Changing Services, Changing Minds
On Saturday, August 1st, 43 library staff from Monash University Malaysia (LLC) and Sunway University (THOL) attended a Joint Staff Professional Development Seminar at Monash Malaysia campus. Nine LLC volunteers greeted THOL participants and escorted them to the seminar venue.
Invited speakers included Ms. Wong Sook Jean, Chief Librarian at Sunway University; Adrian Yao, Lecturer and Coordinator for General Studies at the School of Arts and Social Sciences; Tengku Suhaimi, Document Delivery Librarian at LLC; and Sara Kuhn and Hien Tran, both LLC Liaison Librarians and Schools’ liaisons. Thamarai Rajah Rathenam, Manager of Information and Lending Services and member of the organizing team, MCed the program with great efficacy. Hence all sessions started and finished on time, allowing participants to network and mingle during the morning tea break and luncheon.
LLC Director Isabelle Eula introduced the underlying theme for the day: change, and more specifically, academic libraries’ collective response to changes as they occur in higher education, in the realm of technology and in the world of information at large.
Speakers addressed how we, as professional librarians, could respond to the changing learning behaviors of our target audiences. They discussed the diverse needs of students in terms of content delivery, learning space, cultural relevance and staff skills enhancement; and how to translate them into responsive library services and programs.
The impetus for library staff to retool their existing skills and develop new competencies for relevance was echoed throughout the seminar. The presenters emphasized the importance of collaboration, especially when it comes to trying new ideas or tools. They invited the participants to “think differently and to be unafraid to stumble and fall before they can succeed”.. Yao’s parting advice, “in creativity, there is no right and wrong”, resonated with LLC staff currently spearheading blended learning efforts.
Participants learned about the significance of being “where our audiences are”, whether it is in a physical location, through social media or by engaging in unique cultural communities, and that library staff must develop behaviours and values that enhance their visibility and impact. They also learned about free apps such as Piktochart and Prezi to create effective presentations (infographics) that are more appealing to Generations Y and Z. Beyond learning how to effectively use these tools, participants were reminded of the importance of understanding and articulating concepts in order to support collaborative, experiential, peer-and independent learning.
Referring to Generation Y’s expectations of immediacy as the “ATM syndrome”, Ms. Wong challenged participants to adapt in order to accommodate their learning preferences.
The seminar concluded with a luncheon generously sponsored by both institutions where library staff had an opportunity to connect with peers and to discuss future collaborations.
Click on the links below to access the PDF version of the presentations:
- Hands-on: App-sify . Creativity . Productivity (Adrian Yao)
- Meeting User Needs In A New Library (Wong Sook Jean)
- Off a Camel’s Back: Library Services Reaching Target Populations (Sara Kuhn)
- From Lending to Information Services: A Case Study on Transforming Staff through Competency-Based Training (Tengku Suhaimi R. Abdullah)
- Social Media: How and Why in Academic Libraries (Hien M. Tran)