what we don’t know and that it’s okay, but we have to be paying attention

knows the library schools are struggling, but is optimistic about them adapting
the change will come because faculty and students will come “knowing” – a natural evolution of users who are more comfortable at this

Michael Stephens
The Library Landscape
– Web 2.0 influences
– Library 2.0 discussions
– which includes technology
– changing services
– what does that mean for library schools that services are changing?
– leads to Library School 2.0?  ;-)

skills we thought we knew:
– technology planning
– project management
– how to have good meetings

new roles & responsibilities:
– librarian as trainer
– as strategy guide
– as electronic resources manager

K. Matthew Dames: “it is sheer lunacy to graduate librarians into the work force who have no idea how to negotiate an econtent license.”

need flexible professionals
Randall Bass: “educators should ask, ‘what happens if I try this a whole new way?’ ”
– we should be teaching for understanding
– understanding breeds flexible performance
“we should strive to educate flexible professionals”

what is a flexible professional?
– rolls with constant change
– embraces the best new tools to do the best job
– never stops learning
– seeks continuous improvement

institutional inertia: “…in general, this keeps blogs out of the realm of useful tool and keeps them as personal side-projects” (a comment from Michael’s survey for his dissertation)

quotes Mark Prensky: “today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.”
are we ready for these digital natives to enter library school?

new resources & tools
– blogs and wikis
– “forced blogging” (comment at University of Toronto)
– other social software
– next wave of web development
– technology literacy

Library School 2.0
– a blog & wiki server available to all students
– sandbox area for technology play
– examinations of new, HOT stuff that hasn’t made it to the journals yet

Michael talked about what he does in his LIS753 class at Dominican

Dr. Steven McCall is applying Library 2.0

classes he’d like to see taught:
– social software for librarians and libraries
– new library website
I missed the others – watch for his presentation to appear on !

others said:
– library use instruction
– changes in scholarly communication
– teaching librarians to write proposals
– grant writing
– ten steps to insure staff buy-in for tech projects (and factulty buy-in!)

michael wants to teach these someday
– cluetrain manifesto, wisdom of crowds, blink, GTD = apply it all to libraries
– OCLC Environmental Scan and Perceptions report
– a seminar at Ann Arbor District Library

most important tech a librarian can learn right now, from working in TLA: people use RSS and other technologies without knowing what they are; has more to do with change literacy; how do you push bricks in your organization to see what will move
game theory – be willing to experiment and try; need to be allowed to fail so you can learn and then try something new

have to get faculty buy-in!
Mary: what can we STOP teaching? print indexes? reference sources?
audience: Randall Bass also said need to speculate expertly; seems like one of the things we’re not doing is teaching speculation
innovation, creativity – I talked about Zephyr; bringing these things into libraries as innovation groups, emerging technology groups, etc.

art rhyno: what about storytelling? as a profession, we have the stories, so how does this fit into library schools?
Joan Durrance, Karen Fisher, and Ann Bishop
art: storytelling is one of the great things about the Access conference
mary: although there is a disconnect with the storytelling of the tech; agrees that some of this comes down to trust
michael: the flexible professional can talk to the tech people and vice versa; can move around (IT person can become an administrator)

would you have said these things if you’d been setting up a library school in the 1960s?
have you looked across other schools of a professional nature that are going through these changes; in 1780, Harvard would have been talking about “the new student”
audience: took MBA courses that were far more innovative
Sherri Vokey: spends a good portion of her time working with students who want to learn these things (library students) and who aren’t getting it from their curricula
missing a culture of the role of technology; not getting a whole picture; at the same time, she’s also on a hiring committee where she’s not seeing anyone coming in who could teach these things
audience: whose idea was it we need a degree? can’t any monkey can blog?
jenny: yes, any monkey can blog, but have to learn how to actually apply blogging to libraries (who would have tied blogging and an OPAC together?)
audience: the current revolution is the most significant one since the industrial revolution, and everything is shifting under our feet; need to adapt to this
mary: in some places, some faculty haven’t moved forward; there’s been no quality assurance of updating course content – who is monitoring the faculty for this?
audience: because faculty are tenured, they’re not monitorable, and this is a problem; do have a committee that evaluates course content, but still issues

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