Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week #6, Thing #15 Perspectives on Lib 2.0

I agree wholeheartedly that the "modern" school library is a place that must keep morphing in order to remain a useful tool students can use in order to become successful. But how practical is this in a California school environment?? It is increasingly difficult to keep up on all of the new software, hardware, online tools and Internet services available to us. That's not even mentioning MP3s, new mobile phone features, and other handhelds that allow for a person to be "plugged in" 24/7. As I think I have mentioned in my previous blog entries, technology is here to stay and I am excited at many of the possibilities for libraries and how technology can be an ally in attracting new users. I do, however, continue to harbor reservationas about how I can keep up on my very limited library budget...it's been about 4-5 years since I have had new computers in my library, even though I have lobbied actively and I am on the site council of my school. For a high school, having computers this old and an Internet connection that is often unreliable has given my library a reputation as the last place you go on campus to get work done. Last year was my first year on this particular campus and I was definitely not prepared for the number of technological road blocks I encountered. If LMTs are expected to train our students in how to use technology WISELY (most of them do not even know what a wiki really is, let alone what its strengths and weaknesses can be) than California needs to support our schools/libraries with funding appropriate to pay for both the books and the technology-related materials for our students in the 21st century and beyond.

I read the article "Away from the Iceburgs" by Rick Anderson of UNR. The iceburgs he says we need to row away from are sensible, though it makes me sad to envision the library of the future without the rows of stacks I love. First, our patrons will come to expect fewer volumes of dusty books and more information options -- computers, digital books, blogs, podcasts -- in order to take in information. Second, it is a daunting task for us to educate our patrons in the use of library services and tech-based services that can help them; as Mr. Anderson writes, "But if our services can’t be used without training, then it’s the services that need to be fixed—not our patrons." and that hits the nail on the head for me. How many times have I approached a student (and often a teacher) who has no idea how to access just our card catalog, even though I have an extensive orientation with every single freshman through their English class? The problem? If they do not USE the library and get PRACTICAL, HANDS-ON experience using the tools, online resources, searching the catalog, etc. then they won't remember. So only about 30% come back within a month and the rest soon forget what I've taught them. Since there is only one of me, it is pretty near impossible for enough classes to be served anyway...but I am working on it. Third, Anderson suggests that we take the services to the patrons instead of relying solely on the "patron comes to us" system of old. This too makes sense and I know more kids would use the lbrary if we had more available through our web site and made it easier to access, but again, the TRAINING is key...more trained librarians = better trained students.

Oh yeah, and having the technology available so that we can provide those services like podcasts and quick-loading catalogs, that's critical isn't it???

I also enjoyed Michael Stephen's "Into a New World of Librarianship" although I have to admit I was blown away by all that "this librarian" can do...does this librarian sleep? I try do emulate these qualities, keeping an eye out for new technologies, trying to spot trends, keep up on my own training to keep up with the kids, but it is a pretty daunting task to do all that and complete the rest of my duties as a teacher, spouse and parent. I guess no one said it would be easy!

Reading the Wikipedia take on Library 2.0 brings it back to a sort-off checklist format that I think might appeal to my "Type A" side. I have printed out the key principles and intend to post them in my office to remind me of what I need to work toward to be and LMT 2.0.

1 comment:

Library Slim said...

You are so right about teaching the OPAC in orientation and the kids forgetting how to do it soon after. So yes, I agree that it should be more intuitive.

And you are right about keeping up with technology. It is hard on our limited budgets.