Over the course of the first year of this project, we have touched a lot on the skills need and skills gap for librarians due to the digital transformation. Today we want to look at the role libraries play in lifelong learning in their communities and why upskilling matters for librarians and communities alike.
Our project partner Public Libraries 2030 (PL2030), ran a series last year – the “Lighthouse Library Beacons” – showcasing the impact that libraries have in their communities ranging from bringing digital making into their communities to encouraging literacy and democratic participation. Take, for instance, the You Lab Pistoia summer camps hosted in the San Giorgio public library. Trained library staff as well as volunteers help children aged between six and fourteen get comfortable with various types of technology and learn the digital skills of tomorrow. These camps help children access new technology and get comfortable with them in a safe, encouraging, and friendly environment.
In a similar vein, PL2030’s work with the Grow with Google programme and ten libraries from the United Kingdom and Ireland had librarians develop toolkits that could be used by other librarians to teach digital skills to their communities. One of the participating libraries, the Stockton-on-Tees Library of the Stockton Borough Libraries, used the toolkits developed to carry out various sessions for library users covering topics such as digital skills, online safety, and coding. Over 200 people came in for their sessions of which many were new users who were pleasantly surprised to discover that their local library organised this type of activity.
These are only some of the “Lighthouse Library Beacons” highlighted by PL2030 and libraries offer many activities to support lifelong learning for all. As our society is constantly evolving, we require new skills to navigate it. Thus, it is important that we have access to opportunities for non-formal and informal education with trained professionals to help us acquire new knowledge and skills and that’s where libraries can play a key role! However, to achieve this, library professionals have to upskill regularly and continuously to have the knowledge and skills needed to support their community.
With the Biblio MOOC library professionals will be able to acquire new skills related to the emerging job profiles we identified during our research phase. Stay tuned to find out more about these!