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Library and information science education 2.0 : guiding principles and models of best practice ALTC Fellowship Report

By Helen Partridge


This ALTC Teaching Fellowship aimed to establish Guiding Principles for Library and Information Science Education 2.0. The aim was achieved by (i) identifying the current and anticipated skills and knowledge required by successful library and information science (LIS) professionals in the age of web 2.0 (and beyond), (ii) establishing the current state of LIS education in Australia in supporting the development of librarian 2.0, and in doing so, identify models of best practice.\ud The fellowship has contributed to curriculum renewal in the LIS profession. It has helped to ensure that LIS education in Australia continues to meet the changing skills and knowledge requirements of the profession it supports. It has also provided a vehicle through which LIS professionals and LIS educators may find opportunities for greater collaboration and more open communication. This will help bridge the gap between LIS theory and practice and will foster more authentic engagement between LIS education and other parts of the LIS industry in the education of the next generation of professionals. Through this fellowship the LIS discipline has become a role model for other disciplines who will be facing similar issues in the coming years.\ud Eighty-one members of the Australian LIS profession participated in a series of focus groups exploring the current and anticipated skills and knowledge needed by the LIS professional in the web 2.0 world and beyond. Whilst each focus group tended to draw on specific themes of interest to that particular group of people, there was a great deal of common ground. Eight key themes emerged: technology, learning and education, research or evidence-based practice, communication, collaboration and team work, user focus, business savvy and personal traits.\ud It was acknowledged that the need for successful LIS professionals to possess transferable skills and interpersonal attributes was not new. It was noted however that the speed with which things are changing in the web 2.0 world was having a significant impact and that this faster pace is placing a new and unexpected emphasis on the transferable skills and knowledge. It was also acknowledged that all librarians need to possess these skills, knowledge and attributes and not just the one or two role models who lead the way.\ud The most interesting finding however was that web 2.0, library 2.0 and librarian 2.0 represented a ‘watershed’ for the LIS profession. Almost all the focus groups spoke about how they are seeing and experiencing a culture change in the profession. Librarian 2.0 requires a ‘different mindset or attitude’. The Levels of Perspective model by Daniel Kim provides one lens by which to view this finding. The focus group findings suggest that we are witnessing a re-awaking of the Australian LIS profession as it begins to move towards the higher levels of Kim’s model (ie mental models, vision).\ud Thirty-six LIS educators participated in telephone interviews aimed at exploring the current state of LIS education in supporting the development of librarian 2.0. Skills and knowledge of LIS professionals in a web 2.0 world that were identified and discussed by the LIS educators mirrored those highlighted in the focus group discussions with LIS professionals. Similarly it was noted that librarian 2.0 needed a focus less on skills and knowledge and more on attitude. However, whilst LIS professionals felt that there was a paradigm shift within the profession. LIS educators did not speak with one voice on this matter with quite a number of the educators suggesting that this might be ‘overstating it a bit’. This study provides evidence for “disparate viewpoints” (Hallam, 2007) between LIS educators and LIS professionals that can have a significant implications for the future of not just LIS professional education specifically but for the profession generally.\ud Library and information science education 2.0: guiding principles and models of best practice 1\ud Inviting the LIS academics to discuss how their teaching and learning activities support the development of librarian 2.0 was a core part of the interviews conducted. The strategies used and the challenges faced by LIS educators in developing their teaching and learning approaches to support the formation of librarian 2.0 are identified and discussed. A core part of the fellowship was the identification of best practice examples on how LIS educators were developing librarian 2.0. Twelve best practice examples were identified. Each educator was recorded discussing his or her approach to teaching and learning. Videos of these interviews are available via the Fellowship blog at <>.The LIS educators involved in making the videos felt uncomfortable with the term ‘best practice’. Many acknowledged that there simply seeking to do the best by their students and that there was always room for improvement. For this reason these videos are offered as examples of “great practice”. The videos are a tool for other educators to use, regardless of discipline, in developing their teaching and learning approaches to supporting web 2.0 professionals.\ud It has been argued that the main purpose of professional education is transformation (Dall’ Alba, 2009; Dall’Alba & Barnacle, 2007). As such professional education should focus not just on skills and knowledge acquisition but also on helping students to develop ways of being the professionals in question (ie LIS professionals, teachers, lawyers, engineers).The aim of this fellowship was to establish Guidelines for Library and Information Science Education 2.0 it has however become apparent that at this point in time it is not yet possible to fulfil this aim. The fellowship has clearly identified skills and knowledge needed by the LIS professional in web 2.0 world (and beyond). It has also identified examples of ‘great practice’ by LIS educators as they endeavour to develop LIS professionals who will be successful in a web 20 world. The fellowship however has also shown that the LIS profession is currently undergoing significant attitudinal and conceptual change. Consequently, before a philosophy of LIS education 2.0 can be expressed, the Australian LIS profession must first explore and articulate what it means to be an LIS professional in the 21st century (ie a world of web 2.0 and beyond). In short, the LIS profession in Australia must take stock not of “what we know and can do” but on “who we are becoming” (Dall’Alba, 2009, p 34)

Topics: 080700 LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES, 130200 CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY, social media, web 2.0, librarian 2.0, library education, professional education, higher education, curriculum renewal
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

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