The purpose of the study is to critically discuss the role of librarians and libraries in educational processes. The study is done as a theoretical discussion that is built up from two different angles. And none of them have earlier been discussed in connection with the concept of information literacy.
The first is about how the library as a tool has been functioning. This angle is worked out by using semiotic theories, sociological theories and learning theories. It is proposed that cultural and social processes involved in creating meaning and mediated by libraries, are dependent on structural qualities built up by the bibliographic system. Learning processes are dependent on situations and this means that library users have easier to get to the knowledge they need if they are able to use these structural capacities in libraries on their own.
The second angle comes from a cognitive science discussion about how modern computer technology extends the human minds capacity to learn. It is pointed out that this technology means that it gets even easier to use the information searching tools. It is also pointed out that the critical stance towards this Extended Mind theory is about to what extend cognitive processes need to be done in the human mind. If these processes need to be done in the mind, it is also an argument that can be directed against intermediation activities from librarians. If this it is not true and the thesis main claim is true, this means that these computer tools functions better than help from mediators because they can at least be used without the need of interfering with another person. The knowledge seeker then does not need to translate their information question to another person. When possibilities to observe knowledge is mediated through situations this also means that trial and error are better pedagogical methods than instructions.
The conclusion is that the most important strategy is to develop a good library structure and effective library tools as part of an electronic library. Librarians are needed to build and develop these libraries but it is the library and the tools in themselves that are of importance in the mediating process. These electronic libraries can be managed on a centralized level, which means small educational units can do without hiring librarians as personal mediators.
Copyright (c) 2015 Peter Kåhre
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