Monday, 22 July 2013

New Librarianship MOOC Week 2

I'm still not sure how valuable I think this MOOC is. I'm struggling for 2 reasons:

1) I am not a qualified librarian so I don't know how much the content of the course varies from the content of a traditional librarianship course, so I don't have a frame of reference to evaluate it against.

2) So much of the course material seems so...well...obvious! Does anyone else think that?

However, I am enjoying being part of the conversation, I find the practical examples interesting, and I did dream about libraries last night so maybe my brain is processing everything in its own time and will present me with coherent thoughts at some point.

For anyone who hasn't read the course blurb here is the Introduction to New Librarianship video. The course centres around the mission statement discussed 6 minutes 20 seconds into the video:

The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.

In week 1 we looked at the mission of librarians, knowledge creation and means of facilitating knowledge creation.

Week 2 covers communities, improving society, core skills of librarians and the Salzburg curriculum.

Do I agree that the mission of librarians is to improve society? I'm not sure; ask me at the end of the course.

One of the reasons I am doing this course is that I am fortunate enough to work in a small team that I think may possibly have the best job in our academic library, which makes me want to know more and do more. I am a library assistant working to support academic liaison, so not only do I get to communicate directly with our community (mostly undergraduate students but also researchers, academics and members of the public) by helping out with training sessions, answering queries on the loans and enquiries desks, monitoring the Ask a Librarian live chat service,  and answering emails sent to our generic address but I also have the opportunity to be involved in a whole range of other activities too. I am part of the Research Publications activity group, I have an editorial role with ePrints Soton (our institutional repository), I create and edit webpages and I work on our (very much at the developmental stage) blog.

I am on board with the ideas of collaboration, conversation, leadership, innovation and community, all aspects of librarianship I see every day at work. I agree that librarians need to become an integral part of their community, which involves (gasp) leaving the library.

I think that a vital aspect of a successful library (and therefore a successful librarian) is that is has to be dynamic. For example, we are in the process of reinventing our webpages in order to better present and share information (or knowledge?). Our current website is fairly static and text-driven, and any changes that are made are not shown on the live site until the following day. We are moving to using LibGuides which offers a much more exciting and flexible way to display anything we want it to. It reminds me of a blog in that any changes we make go live immediately, and far more library staff will be able to write and edit the pages than previously. We can create videos or presentations and embed them, and reuse content on relevant pages at the touch of a button. It will be easier to use the webpages to reach out to our community as we can also integrate our 'Ask a Librarian' live chat offer onto any page, more easily publicise our Facebook, blog and Twitter pages, have photos of subject librarians (they are real people!) and to more easily ask for feedback or contributions (LibGuides uses a range of different boxes that include specific types for user input). I haven't provided any links because the pages are still being created. But even when they are created they will be constantly updated and improved; change is good. Scary sometimes, but good!

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