Advocates & Change Agents

I didn’t enjoy my first reading of the week. Even though it was short it left a taste of desperation. The most provoking message I picked up in the readings was Librarians don’t know who they are. The Bernard-Barrett short article to me sounded like someone complaining they should be treated as equal just because what they do is a professional vocation. With any line of work it’s what you do and how you do it that gets respect and in this article it sounded like a dead horse was being flogged. If librarians want to get rid of the stigma that hangs over them, they need to be the first to drop it. The second reading got to the bones of a real issue. I am not denying the fact there is a stigma that follows librarians and it will be hard to shift. Until they deal with health care cuts services like health libraries, unfortunately they will be some of the first to go. Librarians will have to fight for every inch just to survive in an economy like the one we are stuck in at the moment.

In the HSLG SHeLLI Report it was touched upon how in America there had been some success stories and in their words it was not all doom and gloom. While this was obviously focused on the health sector libraries it is clear all sectors are suffering due to cut backs. I wonder how many Irish agencies are going outside their front door and abroad to look for possible solutions. I know from my study into South Dublin County Libraries last year they have adopted their strategic plan form Australia and in fact it has been a great success. I would be interested in seeing what is actually being done or is it a case like the first reading of moan, moan, and moan.
While the Bernard-Barrett reading obviously got under my skin because of how it portrayed the message, it isn’t completely lost on me. They have to show their skills and what they can do. I think last week’ “Helping people to manage and share their digital information” is a perfect example of that. I don’t think people know what it is exactly librarians do. I think a great way to get that message across is through the children that inevitable go to libraries either with school or parents encouraging children to read. I know from last year SDCL offer father/son activities. Once you have the attention of people whether it’s through their kids or whatever avenue, it is important to grab it. Another important point is librarians are no longer working as librarians. They have branched out in to a wealth of different fields such as C.I.O’ or Knowledge managers etc and this is a side I would like to explore more.

I think what has been emphasised is the message from the readings done back at the start of term on growing your PLN. Quite often it is a case of who you know and not what you know which might be extremely relevant to librarians. It’s important for them to weave their ways into the foundation of organisations and to become tangled within it. I do wonder if some librarians themselves know where they want to go or they want to do. While ideas can be big and wonderful, they will still remain on paper unless there is a definitive plan


Bernard Barrett- Brief Talk Description and Article


The Library of Tomorrow

I found the main theme to be running through the resources was how libraries adapt to the environment they found themselves in. As pointed out in the ALA webcast this is nothing new as people once had to move from scrolls to books and how books in themselves are a form of technology. I think the other interesting facet was that libraries do not want to lose their identity either. They want to retain the ideology of what a library is but also provide much more, which is a careful balancing act.

An interesting factor brought up in 21st Century Libraries: Changing Forms, Changing Future was how the building itself impacts on how people firstly perceive it but also how it can be used to benefit its target audience and purpose. This is a subject I broached last term in regards to Ballyroan library and how it has been redesigned to match its function internally. The overall message was how technology impacts on every part of someone’s life and it is important to find a way to keep up with it but also deliver a library service which is enhanced by technology.

This directly leads to the information professional themselves and probably is touched best upon in the Copeland & Barreau which suggest the notion of what an information professional is expected to do has changed. People expect a certain level of professionalism and expertise when they ask someone a question. In another class at the moment we are learning how to form our own digital library and this will be useful information, which as explained in the reading is to share with people that are trying to use the latest technology to store important sentimental items amongst much more. Which is what in my mind the reading was getting at. I found the ALA webcast to be paramount on the topic of what role the information professional should be. Each speaker had a clear idea what it is they do and how they can be perceived as an information professional but wouldn’t consider themselves as a traditional librarian so to speak in any way.
The core competencies are an interesting area. As the MLIS course teaches, it is essential to have the traditional skills of a librarian but you now have to mix it with technology. When they spoke about librarians being out on the floor with an iPad and not stuck behind a desk. Incorporating not only technology but the need of the cliental is key also. The cliental can be greatly affected by the area a library finds itself in so its services provided will change accordingly.

The architecture of the library was the most interesting part to me. The importance of keeping up with advancements in technology is well known. I can see now libraries focus on who they are catering for and even with the location they pick or recognising the fact they might have to move continually to follow where they are needed. Where this falls in line with other information organisations is probably important for the traditional view of the library. The service they provided additional to the library. Understanding who you are catering for should be reflected in how you set up and look after them. If it’s as simple as timetabling when certain parts are open to certain people or just what services (computers, cafe, crèche) are provided.

Finding the right blend with technology and not losing the identity of the library even if that is sticking a big sign above the door as eluded to in the readings

ALA Webcast, episode 1- Library 2017: Tech at Warp Speed

Copeland & Barreau (2011). Helping people to manage and share their digital information: A role for public libraries