Congrats to Justin Hoenke, TTW Contributor, on his invitation to keynote LIANZA 2015! Iam so excited he’ll be talking about his ideas for humanistic, user-centered library services with the good folks of NZ.
I’m happy to announce today that I will be attending the LIANZA 2015 Conference in Wellington, New Zealand this year from November 7-11 2015 to speak about youth services, kids, tweens, teens, and everything awesome that can happen in libraries. I’m honored to be a part of this event. I’ve always enjoyed following the LIANZA conferences on Twitter (#lianza15 this year!) and cannot wait to learn and share with many librarians from New Zealand, Australia, and beyond. They’ve got a great lineup this year (Sarah Houghton, Ned Potter, David Lankes, and more!) and I am also looking forward to hanging out (and in some cases, meeting for the first time!) with some wonderful library colleagues.
I spoke at LIANZA in 2013 and the trip was wonderful on all counts. To put a fine point on it: life-changing. Read more about it here:
Photo: A moment of reflection for me in Glenorchy,NZ.
Our readings for New Horizons, New Models examined what forwarding thinking libraries are currently doing and envisioning as important future concepts. Of course, excessive future orientation can push some upstart librarians into technolust and, as Schmidt points out, make them forget about the people who are central to the library’s mission. To my surprise and satisfaction, space and people are recurring themes in this module’s readings. A focus on space and people dovetails with the theme of my #hyperlib blog. Today’s public library is an important social space. Libraries serve multiple functions in diverse communities. The library is a public service and a public space for all. This is especially important in this era of increasing privatization of public space and library service.
The readings got me thinking about my spatial learning from urban planning school ten years ago. Fields that deal with the built environment — planning, architecture, geography — tend to look at space with a heightened reverence. Space is not a given; space is a gift! Urban theorists like Edward Soja and Michael Dear, who are both cut from the postmodern cloth, consider space a generator of action and activity. (Their spatial lens benefits LIS’s emerging interest in space; library theorists should be reading their work.) It became apparent that spatial tenets from the planning realm could enrich the current conversation about libraries, space, and people.
A brief note on space…
The space we’re talking about is the subject of many dissertations from across the disciplines the world over. However, space limitations (terrible pun!) in this essay restrict my allowance for backgrounding. An extremely concise primer follows.
Throughout most of human history, space was considered no more than an empty container in which things happened. Space was passive, inactive, and inconsequential. The prevailing concepts of time and history ruled thought. Space was irrelevant.
Changing conceptions of space arguably began in France in the 1960s, an era marked by widespread spatial turbulence (riots, protests, war). One theorist stands out. Michel Foucault is known for his studies of space, knowledge, and power. His work examined how space itself exercised control over bodies. Foucault’s evidence of the power of space famously included idealized prison buildings and militaristic city design. To Foucault, space was an active agent affecting our lived experience.
The rise of postmodernism boosted spatiality. Postmodern philosophy disputed the reliability of order, time, truth, and linear history. Instead postmodernism embraced the messy concepts of multiple “truths”, disorder, and difference. Spatial thinking fit well within postmodern ideals.
Today, space is a cause, not an afterthought. Across the disciplines people are embracing the explanatory power of space. We’re finally seeing this spatial thinking permeate the library realm.
Three spatial tenets for libraries:
Space is ACTIVE — Space itself is vibrant and exciting. A stimulus occurs when space is activated. People talk, conflict brews, ideas flow. Spatial activity leads to creation. People, objects, and ideas circulate within space, creating a self-sustaining environment that re/produces activity. Libraries should capitalize on this by including spaces that encourage vibrancy over staid, Shhhhh’d, study. The entire library mustn’t be converted into a jungle gym, but perhaps one space in it can be! We see this spatial awareness in the rise of library Makerspaces that encourage unlibrary like activities such as cooperative tinkering (see Horizon Report and Maloney). We see this in new YA spaces that encourage flexible, mobile, and customizable seating arrangements to improve user experience (see Bernier et al).
Space is CONGREGATIVE — Space brings people together. Space has the power to gather people both alike and disparate. Public plazas and private living rooms bring us closer. Commonalities are identified in these spaces. Groups form. Partnerships develop. Spatial congregation creates community. While the Social Web brings us together in cyberspace, it lacks what Soja calls the “stimulus of agglomeration” that physical space affords. You cannot disconnect with one click in physical space! Libraries must capitalize on the congregative quality of space. As Casey says, libraries can do this by turning outward and asking people what the community needs. Some communities need more than traditional book lending services. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently approved a plan to support President Obama’s controversial “no deportation” policy. County branch libraries will serve as information centers offering immigration program resources. This works because County of L.A. public libraries are trusted spaces that support diverse communities.
Space is PEOPLE CENTERED — Space is “powered up” on its own, but powerful when people enact it. Our use activates the generative power of space. Of course, space must be nimble. We know people can be fickle. People’s needs change and dynamics shift. Space must adapt to these fluctuations. Intelligent spaces evolve without sacrificing their active, congregative qualities. We see this quality in the conception of third s/place, defined as a spatial alternative to one’s home and work site that brings people together. Public libraries function as a third place. A high performing library third s/place is flexible, malleable, and supportive of people’s unique needs.
Although emerging technologies enhance our connectedness, emerging tech cannot replace the generative power of people coming together in physical space. Let’s keep that ideal in mind as we gaze out over the horizon. Libraries that put space and people first are looking in the right direction.
I am honored to have written this piece for the Queen’s Education Letter with Margaret Jean Campbell. Margaret served as our graduate research assistant throughout the MOOC planning, delivery and assessment phases.
Findings from our research yield a positive view of the cMOOC experience, with many inspired to explore new potentials in the LIS field, especially with new technologies. MOOC participants discovered that they can learn, reflect upon professional practices, discuss and exchange ideas with others in evolving networks and create new networks outside their individual library environments.
From the cutting edge of innovations in online education comes the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), a potentially disruptive and transformational mechanism for large-scale learning. What’s the role of librarians in a MOOC? What can librarians learn from participating in a large-scale professional development opportunity delivered in an open environment to illuminate their own practice? This paper explores the experiences and perceptions of librarians/information professionals participating in an LIS-centered MOOC taught by the authors. We will share insights gained from active participants in the course as they encounter this emerging landscape.
In September 2013, the San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS) launched its first massive open online course (MOOC), the Hyperlinked Library MOOC (#hyperlibMOOC). The Hyperlinked Library course centers on key theories and concepts that merge trends in participatory culture with library and information environments. At its core, the Hyperlinked Library encourages transparent, participatory, and user-centered information services that employ emerging technologies to increase open, collaborative information experiences.
#hyperlibMOOC was adapted from an existing online graduate course of the same name created by SJSU SLIS Assistant Professor Michael Stephens, an author of this paper. The course had been previously only offered to SJSU students enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program. The #hyperlibMOOC was not for credit and was intended to serve as a professional development opportunity for librarians, library staff, and professionals who work in libraries, archives, and other types of information environments.
Amy Hofer, Sylvia Lu, and Lori Townsend’s keynote at the 2015 Information Literacy Summit (Illinois). They discuss their research and thinking about information literacy threshold concepts, which underlie ACRL’s Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education. The IL Summit is a partnership between the Moraine Valley Community College Library and the DePaul University Libraries.
Description: When introduced to threshold concepts, librarians usually ask “How do I use them?” Yet this question hopscotches another: “Do I understand threshold concepts and how they relate to information literacy?” Threshold concepts are themselves a threshold concept. They are transformative, integrative, irreversible, bounded, troublesome, and – importantly – they take time to traverse. With ACRL’s shift toward more conceptual teaching in the new Framework for Information Literacy, our profession needs to take time to deeply understand what this kind of teaching and learning is all about. We’ll talk about the theory of threshold concepts and making incremental moves towards conceptual teaching and assessment, including how to incorporate the work that instruction librarians already do in this arena and why traditional bibliographic instruction still has a place in our teaching repertoire.
Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the co-editor of the recent book from ACRL, Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think About Information. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.
You won’t want to miss reading about this library’s innovative experiment with Minecraft to build a community of young users.
John Blyberg, assistant director for innovation and user experience at the Darien (CT) Library has turned his “public library into a gathering spot for friends new and old, and a place to decompress” simply by running a single server for Minecraft users.
To read more about Blyberg’s innovative way to build an “afterschool sanctuary” follow this link:
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (2012) has been on my books-to-read list for over a year now so I was quite pleased to see it included in the list of suggestions for this Context Book assignment. My only hesitation was that I was unsure how a book on habits could be applied to the library community. I needn’t have worried. This book is not a ‘self-help’ manual, and Charles Duhigg is not a therapist or neurologist. He’s a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist which is evident in his conversational tone and investigative style. He describes how habits have destroyed and then saved people’s lives, emotionally and physically; how companies came back from the brink of bankruptcy; how one of the lowest ranked teams in the NFL turned their game around; and how oppressed, but resigned citizens came together during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. While these seemingly random case studies may not sound related, it is the recognition of habits and how using that awareness made it possible for dramatic change, individually, company-wide, and throughout an entire community. It was the focus on this last subject that made me realize what a powerful tool habits can be and how applying them to public libraries will require reforming habits of patrons as well as librarians.
Duhigg has developed a simplified model of why habits develop and how this awareness is critical in changing certain ones. “Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permissions, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts. They shape our lives far more than we realize – they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.” (Duhigg, 2012, Location 521). Identifying habits as three individual processes allows us to examine and modify each in order to change. https://duhigg-site.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Flowchart-How-to-Change-a-Habit.pdf
“Experiments have been carried out publicly in the foyer of the Main Library in Aarhus.” (transformationlab, 2007). This is a great example of how testing the theory in Step 2 of Duhigg’s flowchart works. Obviously not all libraries have resources that were made available at the Main Library in Aarhus, but that shouldn’t stop one from trying some simpler experiments. One way to find out how library patrons want to participate is by asking them, just as the L. A. Public Library did in 2013, http://magazine.good.is/articles/crowdsourced-design-why-los-angeles-is-asking-the-public-to-create-the-library-of-the-future. For many patrons, seeing their idea or suggestion brought to life is the ultimate reward. As patrons grow accustomed to being asked for input, responding to those requests will become a habit.
Participatory service is a two way street and there are so many ways libraries can contribute. For example, I would love it if my library emailed me book suggestions based on my previous check outs, and even better, offering a hold option so it would be available for me to pick up within the next 24 hours. Duhigg talks about how Target has been researching our buying habits to provide more individualized marketing material, a.k.a. coupons and catalogs. (Did you know your envelope of coupons might be completely different from that of your neighbors?) Amazon has been collecting data about our purchases and feedback for years and uses it to make more purchase suggestions, as well providing our reviews for others to help choose their own purchases. “To market a new habit – be it groceries or aerobics – you must understand how to make the novel seem familiar.” (Duhigg, 2012, Location 3285). So, by using patrons’ records, with their permission of course, libraries have the option for customizing and personalizing communications for each user. Senior events and classes could be announced by automated phone calls to the generation that might not have embraced social media. On the opposite end of that spectrum would be tweets and instagrams about after-school library programs and homework help to those that seem glued to their phones. Tracking feedback via social media and program attendance will give libraries a sense of what patrons want, and what they might not be interested in. Pretty soon, library patrons will be expecting reading suggestions and being able to register for a program through email or on their phones, and a new habit is created!
Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House, New York. [Kindle version]
Mack, C. (2013, February 15). Crowdsourced design: Why Los Angeles is asking the public to create the library of the future [Web log post]. GOOD.Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/crowdsourced-design-why-los-angeles-is-asking-the-public-to-create-the-library-of-the-future
transformationlab [Kanal tilhørende transformationlab]. (2007, May 7). Transformation lab – Prototyping the future [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/TpFO_L_jA1c
Susan is a student working towards her Master of Library and Information Science at SJSU School of Information. She looks forward to joining the growing number of information professionals who are working to break down the physical limitations of libraries. Susan believes that today’s libraries are not defined by a building or a book, but rather defined as a structural or virtual space of unlimited information, that should be made available to everyone with a thirst for learning.
April 26: MOOC Workshop, Computers in Libraries 2015, Washington, DC.
April 28, 2015: Keynote – Learning Everywhere: Users, Empathy, and Reflective Practice, Connecticut Library Association Conference, Mystic, Connecticut,
May 4, 2015: Learning Everywhere, Florida Library Webinars, online.
May 29, 2015: Learning Everywhere: The Transformative Power of Hyperlinked Libraries, Prescott Valley, Arizona, for the Arizona Library Association.
June 5, 2015: Opening Keynote, Technologies and Trends Workshop, Grand Valley State University, Mary Idema Pew Library, for the Michigan Library Association.
June 24: Keynote, I LEAD USA, Springfield, Illinois.
October 25, 2015: Keynote, Colorado Library Association
We interviewed Computers in Libraries 2015 speaker Michael Stephens about why he thinks opportunities for learning everywhere are so important to our library community. Read below for his answers and make sure to attend the workshop he is teaching with Wendy Newman.
|Dr. Michael Stephens
San Jose State University & Tame the Web
Question 1: What key library issues are you most concerned about for the coming year?
M.S.- I think it’s an ongoing issue that each and every library find the best and most useful ways to tap into community needs. Librarians need to be present in communities (city, town, campus, school, company) beyond the four walls of the library. Technology helps but so does getting out and being visible. How can people care about us if they don’t know what we do or who we are? And, we should all be ready with that elevator pitch about our jobs, anytime and anywhere. Please see: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/02/opinion/michael-stephens/whats-your-pitch-office-hours/
Question 2: Tell us why you think MOOCs are so important to our library community.
M.S. – I think all learning – in MOOCs, in library instruction classes, in LIS programs – should be as open and connected as possible and built on collaborative experience. Instructors must be present and encourage the learning community. We can do that by providing learning opportunities that are practical, production centered, and get the learner actually doing something. I also believe we should take advantage of the fact that learning can happen ANYWHERE. Our MOOC students and my students at SJSU School of Information participate from wherever they happen to be: blogging on the go via their phones, watching a presentation while doing laundry, or working on a project with others via whatever tool suits them best.
Don’t miss this workshop at Computers in Libraries:
|Sunday April 26 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.||W4: MOOC Magic 101: Building a MOOC|