Proposal |Project Title
The 21st Century Skills of the Academic Librarian in Bulgaria
Plamen Miltenoff, PhD, MLIS, http://web.stcloudstate.edu/pmiltenoff/faculty/
My experience and connections with the library organizations and professionals from Moldova, Bulgaria and Austria, as well as my 17+ years working at the St. Cloud State University library provides me with an opportunity for comparison and, consequently, proposal for collaborative practices with Bulgarian academic librarians.
Project Duration: one year
Problem Identification: Through the years, my work with faculty and librarians from Shoumen University (http://shu-bg.net/ ), Plovdiv University (https://uni-plovdiv.bg/), New Bulgarian University (https://nbu.bg/), the American University (https://www.aubg.edu/) and Sofia University (https://www.uni-sofia.bg/) helped me identify differences and similarities in the work of the Bulgarian educational institutions and academia from abroad.
The role of the academic librarian in the educational process is different/limited in Bulgaria compared to the United States. During a collaboration on gamifying library instruction (http://web.stcloudstate.edu/pmiltenoff/bi/), the NBU librarians demonstrated their propensity to shift their campus role close to the campus role of American librarians, yet in general the Bulgarian library guild remains traditional in their view of their responsibilities toward the educational process on campus.
This proposal aims regular discussions among professionals from Bulgarian and American (possibly other nations) librarians to determine the framework regarding librarian’s responsibilities. Are academic librarians faculty members or staff? Do they have teaching or service (or both) responsibilities? What are 20th century academic librarians’ responsibilities are to be preserved? Updated? What are the 21st century responsibilities to be gained? What is the relationship between academic librarians and faculty? What is expected from an academic librarians to ensure learning happens? To benefit faculty’s teaching?
A comparison of academic library structures, job descriptions, models and discourses can lead to deep[er] analysis of existing structures and possible reorganizations to improve the role of the library in particular and the efficiency of the educational institution in general.
Comparisons of topics and syllabi: multiliteraices as successor of information literacy? Is the academic library the hub for technological innovations (e.g makerspaces, 3D printing, virtual reality/augmented reality) and if not, what is the academic library role in the process?
Other relevant topics / issues are expected to transpire during such discourse.
The project is organized in collaboration of synchronous and asynchronous character during the span of one academic year. Three synchronous sessions each semester (six sessions for the entire semester) will provide a forum through e-conferencing tools (e.g. Adobe Connect, WebEx, Skype, Google Hangout etc.) for live discussions and planning. Weekly asynchronous dialog through social media (e.g. blog, Facebook Group, Google Group etc.) will provide the platform/ hub/ forum daily/detailed preparation for the monthly synchronous meetings.
Most valuable feedback through the weekly asynchronous discussions will be voted by participants and three best weekly contributions will be awarded badges. At the end of the academic year, the three contributors with largest collection of badges will be awarded cost for registration fee, travel and lodging to an important European conference regarding libraries and education.
The experience and lessons from the process will be summed up, published and presented at local (Bulgarian), regional (Balkans) and international (European, U.S.) educational conferences and events. Similar cross-cultural experiences and studies will be research and comparison and future collaboration will be sought.
- The use of synchronous tools will provide technological and didactical practice for academic librarians; an experience they later can apply in their service to the campus community.
- Same with the asynchronous tools / social media
- The practice and experience of using social media for institutional purposes can help librarians figure out pertinent outreach to the recent and incoming students (Millennials and Gen Y)
- The use of social media will provide transparency and participatory governing of the process.
The lessons from such endeavor aim to bring closer collaboration and understanding between academic librarians and campus faculty. Such collaboration can be measured, as well as impact of improved teaching and improved learning. The measurements should convince university administration to further support the continues process of cross-cultural collaboration between academic librarians.