Digital Inclusion - Libraries helping communities to thrive in the future

by Jonathan Nalder, 8 months ago

My work as a Queensland educator (and previously a library assistant) over 18 years has taught me the central place that inclusion must hold in any community that wants to thrive. The 25+ developing personalities of a classroom are possibly a great analogy for wider society, and requires the same balance of co-operation, being in-volved with everyone, being in-to everyone, and in-cluding all perspectives if it is to work as a fruitful environment.

Attending the State Library of Queensland Digital Inclusion Forum Tues 26 June 2017 exposed me to this same type of understanding. Was brilliant to meet two of the Advance Queensland staff there also!

Obviously 'Inclusion' was in the title - but saying it and being it are two different things - and I came away refreshed by how strongly this commitment was reflected in the stories, conversations and presentations I encountered. 

Beyond this also was a high level of interest from library staff across Australia in considering the larger role that they play as physical and conceptual centres for demonstrating inclusiveness in actuality - how they can take the idea and make it real for their patrons and communities - and real right now is reflected in the other main part of the events title - the digital.

We do usually associate ‘digital’ with ‘future’ in most case - but what I found was a commitment among forum attendees to making digital tools and the benefits they can provide available to patrons today - and in ways that are accessible and practical. All of this sets the stage for what I was privileged to share about - which was how libraries can continue this commitment through the huge social transitions associated with the rise of automation, robotics and the post-work era. The understanding of inclusiveness is the perfect foundation for extrapolating to how Libraries can be THE place that helps communities know how to dream up their own vocations, projects and teams in a 2035 world where 40-70% of jobs have disappeared. My suggestion was to use the Future-U Literacies framework as the conversation starter for this journey. This framework sets out five meta-domains - areas of skills which can future-proof communities no matter what developments occur in next 15 years. 

Everyone interested can download my slides telling the story of our transition to the post-work era here - AND even join the private discussion community around the future literacies and helping all communities thrive here (on mobile device, download the app as prompted, then re-use the link to join). Any questions please be in touch via Let’s keep the conversation of where inclusion goes going :)

Photo by @justine_hyde

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