Notes of a Binge Thinker

Thoughts from NTLP's Executive Director

Lifelong learners, what do they need from the public library

Happy August!

Lifelong learning can be defined as all purposeful learning activity undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence. It contains various forms of education and training, formal, non-formal and informal, e.g. the traditional school system from primary to tertiary level, free adult education, informal search and training, individually, in a group setting or within the framework of social movements. (The Role of Libraries in Lifelong Learning Final report of the IFLA project under the Section for Public Libraries Edited by Britt Marie Häggström.

For my identity crisis this month, I am exploring the role of the library in lifelong learning. The quote above was developed in the early part of the last decade as a way to assist libraries in defining their role as an educational institution. As we move into the new decade, I believe the definition still holds true.

In recognition of this role, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) began the project Museum, Libraries and 21st Century Skills.

The Institute’s Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills initiative underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness. (

As part of this website, IMLS has a self assessment tool for your library to see how it is prepared to be provider of 21st century skills. It does a comprehensive job asking for what percentage of your library is devoted to certain aspects of lifelong learning. In the end, you receive a grade on your library’s ability to provide this service and recommendations on what next steps need to be taken. You can find the self-assessment tool at

In addition, a report on the subject can be found at Within this report, the document compares the 20th century library to the 21st century library. Please take a close look at the table below as it outlines many of the topics I have highlighted in this identity crisis series.

Read the rest here.


Written by amwlkaw

August 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Misc

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