One of the best things about my job in learning technology is that I get to work in a library. How many of you have your physical offices inside your campus library?
The future, I believe, will be the intermingling and merging of the academic library and academic technology disciplines. Even if academic technology and academic library services remain organizationally independent, our daily work and strategic goals will become increasingly intertwined.
EDUCAUSE has a great page of resources on IT-Library Mergers -- and I'd appreciate any pointers folks have around best practices in collaboration.
5 of the best things about having an office inside the college library:
#1. Relationships: Academic librarians have trusted, long and deep relationships with faculty colleagues. The ability to easily walk over to the office of a librarian colleague with a faculty member (or vice-versa) greatly contributes to our relationship building.
#2. Teamwork: An academic librarian subject specialist is an essential member of a course design team, along with the faculty member and the learning technologist. Librarians work collaboratively to design and run assignments, choose and secure curriculum (text and media), and teach students effective research practices. Working in the same space with library colleagues encourages a team approach to course design.
#3: Students: The academic library is at the center of student learning. Working among students as they study (either alone or in small groups) connects us learning technology folks directly to the learning experience. The library is also a great place to see students working with the course management system on their laptops or on library computers. It is gratifying to see Blackboard so often on our students' screens as I walk around the building.
#4. Culture: Sharing physical space with academic librarian colleagues builds relationships that allow honest discussions about differences in practices and culture. Working in a shared space encourages a mutual understanding of the different orientations, goals, and aspirations academic librarians and learning technologists bring to the table. The depth of knowledge around learning and the organization of higher education among our librarian colleagues is truly astounding. Working together provides an opportunity to ask questions and have conversations that would be difficult if we were physically separated.
#5. Integration: The work of learning technologists and academic librarians is rapidly merging on the level of everyday course development, learning platforms, and teaching. Library systems are deeply tied into our course management system. Curriculum for courses lives in library reserve systems and is linked through the CMS. The integration of learning systems is running ahead of organizational linkages. Working together in the same space encourages conversations about how systems can be integrated and how existing integration points can be approved.
We could get fancy and re-order this list to make an acronym: T.R.I.C.S or S.C.I.R.T. Maybe not.
What would be your top reasons to love having a library address? If you are a learning technologist whose office is not located in the library how do you encourage collaboration with your academic library colleagues? How would this list look different if it were written by an academic librarian?