The essential knowledge, skills and attributes required of a information professional in a Web 2.0 world, is a multifaceted obligation. But does it require a new bred of librarian? Not really, external influences have constantly affected the roles required of librarians. Librarians are practiced at providing and accessing the technologies required with dealing with an amalgam of information formats. The technological advances that have caused the current changes in how and in what format we provide information, are no more complex that those caused the aligning of methodologies from Browne card systems to microfiche to computers (Lawton, & Scott, 2005).
The new methodologies of academic libraries now revolve around technology and have required library staff to again evolve their skills in order to become a combination of reference librarian and web specialist, utilizing a working knowledge of social media platforms and teaching technologies.
A willingness to adapt our thinking to include the new is essential, especially when we must come to terms with the fact that some, if not all, of our clients may not be physically in front of us. Social networking, both from our client’s standpoint as well as our need to be in ‘contact’ with other information specialists, requires us to take advantage of what Google and others have to offer, rather than avoid them (Cohen, 2006).
We are a ‘greying’ profession. Those who work in libraries are, as a group, significantly older than those in other professions. Lynch (2007) states that 67 percent of librarians are over 40 years of age, and only 7 percent of librarians fit in the 20-29 year age range. This is in direct contrast to the age groups of the majority of their ‘digital native’ clients who know no other world than the one that encompasses technologies that gives them instant access to information in work, study and social activities.
Library staff must cultivate their own Web 2.0 skills in order to take advantage of the technologies that are increasingly being accepted as the norm by their clients, in order to continue to perform in our information profession we must learn to embrace the formats that now provide the information we transact business from.
Lawton, F. D. & Scott, C. (2005). Integration: the glue that holds the digital library together. In Huthwaite, A. (Ed.), Managing information in the digital age: The Australian technology network libraries respond (pp. 29-51). Adelaide: The librarians of the Australian Technology Network.
Lynch, M. J. (2002). Age of librarians. American Library Association. Retreved from; http://www.ala.org/research/librarystaffstats/librarystaffstudies/ageoflibrarians
The fifth law of Ranganathan’s five laws of library science states “The Library Is a Growing Organism”, transforming and constantly adapting to new social conditions, technological developments, and the changing needs of our clientele (Mitchell, 2007).
Arazona State University (ASU) have adapted their service to met these needs through the use of a diversity of platforms including blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
By presenting a casual, personalised approach to their Library Minute series, the host Librarian intimates an availabilty to provide support as they take the viewer through an abundance of material concerning the library, its services and how these services can be accessed. By utilizing the available Web 2.0 tools ASU has endevoured to provide service to their clients both within and without the physicall boundries of the University (Miller, 2005). This use of Web 2.0 mobile technology makes full use of the four C’s of social media, content, conversation, community and connections in the search to provide point-of-need service.
The majority of the social networking tools that ACU provide to their clients can be easily replicated by almost any library, with the resources and an understanding administration. The ‘Ask a Librarian Chat 24/7’ would be difficult to fulfill in most libraries, given the 9 to 5 staffing arrangements currently in place, however substituting or utilizing an existing “Ask the Librarian’ email system would service, albeit not providing the ‘instant’ responses our I-generation clients are use to.
Library instruction and information tutorials must evolve to encompass all the mediums that are used by their students in order to be relevant and achieve results. The term transliteracy embraces the use of all the developing information Medias, Libraries and librarians need to expand into these mediums and not rely on limiting their client information to demonstrating skills in using Teats, journals and databases (Newman, 2010). To this point the ASU library website is an admirable model of the future of libraries as they adjust to the information environments that are emerging and their willingness to adapt their activities to accommodate these environments.
Miller, P. (2005). Web2.0: Building the New Library. Ariadne 45.
Prior to enrolling in INF506 I had never used Second Life but was enthusiastic to attempt its use. I recognized that it was created in 2003 by Linden labs (Helmer & Learning Light, 2007), consisted of user-created 3D virtual worlds, was used by gamers but not really considered to be a game (by devotees of online gaming), however I could not immediately see any benefit to education.
After reading the Module 3 notes, I downloaded the game and created my avatar, This process was simple enough and, my first interaction was on Welcome Island where I managed to immobilize myself in a rock while trying to come to grips with a number of the Avatars intricate controls and menus, I was eventually saved by teleporting to the CSU site.
I eventually gave myself the same advice I gave my mature age students, ‘Just play with it”, and found how addictive this social media can be. In all I found the experience to be annoyingly enjoyable for the next hour and a half, annoying because of my continued developing experience with the ‘game’ controls, enjoyable because the concept gives you nearest thing to exploration as you encounter new (man made) worlds and peoples, both educational and imaginative (O’Connell, 2010).
When the invitation came to become involved in a tutorial on the controls of Second Life, I finally learned the correct use of the ‘camera’. Guided by our lecturer we explored the CSU site and learned to control our avatars while observing ‘first hand’ how this media can be used as an educational tool. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity of finally ‘meeting’ a few of my classmates and lecturers; I believe that this method of presenting classes would reduce the dis-connectivity of distance education.
Once a student becomes proficient in using Second Life, the environment may be best used to assist learning by allowing them to become immersed in an environment that stimulates interaction (Dass, Dabbsgh & Clark, 2011). By providing a neutral learning location virtual worlds can provide an environment where students can acquire knowledge, exchange ideas and participate in individual and group activities through designed experiences without risk or consequence (Schoonheim, Heyden & Wiecha, 2014).
Dass, S., Dabbsgh, N. & Clark, K. (2011). Using virtual worlds: What the