Before and Beyond Embedding: A Reference Fable from the National Library of Technology in Prague

SKENDERIJA, Sasha and STEHLÍK, Martin and HOUDEK, Tomáš (2017) Before and Beyond Embedding: A Reference Fable from the National Library of Technology in Prague. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 122 - Reference and Information Services.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1636
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Before and Beyond Embedding: A Reference Fable from the National Library of Technology in Prague

Rewind the tape telling the story of reference services at the National Library of Technology (NTK) in Prague to 2009: a closed stacks specialized library with a long, complicated institutional history re-opens its arms to the public with a new “open stacks spirit” in an innovative building—an architectural jewel. Students (80% of all visitors) and the public embrace an inspiring space in the heart of a STEM campus and it rapidly fills with activities ranging from conferences to art exhibitions to concerts. But lost in this mélange are modern academic reference and information services. Despite being governed and financed directly by the Czech Ministry of Education, the narrative of value to academic stakeholders is shyly whispered. “We’re the flagship of Czech librarianship,” we gloat. Nothing, and almost no one, shouts: “We can help you succeed in your academic journey.” Fast-forward to 2017. In our paper, we will relate how we are weaving together the first fabrics of academic value narratives. Our story has not been linear; threads related to internal strategic planning, creation of intranets and reusable staff educational modules entwine with other threads (user-based online development, social media statements, “backward designed” instructional efforts) which we discuss using notable examples. Common to all narratives are themes of academic success, rigor, and individual engagement; internally in relation to ongoing staff development and externally, with intimate involvement (even bowling!) with colleagues and students. While our campus may not yet be fully ready for such approaches, we are now strongly declaring our value as essential players in the successful education of students.

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