Friday, July 16, 2010

Thing # 15

The notion of Library 1.0 from A Temporary Place in Time sticks with me. I recall when I began this exercise I was asked to read an article and create a post on its substance. I got my tablet and began taking notes….if occurred to me that I was firmly in the 20th century (if not the 19th!) with this approach. Over these past few weeks I have moved into a different way to approach information – the world library. The tools I have learned (been merely exposed to is more accurate) have helped to see (again) that the problem is not accessing information, but of organizing it – categories, tags, clouds…Oh My!
I see myself in these exercises literally struggling to tread the InfoToolsPages water to keep from drowning. I dutifully bookmark and tag and annotate and categorize and try to make the time to review and make some mental impressions as to how I could use the cool stuff I’ve found….whew! I am taken back to a time in real 1.0 in which I went to the library to search for titles on the Russian Revolution and soon discovered that God could not make a desk big enough to facilitate any efficiency in accessing the information contained within those volumes. Slightly further along the time line I am back when I used to enter a search query into Lexis or WestLaw (legal research databases)to print out a long list of potentially applicable cases to find the desired support and then having to head to the shelves for the requisite “Read the Whole Thing To Be Sure” and again to the desk too small for God. Just a few years ago the battle that I waged in education was between those that were amazed with the potential of the information age and its Internet medium and those that felt either threatened by it, were terrified of it or both. Who were these in the latter camp? Librarians! Behind every adjustment to a Firewall there appeared a librarian – confident in their certainty that it was they, and they alone, who were the vital link in the information chain that 2.0 appeared to breaking. At one campus the directive from the Information Czar was “Thou Shall Not Use Google!”
This exercise and Spring Branch ISD’s apparent openness regarding 2.0 tools is a refreshing breath of air. Is a new wind blowing? I can see that the effective, 21st Century Skills Info/Facilitator/Librarian to be one that recognizes that not only that the means to access and acquire information are different, the patrons and their needs are different, but that the Information is now different. Personages of Information Title and Authority are being systematically torn down by web ubiquity and equity. This is a positive change….BUT….for the individual with access and some management tools, the problem of the too small desk looms darkly still. Rather than wood or Formica, the desktop is now bundles of electrons and tag clouds that stretch farther and with more branches, tributaries and rabbit holes than ever before in human history. We still need facilitators, information access and instruction facilitators…the modern 2.0 librarian. Thank your lucky stars for them! The same is true for teachers and administrators. (Well, that last category may be a bit of a stretch!)
I know that this shift in the concept of a library has only begun in me personally, as I still prefer hard bound information in certain contexts (ex. fiction and non-fiction pleasure reading). As a teacher, I have embraced, though not fully realized, the 2.0 classroom, but I can see the image and it is becoming more focused. If any change coming to school libraries is anything like change in general and particularly that in education, it will come slowly. I see the libraries of tomorrow to be more in the business of providing access and guidance over housing collections. I know that if a work is available, it takes a matter of moments for it to be accessed through my telephone. If I decide I want the paper version, another touch of a button activates a continually improving supply chain and it arrives in the mail literally in a matter of hours.

1 comment:

  1. Change is hard...but libraries are trying to move with the change. The kids of today think so differently than we do...This class (l2p) makes you think a little bit. Just a little bit of tweaking to what we already do for us old timers.