- Department International Cooperation and PR Team
- Registration Date 2022-09-27
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The 14th International Symposium on Library Services for Children and Young Adults: The roles of library services for children and young adults in an era of change and inclusion
Photo 1. The symposium poster
The 14th International Symposium on Library Services for Children and Young Adults hosted by the National Library for Children and Young Adults (NLCY) was held in Jeonju from June 30 to July 1 this year. The symposium provides an opportunity to share recent trends and model practices in library services for children and young adults around the world, to build networks, and to explore future directions. This year’s symposium was held as an in-person event, but it was also broadcast online for those who could not participate in the on-site event. The symposium was provided in both Korean and English.
Under the theme of “the roles of library services for children and young adults in the era of change and inclusion,” panelists discussed the widening gaps in education and access to information among children and young adults, shared model practices from domestic and overseas libraries, and explored how to apply advanced technology to libraries.
Photo 2. Symposium participants
[Keynote speaker] New literacy in an era of change and inclusion by Professor Cho Byeong-yeong, Department of Korean Language Education, Hanyang University
Photo 3. Professor Cho Byeong-yeong at the symposium
In the rapidly changing era of digital conversion, literacy has become more important than ever before. Keynote speaker Professor Cho Byeong-yeong explained how the new literacy required by contemporary and future children differs from traditional literacy and how we can help children to grow as responsible citizens who value communities and inclusion by helping them read and write using diverse texts and media. He also reviewed the general activities of schools, libraries, and other educators and suggested how their roles could be adapted to changing environments.
According to him, the new expanded literacy is “a process of selecting, exploring, and using various texts, as well as a practice of reading, writing, thinking, communicating, and cooperating.” Professor Cho emphasized that literacy could be expanded commensurate to the degree that we could reflect upon, experience, and practice diversity and inclusion.
In response to the question of what schools, communities, and libraries can do to promote literacy among our children, he suggested allowing students to find their own interests and then ensuring that they are reflected in the goals, activities, and materials of learning. Pointing out that the home is a community in which children learn through interactions with parents, he advised parents to share diverse perspectives as part of their daily dialogues with children. Regarding libraries, Professor Cho said that it is important to support children to explore diverse people, worlds, and cultures through texts, highlighting the importance of providing access to book and resources with multi-cultural perspectives. “Helping them communicate with various people through texts and learn about diverse perspectives, this is how we can promote literacy among our children,” said he.
[Subject presentation 1] Libraries empowering children and young adults to dream by Professor Kang Bong-suk, Department of Library and Information Science, Cheongju University
Photo 4. Professor Kang Bong-suk at the symposium
Drawing on her research on the education gap stemming from students’ economic backgrounds and their abilities to use information, Professor Kang Bong-suk discussed how libraries can contribute to narrowing these gaps. According to her research, there is a significant correlation between the education gap, which can be represented by the proportion of students who receive education subsidy for high school, and the ability to use information. Professor Kang said, “If students don’t have opportunities to receive information-literacy education through libraries, the gap will widen.”
Despite librarians’ significant efforts to reduce education gaps among students, she pointed out that all libraries are not equally equipped in terms of human resources, budgets, and services. “There is an urgent need to expand services for children and adolescents in underprivileged communities without considering cost efficiency,” said Professor Kang.
She underscored the importance of cooperation among related organizations, particularly cooperation between local public libraries and school libraries to foster information literacy education. Lastly, she called for the NLK to provide active support to public library services and to expand the system for measuring and reflecting library performance.
[Subject presentation 2] Young adult services in public libraries that prioritize the issue of injustice and privilege by Professor Denise Agosto, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University
Photo 5. Professor Denise Agosto making an online presentation at the symposium.
Injustice and privilege affect the social participation of children and young adults in various ways. Public libraries have made significant efforts to address this problem. Professor Agosto presented examples of areas in which the active social participation of children and adolescents is encouraged or compromised, and suggested roles for public libraries. She also discussed how public libraries can plan to provide more just and fair services for children and young adults.
As for obstacles blocking the full social participation of children and young adults, Professor Agosto pointed to the economy, race/ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, education, language, digital access, capacity, and knowledge and suggested how library services could help mitigate these obstacles. As part of efforts to address inequality, Professor Agosto points out that libraries should develop collections serving the needs of their local communities, provide vocational and homework support for community members, and provide resources for young adults seeking to explore their gender and sexual orientation. She also recommended that libraries develop programs in the non-dominant languages within their communities when providing digital literacy education. Professor Agusto concluded that libraries should serve as a catalyst to building relationships and opportunities in local communities.
[Case study presentation 1-1] ALA library programs for underprivileged young adults: Digital media literacy programs in libraries by Kelly Czarnecki, President of ALA Young Adults Library Services Association
YALSA President Kelly Czarnecki introduced the audience to the activities of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a leading organization in the US working to promote digital literacy among young adults. She presented model practices from libraries in North Carolina.
The ALA launched YALSA in 1957 with a goal to provide better services for young adults. YALSA provides a range of materials on literacy for youth service librarians and works closely with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). It also offers literacy-related toolkits and other materials for librarians during Media Literacy Week in October.
Serving the Charlotte, North Carolina library system, Czarnecki develops programs for underprivileged youth, including the Outreach program. Acknowledging that many residents of its disadvantaged neighborhood do not have time to visit the library, the library planned youth programs by going out and meeting teenagers where they are in order to better learn about their needs. That was how the Teen Newsletter and the Radio program were created. These two programs in which local teenagers actively participate were so popular that other libraries have launched similar programs.
Lastly, the YALSA president encouraged librarians to develop digital media programs. “Digital medial programs at libraries help teenagers become interested in and learn life-long skills,” said she.
[Case study presentation 1-2] ALA library programs for underprivileged youth: College prep and career programs at the New York Public Library by Katrina Ortega, librarian at NYPL
In her presentation, Katrina Ortega, a librarian with the New York Public Library (NYPL), provided an overview of the NYPL’s College and Career Pathways (CCP) and suggested similar programs suitable for public libraries. According to Ortega, teenagers around the world find it difficult to obtain quality services and resources that could help them prepare for life after high school. “Public libraries are best positioned to provide such services and resources,” she said.
Ortega mentioned that the lack of career counselors relative to the number of students in America causes many students to graduate from high school insufficiently prepared for college or the job market. The situation is worse among students from underprivileged families. In order to address this problem, the NYPL ran a number of pilot programs over the course of several years and established CPP by drawing together the best features of the pilot programs.
Based on her experience with CPP over the past four years, Ortega advised that those who operate youth programs should thoroughly prepare and be confident in their knowledge. It is also important for the librarian to communicate with school administrative staff and teachers and understand how his or her knowledge could contribute to school curriculum. Ortega further highlighted the importance of flexibility when running a program for teenagers so that it can be modified as necessary while the understanding of the participants grows. She also stressed the need to encourage teenagers to participate continuously. “No one should be left behind from knowledge and information because of their financial situations, lack of time, or physical distance,” said the NYPL librarian.
[Case study presentation 2] Metaverse applied in library services by Hong Yeh-eun, librarian at the Gangbuk Culture Information Library
Photos 6 and 7. Program participants trying out the library’s metaverse program
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Gangbuk Culture Information Library (GCIL) actively introduced metaverse technologies to its library services. Hong Ye-eun, a librarian at GCIL, explained to the audience about the metaverse concept, types of metaverse platforms, examples of metaverse programs, and their implications.
GCIL launched the Metaverse GCIL and GangBook Town in 2021 using metaverse platforms (Naver’s Zepeto and Gather) to provide a wide range of services, including online exhibitions, author visits, and education courses. Users can visit the virtual library 24/7 and create avatars to explore the virtual experience-based library programs.
“Users were surprised to see the offline library in the virtual space presented exactly as it is in real life, and they liked how they could participate in the library’s programs on the internet without having to visit the physical library,” said Hong. The library’s makerspace offers education programs that combine the metaverse with reading, including VR coding and 3D modeling. The librarians at GCLI manage all the related work, from construction and maintenance of the metaverse library to the planning and provision of online programs.
Regarding the obstacles to libraries using metaverse technologies, Hong said that there are no platforms optimized for library services. The metaverse should lend verisimilitude to a virtual library, so if a metaverse library is going to be a faithful reflection of a real library, it should have librarians, books, and loan services. Furthermore, the technology should not discriminate against anyone and any copyright issues pertaining to the operation of the metaverse library should be carefully managed, Hong related.
[Subject presentation 3] AI and humanity by Professor Gaya Nadarajan from the Department of Library and Information Science at Sungkyunkwan University
Photo 8. Professor Gaya Nadarajan making an online presentation at the symposium
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made a significant progress in a wide range of areas and is rapidly changing our lives. In her presentation, Professor Nadarajan explained how AI has evolved over the past several decades, how it is applied in our daily lives, and both its negative and positive impacts. She also discussed how AI technologies can be used in a responsible and inclusive way.
According to Professor Nadarajan, AI was used in the fields of medicine and space exploration in its early days, but has expanded into playing a critical role in a number of areas, such as finance, health, education, and more. She said that AI may bring greater convenience to our lives, but we must consider its negative aspects and work to keep the technologies under control.
[Case study presentation 3] Online information literacy education using Naver’s Zepeto: Possibilities and limitations by Park Roh-sik, Director at Garam Library, and Lee Ye-un, librarian at Mulpure Library
Photos 9 and 10. Park Roh-sik, Director at Garam Library, (left) and Lee Ye-un, librarian at Mulpure Library (right)
When physical library services were temporarily halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, libraries turned to online platforms to provide services to their users. Park Roh-sik, Director at Garam Library, and Lee Ye-un, librarian at Mulpure Library, discussed information literary programs commissioned by the Paju City government at five libraries (the Garam, Jori, Mulpure, Geumchon 3 Dongsolbit, and Geumchon Mujigae Small Libraries) and their achievements and limitations.
“L: The Beginning of a Legend,” one of the online information literacy programs, was based on the concept of an escape game. Combined with an interesting story about a zombie vaccine, this library and information literacy education provoked enthusiastic responses from library users. Planet 2051, a program developed as a continuation of the L series, had a number of benefits, including that it expanded online library services to go beyond barriers presented by time and distance. However, it was less accessible compared to existing information literacy programs and some users balked at the metaverse platforms.
Want to Play a Traditional Game? is the second information literacy education program developed using a metaverse platform. This program addressed the limitations of Planet 2051 and was included in Zepeto’s list of recommended maps before the Lunar New Year’s holiday. It attracted a large number of Zepeto users.
However, this online information literacy education also has its limitations. First, it is difficult to interact with other participants. Metaverse platforms enable users to “meet” and interact with each other. One of the criticisms of this Zepeto map created by the library was that by making users perform an assigned mission, the program failed to take advantage of one of the primary merits of the metaverse. Another problem was the time and efforts required for general libraries to design, create, and operate such maps.
Lastly, the librarians pointed out the lack of budget. Expenditures ranging from several million to hundreds of millions of won per map are required if a professional map creator must be hired. However, maps created without specific purposes but simply piggybacking on the popularity of metaverse usually prove to be waste of budget as they remain almost deserted due to the poor quality of the content. The librarians said that while it is ideal for librarians to cooperate with each other and develop maps at an amateur level, there are still parts that need to be done by professionals.
A crisis always comes with opportunities
The past three years have been a time of crisis for libraries. Physical buildings had to be closed and most library programs and services had to be scaled back or canceled. It was a major challenge for libraries, whose mission is to help everyone gain equal access to books.
In particular, libraries for children and young adults sought various ways to address the widening learning gap among their users. The participants in this international symposium celebrated their achievements and shared the challenges they were facing as they sought solutions. In today’s rapidly changing environments, librarians are acting fast to adopt the latest technologies for library programs and services in order to further promote information literacy among children and young adults. We would appreciate continued interest and support for libraries for children and young adults.
Written by Choi Yeon-su
Photos by the National Library for Children and Young Adults
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