LIBRARIANS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

This post is part of the VET Gazette 2
AUTHOR
Gabriela Ruseva
Project Officer
ALL DIGITAL

LIBRARIANS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

WHAT SKILLS DO THEY NEED TO RUNTHE LIBRARIES OF THE 21ST CENTURY?

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Today, libraries are not just a place where people go to read or borrow books. They are community centers, safe places where people go to get advice and help, access information, and get together with likeminded community members. Libraries offer a multitude of services, including access to digital technologies, computers, and the Internet, digitalized collections and content, virtual reality, coding courses or simply help with setting up an email and using e-services. With services evolving and expanding, the role of the librarian is changing.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS CHANGING THE ROLE OF LIBRARIES AND LIBRARY PROFESSIONALS, AND
IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND ADAPT TO IT.

Digital transformation is changing the role of libraries and library professionals, and it’s not always easy to understand and adapt to it. The BIBLIO project was born in response to this and as a way to understand how the library sector can transition into the digital era. After analyzing the library sector, and identifying the skills gap, challenges and needs, the consortium developed a Vocational Education and Training (VET) curriculum based on sectoral research. 

The VET curriculum will be delivered through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), followed by a face-to-face specialization course and workplace training in the project’s countries. BIBLIO is implemented by a consortium of ten organisations from five EU countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia. Working together are library networks and library and archives organisations (The Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries and Bibliographic Information, Global Libraries Bulgaria Foundation, Culture Information Systems Centre), universities (University of Bari Aldo Moro Humanities Department, Centre for Vocational Training at University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Hellenic Open University DAISSy Research Group), VET providers (European Grants International Academy, Data Media Group), and European networks (ALL DIGITAL, Public Libraries 2030).

The research has shown that there is an immediate need for digital skills in the library sector, in particular for:

  • Online and offline communication
  • Digital content creation such as videos, podcasts, animations, etc.
  • Exploring technological changes and translating this into the library sector
  • Information, data, and media literacy

On the policy level, the library sector needs better coordinated national policies for the development of libraries, and measures for more effective management of human and financial resources.

A more detailed overview of the BIBLIO project research results can be found in the BIBLIO Executive Summary.

Based on the research, two job profiles were developed: the community engagement and communication officer (CECO) and the digital transformation facilitator (DIGY). These profiles tackle both the public-facing nature of libraries and the internal needs they may have with regards to the digital transformation. The CECO profile focuses on connecting with users online and offline and developing activities relevant to the community. The DIGY profile aims to help libraries transition into the digital age with technical knowledge that will lead to the digitization of content and helping colleagues learn the relevant skills to manage digital libraries. While these profiles aim to address current and future challenges, the sector is sure to be further impacted by technological development and evolution.

The Biblio MOOC starts on 04th October 2021 and is open to anyone who is interested – library professionals with solid experience who want to upgrade their digital skills, but also students and job seekers aspiring to a career in the sector. It aims to provide support to library professionals in gaining new skills and developing new innovative services. It offers content across 26 modules delivering transferrable and digital skills. Successful participants will be able to enroll in a specialization course with one of the BIBLIO VET providers and specialize in one of the two profiles – DIGY or CECO. 

About the project:

BIBLIO – Boosting digital skills and competences for librarians in Europe – is an Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance project (project number 612411-EPP-1-2019-1-IT-EPPKA2-SSA). The aim of the project is the professional development of personnel who work or will work in libraries, which are highly impacted by digital transformation.

To learn more about the project, visit the project website https://www.biblio-project.eu/training-programme/ or follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DigitalBiblio and Twitter https://twitter.com/digital_biblio

About ALL DIGITAL:

ALL DIGITAL is a leading pan-European association based in Brussels, representing 74 member organisations across Europe that work with 25,000 digital competence centres.

We focus on supporting Europeans who do not have a sufficient level of digital skills. That means that they have less opportunity to find work, to use online services, to have a better quality of life and generally to be included in society today.

We believe that every European should be able to exploit the benefits and opportunities created by digital transformation.

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