Today’s libraries are in flux. Hacking libraries for a changing future remains essential. In the minds of the uninformed, libraries are a relic of a bygone age. The value of a school or community library often relies on the community’s ready access to technology. For example, libraries can cater to those in most need of access to:
- Charging stations for mobile devices
- Computers to complete an online job application
- Access to job certification study materials and/or online exams for college students
- General research
- Censored content banned in other venues (e.g. schools)
- Safe, private environments
While these are important needs, they are insufficient for the future. As technology access becomes more mobile and ubiquitous in the United States, libraries serve as the final refuge of the poor or disenfranchised, those who seek free access to an increasingly digital world. It should come as no surprise that funding has been cut as other programs enhance home technology and internet access for these populations.
This blog entry seeks to answer the question, “How can libraries hack themselves and ultimately reshape themselves into a future-ready learning environment?” In this blog entry, we’ll explore two hacks libraries can use to grow.
Hack #1 – Job Certifications and Learning Center
Rather than provide a bank of technology that can be used for anything by anyone, libraries may need to take a series of steps to specialize, based on the needs of the community the library serves. Those steps include:
- Build partnerships with STEM and job certification organizations and ramp up desirable learning opportunities aligned to community needs (e.g. nursing, medical care, pre-law, 3D and industrial printing, drone certification)
- Establish cohorts of learners that can follow certification pathways
- Serve as testing centers for Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs
Hack #1 Resources
Here are several sources of top-paying certifications:
- Grow with Google: Free training, tools, and events to help you grow your skills, career, or business.
- Microsoft Education Community: Free learning opportunities for Microsoft Office tools, including digital badges and certificates, all free.
- 15 Top-Paying Certifications: Offers an overview of certifications professionals and others can earn
- Job Corp Training opportunities for ages 16 through 24
- Apprenticeship Finder: Offers a searchable database of available areas for certification
Hack #2 – Arts and Multimedia Center
“Financial firms are sending their back-office jobs overseas. But what do fine artists do? They create something new, unexpected, and delightful that changes the world. [These] abilities are harder to outsource and more important in an abundant world,” says best-selling author Daniel Pink. He goes on to say, “Artists give people something they didn’t know they were missing: a dance, a piece of music, a painting, a piece of sculpture. Catering to that need is the best business strategy.”
Libraries are in a great position to cater to that need. One way to hack libraries is to build partnerships with artists to display and teach how to create the new and unexpected. While libraries have served as a staunch supporter of the arts, more action is needed. Increasing access to multimedia workstations and workshops to provide introductory and intermediate level learning opportunities is even more critical now. In addition to Adobe tools, however, much can be accomplished with free multimedia editing tools. These tools can introduce learners of all ages to core multimedia design principles.
Hack #2 Resources
Some locations where you can find certifications include:
- Applied Digital Tools: A free computer literacy course (from Google) designed to prepare learners for a growing number of jobs that require basic digital skills.
- My Next Move: Offers a searchable database of available areas for certification
- Ed2Go Multimedia Arts Certificate: The Multimedia Arts Online Training Program builds your proficiency in core tools for interactive development: Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects, and examines professional techniques for video production and video editing. You will learn how to create images, interfaces, and motion graphics for the web and beyond. Course projects include video shoots, story boarding, video and sound editing, web page creation, and motion graphics production.
- Multimedia Arts Professional Certificate: Course topics include Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects alongside motion theory, digital video editing, digital video production, and motion graphics.
- Graphic Designer Course: The curriculum of the degree programs covers various topics such as photo shop, design and composition, digital photography, history of art, logo design, branding, and typography.
Hack the Future of Libraries
We must all remember that the world stops for no one. Will your libary serve as a relic symbolizing the past or a springboard for the future? Libraries, venerated buildings and places of learning, must assume the role of on-ramps to degree and non-degree career pathways. In future blog entries, we’ll explore a few more ways to hack your library.