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5 takeaways from the Library Academy event

13 February 2024
The three-day event 'Library Academy' provided participants with a unique insight into the various facets of the Amsterdam university libraries: the libraries of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. What were the main conclusions? And what valuable contributions do university libraries have to offer for education? An overview of the key takeaways during these three inspiring days.

Day 1 at VU: effective didactics don't always have to be complex
Participants with diverse expertise and educational backgrounds came together on day one, and it was clear how valuable physical interaction is: participants exchanged ideas, and networking was in full swing. The workshop 'Object Based Teaching and Learning' provided hands-on tools and showed that innovation and didactics don't always have to be complex: we don't always have to rely on advanced technologies and the latest gadgets. Sometimes, it's just about simple and powerful methods, such as interaction between participants and objects.

In the Podcast workshop, the importance of the principle 'garbage in, garbage out' was demonstrated. An expression often used in the context of audio: if the input isn't of good quality, the output won't be of good quality either, no matter how intensively it's edited. A metaphor that also applies nicely to education, because it's essential to pay attention to the quality of educational materials and didactics to provide students with a profound and positive learning experience.

Day 2 at HvA: fake news and an abundance of information, what is truth?
The workshops on the second day focused on open learning materials, the optimal mix of educational materials, and disinformation. Especially the workshop on disinformation, with its philosophical approach to what truth exactly is, proved to be inspiring and sparked a lively discussion. It emphasizes the need to teach students to critically assess sources in a world where disinformation plays an increasingly significant role.

This also made the importance of university libraries clear, as they have a wealth of knowledge about this. For example, the library at VU has 13 information specialists who provide information literacy training within the faculties, each in their own field: about the use of databases, searching/finding and using sources, and critically evaluating them. In addition, the library has a large collection of LibGuides on information literacy that can be used as reference materials.

Day 3 at UvA: stay curious about AI, but be critical
The last day offered well-attended workshops on Artificial Intelligence. It quickly became clear that there were various perspectives, ranging from positive applications and negative experiences to critical reflections. During the Library Academy, it became clear that AI is much broader than just ChatGPT. The workshop presenters called for ongoing discussion and experimentation with these technologies: the most important thing is to remain curious about possibilities and be critical of limitations.

The event demonstrated the role of university libraries in higher education. Whether it's evaluating sources (disinformation and AI), using educational materials optimally, facilitating creative teaching methods and content, or offering a rich collection.

If you are interested or want more information on any of the topics, please contact the university library of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam via