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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Towards a teaching library: connecting academia and the profession

By Suzana Sukovic


The disconnect between academics and professionals in the library and information sector has puzzled me for many years. Like many others, I am interested in both and, surely, they have a lot in common. In Australia, LIS is a relatively small field, struggling for many years for its rightful place in the increasingly complex knowledge landscape. It would be reasonable to think that academia and practice could gain more ground if we worked together. But, somehow, the connection has remained elusive. On the other hand, listening to what has been happening in other applied fields, I’ve heard a lot about medical students in hospitals and academics’ ‘clinical days’; architects-academics whose main claim to fame are their building projects; engineers-academics who are valued industry consultants and I’ve seen many teachers-to-be in real classrooms. It seemed logical that we should have something like ‘teaching hospitals’ and ‘training schools’, and that our academics could be industry consultants on a regular basis as well. The concept of a ‘teaching library’ has been on my mind for a while, but EBLIP8 has finally promised a right environment to put my thoughts together and present a paper. Lively discussions with the audience after my presentation, conversations during the conference and comments on Twitter have clearly indicated that it was a good time to start this conversation. It may be that LIS needed a high-pressure situation, which came with digital technologies and many new players, to learn more from our disciplinary neighbours. In any case, many people at EBLIP8 seem to think the same as me about the ‘teaching library’: ‘Really, why not?!’Annotated slides are available here.


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