Ease of access and learning while utilizing technology always depends on the design and usability of the interface. What surprised me after reading chapters 1 and 2 of our textbook is how many of the survey respondents said they would like to learn coding and interface design. Maybe these folks are frustrated with their current website and points of access and want to change them to be more usable? The library I work at is large enough we have our own dedicated systems and web development teams. They allow editing access through Drupal content editor and Springshare LibGuides. Many of the LibGuides offer content to be used for internal use rather than patron use while content provided by department heads is shared on the main library website. Thinking about how I would respond to a survey of my current institution I think I would like more advanced training on project management and electronic means of organizing workloads. Right now we utilize the LibGuide, paper checklists and visual “LEAN” style management to ensure work is being processed and completed throughout the workday.
Would I consider myself a digital native? Yes and no. I was born in the middle of the Millennial years and adapted to the increase of access to technology quite quickly. My family was quick to purchase cell phones and a computer with dial up internet access for the home business, but I distinctly remember writing my essays on note cards and later typing them on an electric typewriter as my access to the computer was limited to non-business hours. I remember exploring the computer for school and even made a few online purchases. In high school I became very interested in website design and took courses in html, Dreamweaver and Flash. During this time we learned right along side our teacher, she took college courses on the technology content then would turn around and teach us. Like others have mentioned I am very selective in what technology and social media I choose to utilize. I signed up for the requested websites per the assignment, but I don’t generally use these sites for personal use save for an occasional browse of Reddit. My preferred personal social media outlets are Instagram and SnapChat, because I love taking pictures and sharing them with close friends. I tend to disagree with the digital natives article describing experience with older library co-workers hesitation to utilize new technology. I work with many faculty members in their 60s and 70s who could tweet, Skype, blog or YouTube me under the table. This could be the particular culture of the organization I work in as it is fairly advanced in technology offerings and professional development. The author included references from digital native research by Darcy Del Bosque our emerging technologies librarian and Cory Lampert our head of digital collections. In my experience academics have a thirst for knowledge and new technology. I have had many chances to teach fellow co-workers new procedures and technologies and enjoyed breaking through the stereotype that older generations cannot or will not use new technology. If given training and guidance they quickly learn new skills to benefit the library and our users.
I am not currently a LITA member, but I did enjoy their 2014 ALA conference presentation “Web Therapy” when they visited Las Vegas this past summer. The presenters discussed web over load and how to focus technology and web needs around users and staff. This is so tricky because having all these fun tools to use may seem like a good idea from a staff point, but does it always benefit the end user? I am not sure. It depends on the user and their comfort level of utilizing multiple platforms. Information overload from the digital divide will be among some of the challenges we have to deal with as library professionals in the years to come.
The thing that keeps me invested in my career in libraries is being able to learn something new everyday from both people and technology. I would be bored if I couldn’t have this constant interaction and professional development that is provided by the university I currently work for. This engagement with technology for staff and our users in important to me and the growth of the library.
Burke, J.J. (2013). Neal-Schuman Library Technology Companion. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.
Del Bosque, D. & Lampert, C. (2009). A chance of storms: New librarians navigating technology
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Emanuel,J. (2013). Digital native librarians, technology skills, and their relationship with technology.
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LITA. (2014). Web therapy ALA 2014 conference. American Library Association website. Retrieved