Hub, MOOC, Learning Commons- all serve an aspiration

i recently read an Open Book blog post and was reminded of how all our modern systems and paradigms are really just what all exemplary libraries aspired to be. Bygone days or new variants, libraries serve the needs of patrons- of people. Oddly, our culture rewards an institution of progressive services with anchors of stereotypes. Libraries are just old irrelevant dusty books. Librarians are either old cranky grannies or sexy introverts. The reality in public libraries or school libraries is quite contrasting. The library as an access point for resources or discourse has never been so vital and frequently adopted. The stereotype still prevails while Google and hitech resources get all the accolades yet serve just the mechanics. If you want quick facts by all means Google but this doesn’t serve the majority of patron needs. People visit libraries more than ever for diversified content, expertise and service. They patronize libraries for cultural reasons not simply fact finding. 

Jaqueline Van Dyk, Open Book blog, writes about a public MOOC. Although my experience with moocs was an academic course with edtech background, it was clear the concept of open and integrated connected learning would sustain itself. It’s not all roses but serves many social learning needs. I say social learning as opposed to prescribed learning. Credit or GED etc all have specific exit outcomes that are mostly indifferent to the learner. Not that standards are evil but a MOOC addresses a user driven model more than a administrative model. Libraries, as a whole have adopted these personalized learning options for ages. It’s in their DNA to serve from a patron’s view of needs. Service is foundational. Librarians embrace open access and sharing just as we cherish breathing. 

  
Sometimes learning is playful and other times just damn hard work. Fulfilling your learning needs is a personal and time specific exercise. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Falling down repeatedly in order to grasp wakeboarding. Learning how to read and write at 30years old. Occasionally learning is fun and seems easy but that’s in conjunction with a persons background, goals and degree of task. Whether a public library MOOC or high school virtual library, librarians usually are driven by patron service. Our sexy little librarian or reserve matron are images that fulfill parodies or fantasies but not reflect our reality. 

The trend for finding a ‘learning commons’ is none other than trying to leverage the roots of all library programs. Advocacy, marketing or good design; MOOCs, learning commons or damn good library, all are driven by serving others. It’s like first aid for the mind. :-) 

-Al Smith. Middle aged, male, extrovert, high school librarian. Where did they find me?!😉

…as an extension of what we’ve been doing as libraries in facilitating lifelong learning. What’s new is that we’re creating an atmosphere for that, for bringing people together to do that. It makes the library more of a place of connection. In that regard, it’s a professional departure – by facilitating these activities and using the technology as activities unto themselves, we’re extending what we’ve been good at traditionally in new and interesting ways with our programs…
Paul’s view is that this experiment represents an exciting professional departure. “With the MOOC, we’re providing recreation – people are having fun, getting to know each other – and it provides interest in more reading materials. We’re providing an opportunity to learn and absorb materials together and talk them over and people are lapping it up. Traditionally, people used libraries for education as a solitary activity. Now we’re providing the same educational role, but with an opportunity to share and enhance their learning by learning together. We are extending what we’ve been good at traditionally in interesting new ways.”  (VanDyk)

__________

“What’s a Mooc and Why You Should Know and Care!” Social Media Today. N.p., 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 May 2015. Image. <http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/whats-mooc-and-why-you-should-know-and-carE&gt;.

Van Dyk, J. “Mooc Ecperiment.” Open Book. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2015. <http://jacquelinevandyk.ca/the-great-mooc-experiment%2F&gt;.

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Filed under BCTLA, COTLA, Editorial, Personal Learning Network, Public Libraries, School Library

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