• Highlights from 2012


    The Future is Now! Creatively Reaching and Teaching in Academic Libraries

    Gaming, visual literacy, engaging with faculty and students, communicating value- these are a few of the concepts presented by speakers at this year’s conference at Syracuse University. A crowd of 215 attended the day and a half event, providing opportunities for networking, idea sharing, and provocative discussion.

    Academic Librarians 2012 Keynotes

    The Bad, The Good and The Great: Dr. R. David Lankes’s keynote, “The Bad, the Good, and the Great,” highlighted current crucial junction points in librarianship. Lankes compared the idea of the library as a collection with passively-consuming users to the idea of the library as a service organization, in which users participate in the generation of content at their library as an active community. Librarians, based on this framework, have two major choices to make about how they strategically develop in the future: they can embrace the participatory framework and new demands of researchers, students, and other users, or they can continue focusing on building artifact collections. He argued that the former choice will strengthen the position of the library in academia. http://quartz.syr.edu/blog/?p=1600

    The Once and Future Academic Library was the theme of Roy Tennant’s Wednesday morning keynote. Forget about the past and concentrate on the future, he stressed, by considering five points. Our Environment- Facing reduced resources, the increased need for assignable space and our competitors. What Users Want – Students expect fast and easy access and a place to socialize, to collaborate and to learn. Teaching faculty want some of the same plus help with the “tricky bits” – the services that make problems go away.  Where We Are- Facing unsustainable costs, viable alternatives to libraries, and declining usage, and new patron demands, libraries need to reduce costs and be more efficient.  “Good enough” cataloging should be considered as current practices waste effort on unnecessary data elements.  Where We Need to Be- Consider changing collecting practices as physical collections are increasingly an anchor to our ambitions. We need to transform our metadata infrastructure and mine it for interesting resources. Final Advice—Librarians should refocus our attention to where we add value to our institutions. For students, this means doing what they want and slipping in what they need. For faculty, we need to be the Essential Partner for their teaching, research, and tenure efforts. Consider outsourcing systems and other back office operations so that the staff is freed to interact with faculty and students. Ensure that the library serves the teaching and learning mission of the institution.


    Demonstrating Value and Building Relationships, a two part segment, began with Lisa Hinchliffe’s outline of how libraries can show value in On Providing and Documenting Value: Dual Imperatives for Academic Libraries. Lisa spoke about engaging with students and faculty, ramping up our sense of The Future is Now! Creatively Reaching and Teaching in Academic Libraries

    Demonstrating Value and Building Relationships, a two part segment, began with Lisa Hinchliffe’s outline of how libraries can show value in On Providing and Documenting Value: Dual Imperatives for Academic Libraries. Lisa spoke about engaging with students and faculty, ramping up our sense of urgency, and articulating the value that we are creating. She encouraged libraries to  pursue opportunities without consideration for the resources we currently have – keep on brainstorming, because good ideas will bring funding. Nancy Foster continued the discussion in Finding Information: A Relationship Thing by emphasizing the connections between students and scholars. Academically mature students collaborate to find research resources and demonstrate clarity of thinking: they are analyzing rather than summarizing. Libraries need to support their growth.

    21st Century Literacies was a three part panel discussion, kicked off by Camille Andrews in Integrating 21st Century Literacies into the Curriculum. She spoke about the shift in information literacy concepts. There is a stronger emphasis on critical analysis, filtering and evaluating information in different formats is critical in academics today. The importance of visual literacy and media literacy are offering opportunities for librarians to assist as students evaluate the credibility of their information using updated criteria.   Trudi Jacobsen followed with How Metaliteracy Changed My Life, My Teaching and My Students’ Experiences. She spoke of how today’s participatory culture is changing the way college students learn. Their affiliations are giving them opportunities to connect with scholars in their field, to collaborate on problem solving, and to become involved in professional organizations so they can become aware of research and current trends. Metaliteracy is promoting the critical thinking skills they need in the digital age, and librarians need to reconsider standards for this new environment. Kaila Bussert rounded out the session with Visual Literacy in Higher Education: New Standards for 21st Century Librarians. She outlined the new ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards, which include the ability to determine the need for visual materials, evaluate images and their sources, and use images and visual media effectively.

    Gaming to Learn was the theme of the three afternoon presentations. Jeremy Friedberg spoke about Educating Through Simulations, Game-Based Learning and the Gamification of Education. He demonstrated that much of learning is in fact a game—the interactive simulating with objects and challenges- that promotes critical thinking and creativity and includes motivation and rewards. His example of how merchant rewards cards can change behavior (by encouraging buying) was one example of how gaming is prevalent in everyday setting. His Spongelab site http://www.spongelab.com/index.cfm offers educators games to support learning of anatomy, genetics, cell division  and much more. Chris Leeder’s presentation on Game-Based Learning for Information Literacy showed how games support active, experiential and problem based learning, which give opportunities for immediate feedback and creative expression. His BiblioBouts online game http://bibliobouts.org/ is a three minute introduction to specific information literacies skills. Students learn criteria for critical evaluation, build confidence in research skills, and have fun learning how to do assignments.  John Lester spoke of integrated reality in Intersections of the Future: Gaming Technology, Virtual Worlds and the Web. He     spoke about the power of virtual worlds to augment communication and knowledge sharing. http://www.slideshare.net/PathfinderLester/presentation-at-academic-librarians-2012-conference


    Thanks to our generous sponsors: EBSCO, Busca, EBL–Ebook Library, LYRASIS, NYLA’s Academic & Special Libraries Section, NY 3Rs Association, Inc., Ingram, Spongelab, WALDO, YBP Library Services, Polaris Library Systems, and the Syracuse University’s iSchool!

    Thanks to Caryl M. Ward, Binghamton University for the write up; and to Kayleigh Bohemier, Yale University, for the section on Dr. Lankes.

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