Library As Classroom
I am fortunate to work for an organization where the concept of “lifelong learning” is embedded into my library’s mission statement. To support lifelong learning initiatives, the library has a variety of resources for its patrons such as :
- Lynda.com, a site that has video tutorial courses on subjects such as photography, graphic design, multimedia
- Mango Launguages, language learning courses in 71 different launguages
- Safari, a technology and job skills tools that offers video tutorials on technology and business topics
- Gale Courses, a 6 week instructor led course on a variety of topics
It’s a very exciting time for working in the library sector and transforming services as well as how we think about the future of the library itself. This week’s lecture and readings got me thinking about how now is an excellent time to remind our communities that we are more than just books: that we are so much more! In my vision of the library as a classroom, I can see libraries making all sorts of information accessible to patrons and then instructing the users in the use of those resources.
The other day, I was sitting in on an Author Visit for a BookClub and there was a lively discussion about birdwatching, including history and folklore. There were lots of questions posed, but the author wasn’t well equipped to handle some of the questions as it was not in his field of expertise. Then I had an aha moment: What if, the library was able to open up the learning experience with established ornithology experts through video conferencing or other means? Wouldn’t that be something?
One of the ways that I have incorporated learning at the library is through STEM ( Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Scavenger Hunts, where children have to use the library’s staff and resources to find answers to STEM related trivia questions.Last month, I conducted a general Scavenger Hunt for 0-6 year olds, and one of the instructions was to ‘ Find Something that Feels Soft’. One of the toddlers came up to me and asked if it was alright to put down that her SKIN was soft. Talk about learning in the library!
The readings about teaching digital literacy skills was very useful and informative. It is something I hadn’t though about, but I will definitely share it at the next staff meeting. We as libraries have a role to play in ensuring that our children grow up adept at navigating digital spaces. If children do not have the digital skills to navigate today’s world, they will be at a disadvantage in the future and have trouble navigating technologies such as digital rights management, which allows content creators to lock” content that can only be opened up with a special “ key”.
One of the quotes that stood out for me since the first day of this class was Thomas & Brown’s message that “ Play is the basis for cultivating imagination and innovation”. I have it up on my screensaver at work, and I have challenged myself to find ways to incorporate play into all of my programs. I’m conducting another BabyTime program next week and I plan on conducting a Bubble themed storytime. I will be bringing my bubble machine and let the children run around while turning on the bubble machine while singing the following song:
This week’s lecture and readings has definitely challenged me to continue to find creative ways to open up the library as a classroom and facilitate knowledge exchange for all ages!