Wednesday, January 06, 2010

UIS staff and faculty help to coordinate state-wide ILEAD U initiative

Staff and faculty members from the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library and the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) are teaming up with staff members from the Illinois State Library and other libraries throughout the state for a prestigious new institute that will be one of the most significant Illinois library initiatives of 2010. The institute, called ILEAD (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover) U: the 21st Century Technology Tools Institute for Illinois Library Staff, will be comprised of three in-person sessions from February 23 to 25, June 15 to 17 and October 26 to 28 on the UIS campus. The sessions will be supplemented by online instruction between meeting dates.

ILEAD U, funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant awarded to the Illinois State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will encourage both the experimentation with and building of participatory Web services and programs. Library educator R. David Lankes of Syracuse University will lead the instructors for the project.

As part of the institute, the UIS participants and their colleagues from other Illinois libraries will implement web technologies that foster community participation and develop leadership, innovation and positive change.

The institute is the brainchild of Anne Craig, director of the Illinois State Library, who has “exceptional vision in seeing a need and conceiving of such an innovative way to meet it,” according to Dean Jane Treadwell, University Librarian at UIS. Treadwell is chairing the steering committee which selected the instructors, mentors and teams of participants and will guide the work of the project.

Other UIS participants include Natalie Tagge, visiting Instructional Services Librarian at Brookens Library, who will serve as a mentor in ILEAD U, and two other Brookens librarians, Pamela M. Salela and Amanda Binder, who will participate in cross-institutional teams that will learn to use participatory technology tools to understand and respond to patron needs.

“We hope to foster a philosophy that technology becomes powerful in libraries when people engage with it critically and thoughtfully,” said Tagge.

Additionally, Ray Schroeder and Shari Smith of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service are acting as consultants to the instructors for the project, and David Racine of the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies will direct the evaluation of the ILEAD U grant.

“We in the Brookens Library and COLRS are very excited to collaborate with the Illinois State Library on this project that has the potential to transform the way that libraries interact with their patrons,” noted Treadwell.

Smith, associate director of COLRS, added, “The ILEAD U grant is an excellent example of why libraries and librarians are uniquely qualified to lead their communities forward to a new knowledge society. The grant has been carefully crafted to include cutting-edge technology, careful assessment and evaluation, location-specific consideration and stakeholders from around the state.”

Participatory technology tools will include:
Blogging tools
Digital audio/podcasting, photography and video
RSS feeds
Social networking and photo-sharing sites
Videoconferencing and web conferencing
Virtual reference and virtual worlds (ie. Second Life)
Gaming
Instant messaging
And more

“The Illinois State Library is proud of its strong commitment to continuing education and providing librarians with the tools and resources necessary to address the ever-changing needs of their patrons,” said Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White. “Nowhere is the need for continuing education more important than in the area of technology. Librarians need to constantly enhance their skills to keep up to date with the latest technology, and ILEAD U represents an exciting, innovative new program to build technology and leadership skills among Illinois librarians.”

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