National Survey Shows Ukrainian Librarians Embracing ICT
As more and more librarians use ICT and internet in their daily work, their vision of their role shifts from traditional book-lending to community-centered knowledge management. This change is evident in the second Bibliomist survey of hundreds of Ukrainian librarians intended to measure the impact of the program on librarians’ perception of their own capacity, as well as that of their institution over the past two years. Phase 1 of the survey was conducted between May and June 2010, and Phase 2 was conducted between December 2011 and February 2012.
Among the major findings of the survey is that libraries have become more oriented towards serving community needs, and librarians have started seeing IT-based services as an indispensable component of their work.
The survey revealed that librarians experience a better sense of cooperation between libraries and other institutions and individuals as a result of their participation in the Bibliomist program, their enhanced access to computers and the internet, and the increased numbers of public events that they are able to host and attend.
Librarians noted the library innovations that have been most beneficial for them over the past two years including new opportunities to conduct research and the installation of computers and internet access, among others.
In addition, survey results revealed changes in respondents’ profiles highlighting shifts in focus areas and skill sets. The profiles include “Progressive IT-oriented” librarians committed to teaching visitors to use information technologies to communicate with colleagues, advertise library services, and find alternative funding sources; “Education-oriented” librarians who prioritize providing instructions to users and arranging events; and “Traditional” librarians who focus on preserving books and premises and increasing the circulation of books.
The survey also encouraged librarians to share their vision for ongoing changes in their library. One librarian shared that she “would like to eliminate all payments for library services and increase the accessibility of computers. For instance, the working hours need to be adjusted so the library stays open an hour longer on weekdays, as well as functions on days off. We need to start taking into account the needs of the patrons and enhance the design of the premises.”
Librarians noted that though great new services are in place, it is important to continue raising awareness within communities and enticing new patrons into the library. One librarian stated, “it is necessary to attract the general public and to involve the non-users, who are unaware of the available innovative services.”
These are just some of the trends identified by the survey of librarians conducted by Bibliomist. The research provides important data that helps track the transformation experienced by library staff, who are among the driving forces changing the public opinion about libraries in Ukrainian society. This transformation is perhaps best captured by one committed librarian who provided the drawing below depicting the metamorphosis of the librarian’s image.