Library science might sound strange to some. Libraries are often thought of as being a place full of free books. Despite this popular use, libraries are so much more. At the heart of a library is library experts. These individuals study library science to learn the best ways to serve every need patrons need. Curious about what’s changing in the world of libraries? Here are the top 5 current events in library science.
Lifetime Achievement Winning Librarian Reflects on Efforts
Librarians are some of the most intelligent professionals in the academic world. Community librarians know their town and surrounding area like the back of their hand. All librarians in fact usually hold knowledge that surpasses most information based professionals. The route to take with library science varies for each aspiring worker. Some begin with part time work and move up. Others, more often than not, study library science at the undergraduate and graduate level. It’s a rigorous course load, but satisfies the most information minded students. In terms of current events in library science, the headlines usually read the same. Many new technologies are coming to libraries now. The book based work many assume libraries focus on is changing significantly.
A leader in this transition for her local library is Tara Griffith. We often know the amazing things college libraries offer, but K-12 libraries do the same sort of things. Elementary school libraries especially help students get a first hand experience in research and information technology. Computers make things easier for students and librarians alike, but books are far from gone. In fact, the art of knowing how to utilize books at a library is a big focus of Griffith’s work.
Top Award Winner Mends Two Research Practices
Before taking a position in a national library group, Griffith worked in her local school district for more than a decade. The best part of awards like the Hardy Lifetime recognition is that hard work does not go unnoticed. Librarians for K-12 schools are among some of the smartest in their districts. In fact, many are seen as a resource teachers can use when they need help. The power of a library science degree is insurmountable to the care and consideration it takes to be a librarian. Griffith embodies the best parts of the profession and people behind the job.
Tireless work goes into a library and running its resources. As an elementary school librarian, it’s even tougher. High school students know how to use these technologies well by the time they hit their teens. Knowledge doesn’t come from nowhere. The elementary school library learning Griffith and others teach sticks with students forever. It’s no lie that librarians at K-12 schools are some of the most influential educators for young minds. As the world of library science has changed, Griffith keeps up with each change. It helps for non-library experts to read current events in library science to keep up with the changes too!
Top Library Science Programs Rankings
Like any academic study, not all programs are created equal. A lot of truly good college programs come down to who has the money and resources for a great learning experience. The number one resource for librarian students is to find a school that offers what they’re looking for. This is usually, again, a matter of learning resources. Digital and physical resources are easy to come by in libraries, but money buys the best resource centers and digital libraries. Access to these technologies provide patrons with more possibilities for information, and in turn, a better library. It’s tough to say one program is best, but some rankings tackle this.
It’s not just library programs either. Colleges and universities always try to get to the top of rankings. These rankings are usually arbitrary. Often, they focus on one sort of number or statistic as a basis for putting some colleges above or below others. Things like the difficulty of the program or resources often dictate the bulk of the ranking. Others look at international student enrollment and post-grad job acquisition. In terms of libraries, a popular ranking comes from The Best Schools organizational group.
Making a Great Library Science Problem
To make a great library program, schools aim for a few particular things. Courses are key, in terms of what library science students learn. This varies from levels of library work that graduates might pursue post graduation. Library administration classes are a big influence on the ranking from TBS. Administration classes in general provide library science students with the skills to someday run a library themselves. These courses are introductory at the graduate level, and more significant at the Ph. D level. Media center management is also key for library science program rankings. This comes down, not only to curriculum, but actual media center resources at a university or college.
At the heart of the ranking is not some competition for bragging rights. Surely, however, rankings get used for university and program marketing. The real key is clueing students into where they might get the best prep for professional work in a library. Rankings help students of a top caliber decide where is the best program to set them up for a successful career. If they see a top ranked school, then they are likely to apply. This can lead to more competitive programs as well, yielding better student candidates. Overall, rankings mean a lot, and little, depending on what they are used to accomplish.
Many Libraries Hiring On-Site Social Workers
Libraries are a refuge for many people. At a campus, the library is a refuge for dedicated students and professors working on research. Community libraries are a little different. The main use of a public library is to provide services to a local community. The main use of the library tends to go to a certain population of people. For one, many families with young children use libraries. Free programming is often featured for young children, usually 9 and younger. Some even feature teen programming for older kids. It’s a wonderful way to connect with the people in your community. Likewise, poorer people and families tend to love the library and its resources. Free internet access through computers and Wi-Fi make a library a great place to go if you need to get online. Internet is expensive, so it’s great to get to use it for free.
When we look at the groups who frequent the library most, they often in need of something. Some use the library for programming and entertainment. But others, kids and adults alike, use the library as a place to go for various reasons. It’s safe, comfortable, and free. Because of this, kids who don’t have great homes or parents that might work late frequent the library. In a lot of ways, the library is a crucial part of a kid’s childhood. Especially in low income areas, library use is very high among young people.
Library Use and Assistance
Libraries are beginning to take note of the people frequenting their buildings. More specifically, the need for help is not often vocalized, but evident. Young people who spend a lot of time at the library are likely to be there for safety or security. That’s why some local libraries have begun hiring social workers. These employees, registered through the state for social work, can assist those who need their services. Because the library pays them, no fees go towards those in need.
The intersection of library science and social assistance is as old as libraries themselves. If a social worker is on site, and a child or adult needs help, they are available. For many, libraries are a place of sanctuary. Offering low income or in need people some help through social workers on site can really extend the reach libraries play in local communities. It’ll be interesting to see if this continues to pop up in current events in library science.
Librarians Teaching Science and Math Through Art
Think of the first thing that comes to mind about libraries. Even in the digital age, it’s likely books. Stacks and stacks of books line the inside of every library around the world. But, keep in mind, that’s not all libraries are set up to do. As mentioned above, many libraries feature programming that helps kids and adults. These classes can be for fun, or for educational purposes. Entertainment programming at libraries often consists of music, storytelling, among other great offerings. Education programming is even more diverse, ranging in subjects and learning levels. All in all, current events in library science tend to focus heavily on the amazing things libraries have to offer.
For example, one library is currently working on an art class. Sure, that’s normal enough on paper, but the intended result of the class is not necessarily as clear as you’d think. Consider this comparison: a child has a choice of classes to attend at the library. One is a math camp where you do addition, subtraction, and other forms of number-based problem solving. The other class, in complete opposite, is an art class in which students get to paint, color, and draw. We know which one Mom and Dad might choose, but otherwise, the kids are likely going to want to play arts and crafts.
Turning STEM into Art
Why not do both, says a local library in North Carolina. A new set of programming and classes at the Lee County Library is focused on art as a form of STEM-based educational projects. Coloring might not seem very scientific, but what about combining colors to make a new color? That’s a basic, relatable form of chemistry that students attending the class can get really excited about. If you love art, then you might not be very STEM minded. That goes for children, as well as adults. At the end of the day, STEM classes are going to pose a more important role in a student’s life as they age through K-12 classes. It helps, for many students, to have an incentive other than your parent or teacher telling you math and science are important.
While schools may need to follow a curriculum of standard science and math classes, libraries have the freedom to explore their offerings, making them a great place to do something like this. Many libraries offer intersectional classes like these on math, science, and technology. Engineering as well, as any college student will tell you, is really fun once you find why you can make it matter to you. This is the best way to do this for young kids.
The Importance of Bilingual Librarians
The demographics of the United States are changing. More women make up the country than men. Likewise, more non-white populations are coming to the country and being born as citizens than any other time in history. The white population of the United States is no longer a dominant majority of the breakdown of the country. As non-white populations continue to grow, so too do the various languages being spoken by U.S. citizens. Despite what some might say or believe, the United States does not have an official language. The next fastest growing, widely used language, Spanish, is all that more important now that demographics are changing. Current events in library science point this out all the time.
Spanish is spoken by a lot more people in the United States than even 20 years ago. As demographics continue to shift, a lot of emphasis is being put on learning Spanish, as well as other non-English languages. The reason behind this is not only domestic. Internationally, a lot of people speak a variety of languages. In most other developed countries, it’s not unheard of to have kids learning two or three languages at school, on top of the one they speak in their country. For that reason, languages are crucial to the development of an increasingly global world. As demographics in the U.S. change, so do the requirements and needs of the people who frequent libraries.
Spanish and Other Languages for Library Science Professionals
It’s helpful, and often encouraged, in higher education programs for library science, to be bilingual, if not trilingual. This allows library science majors the ability to connect and communicate with their patrons. If at a public library, the majority of patrons speak a certain language, it might be helpful for the librarian to know that language. That being said, it’s not like a minority of people, significant at that, will not speak a second language. It’s all about the area in which the library is located. For most librarians, knowing two languages really makes a big difference in their jobs.
More and more current events in library science point to bilingual professionals being the new norm. The key to a great library science program is getting people ready for the needs of the profession today, and in the future. It’s always changing, as is anything in the working world. That being said, the trend of bilingual students, adults, and communities is not slowing down anytime soon. For that reason, bilingual librarians will be all the more needed in the coming years and decades.
Library science hopefully makes a bit more sense now. Reviewing current events in library science help explain what goes into the job, as well as why so many pursue it professionally. We use libraries as a society, and will continue to do so for years to come. Thanks to countless professionals staying on top of trends and norms, library science will continue to grow for all to enjoy its resources, locations, and tools for a better tomorrow.