Thursday, October 21, 2004

Strategic Planning for Academic Library Instructional Programming: An Overview. I have a new paper up today at LibraryInstruction.Com. It deals with the often neglected topic of strategic planning and BI. I wrote it for one of the classes I am taking right now. I am currently in the first year of a 3-5 year doctoral program in educational administration. I'll try to keep my class papers (and dissertation!) focused on library instruction and information literacy topics.

From the site:

Change is constant in the world. Societal, technological, and demographic shifts are constantly impacting the population of the broader community, which in turn immediately starts a constantly moving chain reaction, which results in changes to all aspects of society. Educational institutions are not immune to this. In fact, they often feel the impact of change long before other institutions are forced to deal with it. As libraries are educational institutions, it is not surprising that libraries have been among the hardest hit in the education world in the amount of change that has occurred.

The world in which libraries have operated has changed dramatically in the last several decades. For centuries, the basic operational structure of libraries remained unchanged. Librarians from different eras could have easily adjusted to working in libraries from different times. However, the advent of the World Wide Web and the shift of information resources to electronic format has resulted in a revolution in the ways that libraries are operated and how patrons are taught about library resources. This change in the information distribution has been compared (Lorenzen, 2003) to the alteration of the publishing industry by the invention of the Guttenberg Press.

Recent changes to libraries by the emergence of new information technologies have also forced alterations to library instructional programs. Long gone are the days when teaching about locating information consisted of a lecture on the card catalog and a visit to the index tables. How do you teach patrons to locate information when many of them use the Web as their only source of information? Beyond just library instruction, how do you teach the information literacy skills that patrons will need to be able to successfully sort through the barrage of unmediated material that is subject to minimal gate keeping?

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