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Evolving Libraries: What’s at Our Core?

Rudy Leon

Rudy Leon

Rudy Leon, University of Nevada, Reno, presented a dynamic and fast-moving look at the future of libraries.

A new culture of learning for a world of constant change has emerged. Rudy’s library calls itself a knowledge center.  It has whiteboard walls, sound studios, and facilities for large document printing. Whatever a student wants to create is what libraries support, but there is much angst over our future. Who are we if we don’t have books any more? Why are struggling with book warehousing? People are interacting with the information we provide. Our environment is more about people than the book warehouse. New terms for this environment include:

  • Participatory learning has a low barrier to engagement, support for creating and sharing and mentoring, People believe their contributions matter and that others will care about what they have created, which sounds like what libraries do. Students are all about group work.
  • Dispositions are a tendency that can be infused into people. You cannot teach people how to use materials in a certain way, but you can foster the idea that people will engage with certain things in certain ways. You cannot keep learning everything over and over but must build in dispositions knowing that probably people will want to learn and how to keep learning. 
  • Making is hard to define. It involves something out of a computer and making it manifest to the world–that’s research! We often think about it as putting a physical thing together. 

What do libraries do? We provide access to information that people don’t otherwise have. We have created catalog systems, computer interfaces, shelf lists, internet terminals, etc. It’s not about warehousing the information–we provide the access, which is a mental shift to where we have been.

How do we provide access?

How do we provide access?

 

What we do is about the access–nothing says we have to own the content.
In academic libraries, we build environments where students are enabled to:

What students are enabled to do

What students are enabled to do

 

We must seek help from professionals and each other. This also sounds like a maker space, which have tools students may not have themselves (like shop tools).

Why are there maker spaces in libraries? This challenges people. Focus on the physical outputs which are almost exactly parallel to what libraries do..

Parallel outputs

Parallel outputs

 

Some libraries loan things that aren’t books. Hacker spaces and maker spaces do this–libraries support them by facilitating access to resources.

What are we if all the books go away? In the choices we make today, we will create the future that we will move into. We can shift our perspective and embrace all the things we have ever done.

Don Hawkins
CIL 2014 Blogger and Blog Coordinator
Editor, Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage

 

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