“We have to focus on a deeper understanding of the relational nature of learning” says Brigid Barron, associate professor at the school of education at California’s Stanford University. A faculty colead of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) center, Barron and her colleagues explore the importance of social learning environments through the National Science Foundation–funded project.
LJ in Print
The modern library movement began in 1876, a year that saw the birth of both the American Library Association (ALA) and Library Journal (LJ). The January 1, 1976, issue of LJ celebrated that centennial, asking 25 experts and leading librarians to project the future of libraries over the next 25–50 years. Now on LJ’s 140th anniversary, we’ve taken a sampling of those forecasts and briefly assessed their accuracy. The result is evidence of how inadequate current knowledge is to predict the future.
In the next five to ten years, says Susan Shaheen, codirector of the Institute of Transportation Studies’ Transportation Sustainability Research Center, “advanced technologies and big data will enable us to better understand and manage our transportation ecosystems,” particularly automation and car- and ride-sharing tech. “This will enable us to provide more equitable, affordable, safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly transportation.”
Teresa Elberson is the Director of Lafayette Public Library System, LA; Susanne Mehrer to become Dean of Libraries at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; OCLC and IFLA name five librarians to Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program; and more new hires, promotions, retirements, and obituaries from the September 15, 2016 issue of Library Journal.
As community centers, libraries are always looking for new ways to offer educational programming. Some libraries have been fortunate enough to incorporate complete Maker spaces in their buildings, but for those that don’t have the funding or space, all is not lost. Using existing areas and the help of community members, libraries can easily host tech camps (coding, robotics, and more) for patrons.
Melanie Colletti was on desk in the Denver Public Library’s (DPL) technology center when she recognized a woman at a computer who’d been a participant in the library’s “Free To Learn” job seekers program the previous year. “She seemed easily frustrated but very intelligent, and I was disappointed when she didn’t return for her third session,” says Colletti. She asked the woman how she was doing, and, to Colletti’s delight, the woman had used the résumé they’d worked on to get a job and had been employed ever since. “Even though it didn’t seem like we were connecting with her, I guess we were.”
Often expressed informally through back channels, there’s a strong contrarian strand of thought that holds librarianship—if not all of American society—spends too much time, energy, and ink trying to predict what’s next. Too great a focus on the future, say such skeptics, shortchanges the present, preventing practitioners from being “in the moment,” and can make library leaders devalue the work that still comprises the vast majority of interactions to chase trends that appeal to, at best, a much smaller subset of users.
To Rivkah Sass, executive director, Sacramento Public Library (SPL), CA, there is no greater enemy to young children than the “play gap”—the shrinking time to explore, invent, and run amok. Hence the Sacramento Play Summit (SPS), a one-day program for parents, teachers, caregivers, and librarians to discuss play, why it’s important, and how to bring more of it to children.
This year, 2016, marks my tenth year as an LIS professor. I’ve witnessed some big transitions in our field, with more to come. What will LIS education look like in another 20 or 30 years? How will we be teaching the core values of a 200-plus-year-old profession while also providing insights into information use in the year 2046?