Library education: The future is now


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Partridge, H. (2008) Library education: The future is now. Queenlsand Public Library Association Annual Conference. State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, 19-21 October 2008.

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  • Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) library in 1946
  • Librarians have a higher than average proportion of part-time workers among their ranks. About 31% have part-time jobs.
    Librarians are markedly older than the average for Australian occupations.
    Library work is highly feminised. 84% of employed librarians and more than 94% of library technicians are women. Among female librarians, 65% work full time. 84% of male librarians work full time.
  • 16% plan to retire by 2010 32% by 2015
    IT and leadership skills are an issue
  • Increasing need for diverse specialisation across the different fields of LIS
  • brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.
  • Christine Mackenzie, Manager of the Yarra Plenty Public Library Service, suggests that Library 2.0 has forever changed the ‘library brand’. Libraries are no longer about books or even information. Instead, libraries are about ‘facilitating people to participate, interact and create, to provide the means for that to happen’5. Mackenzie suggests that this facilitation could ‘range from providing demand driven collections to provide the facilities for bands to cut their own CDs and then promote them’. Similarly, US LIS educator, Michael Stephens, notes that Library 2.0 is breaking down the barriers — ‘barriers librarians have placed on service, barriers of place and time, and barriers inherent in what we do’6.
  • The LIS profession is quickly recognising that Library 2.0 requires an LIS professional ‘that is better equipped and broadly educated than one just ten years ago’8. In the last twelve months, blogging librarians have begun to compile their informal list of ‘core competencies’ needed by Librarian 2.0. The call to the LIS profession is becoming clear: ‘it is essential that we start preparing to become Librarian 2.0 now’9. At the 2007 conference of the International Federation of Library and Information Association (IFLA), Saw and Todd noted that ‘library 3.0 is just around the corner and even though we don’t know exactly what from library 3.0 will take we do know that it will deliver a new generation of library products and services’10. They challenge the LIS industry to ‘ensure that library staff — current and future — workforce possess the necessary skills to work in library 3.0 successfully’.
    This challenge has been taken up in various informal ways within the LIS profession, one of the most notable examples is the ‘23 Things’11 program developed by the staff at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in the US in August 2006. The program was developed to help library workers to learn about Web 2.0 through play. The current state of formal LIS education was commented on by Jenny Macaulay, in her Life as I know it blog: ‘in my time in library school so far we haven’t talked about Web 2.0 or about Library 2.0 in any specific capacity. We have used some Web 2.0 technologies. I can’t say that the faculty know about these technologies or not‘12.
    Beyond the informal blog discussions no systematic study has taken place to identify the skills and knowledge required by Librarian 2.0 so that they may successfully provide Library 2.0.
  • Life as I know it blog 30 May 2007
    The issue “library education” has been around for a long time
  • 75% of students complete their studies online
    Focus is on entry level qualifications - QUT’s new Executive Information Practice.
  • Stage 1 – literature review and focus groups with industry
    Stage 2 – case studies, telephone interviews
  • Approx 2500 students enrolled in ALIA LIS education in Australia
    9 institutions
    Less than 50 LIS educators
    IFLA 2010
    Web site – ie blog with RSS feeds when we add things
    Discussion papers – 3
  • Library education: The future is now

    1. 1. Library education: the future is now! Associate Professor Helen Partridge Coordinator, Master of Information Management Queensland University of Technology
    2. 2. Today… • Library and information science (LIS) profession in Australia • The emergence of library 2.0 and librarian 2.0 • Current state of LIS education • ALTC Fellowship exploring LIS education 2.0 • Public libraries and LIS education
    3. 3. Be warned…there will be more questions than answers!
    4. 4. So you think you might like to be a librarian. Lets take a moment to learn a little more about this career choice. Available from YouTube
    5. 5. The LIS Sector in Australia • National library and 8 State and Territory Libraries • 1800 public libraries • 38 university libraries and 70 TAFE libraries • 1100 special libraries • 9500 school libraries
    6. 6. The LIS Workforce Australia: 10.65 million employees LIS sector: 29,100 library workers 12,300 are librarians 8,000 library technicians 8,800 library assistants
    7. 7. Librarians 65% are 45 or older [compared to 36% in the total workforce] 88% are 35 or more [58%] 12% are under 35 [42%] Median age: 47
    8. 8. Some international LIS studies on workforce and industry • The 8Rs Study (Canada) Canadian Library Human Resource Study • Recruit, retain and lead (public libraries) University of Sheffield (UK) • Learning for change: workforce development strategy Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (UK) • A national study on the future of librarians in the workforce Institute of Museums & Library Services (IMLS) (USA) • Other studies: eg ACRL, Colorado Association of Libraries
    9. 9. Some Australian studies • Libraries of the Australian Technology Network (LATN) – Workforce and succession planning • State Library of Victoria – Workforce sustainability and leadership project • Collections Council of Australia – Conservation survey 2006 (human & financial resources) • Gillian Hallam’s neXus project – Two stages: stage 1 online survey of individual LIS professionals and stage 2 investigates workforce policies and practices in LIS institutions.
    10. 10. Skill and Knowledge 1. Information and society 2. Ethics & legal Responsibility 3. Management 4. Information organisation 5. Information services 6. Collection management & development 7. Information resources and retrieval 8. Information literacy instruction 9. Information management 10. Information systems for LIS professionals 11. Web content management 12. Career planning skills 13. Records management and archives 14. Research 1. Information Literacy 2. Lifelong Learning 3. Teamwork 4. Communication 5. Ethics and Social Responsibility 6. Project Management 7. Critical Thinking 8. Problem Solving 9. Business Acumen 10. Self Management Partridge, H. & Hallam, G. (2004) The double helix: a personal account of the discovery of the structure of [the information professional’s] DNA. Paper presented at Challenging Ideas, ALIA 2004 Biennial Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, September 2004.
    11. 11. Some Common Issues • What is library and information science? • Ageing and the retirement of senior LIS professionals • Flattening (declining?) number of LIS graduates • Increased competition from other career sectors • Less than competitive salaries • Lingering negative image of the profession • Growing anecdotal evidence about the difficulties recruiting staff with the right specialist skills. • Skills requirement for the future workforce • What job opportunities will exist for future librarians?
    12. 12. “one message is clear however and applies to all staff at all levels and across the spectrum of responsibilities – whilst some staff may need a portfolio of skills, including high level IT skills, to meet the requirements of their particular function, all staff, working in today’s electronic library environment, must be comfortable working with IT” (Garrod and Sidgreaves, 1998)
    13. 13. Web 2.0 is changing the nature of librarians and the role of library and information science professionals.
    14. 14. Lets consider... Available from Youtube:
    15. 15. Library 2.0 library 2.0 has forever changed the ‘library brand’…libraries are no longer about book or event information, instead libraries are about “facilitating people to participate, interact and create, to provide the means for that to happen” (Mackenzie, 2007)
    16. 16. “it is essential that we start preparing to become librarian 2.0 now” (Abram, 2005) Available from
    17. 17. “in my time in library school so far we haven’t talked about web 2.0 or about library 2.0 in any specific capacity. We have used some web 2.0 technologies. I can’t say that the faculty know about these technologies or not” (Macaulay, 2007)
    18. 18. LIS Education in Australia In 2005 there were: – 1539 students enrolled in postgraduate – 811 in undergraduate – 2028 in TAFE
    19. 19. The ‘issue’ of LIS education • “a crisis in library education” (Gorman, 2004) • “something’s amiss with university based education for librarianship” (Harvey, 2001) • “a fresh approach needs to be taken considering the education and development of the new information professional” (Myburgh, 2003) • “many librarians have little firsthand experience with library education after they graduate” (Moran, 2001) • “LIS educators can be totally out of touch with current industry practice” (Hallam, 2007)
    20. 20. LIS Education • Course recognition • Employment landscape • Entry into the profession via both TAFE (para professional) and university (professional) • University qualifications can be obtained at several levels: bachelor, graduate diploma and master degrees • LIS education is located in a broad range of faculties and departments • 9 institutions offer ALIA recognised LIS degrees • Number of LIS academics is decreasing and ‘greying’
    21. 21. Library and information science education 2.0: guiding principles and models of best practice Associate Fellowship 2008
    22. 22. Three observations 1. Library 2.0 has changed the way that libraries and library and information professionals do business 2. The skill and knowledge required by the library and information professional for success in the age of web 2.0 has changed (and continues to change) 3. The learning experiences of library and information students continues to be framed in disciplinary traditions that do not reflet the needs of contemporary work environment.
    23. 23. Aims • To establish Guiding Principles for Library and Information Science Education 2.0 – By: • Identifying the current and anticipated skills and knowledge required by successful library and information professionals in the age of web 2.0 (and beyond) • Establishing the current state of library and information education in Australia in supporting the development of the ‘web 2.0 professional’ • Identify models of best practice in library and information education
    24. 24. Activities 1 September 2008 – 31 August 2009 • Stage 1: Rich picture of the skills and knowledge required by LIS professional in the web 2.0 (and beyond) age will be established. • An audit of current LIS education in Australia and the development of case studies to showcase models of best practice. • Guiding Principles for Library and Information Science Education 2.0 will be developed.
    25. 25. The Project Team • Me • Research Assistant, Julie Lee • Reference Group • Program Evaluator, Margaret Buckridge, Griffith University • ……you!
    26. 26. Desired Outcomes • Curriculum renewal in LIS professional education • Help to ensure LIS education in Australia continues to meet the changing skill and knowledge requirements of the profession is supports • Vehicle through which LIS professionals and LIS educators may find opportunities for greater collaboration and more open communication • LIS discipline become a role model for other disciplines STAY TUNED! A blog will be released in the next 6 weeks, with the opportunity for you to share your thoughts on librarian 2.0 and library education 2.0.
    27. 27. Library Education: The Future is Now! LIS Educators LIS Employers LIS Professionals LIS Professional Associations
    28. 28. And for public libraries specifically? • What is public library 2.0? Does it differ to special library 2.0? Academic library 2.0? • What should the future public library workforce look like? Skills? Knowledge? • What about non library roles? What non library skill and knowledge is needed? • How can LIS education serve the public library more effectively? • What skills and knowledge is required for entry level qualifications? Mid career qualifications? • ………?
    29. 29. Questions, comments, discussion? Dr Helen Partridge (07) 3138 9047