The Importance of Being Blended

The concept of blended librarianship (which is what this blog is all about) was first defined in a 2004 C&RL News article by Steven J. Bell and John Shank, and reads as follows:

“We define the “blended librarian” as an academic librarian who combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist’s hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer’s ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process.”

Bell and Shank were absolutely right in identifying this new skill set that librarians need. Just take a look at the increasing number of instructional design librarian jobs being posted out there.

As I near the end of my IDT program, I have developed a new perspective on what is required to become blended. From both my perspective and experience, I believe it is nearly impossible to become fully blended through on-the-job training. It is possible for technology skills to be self-taught – there are certainly a lot of resources out there for the DIYer (e.g. Lynda.com, Atomic Learning). But, being blended is so much more than having a set of technology skills. It’s the instructional design skills that require more formal training. Having a knowledge foundation in instructional design methods (ADDIE), instructional theories, and educational psychology is vitally important. Knowing how to apply those skills in real settings, even more important. A good IDT program can provide you with that. And many IDT programs offer certification, which covers the bare essentials.

The future of academic libraries (and even public libraries to some extent) will be dependent upon the recognition of this skill set as an important key to the transformation of libraries into true learning spaces.

For more information on blended librarianship, click on the images below:

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