21 August 2014

From caterpillar to butterfly: The metamorphosis of library and information professional education and training

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By Clara M. Chu (Co-Chair IFLA SET 40th Anniversary Committee)

Ignite Session 1; photo courtesy of Ulrike Stöckel

Ignite Session 1; photo courtesy of Ulrike Stöckel

Over the past four decades, the IFLA Section on Education and Training (SET) has supported and enhanced library and information science (LIS) education and training based on research and professional practice on an international scale. This past Monday SET celebrated its 40th anniversary with an off-site summit at the French national LIS school, enssib (École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l'Information et des Bibliothèques).  Employing the theme Library and Information Education and Training: Confluence of the Past and Present Toward a Strong Future, the Summit explored the past and future by creating a forum for critical discussion that included keynotes, panels, and Ignite sessions.

The Summit was attended by participants from 50 countries, with over 150 individual registrations.  It was sponsored by the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE),De Gruyter, Emerald Group Publishing, IOS Press, and ProQuest.  Additionally, SET will be publishing a book as part of its celebration, forthcoming as IFLA Publication 170, to be published in 2015 by De Gruyter.

Opening Keynote Speaker, Ismail Serageldin (Founding Director, Bibliotheca Alexandrina), in his talk “Embracing the Challenge, Inventing the Future”, described a fast-moving technological landscape where libraries would thrive with librarians as active learners, with library spaces re-imagined to meet evolving needs and contexts, and with professional values serving as the foundation of librarianship.  In a complementary talk, Closing Keynote Speaker Lynn Sipiglini Connaway (Senior Research Specialist, OCLC Research) spoke about the opportunities in library and information professional education rather than a one fit solution.  This metamorphosis into a butterfly, envisions education and training of the future library workforce, with an emphasis on people and relationship building, in order to develop service excellence.

Panel 1; photo courtesy of Ulrike Stöckel

Panel 1; photo courtesy of Ulrike Stöckel

There were two invited panels, the first one on LIS Education and Training – A Leadership/Association Perspective, included representation from national and international associations addressing LIS education and i-Schools.  The afternoon panel included selected book chapter authors who used their research as a starting point to address Facing Our History, Shaping the Future of LIS Education.  We held two Ignite sessions, one on Accessible Education and Training, and the second on LIS Education in 2050. Co-editor Susmita Chakraborty presented the book Collaboration in International and Comparative Librarianship, in honor of Professor SB Ghosh, a longtime SET member and distinguished professor.  

A video recording of the Summit will soon be made available.

Last update: 23 August 2014