The Evolution of a Library


cc licensed flickr photo shared by ConanTheLibrarian

My grandmother was a school librarian who nurtured my love for books. Not so long ago I can remember going to the local public library and looking things up in the card catalogue. It felt good to shuffle through those Dewey Decimal cards, and even better to go to the stacks and rummage through the books searching for treasure. Sometimes I had something in mind, but, more often than not, I loved the unexpected discoveries – those books that for whatever reason I just had to read. I loved both the sound and feel of the book jackets as I placed the finds in my backpack to carry home.

While I still fondly remember my childhood Saturday morning walks past the Chinook bowling alley and into the library, I have learned enough from reading those wonderous books to remain open to new possibilities, to appreciate discoveries, and to remember the value of sharing information.

I still enjoy visiting the library, but find the experience has changed. It has expanded far beyond the scope of books or research materials, and has gone digital. I am lucky enough to teach at a large high school with two exceptional librarians who help guide me and our students through this ever-changing 21st century journey. One of them, Al Smith, was kind enough to take a moment and allow me to interview him about the changing role of the library. Below are the questions I asked Al – if you have a moment pour a cup of tea and listen…

TechTalksPodcast – The Evolution of a Library (run time: about 8 minutes)

In keeping with the ‘media test kitchen’ theme of this blog I edited the audio for this podcast in GarageBand. The opening and closing music stings were created using Magic GarageBand.

1. How long have you been a librarian? What would you say are the most significant changes to happen in the library over that time?

2. What are your favourite “tech tools” to use in the library?

3. How do you use custom search engines?

4. What challenges do you face implementing technology within a public school?

5. Do you use social media, and if so why?

6. Do you have any tech advice you can pass on to the listener – perhaps a favourite tech tip (or tips)?

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4 responses to “The Evolution of a Library

  1. Great post! Librarians are absolutely in a league of their own. It also amazes me how the library has changed. I believe that school libraries need to be staffed by passionate learning leaders with a definite skill set in technology. The full service resource center of the future is the technology center of our schools and communities.

  2. Jesse,
    You are so right. The two librarians I work with now are the class of their field. The support I get from them is astounding!

  3. The podcast was a great idea!! Even though books aren’t the in-thing, librarians appear to continue to be the centre of all knowledge!! The U of R librarian presents information on various topics, one class that I took we were shown RefWorks – unbelievably useful for keeping track of resources and creating a bibliography!! Thanx, Bettina

    • Thanks Bettina,
      I’ve been using Refworks (and Delicious) for the last couple years and it makes me wonder how I did research before – in the olden days we used index cards with a complicated cross referencing system!
      I see my blog as a place to try stuff out. Since I hadn’t recorded a podcast, uploaded to Archive.org, or seriously edited in GarageBand I figured it was time. I really enjoyed the process.

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