Last night I was a guest at the National Library for the round table discussions on the services to schools provided. It was a fascinating session and one I really enjoyed.
The session was looking at the future of the national Library service through the lens of a SWOT analysis the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. What I saw coming thorough was the huge service the Library service performance and the opportunity that presents itself for them being leaders in the digital environment. The digital environment is also the biggest threat to the service as well. The changing nature of the digital medium and publishing, Google’s desire to control every thing all challenge the existence of the service. OER is also making considerable changes to the landscape of learning.
Almost everyone present stressed the digital citizenship aspects and the key validating skills that the staff at the national library had. This led in turn to the digital leadership opportunities that may present themselves for this service.
What was clearly understood by all was that the national Libraries service to schools and the wider national library service itself must change and adapt.
There were a couple of points that came as a surprise to me though I think many of the others in the room already knew them.
1. There is no legal requirement for a school to have a library or to provision one with stock or staff.
2. The average primary school in New Zealand has 160-180 students and the average secondary school has approximately 4-500 students. Half of the schools in NZ are under this size (this information came from a MinEd staff member) half the secondary schools have under 500 students.
How could these small schools provision a library space with out the assistance of the national library service?
I am not a fan of reference books like encyclopaedia etc, most are out of date before they are published, occupy space and are seldom used. There are better resources that can be accessed via subscription or in the case of EPIC for free for schools – these are often timely and up to date. Wouldn’t it be better to have a small fleet of ebook readers which link to subscriptions like EPIC as the reference material for the school – I would pick that the cost of the readers would be the same or less than the cost of the equivalent books.
Much to ponder. Much to ponder…..