Thursday, September 25, 2008

Re-Thinking Libraries: Are We Obsolete?

Christos, our History Department Chair (I blog about him a lot, don't I?) taught a research class over the summer. He wandered into the library one day, griping about how he taught the students all these skills, they nodded in agreement, then proceeded to jump onto Google. I laughed, commenting "Welcome to my world!"

But it did get me thinking: I spent hours last year re-designing the school library site, creating pathfinders and newsletters and all sorts of nifty little information tools.

To what purpose? The older students are, the more they ignore the pathfinders and just start Googling. They want to be in control, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I found two books on the LMC Source that look promising: David Loertscher's The New Learning Commons and In-Command (both are co-authored). The first is a comprehensive re-thinking of libraries as a combination of the computer center and library, with both a virtual and a physical learning environment. Sounds interesting, though I'm not really sure how that' s different from what we do now.

I'm very interested in the In Command book, which has students create their own learning environments with iGoogle. They divide their home page into three sections: Personal Space with assignments, calendars, etc; Group Space for collaborative projects/learning, and Outer Space, with controlled access to the internet at large. Intriguing idea. I'll write more once I've read the book!

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