zaterdag 19 november 2011

Report on XII international conference “Management of Higher Education Institutions’ Libararies”, Minsk

 On invitation of the Goethe Institut in Minsk and the Belrusian Library Association, I was able to attend the XII international conference “Management of Higher Education Institutions’ Libararies” at the Belarusian State University from 12th-14th October, 2011.
This year’s theme was “Shaping Information Culture in XXI Century: the Role of University Libraries”. The conference was held with support of UNESCO, the Goethe Institut and the Embassy of the USA in Belarus.
The plenary session on the first conference day started with presentations delivered by Prof. Natalia Gendina (Kemerovo State University of  Culture and Arts), Esther Grassian (University of California College Library) and myself (IZI, Munich). Natalia spoke on “Information culture as means of shaping a creative personality of high school graduates in the XXI century” and explained her concept how to promote and to create a person’s information culture. From her point of view a creative and information literate person should be able to take independent decisions when working with contradictive, heterogeneous, and dynamically changing information.
Esther Grassian gave a comprehensive overview of information literacy standards, resources and best practice in the United States of America. She underlined that the (tight) connection of librarians and teachers is crucial for students’ success.
I presented research results from international youth media studies related to media use and information-seeking behaviour of “digital natives”. I gave some thoughts on how to bridge the gap between the information routines and needs of “digital natives” and the information resources libraries tend to offer. In my opinion, the knowledge and understanding of today’s media landscapes young people inhabit, is the key for the success of library information services.
On the second conference day speakers provided interesting insights in the integration of information resources in Poland and how Russian university libraries are shaping teachers’ information culture. Natalia’s master class on concepts and didactics of promoting information culture in higher education libraries was well attended and received a very positive feedback from the participants. She presented hands-on-materials and gave valuable advice for practitioners on how to promote information culture. Ester Grassian also offered a workshop on the purpose, objectives and expected results of information literacy instruction. At the same time, I had to deliver a speech at the University of Minsk so I was unfortunately not able to attend Esther’s course. 
My visit in Minsk ended with a visit of the impressive National Library of Belarus. It is located in a new 72-metre high building in Minsk which has 22 floors and was completed in 2006. The building can seat about 2,000 readers and has a 500-seat conference hall. It is the main information and cultural centre of the country. The collections include 8 million items of various media. In 1993 the National Library started to create its own electronic information resources. It has generated a collection of bibliographic, factual graphic, full-text, graphic, sound, and language databases that comprise more than 2 million records. Library users also have access to databases of other libraries and academic institutions, including foreign ones. The library service is in great demand because more than 90,000 citizens of Belarus are library users. The guided tour ended with a spectacular view from the library’s roof top terrace on the city of Minsk illuminated by night.
Munich, Oct 31, 2011
Heike vom Orde, Head of Documentation IZI

International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI)
Munich, Germany

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