Dr. Sandra Hirsh at Library 2.015 — Starting the Day and Supercharging with Motivation

iStudent Blog

Published: November 10, 2015 by Allison Randall Gatt

This is the first of a series of posts summarizing highlights of the Library 2.015 Worldwide Virtual Conference in October 2015. To access the full set of recorded sessions, go to the iSchool’s Library 2.015 page and look for the links to the keynote speakers. All three of the presentations covered in this blog will be there, and you can get all the juicy details for yourself!

The School of Information’s director, Dr. Sandra Hirsh, kicked off the Library 2.015 conference with an overview of her book Information Services Today: An Introduction, discussing trends and changes in the field of library and information science as well as wisdom from the professionals featured in the book.

Hirsh covered in depth the trends impacting the global information economy, information organization and the information profession, and then moved on to what this means for information organizations and people like you—information professionals.

Libraries need to stay absolutely current with technology as well as staying sensitive to the needs of their particular communities. They have to learn to adapt to changes in the role of technology and information or the need for libraries will die out. Here in the presentation, Hirsh’s slide had a gorgeous illustration of a dinosaur as if to say, “don’t be like them—evolve!”

Hirsh went on to list the major categories of changes and trends impacting the information landscape—global, technological, lifestyle and social, and facility and service trends. Global trends would include the expansion of technological access through mobile devices, and the expansion of global online education—like the iSchool, for instance. Other opportunities and trends to keep track of in global online education and learning include MOOCs (massive online open classes) and the ability to connect with entire online communities. The presentation also discussed a wide range of emerging information issues, including data analytics, user experience, cybersecurity, and privacy and data protection.

“Information professionals who learn about how these trends impact the information community will become tomorrow’s leaders,” Hirsh said.

How can information professionals apply these trends in their libraries? Hirsh suggested one start by “making library tools available and information accessible at the point of need for users.” Offer courses on how to use technology—even small lessons are important. Be sure to foster an environment where patrons and the community can really be free to explore and play and learn with new technologies. “It is imperative that users be able to digest information at their own pace, in their own way,” she said.

The essential skills you’ll need to collect as your make your way through your iSchool education include quite a variety to keep you competitive for today’s job market:

  • Technology skills
  • Information and technology literacy instruction
  • Ability to enhance user experience
  • Excellent customer service
  • Innovative outreach and programming
  • Ability to navigate, describe and preserve analog and digital content
  • Ability to support remote and virtual research queries

Remember too that gaining these skills and expanding your education is more than just your course assignments. This grad school thing also includes being involved in student groups, internships, student assistantships, colloquia, webinars and networking.

“The ability to change and the readiness to receive new knowledge has been reported as the most important competency desired of LIS professionals,” Hirsh quoted from her book.

To continue your education outside of the iSchool and beyond your degree, be sure to keep track of trend reports and resources to stay current and relevant in your field. Look into global networking opportunities by connecting on social media or through groups like the International Librarians Network. Attend free professional development conferences like Library 2.0, and view or listen to archives of professional conferences if you can’t make it there in person. Organizations such as ASIS&T, ALA and Library Journal all have e-courses and informational presentations (including Hirsh’s presentations) that you can use to further finesse your education.

Hirsh emphasized the importance of these resources and said, “All this creates a continual lifelong learning plan.”

For related content, be sure to check out:
Students at the iSchool Gain Valuable Real-World Experience as Research Assistants

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

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


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