Tech Savvy Tips from Library 2.014 Conference Presenters

iStudent Blog

For this post, we welcome iSchool Lecturer Lisa Valdez to share some highlights from a recent webinar recapping technology trends discussed during the Library 2.014 conference.

Did you choose a career as an information professional because you love to explore emerging technology? If so, you’re in the right place – both at the School of Information and in the profession.

Several presenters at the recent Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference, co-sponsored by our the iSchool, highlighted how technology is changing the profession. During a Library 2.014 recap webinar that took place on October 30, three experts discussed specific ways technology is changing library services. Dr. Michael Stephens, an SJSU iSchool professor, moderated the discussion and shared his own insight regarding technology trends.
You can view a recording of the webinar, or read on to peruse some webinar highlights.

During the webinar, Samantha Adams Becker, a Library 2.014 presenter and senior communications director with the New Media Consortium, highlighted some technology trends covered in the 2014 NMC Horizon report for academic libraries. The report is free to download, and if you’re considering a career pathway in academic libraries, the report offers an insightful look at some challenges facing academic libraries.

A key technology trend impacting academic libraries is the shift by faculty and students to mobile content consumption. Today’s information professionals who work in academic libraries need to know how to make library resources more mobile friendly and support students who use mobile devices to access library resources anytime, from any place.

Becker encourages library leaders to re-think their organizational structures, and whether they may need to modify how departments are configured in order to better serve faculty and students. Also, many academic libraries are creating new positions to respond to these trends, and according to the report, they are looking for “specialists that have a strong digital or technology background.”

Does that sound like a skillset you already have or plan to develop while enrolled at our school? If so, we offer plenty of opportunities to expand your technology skills, with technology embedded in all our courses, along with some electives that focus specifically on emerging technology. For example, check out some of the recommended electives in our emerging technologies career pathway, read about a student who recently completed one of our newest electives about technology forecasting, or browse a syllabus for one of our electives that explores mobile technologies.

During the webinar, Becker also noted that library leaders need to re-think how library space is configured, moving from a focus on shelves filled with printed material to space configured for training and collaboration. According to Stephens, library spaces are places for active experiential learning. Tomorrow’s information professionals will need to be adept at re-imagining how space can be used to support student learning.

A second webinar presenter, Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute for Museum and Library Services, also discussed some exciting ways that libraries are using technology to improve services. She described how libraries are responding to the Do-it-Yourself (DIY) and maker movements to offer some hands-on, informal learning opportunities. Libraries are no longer just about one-way delivery of content, but are participatory spaces for community learning.

For example, libraries are responding to an increased interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) exploration. She described several library-based programs aimed at fostering STEM learning, such as libraries that offer opportunities for children to develop video games focused on STEM topics. Libraries are also supporting STEM learning through maker spaces, including opportunities to access 3D design and printing tools, as well as digital media labs.

Does this approach to library-based informal learning sound interesting to you? If so, then you might want to take one of our newer electives, a LIBR 287 seminar focused on participatory educational trends such as DIY and maker spaces. Student Catherine Stahl took the course in spring 2014, and says the class “opened my eyes to the many possibilities of participatory learning and the way they can be applied in any setting.” You can read more about her experiences in the course here.

Hildreth’s presentation highlighted how tomorrow’s librarians need to be tech savvy and able to teach others how to use technology. Librarians are educators. At our school, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore how you can share your knowledge with others, including your role as an educator. For example, in one of our electives, LIBR 250, you can learn how to plan, teach, and evaluate learning activities.

The final webinar presenter, Ayyoub Ajmi with the UMKC School of Law Library, discussed the library’s experience using Google Glass. For example, they used the device to provide virtual tours of the law library to prospective students, although it was challenging to capture video content that was of high enough quality via a wearable device. They also used the device to provide hands-free recording of practice interviews to help assess students’ interviewing techniques. However, Ajmi was quick to point out the challenges of using this new type of wearable technology, including the fact that the device gets too hot too quickly, and does not have sufficient battery life.

Ajmi’s discussion of Google Glass reminds all of us that technology pilots are a great way to identify challenges and start looking for better solutions. As a student at our school, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to critically explore technology trends and engage in hands-on learning involving some of the latest tools.

Check out the following related stories:

Career Insight from a Library 2.014 Distinguished Speaker

Alum Marina Duff Gets Grant Funding for Library and Publishes Article about STEM Libraries 

Even More Community Profiles about Students Pursuing Careers in Web Technology