17th LIASA Annual Conference: Pre-Conference Workshops

Digital citizenship: Infrastructure, policies and cyber security – access, ethics and responsibilities of librarians.

Facilitated by Ina Smith and Annamarie Goosen

The literature often refers to digital natives and digital immigrants. Digital immigrants are those that were introduced to digital/computer technology at a later stage in life, while digital natives refer to those librarians and users who were born with a mobile phone in the hand. To be the owner of a digital device does however not necessarily make you a highly competent and responsible digital learner, researcher, librarian or citizen. Without the necessary knowledge on how to use online material in a responsible way, librarians and their users are not able to take advantage of the web and navigate it properly. It also exposes them in many ways, intentionally or unintentionally. And if librarians do not become digital citizens themselves, and fully embrace and integrate technology as part of their daily activities, switching smoothly from one online tool to another, it will result in them not being skilled enough to address the needs of their users, keeping up with the rapid changes in the profession.

Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. It includes nine elements, of which the following: digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security. During this highly interactive hands-on workshop, participants will be introduced to various tools to help them and their users to fully embrace the technology to support the environment in which they find themselves, and to become responsible downloaders but also uploaders of quality information.

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Inspiring digital natives to read: the evolution of access to information and the role the library is playing

Although our everyday lives are surrounded by technology, reading remains an important activity for many reasons. Printed books are still relevant, but in addition to traditional literature, digital resources are more and more used to support reading. A mobile phone or a laptop is just another medium to carry the message contained in a book, and should never be seen as a threat to reading as we know it. It is a medium the children of today are familiar with, and which they use with great ease from a very young age. The LIS Transformation Charter encourages the use of technology in support of the ecosystem approach towards an equal, reading, informed and literate nation. Once a child can read, and know where to find quality reading material, the chances of them becoming lifelong learners are so much higher.

This workshop brings together leaders in digital reading programmes, such as African Story Book, Bookdash, Fundza, the German Library Association, Nalibali and the Goethe Institut mLiteracy Project. The objective of this workshop will be to address ways in which mobile devices can be used to encourage children to read, and to create an awareness among librarians on digital reading material available to encourage children to start doing so from a very young age, and throughout the later years. Many of the digital stories are written by (South) African authors for (South) African children, for readers to easily identify with the events and the characters in the stories. Public/community and school librarians are invited to attend this one day workshop, introducing this new approach to advance reading among the younger citizens in our country.

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A lost generation or an investment in the future: youth services

Are today’s youth a lost generation or an investment in the future?  Generation gaps are becoming more prevalent and today’s librarian needs to deal with this generation gap to engage with the youth on their level and in a way that they understand. Gender and race issues must also be taken into consideration when dealing with this group of patrons.  This workshop will also look at collection development for the youth to ensure relevant and appropriate material are available for the youth of today.

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Community engagement: the importance of networks

To provide a successful and relevant service to your community, the librarian must have knowledge of how to network and where to find resources for networking.  Having a strong network to support your library will enhance the library’s service and the patrons will benefit.  To build trusted relationships in the community the librarians must employ the right communication skills and be familiar with how to locate the library as the trusted community partner.

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Monitoring and evaluation of library resources

Facilitated by Larshan Naicker (Rhodes University Library: Head: User & Research Support) and Wynand van der Walt (Rhodes University Library: Head: Technical Services)

Collection Development and Management remains a key cross-functional activity that depends on sound relationships with the user community and open channels of communication between user services and technical library teams.

Due to the economic downturn, fluctuating exchange rates and 14% VAT on e-resources, academic libraries are currently facing massive financial cutbacks. The resounding impact of this financial cutback has been on the library’s ability to manage its Information Resources budgets and yet still meet the expectation of providing a consistently high level of service. The adoption of a “more with less” mind-set has forced librarians to engage with their user communities and evaluate their subscriptions and collections in a more focused and strategic way.

To remain consistent and a step ahead in providing access to appropriate information and knowledge resources, monitoring and evaluating collections on a regular basis is required. Relevance, usage patterns, and the relatedness to the academic programme are some of the factors to be considered in this evaluation process. This workshop therefore aims to provide a practical user-centred approach in aligning collection development and management activities during this challenging time.

Click here to register for this workshop.