Ninety percent of the world’s data is only two years old, and the tools, methods, and platforms to explore and use it are continually evolving. The overwhelming pace at which information and technology are created is making digital and data literacy both a high priority and a daunting task for librarians.

These literacies are increasingly becoming a requirement for research, education, and civic participation. And the growing demand for training in public libraries, as well as those in schools, at all levels, is often at odds with available funds.

Librarians across central and western New York now have a champion for their challenge.

The New York Data Carpentries Library Consortium (NYDCLC), composed of the University of Rochester, Colgate University, Cornell University, and Syracuse University, is developing plans for a much-needed support system.

With planning grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21), the NYDCLC is building a scalable skill-sharing program for regional universities and public libraries.

Emily Sherwood, director of the University of Rochester’s Digital Scholarship Lab and principal investigator for the LB21 grant, says it was important to start with a planning grant, which provides the time to build a sustainable structure and meet the needs of the consortium’s institutions and their respective regional library councils.

“In a year, we will go after a three-year project grant,” Sherwood says. “But this planning grant will help us complete a needs assessment, run initial skill-building workshops, and complete pedagogy training for 15 instructors throughout the region. We will end the year with a public symposium to talk about what we learned and our plans moving forward.”

The NYDCLC will work with faculty and librarians at the institutional and public levels to identify training priorities for skill-based workshops. The consortium has identified The Carpentries as a sustainable train-the-trainer model that will provide librarians with skills they need to pass their knowledge on to their patrons.

The grant also includes funds that help librarians defray the costs associated with attending workshops. In the fall, the NYDCLC will host three Carpentries skill-building workshops across the region with 40 slots available in each.

by: Matthew Cook, Sr. Communications Officer for Libraries and Collections, University Communications