Emerging technologies: where will it end for libraries?

View across the fields from Dartinghall, DevonI’ve been preparing for a presentation at a CILIP Multimedia and Information Technology Group event next week at Liverpool John Moores University on emerging technologies in the Library – with the title ‘where will it end?’ Perhaps we should be asking ‘is this the end?’ I’ve been asked to talk specifically about Facebook and libraries, drawing on the work I did during LASSIE, but also on my Facebook survey from last October where I collected information about how libraries were using Facebook to engage with their users.


This has led me to read in some detail the recent JISC report on Higher Education in  Web 2.0 world and two things have struck me. The first is that the report talks about the scope for a ‘group space’ that could support teaching and learning. While I’m not advocating that Facebook is that place, I think the library could be. The idea echoes some of the work of LASSIE on the concept of library 2.0 (specifically Michael Habib’s model) where the virtual library is the space between the social and academic worlds. In the real world the physical library has become regarded by some as the ‘third place’ where the social and academic worlds meet, where students can study outside the classroom with their peers. Perhaps the librarians response to this report could be to offer to help provide the group space using web 2.0 technologies and library resources?


The second issue highlighted by this report is the recognition that students are deficient in terms of their ‘information literacies’ (which are defined as “searching, retrieving, critically evaluating information from a range of appropriate sources and also attributing it”). Again, it’s another opportunity for librarians to speak up about all the excellent work that is happening in this field and expertise they can bring to the table. Will it happen? I hope so, but I do know that the report made little if no mention of libraries or librarians. I know the CILIP information literacy group committee will be issuing a response to this report not a moment too soon! I just hope other librarians seize this opportunity.



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