Component 1: Statement of Competency
“From its earliest days, the true power of the Internet lay in the ability of the network to enhance communication” (Farkas, 2007, xix). With the introduction of the internet not only has communication ways changed but the way we access information has changed. Before the web, information was accessed within highly structured systems with which librarians knew best how to navigate to these structures and databases to find information for the user. This was a well-known need for a librarian. With the implementation of algorithms and spider crawling in web search engines such as Google and Bing, navigating these systems and finding information, albeit maybe not be of highest quality, has become common knowledge to the 21st century user. New technologies and the digital age have forced libraries to reevaluate their function and role within the society. Libraries will not disappear, as many suggest instead they will thrive as long as those within them evolve and adapt with new technologies.
One major impact of technology is the ability to navigate our resources remotely, many of our patrons are no longer needing to come to the library and that’s okay. However, this means that we must go to where our patrons are, social media platforms. We want to communicate with them, learn about what they are interested in, what they want to “get” from the library. It is imperative that libraries develop an online presence and make themselves available remotely, as we do with our resources. This means that we as information professionals need be cognitive of how to use these technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr.
Beyond communicating through social media avenues we also need to be able to serve our patrons by being proficient in current and up and coming technologies. This includes physical hardware (e.g. tablets, eReaders, smartphones, and mobile devices) but also software such as cloud services (e.g. Google Drive or Drop Box), presentation services (e.g. Prezi, Glogster), collaboration services and webpage building services. The library will continue to be the place to look for the newest New York Times best seller but on top of that we will be the place to try new technology and develop innovative software, a prime example of what libraries will evolve towards with technology is North Carolina State University’s state-of-the-art library, The Hunt Library (http://youtu.be/BzL8MHbBtiY).
I introduce the Hunt library for multiple reasons. First, it touches base on the funding and cost of technology implementation. Funding, budget cuts, short staffed are all unfortunately common terminology within information professionals. The design and building of the Hunt library cost a significant lump of change, $115 million to be exact. Technology is not cheap, especially when you are expected to offer it to your users, it is the new norm. Library administration will be spending a significant amount of time on funding technology adaptation and less on budgets for collection development.
Second, as you learn about the technology that has been put in place at the Hunt library; the collection is only 1.5 million books and housed in a Robot-driven BookBot storage and retrieval system which uses only about 1/9 of the space that was used when storing the books on shelves. The bot retrieves book request via a computer click and within minutes; the technology not only saves space but time as well. The space that has been freed up from the stacks has been honed in on collaboration, technology creation and innovation and maker-spaces. I mention these facts because the core vision of the library was to provide the “ability for our students, faculty, and partners to immerse themselves in interactive computing, multimedia creation, and large-scale visualization” (Hunt Vision, 2013). This is what library spaces will evolve to, because of technology.
Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:
The first piece of evidence I have included for this competency is the link to the JPG files of a library brochure I created at a prior library using Photoshop [LibraryBrochurep1] [LibraryBrochurep2]. I chose to include this piece of evidence to show that I understand the importance of knowing new technology and using it within your work place. This is but one software application that I know, but it is a very common and highly sought after skill by patrons. While I was working as a Library Director, I wanted to create better digital resources and more aesthetically pleasing library material so I learned the basics of Photoshop and have gradually taught myself more techniques and am able to teach others the basics of using this software. I know that because I was willing and desired to learn this software that I have a very useful skill for our profession as we move towards more digital resource development and web design.
The second piece of evidence I included is a link to a [Prezi presentation] that I created for an information literacy course at a previous job; this piece is included in a folder because there are data files that need to be contained with the presentation in order to view it offline. When you open this file which I have shared using the cloud storage DropBox, you will need to open only prezi.exe to view the presentation. I included this piece of evidence to demonstrate my mastery of using technology tools to produce a presentation for a library workshop. Also, by sharing it through my cloud storage DropBox I have also demonstrated my ability to work with the newest form of storing files on a cloud service.
The final piece of evidence I have included here is a [screen shot of my web portfolio] & included a [link to the webpage] that I built. This piece of evidence shows my understanding of digital recourse and using technology to communicate to remote users the information that I want to share with them. Although this is a personal page, it support the ultimate goal of the library which is to provide access to information to our users. This piece of evidence also shows my mastery in the skill of web design and creation which is highly sought after in libraries as their online presence is the most important aspect of their marketing and advocating their use.
These technologies: BookBots, collaboration tools, social media interaction, and software for program creation, web design or photo editing will be things that we as information professionals should know the basics of. If we want our users to use these tools then we need to know how to teach them or help troubleshoot basic problems. Libraries will become information and technology hubs and less book storage.
Farkas, M. G. (2007). Social Software in Libraries: building collaboration, communication, and community online. New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.
NCSU Libraries (2013). The Hunt Library. Information Retrieved from: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/huntlibrary
Library Brochure Images