It is Wednesday, and you know what? It is time for our weekly interview!

This is Mara Thanopoulou, Hellenic Open University’s library director, talking about her experience hosting trainees in her library in Greece.
  1. Why did you decide to involve your library in this experience? What do you expect to gain by hosting a BIBLIO trainee? What do you expect to learn?

For our library, our participation in the program can be characterized as positive. Understandably, the influx of new ideas and new human capital into libraries has long since stopped. Our library is spent on running day-to-day tasks and cannot deal with development projects. Through the employment of people who participated in the program we were able to interact with new ideas and new knowledge and at the same time take advantage of the influx of this knowledge. From our participation we mainly learned what are the knowledge gaps of our staff and where we as an organization can focus in order to cover them. Many times libraries are isolated in their microcosm and are not in touch with developments. The program came to wake us up and show us what the current and future direction is and at the same time encourage us for innovative actions. It was really the reason to create at a time when the workload had isolated us.

  1. How is this going to benefit your library?

Αs I mentioned above, the program is the occasion for the birth of new activities for the library. Employees should seek knowledge and then transform this knowledge into action. Until today, we lacked this outrageous look at the issues of librarianship and at the same time the reason to create. Our collaboration with the program awakened us making us more active. Library users have long since stopped looking only for content. They also want value-added services. On the other hand, both our internal processes and our communication with the public will be improved. I can only see benefits in this cooperation. I hope there will be something similar in the future.

  1. How do you see the role of libraries in the years to come?

It’s exactly what I mentioned at the end of the previous question. This means that libraries have ceased to offer only books, but are now also points of service. Libraries in the future should be points of reference for the local community. Citizens should gather and address themselves there. In the past, libraries were addressed to each user individually, while today they also want teamwork. Let us not forget the case of Citizen Science where citizens take dynamic action. Libraries should get out of their comfort zone and think about services and actions that will create knowledge hubs. Our participation in the program helped us to recognize even more the role that we will be called upon to play as libraries.

  1. How should we prepare the librarians of the future?

The librarian of the future can be described as a multi-tool. It should balance between print and digital material, but also between content and service. Knowledge of digital tools should not be an integral part of his daily life, but he should also take care to teach other users about their use. In reality it should be mirroring the knowledge of digital tools in society. It should also become a champion of open science and open access in order to facilitate the unhindered diffusion of knowledge in society. We all know the problems of the current model of diffusion of scientific knowledge. The revolution will come from the libraries themselves.

In the next following weeks, we will get to know other trainees from all around Europe, make sure to follow us! #DigitalBiblio #wblstories