28 April 2010

Library as a means of social change

Access to learning resources will be an important issue in education in the context of addressing the socio-economic inequality that a recently passed Equality Act is talking about. I hope libraries in FE colleges will have a chance to contribute hugely to giving free and equal access to learning resources, information and IT facilities to learners from all the backgrounds.

In the student's shoes

One of unexpected outcomes of entering the Award for Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector course, PTLLS, was my ability to look at learning resources provision in the College through the learners’ eyes. It made me question some assumptions librarians get during their professional training.

Being a student in Atherstone, one of the College's outreach centres, means having a limited access to books; at the same time, very few core texts for Teacher Training have been published as e-books yet. To address the difficulties, the College library has done several things:

  • we checked all the resources on the reading list whether new editions were available;
  • purchased additional copies of the most popular texts even if it meant having a dozen or more copies of the same title (to make sure that nobody has to wait for more than a couple of weeks for a core text);
  • created a simple search (http://bit.ly/ptlls_read) on the library online catalogue, Heritage, which would bring up on the screen all the recommended resources in one click;
  • made it possible to request library books online for collection and return in Atherstone;
  • and finally, promoted all our efforts to students.

After seven months, we have looked at the results and they were astounding. We expected an increase in book loans by PTLLS students, but nothing like 643% we got, from 143 loans previous year to 920 in 2009-2010! (The increase in students' number was very small.)

07 April 2010

Another way for literacy development

The Guardian published a story of a (used to be) reluctant reader who found iPhone exactly what he needed for getting into reading. He also mentions why smartphones can be helpful for people with dyslexia. - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/apr/06/iphone-makes-reading-books-easier