Are Librarian’s relevant in today’s world? What’s the role of librarians in schools? Do we really need librarians in schools and colleges? Or are they only keepers of books?
Libraries are the central hubs of learning. Libraries have been a storehouse of books and been synonymous with knowledge. And, therefore, to gain knowledge a student goes to an educational institution and visits the library to build on their learning experience. Now, things are different! Learning is happening everywhere.
With the advent of the Internet in 1986 in India and growing connection in every Indian state, we have come a long way with the acquisition of information. Information is now available at the fingertips of every individual who owns a smartphone. So, the question we need to ask all librarians is – Are Librarians obsolete in today’s world? Do we need a library or librarians to help us find information?
The answer to the questions is YES! But, how can we as librarians, reinvent ourselves to stay relevant and feel accomplished in our job? The only answer is to LEARN. Find ways to stay relevant. Choose autonomy and courage to try new lessons with our students and equip ourselves. Today, as librarians we need to be Meta Literate. As librarians, we must have five primary objectives to guide our patrons, whoever they might be. Tom Mackey & Trudi Jacobsen, advocates Metaliteracy.
6 Primary Goals recommended are:
- To help individuals, evaluate all content critically and understand differences in articles, blogs, reprints, wikis, media products and websites
- We must learn and support personal digital privacy, encourage information ethics and protect intellectual proper in our technology environment
- Library Hubs or Learning Commons must provide a participatory environments for people with similar interests work collaboratively, and learn from each other through interest groups
- Another key role is to help learners with research strategies to help them in their personal, academic and/or professional inquiry.
- Support learners to become better communicators of information through reading, writing and/or creating media or infographics to convey meaning.
- Develop the art of reading and craft of writing for you and for other learners.
Dr. Albert Ryan an educator and a freelance writer, says, it is very important for students to learn about information and media literacy. Anubhati Yadav, an advocate of media literacy claims that media literacy in schools is a must.
In my belief, since Librarians are the experts in curating, sharing and knowledge experts, it is therefore critical, for us to take this opportunity to update our skills in learning Literature and Writing workshops. And, learn about Information and Media Literacy in our new educational environment.
So, how we do that? There is no formal training in India for librarians or teachers to learn about Information and Media Literacy. It is urgent in our present scenario. There are many free courses of Information & Media Literacy available on Coursera, UNESCO – Information and Media Literacy, AUB and other MOOCs Online There are several Massive Open Online Courses -free cost available.
All we need is to develop a mindset of growth. We need courage and openness to learning. We want the consumers of information and media to make informed choices and not be carried away with propaganda and misinterpretation of media and news. All information gatherers learn not only from print but media, graphs, infographics, audio recordings, videos and a combination of all of the above, thus making them Metaliterate. This is one of the goals a librarian must keep in mind in supporting the learning community.