Monday, April 24, 2006

'Millennials' Shape Future Directions for Library Services

With the introduction of the personal computer in the early 1980’s, current college students are the first generation to have grown-up literally surrounded by technology. The Internet, iPods, PDAs, and cellular phones are not luxuries but everyday communication tools to today’s students.

These developments were underscored at the recent 21st Annual Computers in Libraries Conference, a three-day immersion on the latest in searching, search engines, web design, digital content management, e-learning, e-collections, and digital trends in general.

Throughout the conference, formal presentations and informal discussions could be found on the characteristics of today’s students, the ‘Millenials’ born between 1982 and 2000. Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, offered a summary* at the conference showing that today’s undergraduates:

Are involved in world of media and gadgetry
Have mobile technology
Are very involved in using the Internet
Are multi-taskers
Are often unaware of or indifferent to the consequences of using technology
Will face radical technology changes in the next decade
Shape their approaches to learning and research based on this new technology

These are points to bear in mind as we seek ways to expand the University Libraries’ collections and services to keep pace with new learning styles, technological developments and their uses.

The conference confirmed the Libraries’ efforts are on the right track: many innovations mentioned in presentations are already in place in Bracken Library and the branch libraries, but look for more changes as we continually strive to offer collections and services to best meet the teaching, learning, and research needs of Ball State University’s students and faculty.

*Rainie, Lee. (24 March 2006) The Internet: Enhancing Digital Work & Play. Presented at the Computers in Libraries 2006 conference

For information, contact Suzanne Rice, Assistant Dean for Public Services, or (765) 285-1305.

This story was published in The Libray Insider April 2006, pg. 5.


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