Grappling with the literacy gap has long been at the heart of library work, and several conversations I had at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia got me thinking that we need to be more creative about how we address this persistent problem. Then, the Turn the Page initiative rolling out in New Orleans hit my email inbox, and it struck me as a fresh and much bolder strategy.
Since the term was coined five years ago, massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have been a subject of much debate in educational circles. In their brief life span, the courses, in which up to many thousands of students can participate, have demonstrated the promise of new technology to democratize education by some and been declared failed experiments by others. MOOC professors, though, say that it’s too early to judge how MOOCs perform, and that after just a few years, even those in the know are still figuring out what MOOCs really are and what shape—or shapes—they’ll take in the future. Whatever MOOCs look like going forward, though, libraries—in the academic and public sphere alike—will play a key role in helping to determine their design and success. In just the few months since we looked in LJ at the MOOC environment (“Massive Open Opportunity,” LJ 5/1/13), the quickly moving field has evolved significantly.
While much has been written about the role of academic libraries in supporting massive open online courses (MOOCs), the inclusion of MOOCs in a public library setting is largely unexplored territory. This past summer, the Ridgefield Library included a MOOC as part of its adult summer reading program. Based on this experience, the Ridgefield Library plans to continue as a meet-up destination for MOOCs as part of its mission to be “an intellectual and cultural center” and to support lifelong learning for all ages.
This Week in Libraries: Arjan van den Born (Professor of Creative Entrepreneurship at Tilburg University)
Paper is dead, move on! Translating your “Why” to the modern age, Creativity and Culture and how to compete with free. This and much more in this week’s episode of TWIL: your weekly dose of library innovation! thisweekinlibraries.com
Jamie LaRue, an erstwhile public librarian (recently turned consultant) in Colorado who has done some cool things (such as negotiating directly with publishers for ebooks while refusing to pay crazy amounts for popular titles), has thought-provoking things to say about the dynamics of change in libraries. Reflecting on a discussion at the Arizona Library Association where something he said apparently raised eyebrows, he expanded on his remarks in a blog post, taking particular aim at a pattern he sees (and many of us will recognize) in library organizations. A decision is made, a direction taken, and then the sabotage begins, conducted by people who contributed little to the discussion as the decision was being made.
The Shelley-Godwin Archive, a free online resource featuring the digitized manuscripts of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, will include tools designed to encourage collaborative humanities research, similar to collaborative public projects in the sciences.
t’s rare to get to talk with five of the top thinkers from the library field all at once. I got to do that as moderator of the keynote panel that kicked off the virtual event “The Digital Shift (TDS): Reinventing Libraries,” held October 16. Participating in a group webcast from all over the country were Dan Cohen, founding director of the Digital Public Library of America; Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS]); Deborah Jacobs, director of the Global Libraries initiative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Barbara Stripling, assistant professor at Syracuse University and president of the American Library Association; and John P. Wilkin, university librarian and dean of libraries, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
When we began to think about the future of libraries, we thought it might be interesting to approach the future from the types of jobs that could be in libraries in the next ten years, basing our future descriptions on the following trends: (1) information everywhere, (2) continuing increase in use of mobile and embedded technology, (3) rise of social knowledge, (4) longer living and the emergence of lifestyle design, and (5) integration of robotics into the world.
Spaces. Services. Digital content. Collections. Learning experiences. Interfaces. Any way you consider it, there is no library practice that doesn’t intersect with accessibility. Accessibility is the principle that the fullest use of any resource should be given to the greatest number of individuals. More than compliance with laws and guidelines, accessibility is a form of social justice. As the most established cultural providers of public space and digital content, libraries share a responsibility to promote universal access to our full range of services for all users, regardless of whether they rely on adaptive technology or not.