New librarian

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  • 1. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011 New Librarian: Changing Roles, Skills, & Techniques Mrs. Chandrakala N Pai* Mr. V. Sriram Librarian, Prin. KMK College of Pharmacy Chief Librarian, KNRaj Library Plot no. 23 Jote joy Building Centre for Development Studies R. S Marg, Cuffe Parade , Prasanth Nagar, Ulloor, Colaba, Mumbai -400005 Thiruvananthapuram-695011 email: kalapai@rediffmail.com email: vsrirams@gmail.comAbstract: The librarianship has undergone a radical change in the last two – three decades. The adventof information technology has accelerated the development and innovation of new systems and methodsof information collection storage and retrieval. For a Librarian in this digital age, to survive, and becomesuccessful, timely updation of skills and techniques are necessary. Also Librarian is expected to performrange of roles that was unheard or unbelievable during the bygone decades. In every area, activity in theLibrary change has crept in and has made the life of librarian easy, fast, systematic and accurate.However to be effective he has be aware of changing roles, skills, & techniques.I IntroductionLibraries play an important role in providing information. The period 1980s and 1990s has seenthat the student and researchers depended on library for their information. Developments in theinformation and communication technologies have completely changed the library scenario, inits way of the collection development and services. The transition of traditional library to digitalthen to virtual library is the state of the art. The information world is undergoing transition froma library-centered to information-centered, from paper based environment to digital environment.The changing library and information environment has changed role of librarian from acustodian of information to provider of information. It is therefore pertinent on the part of thelibrarian to acquire new skills required for developing and managing the modern library. Theempowerment of library and information professionals with Information technology skill isaimed at providing services as per the user expectation. 1 Page
  • 2. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011II Aim and objective Change is the law of life, in Library and Information Science as in any other sector; the professionals have to face changes. The developments happening in various sectors, innovation, technological advancement, and so on will definitely have its impact in Librarianship too. The future depends on how we understand the changes, how we plan the transition, and how we manage it. The prime goal of library and information centers is user satisfaction. Any change ultimately results in users getting the maximum benefit. A properly planned change can definitely lead achievement of the institutional goal.III NeedThe advent of internet and digital technology has challenged the existence of librarianship1. The crown of librarian; once considered as the information provider; is slipping and libraries are viewed as outdated with the advent of internet based services2. Information Explosion, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution and also the change in information seeking behavior of the clients3. Explosive growth and usage of web resources: The internet or web is like a mountain of knowledge, anyone can start climbing but it is easy if there is a guide. Thus librarians can act as a guide in the mountain of knowledge.4. Dwindling Library budgets, escalating cost of printed documents, new patterns of scholarly publications and communication, Online Bookshops & Information Services 2 Page
  • 3. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011 IV Changing Role of librarian Technologies are dramatically changing the accessibility of information, and librarians are adapting to the evolving needs of the users, that emerge from new technologies. The library profession may be distinguished depending on nature of their job, the organization the library is affiliated to: e.g. a Corporate librarian, Academic librarian, Scientific officer, Public librarian etc., but the basic skills required will be almost the same irrespective of the job environment. The change from palm leaf to print-computerized-virtual library is a result of change in time and growth in resource and technology. Palm leaf collection > Printed Collection > Artificial intelligence Accession Register > Computer database Classification > Clustering Printed catalogue > OPAC > WEBOPAC Reference librarian > Information officer > Cybrarian Library > Automated Library > Virtual library V Changes in the library environment A library’s collection is important both to the institution, to the user and to library staff who build and maintain them. The library collection has never been static. The development in information technology has a great impact on every aspect of library operation and information services. i. Print media to electronic media –In the library collection electronic books and electronic journals are gradually occupying their position. Even these are stored in the external storage devices. Standards reports and patent which were in print format are available in the online format ii Changes in access: Over the years retrieval tools have evolved from printed library catalogue cards and indexing and abstracting journals to OPAC, 3 Page WEBOPAC, and Citations full text linking RSS Feeds, etc
  • 4. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011 iii Change in library services: With the changes in library collection organization and expectation of the user the library services have also changed a. Computerized circulation of documents using various software’s b. OPAC and WEB OPAC c. Document delivery system through Internet d. Resource sharing through consortia e. Links to web resources through library portals and electronic resources f. Digital archiving, institutional repositories g. Change in information seeking behavior of the user iv Change in the library activity: With the change in the technology, the day to day activities performed by Librarian have also undergone a change. E.g: a. Acquisition > Content Access b. Classification > Organization of Contents c. Cataloguing > Metadata description d. Abstracting > Content creation e. Organization > Website management f. Inter Library Cooperation > Electronic Document Delivery g. Shelving -> Links Management h. Preservation -> Digitization i. Administration -> NegotiationsVI Role of Librarian 4In this technological age the librarian can no longer be simply a custodian of knowledge. The Pagetechnological changes and use of electronically stored and retrieval of information systems has
  • 5. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011changed and its access has also drastically changed. A librarian or information professional mustbe able to participate actively in the professional activities of generating information rather thancollecting and disseminating the available information.a. Librarian as information broker: Today information has become a major economiccommodity. The work of librarians is increasingly varied as it expands to keep up with the flowof information. The librarian is responsible for locating, acquiring, disseminating and trackinginformation resources of many types for efficient retrieval by the user. In such a scenario it isimperative for the traditional librarian to acquire necessary skills in the effective use of moderngadgets and associated software to locate and retrieve the widely spread information.b. Librarian as an Educator: Creating awareness of information has been the prime roleof librarian in the present day. Librarian’s skills in the area of technology, educational designand teaching technique are crucial in their new re-educational role. The librarian in anorganization trains the user to perform their searches more effectively. However, no matter howsophisticated interfaces and search engines are, the user still requires training or guidance in theirusage. Thus librarian thus plays an important role as a trainer or an educator.c. Librarian as a researcher: Librarians are highly skilled in the research process andpossess unique knowledge of the breadth and depth of information resources in various subjectspecialties. Librarians study to keep themselves up to date on the expanding trends and paradigmin the library profession They need to understand the changes in the technology and differentsources of information, by facilitating access to information -- finding it, delivering,summarizing it -- librarians will move to the beginning of the information production cycle,playing a more substantial role in the information creation process.VII Key skills required for the new generation of LIS professionalsSkill is a practical ability, a facility in carrying out an action. In the present day environment,professional owe greater responsibility to be effective information professional. A closer look atthe existing skills of the professionals reveals that for facing the challenges of today andtomorrow, they not only need to acquire wider range of skills but also need to keep themselvesup-to-date. The personal skills required for a new generation of LIS professionals include being 5 Page
  • 6. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011analytical, creative, technical, flexible, reflective, able to deal with a range of users, detective-like,adaptable, responsive to others’ needs, enthusiastic and self-motivated to library work1 Analytical: skilled in analyzing user need2. Creative: having the ability or power to create3. Technical: related to technique or proficiency in a practical skill for instance acquisition, classification, cataloging, management, services, etc.4. Flexible: capable of being changed; able to adjust readily to different conditions.5. Reflective: be devoted to matters of the mind; “the reflective type".6. Detective-like: services to the variety of user groups.7. Adaptable: able to solve a mystery, generally through a process of discovery.8. Responsive to others needs: capable of adapting to a particular situation or use answering, replying or responding; able to receive and respond to external stimuli.10 Enthusiastic: having or showing great excitement and interest.11Self –motivated: be motivated to achieve something due to ones own interest.Generic skills:It is important to note that library professionals serve many roles: a helpful facilitator insearching and evaluating required information; an effective communicator with commands inspeaking, writing and presentation; a critical thinker updating the fast pace of digital era; acollaborative practitioner in problem solving with leadership qualification. This calls for severalgeneric skills on the part of the Librarian.1. Information literacy : a mean to “empower people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use andcreate information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational 6 Pagegoals.” (Horton & UNESCO, 2008, p 18)
  • 7. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 20112 Communication: “the ability to exchange feelings, ideas and information with others in anappropriate manner. Communication consists of the two key aspects of oral and written skills.Oral communication involves using the human voice to effectively articulate a message to anintended audience. Written communication involves using text or graphics to effectively transmita message to an intended audience.” (Partridge & Hallam, 2004, p. 19)3 Critical thinking: “The ability to reach conclusions through reflection and evaluation byapplying independent thought and informed judgment.” (Wolinski, 2010, p. 20)4 Teamwork: “the ability to work effectively with others in a group with a view to achievingdefined goals. Two distinct roles necessary for teamwork are the team member and the teamleader. A team member makes a productive contribution to the collaborative effort of the groupby participating in the pursuit of group goals under the guidance of the team leader.”5. Ethics and social responsibility: “an awareness of the need for and commitment to themaintenance of high professional standards and social justice.”6 Problem solving: “the ability to find effective solutions to problems through creativereasoning.” (Partridge & Hallam, 2004)7. Leadership “a relationship that involves the mobilizing, influencing, and guiding of otherstoward desiredgoals.” (Wolinski, 2010)VIII ConclusionThe librarian acts as a catalyst that helps to enhance information flow. The task has changed for thelibrarian in the present era. Now he keeps track on current information, distills this and make it availableto the needy client. These multiple roles that a modern librarian is required to perform, is very interestingyet challenging. It is therefore pertinent on the part of the librarian to acquire new skills required fordeveloping and managing the modern library. 7 Page
  • 8. National Seminar on Post-Modernisation of Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities, Thane, IndiaNov. 25, 2011REFERENCES1. Chad, Ken, Paul Miller. “Do Libraries Matter? The rise of Library 2.0”. A white paper. P. 1-11. Nov2005. www.talis.com.2. Horton, F. W. & UNESCO. (2008). Understanding information literacy: A primer. Paris: UNESCO.Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001570/157020e.pdf3. Lalitha, P. “Impact of information and communication technology on library and information centers.”(www.alibnet.org)4. Partridge, H. L. & Hallam, G. (2004). The double helix: a personal account of the discovery f thestructure of the information professionals DNA. Paper presented at ALIA 2004 Biennial Conference,Gold Coast, Australia. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/1215/5. Ramana , P Venkata: The changing role of librarian in a challenging dynamic web environment , 4thInternational Convention CALIBER-2006, Gulbarga, 2-4 February, 2006 INFLIBNET Centre,Ahmedabad.6. Robert M. Braude, Ph.D. Impact of information technology on the role of health sciences librarians,Bull Med Library Assoc 81(4) October 1993 pp 408-4137. S.P. Singh, Pinki New Skills for LIS Professionals in Technology-Intensive Environment, ICAL 2009– CHANGE MANAGEMENT pp331-3368. Tapaswi, M. P. Be on top of the tide: Content management for effective information dissemination.Key note presentation at KLA National Seminar on Content Mangement 2011, Thiruvananthapuram,India. Retrieved fromhttp://klanationalseminar2011.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/tapaswi_kla_keynote_14jul20118.pdf.9. Wolinski, S. (2010). Leadership Defined. Retrieved fromhttp://managementhelp.org/blogs/leadership/2010/04/06/leadership-defined 8 Page