Wednesday, June 9, 2010

PL 22/10: Conceptual challenges

Filed under: Uncategorized — plinius @ 10:16 am

What are the conceptual challenges facing librarians today?

We asked our participants this question before they arrived at the Nordinfolit summer course in Finland.

Their answers were:

  • To keep it simple at the front-end.
  • Provide added-value to the clients.
  • Managing customers and knowledge in the “digital world”.

  • Redefining the library as books as well as journals go digital
  • To provide access to resources with our users’ needs in mind.
  • To be willing to experiment, fail and succeed online and offline.
  • Make it easy and convenient to follow new information/materials.
  • To go from closed to open access in terms of source and resources.
  • To keep focus on customer needs despite planning in small library circles.
  • The web provides for new tools for learning. How do we take advantage of these possibilities?
  • Rapid changes for example in computer technology and to recognize truly important and useful ideas.
  • The shift from traditional librarianship towards a reality where especially learning is more a key function.
  • Information professionals must take a more active role in refining information/knowledge to the clients.
  • In times of information overload the clients need summaries, abstracts and information packages on current issues.
  • If our main job is providing access to electronic materials is it still a library or simply a buying function at the university.
  • In institutional libraries there is a need for the librarian to integrate into the organization; offer our expertise to teams etc.
  • To remain relevant, or rather to pursuade potential users that we are still relevant and not just an archaic remnant of past virtues.
  • Is the concept of the library obsolete, if the physical buildings become study- and learning centers is it still a library or something else.
  • The “million” things that one should know and use. Coping with the continuing change. To make people aware of the services that libraries have for their customers
  • Keeping up with the world outside library. Our customers are younger and younger every year compared to us. How to know what they know and how to reach them.
  • The question for librarians from customers is not any more: “Where do I get…” but “What do I choose from all these?” or “How can I get any order to this jungle of information?”
  • I have seen that for older colleagues it might be really hard to learn to use new tools and adopt new way of working. Web-services and social media are still secondary media for many of them.
  • As an information literacy librarian at the university, I see it challenging to make the faculty understand the importance of information literacy education and to be acknowledged as an equal member of the academic teaching staff.
  • The printed format still prevails over e-materials when it comes to literature, but e-books and articles are rapidly becoming more common. How does this affect our work in the library? How do we prepare for the transfer from printed to e-materials?
  • Tricky question. But I guess it comes down to the fact that librarianship is moving away from physical collections and traditional teaching and moving into a world where most information is available in electronic form. Add to that the new moveability and accessability of people and information via social media and smart phones, and it’s a brand new world librarians face today.


The participants came from academic and special libraries.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: