Saturday, July 21, 2007
Keynoters (and others)
Three keynote presentations were made to the IASL Conference on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The first was made by Jay Jordan of OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center. As mentioned in a previous post Mr. Jordan talked about the changes Web 2.0 tools and services are making to libraries and their catalogs. Later in the conference Barbara Combes of Australia took Mr. Jordan to task w his assumption that all "web natives," those born post-1985 are savvy and experimental users of the Internet. Indeed, the preliminary results of her recent study of 17-22-year-old university students in Australia seem to show that they not so likely to have used many of the kinds of things we associate with Web 2.0. These finding confirm earlier studies. In other words, while we must be aware of how the Internet is changing we cannot assume all students either use or are comfortable will all forms of technology.
On Wednesday the conferees heard from Ken Haycock, the director of the School f Library and Information Science at San Jose State University, California. Ken's presentation was about his personal experience as a school librarian, administrator and educator. I think that essentially what he was saying was that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." We have not made much progress as teacher-librarians in convincing those with power that we are essential to the teaching and learning of students despite the plethora of studies showing the effectiveness of good school library programs. Ken presented the evidence which has been collected about school library staffing, programs, collections, and funding. In the end not much has changed in terms of what we know about the effectiveness of such programs. "The foundations for teacher-librarianship have not changed, only the environment and the specific tools with which we work."
One point which Ken made and which I will certainly take to heart is that of finding ways of connecting our agendas with those of higher-level decision makers, which would seem to be much more effective than continually fighting for our own agendas despite what others are striving for. We may, in other words, get more using honey than vinegar!
The final keynoter was Mei-Mei Wu, professor at the Graduate Institute of Library and Information Studies, NTNU. (pictured) Dr. Wu talked about the discovery and management of "global digital learning objects." She showed example of many different online resources and discussed ways in which teachers access and use such resources. We, as teacher-librarians are encouraged to help classroom teacher find and archive all kinds of digital resources. Of course, I think our OPACs are the ideal way to access such resources. But consortia, which gather such resources, catalog them, and make them available for general use are the best way to ensure we are not "reinventing the wheel" and most efficiently providing such resources to our classroom colleagues. Resources like California's CLRN are the kinds of databases which model this important work.