Saturday, July 31, 2010

Libraries of the Future

This ambitious project is investigating the future of information resources up until 2050.

Future Libraries

Wild West
Walled Garden


MLA to close down

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has had its funding pulled in the latest series of cuts to what are considered non-essential services - putting 123 people out of work.

We will see how this may impact on rolling out digital access to their brief had been:

"promoting access to collections, resources and information", pushing experiments in two-way communication with users.

One example, listed by the MLA, is allowing the public to "tag objects, make their own collections and interact with curators, archivists and librarians online".

Libraries and museums have been encouraged to find ways of allowing digital objects to be "taken out of museum, archive and library spaces and into the public's own personal digital spaces".

[UK AuthorITy accessed 29th July 2010]

Their project Reference Online integrated services across the country.

Friday, July 30, 2010

e-learning and Web 2.0

I am coming the the end of my life-cycle as a library worker, and although I have spent a decade assisting and advising both staff and public in the effective use of computers, I never have really managed to get the adoption of modern tools fully accepted.

People still seem to want face-to-face training and support. It is friendly, yes, and familiar - but it isn't really cost-effective (or terribly green) to shunt a tutor around in a car, repeating the same material over and over again.

Far better to teach people to find things out for themselves, to train them to find what they need, and to apply themselves to improving their own skills.

The attitudes extend back to our educational system, especially for people who did not move on through to the rather more self-directed forms of higher education - although even people with degrees often still resist finding things out for themselves.

I can't believe how many times I get support calls which I can resolve by simply putting their reported Error Message into Google, or choosing a few keywords to describe what the person was attempting to do, etc.

They appear to think I know everything. And these people work in libraries - where the job can so often be about finding information.

Learning Pool

Anyway, Cardiff Council have already adopted Learning Pool as a channel for rolling out e-learning to all council workers. I did some training on the Moodle-based DLE (dynamic learning environment - sometimes called a VLE or virtual learning environment). I devised a couple of simple induction modules, but have also played around with it as a way of storing FAQs, Tips and Tricks, a staff newsletter, etc.

We have received little encouragement to get staff to use a forum as a virtual coffee room (for instance) which I think might help bring together staff who are scattered through 19 buildings across the city, but I suspect management still don't really believe how much work can get done at the watering hole, and assume it would degenerate into gossip. And they may prove right, too.

Still, it is all in place and ready to go, and Cardiff Central Library is now on Facebook, so perhaps it all eventually, however slowly, moves...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Books and media tie-ins

As publishing inevitably involves crossovers these days (the film of the book of the tv series) I find this site (with newsletter) very interesting, and probably useful to library staff - as users often enquire about items precisely because of these crossovers (the same material may appear on our catalogues as book, comic, talking book, large print, DVD, etc)

People are also interested in authors (aside from their work) and interviews and so on...

A great online resource! Books & Media

For a specific example of the depth of the resource, look at their listings for this week's radio shows which include items of interest to book lovers (although note that after a free trial, someone would have to pay for a subscription to access the complete resources).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Libraries crucial to getting people online

"Digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, wants to see digital leaders in all local authorities, all 750 Jobcentre Plus offices and all public libraries by the end of the year." from: UK AuthorITy

Find her Manifesto for Networked Nation here.

She is presenting her case to Downing Street today.

Race Online 2012

Update: Tuesday 13th July 2010

Tom Sutcliffe in The Independent doesn't think everyone needs to be online - See his article here

Friday, July 9, 2010

Low Status

I continue to notice what a low status library staff seem to have. Is this universal?

Only for example, and not to complain, I recently assisted a member of the ICT staff and during our long boring task we started chatting. He was appalled at my pay scale (for doing similar work to him, but in a different department).

I pointed out that our staff start on a Scale so low that it doesn't even exist in his department! And some of our regular workers stay there on that 'unskilled' level for decades.

OK, if it was a simple job, for simple folks - but when our super-modern library's high-tech stuff falls over it is those Scale 1 and Scale 2 folks who have to keep the whole building ticking over. They could do it by candlelight...

Sad, isn't it, that we have so little respect from a system which pays teachers, social workers, youth workers and IT staff quite a lot better.

Hey ho. IMHO libraries remain an important educational resource...

Monday, July 5, 2010

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