Education Talks | Libraries and learning in the 21st century

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How do libraries contribute to
informal and non-formal learning? At EBLIDA we made a survey on how libraries
contribute to informal and non-formal learning and we found out that actually 92% of libraries
in Europe provide for informal or non-formal learning and we reach about
24 million Europeans every year. So there are a lot of things that
we can do in this non-formal environment that could be
complementary to formal education. Reading is fluid and
you can do it in any kind of environment. You can do it also for any kind of purpose so you can read
at home, at school, you can also read
for work, for leisure, and you can read on
very different types of material. You can read on paper, you can read on screens,
you can read on your mobile phone, etc. So all of this forms part of
the way you are learning actually and it is important that
we keep this approach that pupils and people in general are more and more
accustomed to read on different kinds of format and they want this also,
they ask for this. This is all part of a process of education and we need the schools and the libraries to remain open to new forms of learning
and really forms that are transversal and that are not too much
separated between school and home and not too much separated
between formal learning and informal learning because everything contributes to
the education of the society and of the people. We discussed about critical thinking
and how it is important and what kind of role
libraries and schools can play in this to ensure that people are not manipulated
when they are using Internet tools and that they are able to develop
their own critical thinking on things. So that is an issue where libraries actually
need to strengthen their position with schools because skills actually are transversal. You are learning in
a formal environment at school, you are learning
at home in an informal environment, but actually you don’t learn in silos,
you learn every time. What kind of partnerships
can exist between schools and libraries? There are a lot of different partnerships
in different EU countries and I think that there are
also different relationships between the schools and libraries
in the different countries in the European Union. And also at a municipal level, it depends of
the funding provided by the local municipality because you can have
really active municipalities that are engaged in promoting reading and want the libraries to work
in close relationship with the schools. But you can also have sometimes
a lack of support between the different entities and if we look to
forward-looking partnership for instance, we can have a look on Denmark
where you can find a combi-library that combines actually
a school library and a public library. So then the pupils can learn a lot, on the joy of reading and
what it is to be in a library and how they can
improve their knowledge and it remains at the same time
a pleasure and a leisure. What changes would you like to see
regarding teachers and librarians? One important step forward would be to have
more interaction between teachers and librarians. There are always… I think one of the secrets would be
to know more what the other is doing because actually
one of the issue that we have is that we don’t know what
the other professionals are really doing. For instance with the children, they don’t
really know what the work of librarians is so I think we should develop more bridges
between the two different professions.

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