The way we work in libraries is changing. The world is changing. The economy of the UK is hitting an all time low. We hear talk of budgetary cuts, potential job losses and in the public library service in Hampshire, they are talking about replacing the librarians with volunteers.It’s a jungle out there, that is certain.I’m here today to help us focus on how we can change the way we all work, by challenging us to achieve more with less money and fewer paper based resources.
Well, this is a good start, you, the library assistants, face challenges. You know that, you do it every day just walking into the library to start work.And I’ve already mentioned the budget cuts. But challenges from the natives? Who are these digital natives? They are the students for whom we provide a service.
They are the ones who are probably under the age of 25, but might be a bit older or quite a lot younger, who can’t live without the i-pod, the iphone, the ipad and the Wiiand they take their laptop on holiday with them! They like to be on online constantly, and use their blackberry or iphone to update their facebook status and upload photos of the latest look.As I said they like to be online all the time, and although they do read fiction, they don’t DO textbooks, and the library is just a place to meet their friends in the colder weather because the alternative is the college canteen. Who would blame them?We need to find a way to get them to make more use of what we’ve got in the library. But how? They think we are boring because we are library staff and have read every book on our dusty shelves.
The key to this is the college VLE.At Totton college, we are trying very hard to increase our presence on the college VLE in a big way.???
It’s a great big jungle and it takes time to explore the many resources we have at our fingertips in the library. Although we have many books, and these can all be located on our OPAC, many students will go through college never knowing that they can search online to see whether a particular copy is available, or even do a subject search! This is even after we have done a group library induction for their class.
The benefits are :The library becomes instantly recognizable to staff and studentsEven reluctant staff will be pleased to progress their VLE page with a resources linkOffer library links on course VLE pages – upload an article or linkProvide a subject reading list which links to the OPACFor each subject area create a link to relevant online journalsOne click to the library – add a searchable OPAC box
Increase student access to library resources This will result in improved information literacy skillsReduce reliance on WikipediaDirect students to reliable sources
Don’t be a paper tiger – relying less on paper reduces costs and environmental impactBe a trailblazer on environmental issuesCommunicate what you do well so other staff can follow where you lead
Encourage use of free tools for the digital immigrants provided by organizations such as JISC eg Learning Apps to teachers and studentsInnovate with film, podcasts and other online media Ask for staff/student expert assistance if you need toIntroduce teachers to free digital image collectionsHave a go at using some of the tools yourself
Familiarize yourself with your VLEwhat is the library’s profile on the VLE?If you are still in the dark about how to use your VLE, find out how to get trainedWho is your point of contact?Staff need to update their digital skills to keep competitive in a demanding environmentHave a go at updating the library page on the VLE
Library staff risk getting left behind if they don’t embrace the opportunities to use the VLE as a promotional toolMap the library on the VLE to guide the digital natives through the jungleTake the initiative and place the library at the centre of your organization
Priscilla's library service innovation
Library innovation and promotion on a budget<br />Think digital and free with the VLE<br />By Priscilla Cook<br />Totton College Library<br />