The Role of Librarians in the 21st Century

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Paper delivered by MIla Ramos during the 35th ALAP Anniversary Forum

Paper delivered by MIla Ramos during the 35th ALAP Anniversary Forum

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  • 1. The Role of Librarians in the 21 st Century Paper presented by Mila M. Ramos 35 th ALAP Anniversary Forum June 8, 2007 UPLB CEAT Auditorium
  • 2. Overview
    • The Ongoing Debate About the Relevance of Librarians
    • The Changing Library and Information Environment
    • The Library 2.0 concept
    • Traditional and Current Roles
    • Competencies Needed for Added Roles
    • 10 steps to put your library out there
    • Conclusion: the challenges and the way forward
  • 3. The Ongoing Debate on the Role of Libraries: 2 Haunting Questions
    • 1. Are Libraries “inefficient, limited, obsolete” -as portrayed by Mark Hirschey, an American from Kansas? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/oct/02/libraries_are_limited_obsolete/
    • 2. Is there a need for Libraries and Librarians in the electronic age?
  • 4. The Library’s Perpetual Mission
    • to provide scholarly access to selected relevant information resources, giving high value to the needs and expectations of users.
    • this mission encompasses all available media and document formats, both physically available and remotely accessed via the WWW
    • This mission is still pursued but nowadays libraries do more than this
  • 5. Current Perception of the Library: One side of the Coin
    • “ The library’s information provider crown is slipping. … today libraries are increasingly viewed as outdated, with modern, Internet-based services, such as Amazon and Google, looking set to inherit the throne”.
            • Source: Chad & Miller. 2005. Do libraries matter: the rise of Library2.0. http://www.talis.com/downloads/white_papers/DoLibrariesMatter.pdf
  • 6. Is there a need for Libraries and Librarians in the electronic age?
    • haunts information management professionals nowadays
    • many information sources are now available via the WWW.
    • my answer to this is a big YES. So does many librarians and information specialists in the field
    • Libraries and librarians are becoming more and more important but there is a need to change
  • 7. The New Global Library and Information Environment
    • Geometric increase in the quantity of information
    • Greater access to a wider range of information sources via the WWW
    • Increased speed in acquiring and disseminating information
    • Constantly evolving ITs (hardware and software)
    • Need for continuous learning for library staff and users
    • Need for bigger financial investments to avail of electronic resources
  • 8. The Information world is undergoing transition
    • From a Library-centered to an information-centered entity
    • From a paper-based environment to a predominantly digital interface, i.e. using search engines, online databases, data mining, etc.
    • From the Library as an institution to the Library as an information provider with IT skilled specialists functioning in an automated environment
  • 9. Millennials Represent the New Wave of Information Seekers
    • Students/professionals born from 1981-1999
    • Surrounded by computers and digital media
    • Like control, interactivity and convenience
    • Comfortable with multitasking and IT
    • Confident and have High expectations
    • Format-agnostic – do not care what format information is contained but prefer digital sources
    • Nomadic – expecting services and resources when and where needed
    • Librarians’ ability to link them with information is a measure of our continued relevance
  • 10. More Transitions in the Info World
    • From utilizing new technology to automate library functions to utilizing IT for the enhancement of information access
    • From library networking to wider collaboration with all types of institutions and information professionals, even with politicians.
    • From acquisition to access, i.e. instead of purchasing information sources, licenses for remote access are paid for.
    • From lack of concern for intellectual property to ethical and judicious use of copyrighted materials
  • 11. The New Library Version: Just like Web 2.0, there is also a Library 2.0
    • Library 2.0 visualizes a “very different library service that operates according to expectations of today’s library users. In this vision, the library makes information available wherever and whenever the user requires it”.
    • Realizing this vision requires change across a wide range of systems, processes and attitudes.
  • 12. Principles Governing Library 2.0
    • The Library is everywhere
    • The Library has no barriers
    • The Library invites participation
    • The Library uses flexible, best-of-breed systems
  • 13. Library Virtual Presence in 2010
    • More than the library’s web site
    • A web site that is responsive to users’ needs
    • Digital collections are in place
    • Interactive site where users not only search for information but also collaborate and share ideas
    • Every library should have attained Library 2.0 status by 2010
  • 14. Traditional Roles of Librarians
    • Custodian – selects, organizes, and services print and other media
    • Guide – assists users in searching and critically evaluating relevant information sources.
    • Public relations officer – maintains good relationships with management, clients, other libraries, and outside organizations
  • 15. Role of Librarians in the 21 st century
    • Information Broker for both print and electronic media – Identifies, retrieves, organizes, repackages and provides electronic access to digital information sources
    • Change agent, i.e. Technology application leader – collaborates w/ IT Services to design and evaluate systems that would facilitate e-access
    • Facilitator – makes access easier, e.g. provides network access, purchases softwares & e-journal licenses
  • 16. More Roles …
    • Educator – trains clients on Internet use : tools , search engines, online databases and catalogs, electronic journals; use of web-based instruction and online tutorials
    • Innovator/Web Site Designer/Builder/Manager - designs the library’s web page and searches and evaluates information resources to be linked to the site; creates an awareness of library services on the web; in some instances manages the organizational web site
  • 17. And more…
    • Database Manager – Print bibliographies are no longer in use as searching via online databases is faster and more efficient.
    • Collaborator – Expanded area of collaboration, not just with fellow librarians but with IT people, the community, etc.
    • Policy maker – Develops or participates in the development of an information policy for an organization, ensuring total or selective access to all information resources
  • 18. And more…
    • Business Manager – negotiates with publishers and aggregators for the most advantageous license agreements for e-journals and databases
    • Image Maker – Adds value to the library to gain management support and project a positive image to the outside world
  • 19. Competencies Needed to Fill the Roles in the Digital Age
    • Competencies are “a combination of skills, knowledge, and behavior patterns vital to organizational success, personal achievement, and career development ”.
    • Types: Professional competencies and Personal competencies
  • 20. Professional Competencies
    • Librarian’s knowledge in the areas of information resources, information access, technology management, and research plus the ability to apply them in providing library and information services.
  • 21. Professional competencies (from the Special Libraries Association)
    • expert knowledge and familiarity with information resources plus the ability to critically evaluate, filter, and access them.
    • specialized subject knowledge appropriate to the needs of the organization or client.
    • administrative expertise to create and manage convenient, accessible and cost-effective information services that are aligned with the strategic directions of the organization.
  • 22. More Professional competencies: Librarians must be able to:
    • 4. assess information needs of clients
    • 5. design and market value-added information services and products to meet identified needs.
    • 6. apply appropriate information technology to acquire, organize and disseminate information.
    • 7. use appropriate business and management approaches to communicate the importance of information services to senior management.
  • 23. More Professional competencies: Librarians must be able to:
    • 8. develop specialized information products for use inside or outside the organization
    • 9. evaluate the outcomes of information use and conduct research to help the solution of information management problems.
    • 10. continually improve information services in response to the changing needs.
    • be an effective member of the senior management team and a consultant to the organization on information issues .
  • 24. Personal Competencies
    • ” a set of skills, attitudes, and values that enables librarians:
      • to work efficiently
      • be good communicators
      • to focus on continuing learning throughout their careers
      • to demonstrate the vaue-added nature of their contributions
    • to survive in the new [information] world…”
  • 25. Personal competencies
    • 1 . commitment to share knowledge and to service excellence.
    • 2. ability to face challenges and to see new opportunities both inside and outside the library.
    • 3. foresight; sees the big picture
    • 4. strong interest and belief in partnerships and alliances
  • 26. More Personal Competencies
    • 5. ability to create an environment of mutual respect and trust.
    • 6. effective communication skills
    • 7. good team work
    • 8. dynamic leadership
    • 9. systematic planning and prioritizing skills, with focus on what is critical .
  • 27. More Personal competencies
    • 10. unwavering interest in lifelong learning and personal career planning.
    • 11. active personal business skills
    • 12. recognition of the value of professional networking and solidarity.
    • 13. flexibility and positive attitude in a time of continuing change
  • 28. Complete Report :
    • Competencies for Special Librarians of the 21st Century/Submitted to the SLA Board of Directors by theSpecial Committee on Competencies for Special Librarians: Joanne Marshall, Chair; Bill Fisher; Lynda Moulton; and Roberta Piccoli
    • http://www.sla.org/content/SLA/professional/meaning/competency.cfm
  • 29. “ Put Your Library Out There”: 10 Steps
    • Communicate … listen to your staff
    • Involve staff in planning
    • Tell stories … promote the library’s value
    • Be transparent … let users and staff know about new plans/projects
    • Report and debrief
  • 30. “ Put Your Library Out There”: 10 Steps
    • 6. Do your research … you must be in the know
    • 7. Manage projects well
    • 8. Formally convene the emerging technology group
    • 9. Training 2.0: let everyone play & experience
    • 10. Celebrate successes
  • 31. Librarians are More in Demand than Ever in the Digital Age
    • In the 21 st century, we are witnessing an information revolution
    • Information needs to be delivered in a timely and preferred manner
    • Technology for generating and sharing information is useless, if there’s no way to locate, filter, organize and access it.
    • Traditionally librarians are in the forefront of information dissemination and they will continue to be there , but via altered and IT-driven means
  • 32. Food for thought
    • Are we ready for the challenges
    • of the digital age?
  • 33.
    • “ It’s a great time to be a Librarian”
    • - W.Lee Hisle, Vice Pres,. For Information Services and Librarian, Connecticut College, USA (Library Connect 4(2):6. 2006)
    • Thank You.