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The Role of Librarians in the 21st Century


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The Role of Librarians in the 21st Century

  1. 1. The Role of Librarians in the 21 st Century Paper presented by Mila M. Ramos 35 th ALAP Anniversary Forum June 8, 2007 UPLB CEAT Auditorium
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>The Ongoing Debate About the Relevance of Librarians </li></ul><ul><li>The Changing Library and Information Environment </li></ul><ul><li>The Library 2.0 concept </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional and Current Roles </li></ul><ul><li>Competencies Needed for Added Roles </li></ul><ul><li>10 steps to put your library out there </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: the challenges and the way forward </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Ongoing Debate on the Role of Libraries: 2 Haunting Questions <ul><li>1. Are Libraries “inefficient, limited, obsolete” -as portrayed by Mark Hirschey, an American from Kansas? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/oct/02/libraries_are_limited_obsolete/ </li></ul><ul><li>2. Is there a need for Libraries and Librarians in the electronic age? </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Library’s Perpetual Mission <ul><li>to provide scholarly access to selected relevant information resources, giving high value to the needs and expectations of users. </li></ul><ul><li>this mission encompasses all available media and document formats, both physically available and remotely accessed via the WWW </li></ul><ul><li>This mission is still pursued but nowadays libraries do more than this </li></ul>
  5. 5. Current Perception of the Library: One side of the Coin <ul><li>“ The library’s information provider crown is slipping. … today libraries are increasingly viewed as outdated, with modern, Internet-based services, such as Amazon and Google, looking set to inherit the throne”. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Chad & Miller. 2005. Do libraries matter: the rise of Library2.0. http://www.talis.com/downloads/white_papers/DoLibrariesMatter.pdf </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Is there a need for Libraries and Librarians in the electronic age? <ul><li>haunts information management professionals nowadays </li></ul><ul><li>many information sources are now available via the WWW. </li></ul><ul><li>my answer to this is a big YES. So does many librarians and information specialists in the field </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries and librarians are becoming more and more important but there is a need to change </li></ul>
  7. 7. The New Global Library and Information Environment <ul><li>Geometric increase in the quantity of information </li></ul><ul><li>Greater access to a wider range of information sources via the WWW </li></ul><ul><li>Increased speed in acquiring and disseminating information </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly evolving ITs (hardware and software) </li></ul><ul><li>Need for continuous learning for library staff and users </li></ul><ul><li>Need for bigger financial investments to avail of electronic resources </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Information world is undergoing transition <ul><li>From a Library-centered to an information-centered entity </li></ul><ul><li>From a paper-based environment to a predominantly digital interface, i.e. using search engines, online databases, data mining, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>From the Library as an institution to the Library as an information provider with IT skilled specialists functioning in an automated environment </li></ul>
  9. 9. Millennials Represent the New Wave of Information Seekers <ul><li>Students/professionals born from 1981-1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Surrounded by computers and digital media </li></ul><ul><li>Like control, interactivity and convenience </li></ul><ul><li>Comfortable with multitasking and IT </li></ul><ul><li>Confident and have High expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Format-agnostic – do not care what format information is contained but prefer digital sources </li></ul><ul><li>Nomadic – expecting services and resources when and where needed </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians’ ability to link them with information is a measure of our continued relevance </li></ul>
  10. 10. More Transitions in the Info World <ul><li>From utilizing new technology to automate library functions to utilizing IT for the enhancement of information access </li></ul><ul><li>From library networking to wider collaboration with all types of institutions and information professionals, even with politicians. </li></ul><ul><li>From acquisition to access, i.e. instead of purchasing information sources, licenses for remote access are paid for. </li></ul><ul><li>From lack of concern for intellectual property to ethical and judicious use of copyrighted materials </li></ul>
  11. 11. The New Library Version: Just like Web 2.0, there is also a Library 2.0 <ul><li>Library 2.0 visualizes a “very different library service that operates according to expectations of today’s library users. In this vision, the library makes information available wherever and whenever the user requires it”. </li></ul><ul><li>Realizing this vision requires change across a wide range of systems, processes and attitudes. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Principles Governing Library 2.0 <ul><li>The Library is everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>The Library has no barriers </li></ul><ul><li>The Library invites participation </li></ul><ul><li>The Library uses flexible, best-of-breed systems </li></ul>
  13. 13. Library Virtual Presence in 2010 <ul><li>More than the library’s web site </li></ul><ul><li>A web site that is responsive to users’ needs </li></ul><ul><li>Digital collections are in place </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive site where users not only search for information but also collaborate and share ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Every library should have attained Library 2.0 status by 2010 </li></ul>
  14. 14. Traditional Roles of Librarians <ul><li>Custodian – selects, organizes, and services print and other media </li></ul><ul><li>Guide – assists users in searching and critically evaluating relevant information sources. </li></ul><ul><li>Public relations officer – maintains good relationships with management, clients, other libraries, and outside organizations </li></ul>
  15. 15. Role of Librarians in the 21 st century <ul><li>Information Broker for both print and electronic media – Identifies, retrieves, organizes, repackages and provides electronic access to digital information sources </li></ul><ul><li>Change agent, i.e. Technology application leader – collaborates w/ IT Services to design and evaluate systems that would facilitate e-access </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator – makes access easier, e.g. provides network access, purchases softwares & e-journal licenses </li></ul>
  16. 16. More Roles … <ul><li>Educator – trains clients on Internet use : tools , search engines, online databases and catalogs, electronic journals; use of web-based instruction and online tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>Innovator/Web Site Designer/Builder/Manager - designs the library’s web page and searches and evaluates information resources to be linked to the site; creates an awareness of library services on the web; in some instances manages the organizational web site </li></ul>
  17. 17. And more… <ul><li>Database Manager – Print bibliographies are no longer in use as searching via online databases is faster and more efficient. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborator – Expanded area of collaboration, not just with fellow librarians but with IT people, the community, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Policy maker – Develops or participates in the development of an information policy for an organization, ensuring total or selective access to all information resources </li></ul>
  18. 18. And more… <ul><li>Business Manager – negotiates with publishers and aggregators for the most advantageous license agreements for e-journals and databases </li></ul><ul><li>Image Maker – Adds value to the library to gain management support and project a positive image to the outside world </li></ul>
  19. 19. Competencies Needed to Fill the Roles in the Digital Age <ul><li>Competencies are “a combination of skills, knowledge, and behavior patterns vital to organizational success, personal achievement, and career development ”. </li></ul><ul><li>Types: Professional competencies and Personal competencies </li></ul>
  20. 20. Professional Competencies <ul><li>Librarian’s knowledge in the areas of information resources, information access, technology management, and research plus the ability to apply them in providing library and information services. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Professional competencies (from the Special Libraries Association) <ul><li>expert knowledge and familiarity with information resources plus the ability to critically evaluate, filter, and access them. </li></ul><ul><li>specialized subject knowledge appropriate to the needs of the organization or client. </li></ul><ul><li>administrative expertise to create and manage convenient, accessible and cost-effective information services that are aligned with the strategic directions of the organization. </li></ul>
  22. 22. More Professional competencies: Librarians must be able to: <ul><li>4. assess information needs of clients </li></ul><ul><li>5. design and market value-added information services and products to meet identified needs. </li></ul><ul><li>6. apply appropriate information technology to acquire, organize and disseminate information. </li></ul><ul><li>7. use appropriate business and management approaches to communicate the importance of information services to senior management. </li></ul>
  23. 23. More Professional competencies: Librarians must be able to: <ul><li>8. develop specialized information products for use inside or outside the organization </li></ul><ul><li>9. evaluate the outcomes of information use and conduct research to help the solution of information management problems. </li></ul><ul><li>10. continually improve information services in response to the changing needs. </li></ul><ul><li>be an effective member of the senior management team and a consultant to the organization on information issues . </li></ul>
  24. 24. Personal Competencies <ul><li>” a set of skills, attitudes, and values that enables librarians: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to work efficiently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>be good communicators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to focus on continuing learning throughout their careers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to demonstrate the vaue-added nature of their contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>to survive in the new [information] world…” </li></ul>
  25. 25. Personal competencies <ul><li>1 . commitment to share knowledge and to service excellence. </li></ul><ul><li>2. ability to face challenges and to see new opportunities both inside and outside the library. </li></ul><ul><li>3. foresight; sees the big picture </li></ul><ul><li>4. strong interest and belief in partnerships and alliances </li></ul>
  26. 26. More Personal Competencies <ul><li>5. ability to create an environment of mutual respect and trust. </li></ul><ul><li>6. effective communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>7. good team work </li></ul><ul><li>8. dynamic leadership </li></ul><ul><li>9. systematic planning and prioritizing skills, with focus on what is critical . </li></ul>
  27. 27. More Personal competencies <ul><li>10. unwavering interest in lifelong learning and personal career planning. </li></ul><ul><li>11. active personal business skills </li></ul><ul><li>12. recognition of the value of professional networking and solidarity. </li></ul><ul><li>13. flexibility and positive attitude in a time of continuing change </li></ul>
  28. 28. Complete Report : <ul><li>Competencies for Special Librarians of the 21st Century/Submitted to the SLA Board of Directors by theSpecial Committee on Competencies for Special Librarians: Joanne Marshall, Chair; Bill Fisher; Lynda Moulton; and Roberta Piccoli </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.sla.org/content/SLA/professional/meaning/competency.cfm </li></ul>
  29. 29. “ Put Your Library Out There”: 10 Steps <ul><li>Communicate … listen to your staff </li></ul><ul><li>Involve staff in planning </li></ul><ul><li>Tell stories … promote the library’s value </li></ul><ul><li>Be transparent … let users and staff know about new plans/projects </li></ul><ul><li>Report and debrief </li></ul>
  30. 30. “ Put Your Library Out There”: 10 Steps <ul><li>6. Do your research … you must be in the know </li></ul><ul><li>7. Manage projects well </li></ul><ul><li>8. Formally convene the emerging technology group </li></ul><ul><li>9. Training 2.0: let everyone play & experience </li></ul><ul><li>10. Celebrate successes </li></ul>
  31. 31. Librarians are More in Demand than Ever in the Digital Age <ul><li>In the 21 st century, we are witnessing an information revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Information needs to be delivered in a timely and preferred manner </li></ul><ul><li>Technology for generating and sharing information is useless, if there’s no way to locate, filter, organize and access it. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditionally librarians are in the forefront of information dissemination and they will continue to be there , but via altered and IT-driven means </li></ul>
  32. 32. Food for thought <ul><li>Are we ready for the challenges </li></ul><ul><li>of the digital age? </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>“ It’s a great time to be a Librarian” </li></ul><ul><li> - W.Lee Hisle, Vice Pres,. For Information Services and Librarian, Connecticut College, USA (Library Connect 4(2):6. 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Thank You. </li></ul>