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Lessons for everyone else

LIBRARIES OF THE FUTURE PROJECT: FINAL REPORT, STAFF DEVELOPMENT PACK AND VIDEO. Pounds 25.45 from NCET Sales, Milburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry CV4 7JJ. Tel 01203 416669.

These resources are the findings of the project managed by the National Council for Educational Technology (see above).

What makes this project so interesting is that, being experimental, the aim "was to see what happened, rather than to 'prove' the value of any particular technology". In the final report, this pragmatic approach leads to a "warts and all" evaluation of the experiences of the institutions concerned, together with several on-site, local, national and service recommendations for managing the impact of IT.

The report focuses not only on the role of technology in getting access to information but also on the subsequent changes in the learning process and the changing roles of staff.

Staff, it argues, will have to reassess their relationship with students as the new technology fosters not only more motivated students but also increasing learner autonomy. Hence the skills of teacher and librarian should both be utilised in a team approach, with a key role assigned to the IT technician.

The staff development pack deals with the practical application of the report's findings and is recommended reading for anyone involved in reviewing library provision at a school or college. Staffing, training, forming a cross-curricular team and bidding for staff development time are just some of the issues explored. The section on developing learners' skills gives many hints and tips in the use of electronic sources of information and creating multimedia, as well as looking at how to develop overall policies on information skills.

The section on management of resources deals with access and multimedia authoring. Among the topics covered are booking form design, search strategies, the problems of producing a multimedia presentation and ways of encouraging girls to use information technology.

The video, a compilation of clips taken from the recent TV series NCET-TV: Teaching and Learning with IT, shows the staff and students in action. It highlights the contents of an excellent resource package which every school and college should have.

Jill Bennett is the librarian at St Andrew's School, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

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