On the evening of Wednesday 13th of June, a group of ten professionals from across the ACT Library and Information sector gathered to discuss the VALA conference paper “No library required” by Kathryn Greenhill and Constance Wiebrands.
What ensued was an hour of lively discussion. We didn’t take any photos this time, so you’ll just have to take our word that we were all there.
Some aspects of what was discussed included:
– Recollections from those who attended the VALA conference and noted that this was the first time they recall librarians talking about “illegal” information seeking behaviour. It was a reminder that if this is what our target audience is doing, then it’s something we need to know about.
– Conversations about how we select our eResources – and that indeed some libraries are cutting back in areas that are already covered by these “alternative” channels. Working with consortia to get better arrangements across the library sector. PressReader as an example of online content that is already rethinking how we provide access to our users that doesn’t involve jumping through authentication hoops or creating barriers to quick and easy access.
– The role of information literacy training for students – whether it’s still relevant or if it creates more of a barrier by setting a whole lot of “rules” that library users would rather not go through. Also – that undergraduate students are less likely to know or care about effective research strategies, as they are less “invested” – especially if they’re leaving their assignments to the last minutes! It’s not until they start postgrad studies and start doing literature reviews, etc. that they start to value library eResources.
– Since this paper was written, commercial platforms like Netflix have popped up, and are starting to dominate more than these “alternative” channels. Although it’s not free, it is easy, and people are more likely to pay a little bit of money for a seamless experience, than try to jump through various hoops (legal or otherwise) for something that is free. Even in terms of accessibility – the process of travelling to a library or trying to figure out a website in order to get something for free is less attractive than paying for digital content that is immediately accessible through a commercial platform.
All in all, it was a lively and engaging first event for the year! Stay tuned for details of our upcoming events… this time we promise we’ll take some photos.