Being in the Know—Advice about Technology and Program Funding from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

iStudent Blog

Published: May 27, 2015

This is the second post of a three-part summary of the Library 2.015 Spring Summit that took place on April 30, 2015. In this presentation, entitled In the Know (click on this title to connect you to the recording), three leaders in the fields of technology and grantwriting discussed ways to keep current with tech development, how to determine the importance and relevance of each resource in relation to your own library community, and how to look for and receive funding for your organization’s programming.

Understanding Trends and Challenges
Samantha Adams Becker, the director of communications at the New Media Consortium (NMC), talked about being ready for new technologies and being able to utilize those technologies in education and library programs. She discussed in detail the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition and how the findings will impact the way libraries grow and expand to be competitive with current technologies and continue to successfully meet the needs of the community.

There are a variety of Horizon reports, those for museums, higher education and one for elementary, middle and high schools. I can see using these regularly issued reports as an essential way to keep in touch with what’s going on, regardless of one’s working environment.

The library report discusses long-term, mid-term and short-term trends, including the prioritization of mobile content and delivery (short term), increasing accessibility of research content (midterm) and the rise of new forms of multidisciplinary research (long term).

As I glide through my courses at the iSchool (I’m on the long-term plan, what with a variety of other commitments) I’m gauging the tech trends against my approximate graduation date or when I’ll enter the workforce as an information professional. I’ll glance at the short-term trends, but make sure I’m well versed on the long-term trends—they’ll be there waiting when I get into a library job.

Adams Becker also discussed significant challenges that libraries face, including embedding academic and research libraries in the curriculum, rethinking the roles and skills of librarians (which is why you’re learning so much at the iSchool), competition from other entities, including Google Scholar and Wikipedia (join them rather than try to beat them), and embracing the need for radical change: “It’s all about mindset and perspective.”

Staying Current with Technology
Tina Jagerson, who is currently a student at the iSchool and works in information management for the Department of Justice, talked about all the resources available to help you stay current with technology.

Emerging technology affects education, politics and so many elements of life. Jagerson keeps her eye on webzines, e-journals, blogs and other libraries and academic institutions to see what they’re doing with technology trends. “It can be overwhelming,” she said, “but determine what you care about most, pick and choose, and scan or skip the rest.”

Other great advice she gave, especially good for those who are terrified of diving into the deep end of new technology: “Determine your priorities and what issues you want technology to solve. Explore resources, and evaluate information. Don’t try to predict the future; plan for it, by understanding the technological landscape.”

Note to self: Jagerson’s extensive and fascinating list of people and resources to keep your eye on as well as her contact information, can be found here. Make this your place to start or your new go-to list as you get current with today’s information resources. I’m not taking summer school so this might be a good way to keep my studying-brain sharp. It’ll probably be a bit of fun, too!

Funding New Technologies
Mary Alice Ball, senior program officer at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, gave an informative presentation entitled “How to Plan and Fund New Technologies.” “In order to gain funding and write a successful grant proposal,” Ball emphasized, “you need to stay informed about current trends, know your funders and what they fund, and above all, follow the posted guidelines.”

There are thousands of federal grants available at www.grants.gov, but Ball also encouraged people to look around at the local level. Many institutions that fund grants prefer to do so at a specific, targeted and local level. She also recommended staying current with new trends through the New Media Consortium and Educause, specifically monitoring the subjects of universal design and accessibility, mobile apps and open source solutions.

Ball gave advice that can help librarians find the best funding and increase their chances of success with grants. A little bit of research can save a lot of time if one uses a targeted approach rather than a blind, scattershot request for funding.

The next post will feature an iSchool instructor and two other expert librarians discussing all kinds of innovations using social media and thinking without the box.

If you haven’t already done so, check out the first presentation from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit, entitled Chasing Storms or Rainbows—Resources and Inspiration from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

And finally, mark your calendars for the Library 2.015 Conference—all day long—on October 20, 2015.

Some other great posts to look at:
A Great Way to Get Further Involved in the iSchool—The ASIS&T Student Chapter

Exploring iSchool Career Pathways—Web Programming and Information Architecture

Advice for Finding the Best Career for You in the Information Profession

Student Tina Jagerson Explores Tech Trends during iSchool’s Emerging Future Course—Community Profile

The Here and Now– A Closer Look at Social Media, Open Courses and Innovative Programming from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

image courtesy of ddpavumba

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