Friday, July 29, 2022

Omani libraries & SDGs; Staff digital divide; Impact of having a PhD; Wikimedia in the classroom #WLIC2022

The IFLA SET Conference today ended with some short presentations, and I'll give a few notes from each of them. 

(1) Omani Libraries and Their Role in Supporting the Achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals from Saif Aljabri (presenter) and Waleed AlBadi, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. Theycarried out a survey in public and academic libraries in Oman, with about 44 responses, to find out how librarians are dealing with the SDGs. 27% were aware of the goals, 57% said they needed more information, and the others were not aware of he SDGs. 39% believed that libraries are a major contributors to SDGs, 21% had carried out activities connected with the SDGs in their libraries. The obstacles they identified included administrative and financial obstacles, that librarians were not ready to work with SDGs, and that there were legislative obstacles. Ideas for activities from participants included workshops for students, awareness sessions and brochures, educational workshops. The authors had designed an online training course for librarians which included ways of developing the SDGs. 

(2) Bridging the Staff Digital Divide in the Library Workplace with EDIA [Equity Diversity Inclusion and Accessibility] by Joan Weeks, Library of Congress, United States. She highlighted that when staff came back after the lockdown phase of the pandemic, it became evident that there was a digital divide amongst staff in the library themselves. Problems included: slow bandwidth or crashes; lack of support; legacy software; access to devices; steroetyped expectations. Examples of equity in staff development included one on one instruction on how to use Libguides, weekly discussions, and planning exchange of experience. Diversity issues included - instructors needing to review the learning context to ensure that people could see themselves reflected in the material or learning. Inclusion strategies included encouraging people to identify skill gaps and supporting staff in filling them, and allowing people who are inexperienced in using platforms like Zoom to pracice using it in an informal context. The speaker also mentioned universal design and the importance of this for accessibility. 

(3) Impact of LIS Professionals with Doctorates on Library Services from Eva Hornung, CDETB Curriculum Development Unit, Ireland. She reported on some research she did for a Masters in Higher Education. She started with a review of international literature, and found a mixed picture (e.g. in the USA it makes a difference as you can get tenure, but there was no research from some other countries). She used phenomenography as a research approach (to identify variations in experience). She had 10 interviews with librarians, 10 with employers plus focus group with people who worked with librarians with PhDs. The categories that were discovered were: (1) Changing perception of the library (having someone with a PhD changes how people view the library, and it enables researchers to connect better with the librarian); (2) being an expert; (3) growing as a person. The dimensions of variation (which are important in all the categories but whose meaning change in each category) were: motivation; skills; benefits (who benefits); personal attributes. 

(4) New Learning New Skill for Strategized LIS Training: Wikimedia in the Classroom from Ngozi Perpetua Osuchukwu (presenter), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Nigeria, and Ebele Nkiru Anyaoku, Library, University of Abuja FCT, Nigeria. The speaker identified that LIS workers needed media, information and digital literacies, and these are also things that are developed by working with Wikipedia. For example it can be used by - editing articles, adding pictures, adding sources. Osuchukwu identified how many libraries are adopting Wikipedia. The speakers worked with a group of of 22 librarians. 70% of them were not aware beforehand of the role of library and information professionals with wikipedia but then their awareness was raised and afterwards they started getting involved, for example, in the Africa Wikipedia library day. The speaker also identified that there were grants and lots of opportunities to use it in library work.

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