A University of Puerto Rico Project Redefining Library Practice: Collective Experience
This exposition is a case study about the results of the development of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Libraries Community of Practice. The research findings documented shoes what has been the contribution of communities of practice to improving operational performance and services of academic libraries in the UPR System in the areas of collection development, information literacy, research support, strategic leadership and Web 2.0. In addition, it researches which are the elements that contributed to determine the success of communities of practice in the UPR and the influence to generate mentors. Another important aspect of the research is the identification of the use of appropriate mechanisms for the capture and organization of knowledge created by communities. The exposition demonstrates the benefit of those communities of practice as it affects their performance due to their potential to overcome the inherent problems of a slow-moving traditional hierarchy in a fast-moving virtual economy. The evidence shows how the communities also appear to be effective ways for organizations to handle unstructured problems and to share knowledge outside of the traditional structural boundaries. In addition, is acknowledged to be a means of developing and maintaining long-term organizational memory. As knowledge is generated as a result of this study, we expect significant contributions to needed changes regarding academic and research leadership. This will influence the way our libraries are organized, diversifies problem-solving styles and manages opening opportunities to a more inclusive model. Demonstrated infusion of Web 2.0 technologies and virtual worlds in the provision of innovative services is also expected to increase. Knowledge management strategies which have been implemented in the project will also yield important learning for our library directors as they seek ways to apply them to their units.
Keywords: Community of Practice, Academic Libraries, Organizational Change, Learning Organization, Organization Knowledge
Dr. Jose Sanchez
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technologies, University of Puerto Rico
Dra. Julia Velez
Director, Center of Information and Technology, Natural Science College