by Naomi House, MLIS
New Trends in Information & Reference Services: Speaking at the American University in the Emirates, MLIS Program
Feb. 15, 2013
It was my pleasure to give a presentation entitled, New Trends in Information and Reference Services, at the American University in the Emirates on February 15th, 2013. The program is the first library school program in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was my distinct honor to meet and discuss not only this topic, but other topics such as INALJ and different careers opening up to MLIS students, with the faculty and many of the students, who are members of what will be the first graduating class.
I was put in touch with Professor Jassim Jirjees, Ph. D, who founded the program and is coincidentally, a fellow Rutgers grad, by the Special Libraries Association, Arabian Gulf Chapter. He has had a remarkable career and it was fascinating to be able to meet with him and discuss how the field has changed as well as our alma mater, Rutgers. He has worked in Baghdad previously and founded another Library School program in Yemen. He is a well published author of many books and journal articles as well.
I work, in my non-INLAJ life, as a reference, marketing and acquisitions librarian for a federal government contractor (meaning I work at a federal library). One of my key presentation points was about sharing information and building an international community of librarians. I encouraged those assembled to Join the Conversation:
•Librarians are global
•We are more than just ‘librarians’
•There is so much online
•You can volunteer virtually
•Read up on what others are doing globally
•And contribute to the conversation- publish and present!
The biggest trends in reference
that I have noticed are changed expectations,
technologies, communities, roles and titles/names of information pros.
I briefly touched on the following and it lead to some great questions from the students in the question and answer part of the presentation.
•New Expectations – Free, Full-text, Online
•New Technologies – Mobile; Platforms; Systems
•New Communities – Of practice; Online
•New Roles – Who works in a library? What about Google?
•New Names – Informationist, Knowledge Manager, etc
This also lead to some discussion about job titles that librarians can now be known by and my Keywords on the left sidebar on my website, INALJ.com
I was lucky enough to have time to speak with students and faculty individually after the presentation. Many are already working in libraries and see the profound benefit that this additional education will bring to their libraries and career goals. The faculty are involved in some cutting edge research and are highly motivated to introduce their students to not only the academic world of library science but also the practical world.
I am hoping to return soon
and be able to take in a lecture or presentation at the American University in the Emirates. Perhaps by that time I will learn the art of balancing tea in a glass cup with no handles. Several students realized quickly that this was not a skill I had yet acquired and made me a make-ship sleeve for my cup. I follow the university and program now on LinkedIn and I look forward to hearing about the new innovations that this first class of UAE MLIS students put in place and watching their careers develop.
And two final photos from the end of my visit (yes, that is a sunburn on my face) :)
All photo credits except the final two are by Mr. Jirjees’s son. The Final two are by my husband, Sana Khan, and his cousin. Many thanks to Jassim Jirjees, Ph. D. for hosting me!
reposted from 3/20/13 ( dubai )