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The Future of School Libraries/ Essay / Paper by AssignmentLab.com
 

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    The Future of School Libraries/ Essay / Paper by AssignmentLab.com The Future of School Libraries/ Essay / Paper by AssignmentLab.com Document Transcript

    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES The future of school libraries Rapid development of science and technologies causes the parallel changes of habitual social and cultural landscapes. Traditional ways of communication, education and research now have brand new and powerful competitors presented by World Wide Web and its tools. The key symbols of the learning process — books — are now substituted by computers and Wikipedia. However, the importance of a library for the society can hardly be diminished. It means that we cannot separate the evolution of libraries from societal and technological development. Libraries will remain the centers of learning and knowledge, but their form and role will be transformed and adapted according to new demands and possibilities of the 21st century. Before trying to sketch or forecast the future of the libraries it would be better to understand current position of the library phenomenon in the modern world. The history of its development from the simple book storage towards a center of information exchange proves that the communication part of this concept increases with the flow of time. The primary goal of medieval monks, for example, was preserving and transmission of a limited amount of texts. But nowadays that mission is no more a priority, because humanity is able to produce millions of copies and even keep them in digital form. That is why the objectives of a modern library focus around providing relevant information and helping users not to get lost in the ocean of information. Internet gave birth to numerous possibilities, which educational and cultural systems only begin to unravel. First of all, libraries will definitely retain their spatial function as a place of keeping books and providing working space for the readers. Nevertheless, the way of performing it will be changed. There would be less room for the shelves and book piles and much more – for the users who will need more personal space, more comfort and more devices. These needs can be easily explained by the expansion of laptops and tablet computers. Furthermore, 1
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES cozy chairs, adjustable tables, well thought-out illumination and spots for physical activity would be the measures to fight with the health disorders caused by sedentary life and hypodynamia. The differentiation between special types of working areas is also a project to be implemented. As one of the library studying reports states, ―people do use the special collections collaboratively, but it is annoying if you are trying to work alone. It would be valuable to have different kinds of works spaces for those working in groups and those working alone‖ (Marcus, Covert-Vail, & Mandel, 2007, p. 12). There is no doubt that the environment of the library should be motivational and ergonomic, creating an atmosphere that would help one concentrate and mobilize personal potential. At present the landscape of a typical city is full of visual and noise pollution, so that readers should be provided with quiet and relaxing surroundings that would turn some routine research into a pleasant procedure. That will not only improve the quality of the performed tasks, but also support the habit or wish of a person to visit this institution. Libraries should be run a little more like business by offering their clients something they want (King, 2007). Besides, the need in an environment of infinite and easy-accessible information tremendously increases. Modern students have the priorities of finding, analyzing, evaluating, sharing, and discussing information instead of memorizing or recollecting it. M. Wesch (2009) stresses that they ―need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able‖. This idea leads us to another great challenge for libraries – ability to enable, stimulate and empower communication and networking. It is obvious that a sole researcher has less potential that a group of them. The principles of synergy can be efficiently used in the work of libraries, making the processes of learning and discovering more powerful. Socialization and empathy became important tools in knowledge mastering and information creating and recreating. Future will change the very nature of informational experience. Libraries will find themselves striving to transform the usual impression from letters, pages and books into a 2
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES new capacity of knowledge mastering (Frey, 2008) that can be a successful competitor for seeming simplicity and entertainment of search engines. Nevertheless, libraries are not to be competitors with the temptations of the digital world as they will turn apparent enemy into a useful ally. By now one already can observe the benefits from the integration of a traditional concept of a library and the abilities of digital world like e-books, electronic catalogs or cross-references via hyperlinks. Speed of the information technologies development will bring new kinds of media in the traditional library environment. The core element of any library may take various forms, for example, the concept of a ―networked book‖ that is a creation of collaboration of author and readers online via Web (Young, 2006). P. Bernstein (2006) supports this idea: ―A networked book is 'social'... it is a hub, a facilitator, a lively entity that brings people together... It's both a process and a product‖. The technology of hypertext also affects physical books. Technologist D. Weinberger (2007) underlines that ―digital writing isn't between coves... it's hyperlinked. These changes how write, how we read, how we shape knowledge‖. It means that readers will expect an easy access to the computers (terminals) directly from libraries. However, use of the computers would not be reduced to a simple accessibility of digital materials – the potential of Internet gives plenty of opportunities for the librarians. The societal boom around the Web 2.0 and all its enticements is not merely a phenomenon – it is a proof of its undiscovered power to unleash the information. Splash of new generation of digital application gave birth to the idea of Library 2.0 (Gordon, 2007). This concept present the idea of providing library services online as well as offline (inside the library). The key goal will be removing obstacles between users and information. Nowadays a lot of libraries still give online access to the phantoms of real texts or data like bibliographic records. Nonetheless, one should be enabled to retrieve ―raw materials‖ (from table of contents to page images or even full text) (Besser, 1998). 3
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES It is important for the educational atmosphere to incorporate benefits of communication into the learning. Social networking via Web may be a successful and fruitful combination of informal and formal connections between students, professors and librarians. Such tools as blog, comments, forums, chats or conferences can be a perfect way to establish linkage between the information storage and educational process. The recommendation systems, which are self-learning automatic system of music/movies/books propositions for the users based upon their activity, are a common thing in the Web 2.0. The same idea may be efficiently used for the school libraries, where the suggestion of some list of literature would be necessary to feel sure in the overwhelming streams of information. Further, the terminal interface will include more and more personality traits, turning towards verbal transmission of information (Frey, 2006). So human-like computers will became inalienable part of a future library giving users the impression of a real communication. School library is a reflection of modern educational trends that is why its structure depends heavily upon emphasizes in the societal perception of learning. Thomas Frey suggests the concept of College 2.0 that will have gone through a process of refinement (Frey, 2009b). There will be much more independence between courses, students and professors. One would construct personal education as a puzzle, collecting different pieces. Thus, learning will no more be tied to a classroom – libraries will become center of gravity for future students and professors. Consequently, the physical nature of campuses (and especially of the library) is going to transform, that opens a boundless field for experimentation. The most useful, productive and effective models will survive and become a common thing. Nevertheless, even in the world of technology domination the human factor remains the cornerstone of all the processes in the sphere of education. Of course, the evolutionary trend concerning learning, books and schools would not be complete without the 4
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES reconsideration of librarians' role and destination. D. Lankes is sure about the global shift from objects towards information, stressing that ―it changes the focus of the work of librarians from artifacts and the products of learning (like books, web pages, and DVDs) to the learning process‖ (Lankes, cited in Hamilton, 2011). Also, such transformation will demolish the standard image of a librarian as a clerk, a functionary, rethinking it towards more personal, behavioral aspects. The staff of a library adopts some functions of teachers, professors, educational and information consultant, and even partly psychologists. Demands for a potential librarian will increase dramatically. The complexity of future libraries, especially the school ones, where new generation gets the basics of its outlook, will require intelligent, broad-minded an communicative people in order to provide the best reader-oriented service in the conditions of information perplexity. Tasks of the librarians are going to be supplied with the necessity not only to manage the collections, but also to deal with the readers' contributions. Consequently, they are going to be navigators in the metadata ocean, ―information architects‖ (Weinberger, 2007), who work on the junction of technology, communication, information and psychology. One of the main purposes of a librarian will become finding a personal approach to each individual user by helping one to construct a unique strategy of education or research that would meet one's needs and peculiarities of character. Interdisciplinarity and multitasking will be the common features of librarians' job. Reconceptualization of libraries' philosophy is a fact to come in the nearest future. The key point is enriching it with a specific and well-thought common value that can be found in the typical beliefs about society and culture or as well may be created as a multidimensional concept, which will include the main set of goals and purposes of a future library. Seth Godin proposes one mission - ―...take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community and create value‖ (Godin, 2011). However, value creation should 5
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES have a strong sociocultural basis, some common vision of a social system as a whole. The processes of social atomization, that led to conceit and overrated egoism, are making a 180° turn – towards co- and networking. This is supported by the librarians' opinion, ―As libraries struggle to stay up to par in the 21st century, our minds stray to technology. But, collaboration... that's the 21st-century skill that's needed most‖ (Dempsey, 2008). Of course, the above-mentioned way of evolution takes a lot of efforts to be put into practice. However, there are a lot of threats to society concerning the average level of education, ability to deal with hi-tech devices etc. School library in the regard of the global shift of library philosophy is a cornerstone for protection young generation from destructive influence of the oversimplified mass-culture influence. Professional guidance and creative, unusual ways for promoting the world of information is destined to prevent the degradation of nation. Library will become a center of keeping in touch with the future as well as getting insight into the past. It should be libraries that shape children and youth's knowledge and outlook, not television or pop-culture. To put it briefly, libraries will become the centers of gravity in the educational and cultural systems. School libraries are the ones to set the path, give the role model, the shared vision. Future generation will be raised in hi-tech surroundings, though the social component will also be powerful enough to make education and learning processes base upon collaboration. The bright metaphor is used by T. Frey (2009a) - ―nerve center of the community‖. So libraries will turn into the reflection of societal processes, incorporating upto-date technological innovations as well as methods of interpersonal communication. The philosophy of it would shape primarily the educational system, that later affects other spheres of the social life. Future is inseparably connected with knowledge. Knowledge is tied with information, the center of keeping, using and sharing of which is library. 6
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES References Bernstein, P. (2006). The Book as Place: The 'Networked Book' Becomes the New 'In' Destination. Retrieved from InformationToday.com: www.infotoday.com/searcher/nov06/Bernstein.shtml Besser, H. (1998). The Shape of the 21st Century Library. In M. W. (eds.), Information Imagineering: Meeting at the Interface (pp. 133-146). Chicago: American Library Association. Dempsey, B. (2008, 11). Big Read, Big ROI. Library Journal . Frey, T. (2008). Creating the Ultimate Information Experience. Retrieved from The personal blog of Futurist Thomas Frey: www.futuristspeaker.com/2008/05/creating-theultimate-information-experience/ Frey, T. (2009a). Future Libraries: Nerve Center of the Community. Retrieved from The personal blog of Futurist Thomas Frey: www.futuristspeaker.com/2009/02/futurelibraries-nerve-center-of-the-community/ Frey, T. (2009b). The Future of Colleges and Universities - Part One. Retrieved from The personal blog of Futurist Thomas Frey: www.futuristspeaker.com/2009/12/the-futureof-colleges-universities-part-one/ Frey, T. (2006). The Future of Libraries. Retrieved from The personal blog of Futurist Thomas Frey: www.futuristspeaker.com/2006/11/the-future-of-libraries/ Godin, S. (2011). The future of the Library. Retrieved from Seth Godin's Blog: www.sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/05/the-future-of-the-library.html Gordon, R. (2007). Information Tomorrow: Reflections on Technology and the Future of Public and Academic Libraries. Medford, NJ: Information Today. Hamilton, T. (2011). Are Librarians Not Seth Godin the Ones Missing the Point on Libraries? Retrieved from The Unquiet Librarian: 7
    • THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES www.theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/are-librarians-not-seth-godinthe-ones-missing-the-point-on-libraries/ King, D. (2007). The Physical Library in the 21st Century? Retrieved from www.davidleeking.com/2007/12/29 Marcus, C., Covert-Vail, L., & Mandel, C. A. (2007). Report of a Study of Faculty and Graduate Student Needs for Research and Trainig. New York. Weinberger, D. (2007). The Future of Book Nostalgia. Retrieved from JOHO Newsletter: www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-nov19-07.html#book Wesch, M. (2009). From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments. Retrieved from Academic Commons: www.academiccommons.org/commons/essay/knowledgeable-kwnowledge-able Young, J. (2006, July). Book 2.0.: Scholars Turn Monographs into Digital Conversations. The Chronicle of Higher Education . 8