Friends of the Libraries: Old-fashioned skills still in need

I recently read a research report, "How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace," by Alison J. Head, . PhD. Dated Oct. 16, 2012, it suggests there is a distinct difference "between today's graduates who demonstrated how quickly they found answers online and seasoned employers who needed college hires to use a combination of online and traditional methods to conduct comprehensive research."

The research for this report, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, used a variety of methods to collect data: telephone interviews, focus groups, in-depth interviews with employers and more. It showed that graduates of private and public universities as well as community colleges were more likely to just search the Internet for answers rather than a combination of Internet and "low-tech" skills. What are these "low-tech" skills? Employers expected hires "to develop and use social networks with many stakeholders during the research process, ... to engage members of a collaborative team ... be able to use non-digitized information sources." They wanted new hires to be able to conduct online searches, but at the same time, they wanted them to have social skills and to be able to scour a bound report.

As "each new crop of college graduates is more than likely to be 'born digital,'" the report says, these low-tech skills are becoming "disappearing competencies." Actually, all students, not just those in college, but those in elementary and high schools, should not depend on the Internet alone for information. They should sharpen their "low-tech" research skills as well to make sure that all relative sources are utilized. They would then be much more prepared for what employers want when the time comes to join the workforce.

I will be talking about libraries of the future in my next column. There are a number of different opinions on this, ranging from those who believe strongly in a library's role in the community to those who seem to think they are — or will be — not important. If you have an opinion you would like to share, send me an email at


Favorite Teacher Award to be given in May

The Costa Mesa Library Foundation has announced its first annual Costa Mesa's Favorite Teacher Awards Ceremony and Dinner to be held May 17 at the Avenue of the Arts Wyndham Hotel in Costa Mesa. Nomination instructions and other details will be made available soon. Watch for this and nominate a teacher who has made a difference in your, or your child's, life.


Celebrate International Brain Teaser Month at the Mesa Verde Library!

Exercise your brain by solving weekly brain-teaser puzzles ranging from Hink Pinks (rhyming pairs) to Football Brain Strainers, Symbol Codes and more. Solve a puzzle each week and win a free voucher for the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries Bookstore, good for any book priced $1 or less. There will be separate puzzles for kids and adults. Stop by and play on Fridays during January. This activity is sponsored by the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries.

Storytime will be held on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.


At the Costa Mesa Technology Library

Meet with library volunteers who can help you learn basic computer skills, navigate the Internet, create and use email accounts, print documents and images and more. Sign up for a one-on-one learning session (949) 515-3970 or on site. Walk-ins welcome. Classes are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m.


At the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library

There will be two events on Saturday. First, attend a family movie at 10:30 a.m., and then,from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., your child can "Read to a Dog." On Monday, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m., Toddler Storytime will again be held at this library. Then, on Jan. 14 and 21 from 2 to 5 p.m., Duplo Day will give those who love to build with the Lego-type blocks a chance to show their skills. And another family movie will be held in the Community Room on Thursdays, Jan. 16 and 23 at 2 p.m. All three libraries will be closed Jan. 20.

MARY ELLEN GODDARD produced this column on behalf of the Friends of Costa Mesa Libraries, the Costa Mesa Library Foundation and the three Costa Mesa branches of the OC Public Libraries.

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