Call Number, Volume 70, Number 2, Fall 2011 Page: 1
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The Changing and Challenging Times in Which We Live
Communication systems are continually
changing the way people access information.
Every device we are using today will go away
and be replaced by something else. Telephones,
telegraphs, phonographs, radios, fax machines,
televisions, and computers each were important
steps in communication. In a span of 40 years, we
added color televisions, email, cell phones, palm
pilots, the internet, iPads, and much more. We
have gone from dialup phones to push button to
cordless to cell to smart phones, and now voice
command search capabilities. 8-track tapes were
replaced by cassette tapes that were replaced
by CDs, which are currently in the process of
disappearing all together. E-mail, texting, and
social networks are factors in what appears to be
the demise of the U.S. Postal Service, at least as
we know it. Newspapers are finding it difficult to
compete with instant news delivery via Google
and other sources.
We are in the midst of rapidly changing
times technologically and challenging times
economically. Professional journals are filled with
articles reflecting a different world from that of
libraries and classrooms only a decade ago and
signaling drastic changes in the future. Following
are a few statements gleaned from the Internet:
* Within the next decade, the ink-on-paper
industry will not be a sustainable economic
+ Over time we will be transitioning to a
" The demand for global information is
growing at a rapid rate.
+ Due to the Internet and technology, brick
and mortar libraries are becoming inefficient.
We have witnessed many changes in
libraries and education in recent times. In the
last ten years, we have seen distance education
either supplement or replace the traditional
classroom settings in higher education. Academic
libraries are developing learning commons or
collaboration and learning centers (LC or CLC)
within and outside the library proper. These
spacious, wireless, and largely bookless areas are
comfortable spaces where students can discover,
create, and collaborate with peers. They consist
of computer work stations as well as group work
areas with moveable whiteboards designed for
group work. UNT Libraries has opened two such
facilities and has plans for two additional CLCs
at locations around the campus. Professional
journals report that school libraries are beginning
to create their own versions of learning commons.
At an age when we use technology to
customize every other form of information
delivery, experts around the country believe we
are seeing means of transforming education.
"Filling schools with laptops and Smartboards
alone is not the answer,"' says one visionary.
("New Tec Tools in Classroom Can Be Game
Changer" by Charles Pacenti, in Opinion, Miami
Herald, Oct. 2, 2011 http://www.miamiherald.
"It is in knowing how to harness their power
to advance learning that will make a difference,"
he continues. '"An ever growing inventory of
educational software and online content can
help teachers be more effective, make their jobs
more fulfilling, and produce more deeply engaged
students who may already have rich digital lives
outside the classroom:' He sees a day when every
child moves at his/her own pace, when lesson
plans are customized to every student's strengths
and weaknesses, and when data on student
progress makes standardized tests obsolete.
Public libraries, hard hit by budget cuts
resulting in staff layoffs, reduced hours of service,
and fewer dollars for collections, are repurposing
roles, services, and facilities in order to meet public
needs. Many predict that public libraries will
transition from centers of information to centers
of culture. In addition to ranks of computers,
some are giving way to multipurpose community
centers featuring multimedia resources,
cybercaf6s, and other nontraditional offerings.
Library outposts are being placed at strategic
locations such as shopping centers, transportation
hubs, and business districts. The Dallas Public
Library has a highly successful children's library
branch located in a large shopping center. Most
public libraries place emphasis on use of their
computer services for job seekers, even setting up
special departments geared to this specific area
with support services in resume writing and job
Contemporary professional publications
are filled with articles carrying titles such as "No
More Pencils, No More Books: Instead iPads,"
"Reaching Students with Special Needs through
E-Learning," "Libraries in a Post-Print World,'
and "The Future of Libraries, with or without
Books:' Times are changing and those of us in
libraries and education must change with them.
We must keep open minds and continue to
keep abreast of technological advances and how
they can be used to strengthen our professions.
Another article in this feature section will address
ways in which we can remain current and in pace
with a fast changing world. See also LIS chair
Suliman Hawamdeh's column, "Technology and
the Rising of Information,"' on pg. 7.
Aids in Staying Current
Staying current is essential in all professions,
especially in library and information science and
in education. Professionals may need further
knowledge in their field in order to provide
needed services in a current position, quality for
advancement, move into another specialization or
related field, or become more marketable. Some
professionals are self-taught in technologies and
need broad based training in the area. Some
find that they need to acquire or sharpen skills
in a specific area such as project management
or evaluating the needs of students/clients or
services currently provided. Some may need
to know how to provide online services to
distance learners, or to compare technologies
and determine which will meet the needs of a
situation. All professionals need to acquire skill
sets for tomorrow's technologies.
There are various means in which these
needs can be met. A specific need may be met
with a simple search of current literature. Basic
knowledge about a topic might be gained by
accessing a webinar or online tutorial. When
additional training is required, returning to an
educational setting for certification in an area may
be a solution.
The Internet, of course, is the first place to
turn when seeking knowledge on almost any topic.
Articles or other materials that report research
or the experiences of others are always useful.
In many instances, however, tutorials, classes, or
more extensive training are needed. Following
are suggestions that may help to become more
current or to meet specific needs.
Webinars or online tutorials
These sources of computer generated
offerings each pertain to a specific topic and may
contain either basic or advanced treatment of the
area. Some are free while others charge a small
Library and Information Sciences
+ Webjunction (http://www.webjunction.org)
+ Emerald (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/
+ Virtual Learning Laboratory for Digital
+ Lifelong Education at Desk Top- LE@D
* Texas State Library - Archived Webinars
+ Many other such sources are available.
eSchool News provides free webinars on the
hottest topics in education technology free,
such as "Becoming a Tech-savvy Educator"
CURRENT, continued on page 2
fall 2011 call number 1
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University of North Texas. College of Information. Call Number, Volume 70, Number 2, Fall 2011, periodical, Autumn 2011; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc102308/m1/3/?q=%22Department%20of%20Library%20and%20Information%20Sciences%22: accessed April 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Information.