Digital Skills You Need As A Librarian To Remain Relevant

11 Digital Skills You Need As A Librarian To Remain Relevant

Librarians can work in a number of environments, from public and academic libraries to commercial organizations. As a good librarian, you should have digital resources and information to keep the library organized and updated. 

The world is constantly changing and it is only fair that we change with it.

The way things were done in the ’90s differ from the way things are done in today’s world.

For instance, in our libraries, the introduction of computers changed some things, but the introduction of the internet changed everything.

Digital libraries are fast taking over the conventional library, and this process is taking shape very fast. 

With the internet, they help to display information faster, more accurately and effectively for any consumer or user of information.

However, the work of a librarian can never be pushed aside. They are essential in every library and educational institution. They are the reason why people can actually study at the university.

However, times are changing, libraries are getting smarter and managing one just got a lot more complicated.

If you do not have the tips on how to manage a library in this modern age, and you are still running it like business as usual, then you might have a very serious problem at hand.

Gone are those days when libraries stored resources in physical format,  nowadays digital formats are preferred because they can be easily organized,  preserved but can’t be altered easily.

This way history is preserved to remind us of what happened in the past. As a librarian in this modern age,  you must know how to organize, manage, arrange and preserve this information in a digital sense i. e. on a computer.

There are basic skills a librarian needs to learn to stay relevant in this new age. Once computers came, typists immediately sought to learn how to use it, so they remained relevant in the industry.

A modern librarian needs to have a variety of digital skills.

This article seeks to educate you on the digital skills you need as a librarian, to stay relevant in the educational sector. This will also help anyone else who wants to access resources in the library.

1. Computer Literacy

Before you even begin to think about digitalization, you must first familiarize yourself with the concept of ICT technologies including computers and internet routers. 

It is possible to take computer classes. They are very cheap these days. A cheaper option could be to get someone to teach you how to effectively use a computer system to its full potential.

ICT is slipping into every industry and one way or the other, changing things. Hence, the library is no exception.

Computer literacy is essential for everyone. If you want to remain relevant in any industry, most especially the library sector, you must acquaint your self with the computer.

2. Web literacy

The idea of a global village was first theorized by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s. The social media has turned the world into a small community that makes the distribution of information faster and easier.

The social media has come as the third phase of the internet revolution consisting of email/computer systems, the arrival of the web, basics of the internet, how the internet works and all sort of niches.

Although the web is where the majority of educational and other contents are stored, social media also holds relevance because trends often start from there.

Therefore, as a librarian, you need to familiarize yourself with the web and media to help you serve your readers better. Also, since authors create more and more e-books, you should familiarize yourself with the web to be able to advise readers properly on the sites they could find books that are not in the typical hard copy.

It is also very important that you filter out fake information from the real ones on the internet.

The internet was created in such a way that even a six-year-old kid can publish anything online.

As a librarian, you must figure out a way to display only relevant and actual information on your e-library computers at all times. If readers or students can’t trust the information they get from your e-library, they would rate your library bad or possibly never come back again.

Like I pointed out earlier, social media is often the starting point for every trend or news.

Applications like twitter, facebook and Instagram are usually the first places any author, musician, politician or anybody at all, go to announce his/her next move in their career.

This is important especially for audiences who are great fans of their products such as fiction novels. In fact, many authors will first post about any a new release before actually conducting a press conference if there is ever one.

3. Marketing

As the physical libraries are starting to fade, there is a high competition between e-libraries as everyone wants to be the best. As a LIBRARIAN in the digital world, you need some marketing skills to help tell people about your e-library.

You need to be convincing enough to persuade people to explore your library. Sometimes, your e-library might have everything but lack a librarian with good marketing skills.

Unfortunately, this can seriously affect your library because, at the end of the day, very few people will visit your e-library.

4. Creating And Managing Space

Since research has found that physical space can really affect assimilation, you must try to use the ethnographic approach to manage space.

As a librarian, you must be able to manage space properly or even create space in an area where people will definitely not believe space could be created. This is a skill set that many librarians are beginning to employ to help them stay relevant in the sector.

A cramped up library is a turn off for any reader. About 76% of people prefer their solitude when reading and therefore, need personal space.

Sometimes, people come to the library for some peace, space, and quiet moments. Also, reading habits have changed in the past years and people are now getting used to reading from screens.

Even though some people prefer the old way of reading and the feel of papers, things will eventually change. Papers might no longer exist in the future. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you should throw all your papers out of the window. Part of what makes you a good librarian is to be able to create space to preserve things.

This may include old documents, historical newspapers & old novels that are being substituted with digital prints and e-books.

5. Reorganizing Management

Education is a sector that is subject to change.  The library must, therefore, be able to adapt to these changes.

For instance, if the person managing a library is not actually well orientated with ICT technologies and the likes, it might greatly hinder the shift to digitalization, even if you as a librarian might want to shift.

It is important to renegotiate roles and reorganize management to slowly implement some of these changes. As a librarian, you might help to organize various assets in a way that any transition belonging to the organization becomes easy, such as marketing content.

6. Managing Digital Resources

Digital Skills You Need As A Librarian To Remain Relevant
Digital Skills You Need As A Librarian To Remain Relevant

This is a very important skillset if you are planning to remain relevant in the library sector.

You must learn how to disseminate, filter and organize digital information according to their relevance.

Also, with copyright laws now stretching to digital works, you must give credits to whom credit is due. In a situation where you are working in a library inside a university, this skill is very important.

Academic staff will create educational content and will want them to be organized properly, credited to them and paid for any royalties that might come with their work.

This is also essential if you are not willing to pay for contents that come from the internet. This skill will help you identify contents you must pay for and contents that are not copyrighted.

Librarians need to be able to manage digital resources, such as digital copies of journals, ebooks, and audiobooks. This can often mean managing a system that allows the borrowing or access to digital resources by library patrons. 

7. Collaboration

To stay relevant as a librarian, you must also learn how to use social media to communicate and collaborate. You could use stay in touch with your professional colleagues outside or inside the country.

This is to help you know recent developments in the industry, new researches on how to grow the library and build reading habits in people that community.

One hindrance to the development of many libraries happens to be the issue of declining reading habits in a community.

People have become so dependent on the internet these days, that they have forgotten the use of a physical library.

That is why the introduction of the e-library is vital at this stage to help rekindle the passion of reading in young adults.

Read: 100 commonly mispronounced words in English

8. Customer Service

Librarians have always been tagged rude people, who won’t look at your face while they tell you where to get your book.

This is one of the reasons many youths don’t frequent libraries anymore. As a librarian, one of your core values should be humility and love for the job.

Just like a marketer, you should be able to convince your readers and sell the idea of reading to anyone anywhere. You must be approachable enough for people to have short conversations with you.

You should also make it part of your objectives to impact someone’s life positively.

9. Digital Communication

Good communication skills are essential for any librarian. Being able to use various digital communication methods for both internal communication and external communication has become an increasingly important skill.

You should be able to connect people with the information that they need and help to improve communication.

The internet has made users and consumers of information find what they want by themselves and without help. However, they sometimes find it very difficult to find the information they need from the internet because of poor communication from the information provider.

It is true that the internet is filled with different kinds of information both relevant and irrelevant information. Sometimes, filtering the relevant information or even finding the right source can prove to be a major barrier for users of information.

As a librarian, you must learn how to communicate appropriately to prove historical facts, collect data & analyze data. This kind of creates a piece of specialized information for users.

Your e-library must be able to provide users with quality and precise information that they can use and defend anywhere.  This is a skill that you can learn on your own through consistent efforts or gain through experience.

Read: 22 simple ways to increase your intelligence

10. Digital Information Management

Before now, libraries mostly kept physical resources like books, magazines, and maps. However, times are changing and e-libraries are now becoming rampant.

Therefore, most documents are now being digitalized since it’s a better, faster and safer way to store information. In this regard, you as a librarian must learn to manage digitalized information. Know how to operate and manage a database.

You should also have knowledge about intellectual property and rights management. Other topics relating to the ownership and sharing of information and resources should also be known.

This is one of the most important skills you need to stay relevant as a librarian.

It’s good to understand how to legally and ethically manage and reference digital information.

Just as Cloudpay meets the challenge of managing payroll schedules and maintaining compliance, you should also be able to strike a balance between giving out resources and avoiding property infringement.

11. Knowledge of Research

Digital Skills You Need As A Librarian To Remain Relevant
Digital Skills You Need As A Librarian To Remain Relevant

Being able to research and find necessary information is an important part of being a librarian. Today’s research involves being able to use search engines successfully and understand how they work.

A librarian should be able to help someone conduct an online search and improve their searching skills. You must begin to support research through your e-library.

Internet polls, open access, and social media are becoming very popular ways to conduct research.

This is very common especially when it comes to conducting polls related to your research.

The social media allows you to disseminate information faster. You could create open access polls and get feedback from people without having to leave your e-library.

You must be conversant with research strategies in our digital world. This will help you to advise library users on the various options they can consider for research.

Conclusion

The library is always a very important organ in the system of any educational institution.

No matter how the internet evolves, users will still need the help of librarians to properly filter relevant information.  However, you must also continue to develop your skillset and improve yourself to remain relevant.

This is why it’s wise to stay relevant in a sector that experiences changes now than ever before.

Authors now prefer to release books in PDF format on sites like Amazon. This saves them time rather than waiting for publishers to print hard copies. 

It’s an evolution in the educational sector & you must evolve with it.  Everything is going digital, you must also shift to digital ways of approaching issues.

Overall, these skills would be very useful to you if you want to be relevant always.

Which of these skills do you already have?

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Post Author: Chibuike Nwogbo

Nwogbo Chibuike is a student of Electronics and Computer engineering at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He started writing at the age of 10 by learning new things and writing about what he has learnt. Specifically, he likes the feeling of creating another world through writing. He is also a dedicated Christian.

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