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2nd National Conference

On

Transforming Libraries into Digital Era


A Journey from Librarian to Cybrarian
23rd April 2017

Jointly organised by

Department of Library and Information Science


C. U. Shah University
&
Ahmedabad Library Network (ADINET)

CiLibCon 2017
C. U. Shah University
Near Kothariya Village
Wadhwan city

1|CiLibcon 2017
2nd National Conference
On

Transforming Libraries into Digital Era


A Journey from Librarian to Cybrarian

Selected papers of the 2nd national conference on Transforming Libraries into


Digital Era: A Journey from Librarian to Cybrarian held at Department of
Library and Information Science, C. U. Shah University, Wadhwan city,
Gujarat on 23rd April 2017

Edited by

Mr. Shamjibhai Parmar


Chief Librarian
C. U. Shah Medical College
Surendranagar, Gujarat

Published by
Harshwardhan Publications Pvt. Ltd.,
Balgujar,Barshi road, Beed, Maharashtra 431122

2|CiLibcon 2017
2. Blended Librarianship for Academic Libraries in Digital Era theory
and practice: a case of ATMIYA group of institutions

Ms. Sheetal D. Tank Ms. Manisha D. Maradiya Ms. Raksha V. Bhatt


Librarian Asst. Librarian, Atmiya Librarian, Atmiya Institute of
Atmiya Institute of Institute of Technology and Technology and Science for
Technology and Science, Science, Diploma Studies,
Rajkot Rajkot Rajkot
E mail: sdtank@aits.edu.in E mail: mdmaradiya@aits.edu.in E mail: rkbhatt@aits.edu.in

Abstract

Blended librarianship is about supporting the academics activities as an academic library


service, in terms of our LIS traditional knowledge and its various aspects; supporting the
Instructional design as per the curriculum and embedding the role of librarian in the same;
along with expert support on Information Technology related issues be it hardware or
software to the academic user community especially students and faculty. The paper provides
a brief literature review on the topic, the principles, the knowledge, skill and competencies
needed, model and the way the blended librarians work. The paper also provides a brief case
study of the blended librarianship practiced at Atmiya Group of Institutions.

Keyword: Blended Librarian, Information Literacy Programme, Faculty-Librarian


Collaboration, Digital Library Environment, Library Services.

Introduction

As we move towards an era in which the quest of human of wanting to “know” the answers
of every “Why?” and “How?” is becoming prevalent in the form of Research and
development in every discipline; the relevance of Libraries, Librarians and Knowledge
management and dissemination becomes a task which requires more and more precision and
expertise. This gives opportunities to define various emerging roles of especially Academic
libraries and Academic Librarians in particular. Being able to identify these expectations and
equipping ourselves to cater to the demands of knowledge and information timely, in the

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form the students, faculty, researchers need with appropriate scaffolding is the need of the
hour. This paper discusses about the emerging role of Librarians as Blended Librarians in
context to Academic Libraries in the emerging Digital era.

Literature review

Blended Librarianship is a novel form of librarianship practice first advanced by Steven Bell
and John Shank in January 2004[1]. They define Blended Librarian as “an librarian who
combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist’s
hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer’s ability to apply
technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process” [2][3]. In their book “Academic
Librarianship by Design: a blended Librarians guide to the tools and techniques” [4], Bell
and Shank have provided a complete guideline to practice blended librarianship and also
discussed related aspects in detail. (Vassilakaki and Moniarou, 2014) [5] in their paper have
provided a systematic literature review of emerging roles adopted by LIS professionals since
2000. (Raju, 2014)[6] in his paper discusses about the knowledge and skills required in the
Digital Academic Library environment which he has detailed in the three categories as
Disciplinary Knowledge, Generic Skills and Personal competencies; which have been
included in this paper. (Corrall, 2010)[7] has explained about the phenomena of the hybrid
information specialist in the academic library setting especially in relation to curriculum
development and continuing professional education for librarianship with reference to
contemporary Academic Library. She states in this article - “hybridity and blending is evident
in the strategies, structures, services, systems, spaces, skills and staff of academic libraries
and related service departments”[7]. And also that “Key features of the contemporary
landscape include overlapping roles, broad skillsets, stretched identities, specialised niches
and contemporary gaps in strategic specialities”[7]. (Nolin, 2013)[8] Identifies the areas of
potential research support that none of the traditional librarians or IT specialists have
concerned themselves with and has argued for new tasks and roles for the academic library,
specifically the Special Librarian. He has provided a “substantial discussion on contemporary
librarianship, that of the transformative relationship between researchers and Librarians”[8].
(Sun & others, 2011) [9] Shows how implementing of new Information Technology has
expanded the role of librarians as educators. This paper also details and provides a rich
literature review on the Educational Role of Academic Libraries and also the advantages and
challenges for academic librarians in their new role. Further (Godwin, 2001) [10] discusses
the present scenario in the Learning resource centres that- the machines are not used for by

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students for serious student learning due to lack of Information skills and at the same time
due to Academic staff dealing with time pressures are not able to keep up with technological
advancements and its uses in teaching methods; here he says the “Librarians can play a key
role as agents of change” and has provided various methods and case studies in his paper.
(Hearn, 2005)[11] Has described the key role of Blended Librarian i.e. conducting
Information Literacy (IL) and his case study gives an in depth research on design and
implementation of a faculty-librarian collaboration to teach an Undergraduate program.

Principles of Blended Librarianship:

(Bell and Shank, 2004) has listed the following six principles of Blended Librarianship:

1. Taking leadership positions as campus innovators and change agents is critical to the
success of delivering library services in today’s information society.

2. Committing to developing campus wide information literacy initiatives on our campuses in


order to facilitate our ongoing involvement in the teaching and learning process is necessary.

3. Designing instructional and educational programs and classes to assist patrons in using
library services and learning information literacy is absolutely essential to gaining the
necessary skills (trade) and knowledge (profession) for lifelong success.

4. Collaborating and engaging in dialogue with instructional technologists and designers is


vital to the development of programs, services and resources needed to facilitate the
instructional mission of academic libraries.

5. Implementing adaptive, creative, proactive, and innovative change in library instruction


can be enhanced by communicating and collaborating with newly created instructional
technology/design librarians and existing instructional designers and technologists.

6. Transforming our relationship with faculty requires that we concentrate our efforts to assist
them in integrating technology and library resources into (hybrid/blended) courses. We must
also add to our traditional role a new capacity for collaboration to improve student learning
and outcome assessment in the areas of information access, retrieval, and integration.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies required in the Digital Academic Environment

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(Raju, 2014) , has in his paper mentioned about “a study of job advertisements by (Orme,
2008)[12] found that “a mixture” of discipline-specific knowledge, generic skills and
personal competencies is required of LIS professionals in digitally oriented LIS
environment”[6].

The Disciplinary Knowledge about the following is essential:

· Traditional LIS resources, Services and function


· Experience
· Technology associated with LIS applications in the digital era
· Scholarly communication
· e-Resources collection development
· Research support librarianship
· Subject knowledge with professional LIS skills
· Digitization (creating digital content)
· Curation of digitized content (including metadata creation and management)
· Research data services (including collection, metadata creation and preservation for
future use)

(Patridge & Hallam, 2004) [13] have mentioned the Generic skills or also referred to as
'transferable skills' or 'graduate attributes':

· General managerial/supervisory · Budgeting


skills · Problem solving
· Communication (written and oral) · Project management
· Interpersonal skills · Accuracy and attention to detail
· General computer skills and · Strategic planning
computer literacy (including social · Branding and marketing
media skills) · Information literacy
· Client service orientation · Research skills
· Teamwork · Writing/editing skills
· Critical and analytical thinking · Experience
· Teaching and coaching · Conflict management skills

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· Continuing professional · Performance management and
development evaluation skills

Personal competencies as provided by (Choi and Rasmussen, 2009) [14]

· Enthusiasm and initiative


· Leadership
· Capacity to work independently
· Ability to work under pressure
· Ability to respond to others' needs
· Adaptability and flexibility
· Capacity for continuous learning
· Fostering change
· Reflective thinking
· Self-motivation

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Blended Librarians in action – how do they do what they do?

Bell and Shank have explained some principles of design and also the concept of design
thinking in general as - at its core there are three basic elements:

1. “The ability to put oneself in the place of the user of the product or service in order to
understand how the user can receive the optimal learning experience
2. A willingness to thoughtfully and creatively move through a series of gradual changes
in developing a product or service and use this prototyping method to arrive at an
optimal experience for the user.
3. A commitment to both formative and summative evaluation in determining how well
a product or service meets the needs of the user, and then making the necessary
adjustments to improve the performance of that product or service to ensure a good
library or learning experience for the user [4].”

Further he explains that “Blended librarians are able to weave each of these three elements
into their practice primarily by integrating instructional design and technology skills into their
work.” [4]

The librarians use design thinking to develop an instructional session or a new innovative
service that is useful to the user community. The following steps would then follows:

· Learn and understand the user need to fulfil their information requirements
· Design a prototype solution or work on a small module or a micro requirement and
test and revise to see if we are able to understand their needs correctly or understood
the concept precisely.
· Take the feedback and record the impact to evaluate whether the service or a session
failed to meet the expectations of the user; this will be a good learning experience
from the user’s perspective.

Blended Professionals conception model

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(Corrall, 2010) has provided the Sheffield model of blended informational professional as
shown in the figure below. It presents their “ conception of the blended professional,
differentiating three traditional specialist professional groups: library/information science
specialists, IT/media specialists and academic/professional discipline specialists, labelled
‘content’, ‘conduit’ and ‘context’ specialists respectively; alternatively they can be seen as
‘knowledge’, ‘infrastructure’ and ‘domain’ specialists” [7].

Figure: Sheffield model of blended information professionals

The following are examples of each category have been provided :

“1. E-content and digital library specialists (content + conduit), e.g. electronic resources co-
ordinators, digital collection project managers, directors of digital libraries, heads of e-
strategy, intranet/web managers and repository librarians;

2. Discipline-based information and knowledge specialists (content + context + conduit), e.g.


subject/liaison librarians, information literacy co-ordinators, instructional design librarians,
geographic information systems specialists, data librarians, data scientists;

3. Context-specific technology and media specialists (context + conduit), e.g. computer-


assisted learning specialists, educational/instructional/learning technologists.” [7]

Practicing Blended Librarianship at Atmiya

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At Atmiya we have been able to practice the Blended Librarianship at a very primary stage
the case examples of a few activities of the same are as follows:

1. Information Literacy Programmes (ILP) for Graduate students

The ILP's are conducted for Graduate students at each semester as per their academic needs.
Most of the students when they join the graduation programme are not aware of Internet and
its services. So the first year we introduce them to the various search engines, meta search
engines and subject gateways. Then during their second semester they are introduced to deep
web and the various services under the same. Information of Scholarly search engines and
their purpose is made clear to them. Further in next semesters as per their needs Patent
search, project support, Design sessions, sharing of senior projects that have won laurels and
also in-depth hands-on training for E-resources subscribed by the institute.

2. Literature Survey and Review session for Post Graduate Students

The Librarian contributes to the Research Methodology paper by conducting various sessions
regularly for PG students. It begins with a Literature survey methods session to a more
rigorous and in-depth workshop of understanding the evolution of their subject from breadth
to depth. Support is provided on meaningful research and also searching of ETD's (Electronic
Thesis and Dissertation). A few sessions are also conducted on Literature review writing and
also on reading a research paper.

3. Research tools (e.g. Reference management tools, plagiarism, Latex) for Post
graduate students and Research Scholars

In these sessions that Librarian would support with workshops regularly during the second
semester on Reference management tools such as Mendeley and Zotero. Sessions on Turnitin,
for plagiarism checking and also a few details about how to avoid plagiarism and ethics of
research are also provided. Sessions on Latex are conducted with the help of a faculty. These
sessions are also extended to University Research Scholars in collaboration with our institute
department and University department.

4. Type of Text and Vocabulary Building for First Year Graduates

As most of the students who join the Graduation program at the institute are from Gujarati
medium as a support in English language training we provide sessions of understanding the
different forms of text by providing clues for the same in the form of hands on workshop. A

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few sessions are also conducted in the form of workshop and group activities on vocabulary
building.

5. Innovation and Project development through design thinking for under graduate
students

A few sessions are conducted for 3rd semester students on Design thinking, Gandhian
thoughts and also rural innovation in the form of videos and also discussions to support the
understanding of the Social needs. The emphasis is on Indian Social needs and Economics
that is feasible for masses in India. Supporting on research methods such as Ethnographic
studies and Case studies is also explained as a part of importance of conducting a literature
survey before doing any innovation or project. Patenting information and also a few sessions
on writing claims is conducted with a Faculty- Librarian Collaboration.

6. Pedagogy lessons and online teaching tools (e.g. Moodle, Edmodo, Blooms taxonomy)

These sessions are conducted for Atmiya School Teachers in both languages Gujarati and
English. The librarian works with the different standard teachers at school and takes up a
pilot topic to explain the process of understanding and implementing the Blooms taxonomy.
For a better student and parent communications they are also provided hands on training in
Edmodo. For college faculties sessions are conducted on Learning Management Tools like
Moodle.

Conclusions

Blended librarianship is here to stay and as (Bell and Shank, 2007) stress it is a “'meshing of
skill sets' and is thus more than multi-tasking: it is about “Combining a variety of inter
professional skills and new ways of thinking [4]”. Today’s academic librarian has more
opportunities if he or she has enough passion to learn and act quickly by grabbing a chance to
perform with the skills we posses of “Understanding the universe of knowledge” and how it
grows, merges and also the taxonomy. Practicing the blended librarianship will put the
Librarians role as a Educator, Information specialist, Educational technology expert and
many more stretched identities. Choice is ours whether we want to move on or quit!

References:

1. http://blendedlibrarian.badgestack.net/about/

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2. Bell, S. J., & Shank, J. (2004). The blended librarian a blueprint for redefining the teaching
and learning role of academic librarians. College & Research Libraries News, 65(7), 372-
375.

3. Shank, J., Bell, S., & Zabel, D. (2011). Blended Librarianship: [Re]Envisioning the Role of
Librarian as Educator in the Digital Information Age. Reference & User Services Quarterly,
51(2), 105-110.

4. Bell, S. J., & Shank, J. D. (2007). Academic librarianship by design: A blended librarian's
guide to the tools and techniques. American Library Association.

5. Vassilakaki, E., & Moniarou-Papaconstantinou, V. (2015). A systematic literature review


informing library and information professionals’ emerging roles. New library world,
116(1/2), 37-66.

6. Raju, J. (2014). Knowledge and skills for the digital era academic library. The Journal of
academic librarianship, 40(2), 163-170.

7. Corrall, S. (2010). Educating the academic librarian as a blended professional: a review


and case study. Library Management, 31(8/9), 567-593.

8. Michael Nolin, J. (2013). The special librarian and personalized meta-services: Strategies
for reconnecting librarians and researchers. Library Review, 62(8/9), 508-524.

9. Sun, H. C., Chen, K. N., Tseng, C., & Tsai, W. H. (2011). Role changing for librarians in
the new information technology era. New Library World, 112(7/8), 321-333.

10. Godwin, P. (2001). Learning and teaching-the librarian’s contribution: an introduction.


Vine, 31(1), 3-4.

11. Hearn, M. R. (2005). Embedding a librarian in the classroom: an intensive information


literacy model. Reference Services Review, 33(2), 219-227.

12. Orme, V. (2008). You will be…: A study of job advertisements to determine employers'
requirements for LIS professionals in the UK in 2007. Library Review, 57(8), 619-633.

13. Partridge, H. L., & Hallam, G. C. (2004). The double helix: a personal account of the
discovery of the structrue of the information professional's DNA.

14. Choi, Y., & Rasmussen, E. (2009). What qualifications and skills are important for digital
librarian positions in academic libraries? A job advertisement analysis. The journal of
academic librarianship, 35(5), 457-467.

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