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The library of the future

The traditional library as a depository of books

and a place for students to sit at tables and study

will become obsolete.

Forecasting change is a highly questionable enterprise; however, this column is devoted to imaginations regarding the possible future of an information system once called libraries. When looking toward the future, there are many questions. What are we going to find when we visit a library/media center in 2005? Will we still have library/media specialists working in schools? Will there be even more feet of shelving to house books? Will there still be books, as we know them today?

The traditional library as a depository of books and a place for students to sit at tables and study will become obsolete. It is not a sound educational practice to continue to have students move from general classrooms to a library for resource materials, and then to the computer lab to complete an assignment. Traditionally, school libraries have been vulnerable to budget cuts. The pressure is going to become more intense as schools move technology into the classroom.

There is no rule about the mission of the school library that says it has to have four walls and racks of books. The traditional school library built of bricks and mortar is moving to one also constructed with bits and bytes. This means that the library of the future possibly may not be housed on bookshelves inside a school building.

A lesson learned

Information was relatively scarce during the 1950s and 1960s, and was housed usually in the form of books in spaces called libraries, Students and citizens left their classrooms, homes and workplaces long enough to get information, usually in the form of books or note-cards, which could be consumed elsewhere. Access was relatively limited.

The worst-case scenario is that new technology and electronic access to information threatens to eliminate school libraries as they exist today, as well as those who have been serving as information "tellers." Specialized teachers, such as art, music, physical education and library/media, are losing positions in order to carve up the needed dollars to reduce class size and purchase new technologies.


Nationwide, increasing numbers of school libraries provide acess to online catalogs, district-wide networks, presentation software and other technology. There is too much content out there, and it is impossible to keep up. so administrators need to focus on process, on the ability to find and use information for a purpose. Today's students have been acquainted since birth with television and information produced by computers, so libraries/media centers must be designed to prepare students to make critical judgments about this flood of electronic information.

The library/media center will become a place where teachers and media specialists will instruct students how to navigate the traditional world of print and the burgeoning world of digital information, imparting information literacy. Library/media center technology will reach beyond school walls by way of computer data and video networks to put information resources into the hands of end-users. Therefore, with networks linking all areas of the modern school, the best place to access information may no longer be within the walls of the traditional library.

Acquisitions and selection criteria will take on an entirely new meaning when considering access to on-line services. The information explosion has created far more information than one school library could possibly contain within its walls. The information contained on the Internet, the global network of computer networks, is richer than any school can afford to acquire.

Librarians and media specialists will come into classrooms to consult with teachers. There they will suggest resources, locate and acquire needed materials, recommend strategies, facilitate use of technologies, and instruct students and teachers in optimal information-seeking methods. As students become more self-directed learners, the media specialist will act as a resource person to support information and develop appropriate presentation strategies.

While nobody is standing for the abolition of text-based libraries, electronic storage and telecommunications technologies vastly will increase the variety of information available and the number of people who have access.


Today's students are going to graduate in a wired world. They are going to have to collect and analyze information and do business in an environment where there will be instant multimedia access. The emerging goals seem to be an electronic environment where students and teachers may access a variety of information and knowledge sources in a manner that is simple and easy; independent of time and place or subject, for purposes ranging from augmentation and refreshing memory, to learning, decision-making, and creating or uncovering new knowledge.


forecast - прогнозировать, предсказывать;

questionable - спорный;

enterprise - предприятие; здесь: вопрос;

to devote - посвящать;

regarding - о, относительно, на тему;

obsolete - устаревший;

to house - размещать, вмещать, помещаться;

depository - хранилище;

sound - здравый;

complete - выполнить;

assignment - задание, работа;

vulnerable - уязвимый;

mission - миссия, задача;

rack - полка или сетка для вещей;

mortar - известковый раствор;

move - переезжать, перебираться;

bits and bytes - биты и байты (единицы информации);

relatively - сравнительно;

scarce - скудный;

space - пространство, площадь, помещение;

notecard - карточка;

access (to) - доступ (к);

threaten - угрожать;

eliminate - уничтожать, упразднять, ликвидировать;

exist - существовать;

carve up - здесь: высвободить;

reduce - сокращать;

purchase - приобретение, покупка;

increase - возрастать, увеличивать(ся);

software - программное обеспечение;

content - содержание, содержимое;

purpose - цель;

judgement - суждение;

flood - поток;

navigate - управлять;

burgeon - расти, развиваться;

digital - цифровой;

impart - наделять, сообщать (новости); здесь: внедрять;

literacy - грамотность;

end-user - конечный пользователь;

link - соединять;

acquisition - приобретение;

selection - отбор;

entirely - абсолютно; целиком, полностью;

explosion - взрыв;

contain - содержать (в себе), вмещать;

afford - позволять (чаще - в финансовом отношении);

acquire - приобрести;

locate - размещать;

facilitate - облегчить, помочь;

seek (for) - искать;

appropriate - соответствующий, подходящий;

abolition - отмена;

storage - хранилище;

vastly - широко;

available - доступный, имеющийся в наличии;

wired - здесь: подключенный к глобальной сети Интернет;

environment - обстановка, окружение, среда;

instant - моментальный, мгновенный;

emerge - появляться, возникать;

variety - множество, разнообразие, ряд;

range (from... to...) - вырьировать (от... до...);

augmentation - увеличение;

refresh - освежать, обновлять, возобновлять;

uncover - обнаруживать, раскрывать.

Word Study.

Ex. 1. Match the phrases with their Russian equivalents:

1. nationwide library                          a/  критерии отбора 2. questionable enterprise                 b/ подходящие/соответствующие стратегии 2. relatively scarce                           c/ электронное хранилище 4. information-seеking methods       d/ абсолютно иное/новое значение 5. depository of books                      e/  информацинный поток 6. entirely new meaning                    f/ сокращение бюджета 7. electronic storage                          g/ мир, объединенный сетью Интернета 8. media center                                  h/ ряд/множ-во источников инфформации 9. variety of information sources       i/ методы поиска информации 10. limited access                               j/ презентация программного обеспеч-я 11. information flood                        k/ национальная библиотека 12. budget cuts                                  l/ спорный вопрос 13. software presentation                  m/ информационный центр 14. available information                   n/ мгновенный доступ (к) 15. selection criteria                           o/ ограниченный доступ 16. wired world                                 p/ книгохранилище 17. appropriate strategies                   q/ доступная/имеющаяся информация 18. Instant access (to)               r/ сравнительно скудный Ex. 2. Match the phrases with their Russian equivalents: 1. to complete an assignment          a/ принять решение 2. to make judgements                       b/ устареть 3. to focus on process                         c/ облегчить пользование технологиями 4. to look toward the future                d/ обнаружить/открыть новое знание 5. to eliminate (school) libraries         e/ переехать в другое место 6. to reduce class size                         f/ освежить память 7. to make a decision                          g/ делать/выносить суждения 8. to become obsolete                         h/ уделять основное внимание процессу 9. to uncover new knowledge             i/ выполнить задание 10. to refresh memory                          j/ заглядывать в будуще 11. to move to another place                k/ сократить число учащихся в классе 12. to facilite use of technologies         l/ ликвидировать/упразднять библиотеки   Ex. 3. Translate the following words and phrases from the text

and use them in the translation below. questionable enterprise; to curve up; depository of books; entirely new meaning; to create; digital information; to navigate; selection criteria; future forecasting;  to house; explosion; to threaten to eliminate; instantaneous; equipment;  to contain within its walls; relatively scarce; to complete assignments; can afford to acquire; source of information;  to make judgements; access to information; to purchase; to reduce class size; media center; to focus on the training process itself; to instruct; to contain.

  1. Прогнозирование будущего - спорный вопрос.

  2. Традиционная библиотека - это книгохранилище, куда студенты приходят, чтобы выполнять задания.

  3. Электронный доступ к информации создает представляет собой угрозу традиционным библиотекам, предвещая их ликвидацию/уничтожение.

  4. В 1950-1960-х гг. информация была сравнительно скудной.

  5. Информационные центры будут создаваться для того, чтобы лолучить (to obtain) мгновенный доступ к источникам информации.

  6. Делать критические суждения об этом может только специалист.

  7. Информационный центр позволит высвободить деньги для сокращения численности учащихся в классе и покупки необходимого оборудования.

  8. Медиа-специалисты будут инструктировать студентов тому, как управляться в мире цифровой информации.

  9. Сегодняшние студенты живут в мире мгновенного доступа к мультимедиа.

  10. Критерии отбора приобретают абсолютно новое/иное значение.

  11. Телекоммуникационные технологии обеспечивают (to provide) доступ практически к любым источникам мнформации.

  12. Информационный взрыв создал намного больше информации, чем любая обычная библиотека может вместить в своих стенах.

  13. Информация, содержащаяся в Интернете, намного богаче того, что любая библиотека может позволить приобрести.

  14. Администраторы смогут тогда уделять внимание самому учебному  процессу.

Comprehension Check. Answer the following questions:

  1. Is it easy to forecast the future?

  2. What does a traditional library mean?

  3. What will be the function of media specialists?

  4. What opportunities do students acquire in the wired world?

Topics to Discuss. 1. Media center, its contents and mission.

2. Advantages of a media center in comparison to a traditional library.

Text II-D

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