Recently I blogged about using the concept of the flipped classroom as a way of re-imagining what our libraries might be. The slideshare below is a veritable treasure trove of explanation and practical examples of the concept in action in the higher education sector.
As I read it, I pondered how library usage might change in this model, what a library might look like if it was truly aiming to facilitate learning and exploration undertaken using an experiential model? What skills and technology might a library professional need in order to support teachers and students working in this manner? Would it need to be vastly different? Is it about skills sets, environment, or mind-set?
In the public library sector, we need to consider these concepts, too. We are continually talking about needing to offer experiences to our communities (rather than just being book warehouses), and we also talk about the need to foster stronger links with our local education communities. So what would an experiential activity designed with and for the education sector look like in our libraries? What skills do we need to foster in our staff, what technologies will we need to become comfortable using, and what will our spaces need to provide?
But here is where I may make myself unpopular. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it is that guided tours of databases and lessons on navigating Dewey do not an experiential activity make. Do we need to climb off the soapbox, and acknowledge that for students these resources and lessons are a total yawn until they really need them? Yes, it’s an important part of our skill set, but is it necessarily the best experience to offer a newbie to the library?
If the flipped classroom concept entails students wallowing in information and experiences, lots of sensory input and physical interactions, how can the library as an environment support those experiences? Where does the library professional’s skill set intersect with the needs of students and teachers? Is it an existing skill set, or one that needs development? Is this where your virtual branch ( i.e. library website) comes into its own as the launch pad for the video, podcast, media-rich website links put together (collaboratively?) by teachers and librarians…
The more I ponder this topic, the more I think it is about the skill set and the tools we employ. It’s got increasingly little to do with the space. Do we need to pack our skill set and willingness to learn and get out of the library?
Can the answer ever again be Professor Plum, with a candlestick, in the library? Is the flipped library a physical entity, or a service model embodied by connectivity, mobility and collaboration? Love to hear your thoughts.