Historically thought to be the ‘centre’ of education, the library has been changing with developments in information technology, teaching methods and changes in society. Because of this, the Ziauddin Education System (ZES) examined new methods of delivery and how its library service should be used in schools and colleges.
Looking ahead, ZES is formulating the library of the future. By fully embracing technology, we have re-framed the role of the library in new terms for our students as a ‘resource centre’. By setting up our libraries as resource centres, we are:
1. Developing our students as knowledge managers
It seems the entirety of knowledge is now freely available on the internet and social media. It is hugely influential and easy to use, but it is true to say that not everything that you find is useful or correct. Moreover, students today can more easily access the information they want with a simple word search with no need to go to a library. It is because of this that our libraries are re-purposed as ‘resource centres’ and we are working strategically with our students so they become good ‘knowledge managers’. Our resource centres are not just repositories of knowledge, but places where our students develop three important attributes so as to become knowledge managers.
- Our resource centres are places where our students can acquire knowledge through resources that help them create insights, develop skills and form beneficial relationships. We provide tools for students to capture and filter data and they have access to a wide array of databases. This far surpasses the usual capacity of a library.
- Resource centres are not just for acquiring knowledge, but for sharing knowledge also. By maintaining a simple record of searches and outcomes, our students are able to make available useful data for others to access quickly.
- We ensure that our resource centres are also integrated into our academic programmes, so that knowledge is not just sought by students but actually used by them. Knowledge utilisation is a key component of the working of the resource centres so that learning is integrated throughout our institutions.
2. Providing a one-stop-shop for learning
Students find all of the resources they need in our resource centres, including teachers’ notes, past papers and worked solutions, online content, software, educational games, videos and audio files, self-access lessons, online lectures and demonstrations, self-access study materials, as well as access to the ZES Student Portal where our students can access course materials and schedules, and can download assignments and upload work for marking, and communicate with class fellows.
It is our aim that our resource centres move ZES away from only providing content and more towards providing educational results. For our students, it means we are connecting their capability at any age to outcomes.
Our resource centres are setting a new image for libraries, providing a visible image of 21st Century learning for our students and teachers. They also are the epitome of flexible learning, meeting the needs and interests of our students in ways which they have become readily accustomed to.