More 21st Century Librarianship Issues


One of my first Posts on this Blog was about the issues facing libraries and librarians in this 21st Century digital society – the Information Age. The issues I listed then were these basic questions.

21st Century Library
What does it look like?
How is it different from yesterday’s library?
What does it offer?
What role does it fill in the community?
Who decides?
?????????

21st Century Librarianship
Is there a role for librarians in the 21st Century? What is it?
How are we different from and similar to yesterday’s librarians?
What do we do?
What role do we fill in the library?
?????????

21st Century Librarian Skills
What skills do we need?
How do we acquire the necessary skills?
?????????

21st Century Library Patrons
Who are they?
What do they need in library services?
What do they want in library services?
How do we attract them into the library?
?????????

I somewhat updated that list last March with 21st Century Library Issues – Revisited, which was mostly about Information Literacy among Digital Natives and its impact on our role as librarians. IOW – What can we do for those customers who don’t need our information literacy skills? I now realize that update was WAY TOO LIMITED.

Here is an expanded listing of Issues and associated questions, that has also been added to the Issues Page.

Change –
• How does a librarian recognize technology, education or societal changes that impact my library?
• How do librarians keep up to date on changes that affect our profession?

“Perfect Storm” Conditions –
• What impact are these conditions having on the role of the librarian in the 21st Century?
• How does one assess the impact of these external factors on my library?

Profession Polarization –
• What can librarians do to address polarization among librarians?
• How will those librarians who want to advance the profession work with those who are disinterested?
• What are our professional associations doing to advance the profession?

Relevance –
• What exactly is relevance for my library?
• Why is relevance important?
• How can librarians affect the relevance of their library to their community?

Technology –
• How can librarians keep up with technology that is advancing exponentially?
• Which technologies should be first priority to implement in library services?
• Where/Who is the best source for learning new technologies?
• Where/Who is the best source for procuring new technologies?

Advocacy –
• Why should regular staff librarians have to advocate for their library?
• Where do librarians find useful information and helpful tips for library advocacy in the 21st Century?

More Business-like –
• Where does a librarian learn business acumen?
• What business practices would be best for my library to adopt?
• How will more business-like practices improve library services?

Customers’ Information Literacy Capabilities –
• When will the more information literate customers begin to be a majority of library customers?
• What services can libraries provide to highly information literate customers?

Library Services –
• Exactly what library services fulfill 21st Century customers’ needs?
• How do we determine what library services we should offer in the 21st Century?

Collection Development
• What percent of our collection should be digital?
• How do librarians forecast what items to acquire in a digital vs. paper format?

Lending –
• How do digital formats affect lending policy?
• Why are digital formats making lending more difficult?

PLEASE – submit your ideas for additional 21st Century Librarianship Issues and their related questions, or add your questions to the existing list of Issues.

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