All posts by Michael

Thanks Prince William County

2015-09-15_1442325765I spoke at the staff institute of Prince William County Public Library System in Virginia last Friday. Here’s a big shout out to the great group of folks. They are set to open TWO new libraries in the next few weeks – TWO!

The slides are here:

Thanks to all the staff that made the morning so great!

(We also got to visit Monticello – see image above!)

Upcoming Presentations Fall 2015

September 18, 2015, Staff Development Day, Prince William Public Library System, Virginia.

October 7 & 8, 2015: ” Learning Everywhere: The Transformative Power of Hyperlinked Libraries” & “Emerging Trends and Emerging Tech: Exploring the Hyperlinked Library,” Ohio Library Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio.

October 20, 2015: “Full Stacks, Introverts, & Zero-Sum Librarians: Notes from Office Hours,” Library 2.015 Conference, Online.

October 24, 2015: Keynote, Colorado Association of Libraries, Loveland, Colorado.

November 20, 2015: Keynote, Arizona Library Association Conference, Flagstaff, Arizona.

December 11, 2015: Staff Development Day Keynote,  Sarasota County Library System.

#IRDL2015 Twitter Chat Resources

I am honored to be participating in the  2015  Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) at Loyola Marymount University. My focus with the scholars explores personal learning networks and reflective practice. Tonight, I’ll be hosting a Twitter chat for the 22 scholars. This post will serve as a resource for that chat.

Our hashtag  for the institute is #IRDL2015 and our chat hashtag will be #irdl2015chat. We practiced on Tuesday with – very cool site for Twitter chats.

For tonight, the scholars are reading:

Horowitz & Martin:


The Questions:

Q1. MacMillan describes her “research experience” – what does the “whole pattern” of your experience look like?

Q2. What’s the role of theory in your research or are you drawn to applied research?

Q3. Horowitz and Martin describe important considerations for the researcher/practitioner and their relationship to LIS education and LIS professors. How might we improve/enhance these connections?

Q4. What realizations have you had about your own research practice?
Tips for the Chat:

  • Start by introducing yourself, share your location (in your room, in the library, at the cafe?)
  • Use the hashtag #irdl2015chat
  • Use @ replies to address individuals
  • Use answer numbers (A1, A2) to keep thoughts organized
  • Share images, links, video, etc


New Article: Participatory and Transformative Engagement in Libraries and Museums: Exploring and Expanding the Salzburg Curriculum

Honored to have an article in the new issue of the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS)  – special supplement on international issues in LIS education. This work is based on what we did in Salzburg in 2011, lead by R. David Lankes. :-)

Participatory and Transformative Engagement in Libraries and Museums: Exploring and Expanding the Salzburg Curriculum

R. David Lankes, Syracuse University

Michael Stephens, San Jose State University

Melissa Arjona, San Jose State University


During a program titled “Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture,” co-sponsored by the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), one of the discussion groups developed recommendations for skills needed by librarians and museum professionals in today’s connected and participatory world. The group focused on the concepts, knowledge, and processes that both librarians and museum professionals need to understand and know, realizing that participatory culture has ramifications both for traditional functions and emerging skills. The initial framework was an overview. This paper expands on the work started in Salzburg and calls for further discussion. By opening the conversation to the library and museum worlds, it is proposed that the two systems of education and continuing education will experience positive and possibly unexpected synergistic benefits.

Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn – A TTW Guest Post by William Bejarano

As part of Michael Stephens’ Hyperlinked Library course offered through San Jose State University, I reported on the book Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn, by Cathy N. Davidson. We were encouraged to use creative means to convey our reports, so I took the book’s central theme to heart and utilized several free and available web tools to comment across platforms.

Part 1: TameTheWeb – “Introduction”

The main thrust of this book is the notion that we are using outdated criteria to measure our educational progress. This is a crucial idea for information professionals to understand, because it attempts to call our attention to the largely invisible shift in how we find, absorb, and utilize information, which could be changing the very idea of what we consider valuable.

Given that much of the book is dedicated to questioning and possibly dismantling the argument that distractions and periodic attention shifts are a bad thing, I’ve decided to create a distraction-heavy presentation with different points presented on separate formats. If the author is correct in her assessment of how users absorb information, then anyone reading this book report will likely be checking Twitter and Tumblr (among other things) before getting to the end of it anyway. By appearing on all of these platforms, I hope to stay a step or two ahead of you!

(For you traditionalists who prefer to have everything in one place, the entire script is available at the very bottom of this post, in one big text-heavy entry).

Part 2: Screencast – “The Gorilla Illusion”

Part 3: Tumblr – “Distraction as an Asset”

Part 4: Slideshare – “Fighting Gravity”

Part 5: Twitter/Storify – “Using Hyperlinks for Good”

Part 6: Soundcloud – “Conclusion”

BejaranoBioWilliam Bejarano has worked as Information Specialist at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies Library since 2013. Prior to that, he worked in Technical Services at the Rutgers University Libraries for eight years. He holds a Masters in Employment and Labor Relations and will complete his MLIS degree in July 2015. You can email him at [email protected].

Continue reading Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn – A TTW Guest Post by William Bejarano

The tumblarians – a TTW guest post by Tamarack Hockin

The LIS blogosphere is what brought me into librarianship. I was travelling in Tasmania more than a decade ago when I happened upon Jessamyn West’s (still going strong!), and started the discovery process for my own career in libraries. I began spending part of my daily hour at the public terminals reading up on the issues of profession, reflections from practitioners, and linking around within a community of library bloggers. Enter the biblioblogosphere. I have just wrapped up the first semester of my MLIS, and had the amazing opportunity to delve more deeply into the biblioblogosphere in Dr. Michael Stephens’ LIBR200 course. The past few months have been spent constructing some preliminary research into the tumblarians, and considering their place within the existing research on LIS bloggers and information communities. It might be safe to assume that many of TTW’s readers are familiar with the biblioblogosphere since this is an area of special prominence in Michael’s research and many of his past posts.

For those who aren’t familiar, I’ll share here the world’s shortest review on the topic: Beginning in around the early-mid 2000s, LIS bloggers formed an informal online community of practitioners and researchers who shared personal-professional information. This community has been compared to a new form of grey literature for the profession (Powers, 2008), and bloggers themselves identified meaningful benefits from participating in these online conversations (Stephens, 2008). I’ll keep the citations brief, and just sum up the biblioblogosphere as comprising librarians who shared information and reflection on the profession, and who interlinked between one another’s blogs through conversation (e.g., commenting) and endorsement (e.g., blogrolls).

But back to the tumblarians. Who are the tumblarians, what are they doing, and are they an actual community? If the term isn’t new to you, then perhaps you’ve read Tkacik’s piece in The Digital Shift, or Power’s round-up in the Journal of Access Services— or perhaps you yourself are a tumblarian. For myself, I’m lucky enough to know a couple of tumblarians IRL, and was able to supplement this dearth of academic research on the topic by direct conversation. Let me tell you about what I found*. A combination of tumblr (the platform) and librarian, the tumblarians are defined mainly by their use of the hashtag of the same name. Tumblarians share information on diverse topics, but library-related information does take prominence.

I found that the tumblarians bear striking resemblance to LIS bloggers, and may be candidates for inclusion in the same grouping (while the platform is distinct, it shares many similarities with more traditional blogging formats). Like the LIS blogosphere documented in the research, there is a mix of personal and professional information, a community of inter-linking, and topics relevant to the profession are discussed. That said, there are also a lot of quirky animated gifs and pop-culture references. It’s a real mix of social and information. What I find most interesting is the way that this virtual community which is embedded in tumblr and centred around libraries and librarianship, is just that— a community.

My semester long project took place within the context and conversation of Fisher and Durrance’s (2003) information communities, which stressed the ways in which communities form around information needs. Yet it seems there is more than just an information need which leads tumblarians to engage with the blogosphere. Librarianship is deeply rooted in information, and our profession centres on concepts of informational authority, balance, and accuracy. Previous LIS bloggers have described themselves as LIS citizen-journalists who discuss and engage with the issues of the profession. Yet there is editorialising too, and also a lot of irreverent and playful content. The tumblarians especially seem to embrace the social aspects of a blogging community, mixing fandom and research side by side, separated only by their use of hashtags. A blog post (even a long one) is too short a space to get deeply into the issues and themes worthy of real examination. My hope is that I will have more time to follow up with the LIS blogosphere, the tumblarians, and the ways in which librarians and library workers are engaging in discourse about our profession.

We spend so much time with information, but I’m particularly interested in how we’re communicating.By “what I found”, I need to clarify that this was not actual research but findings through informal conversation buttressed by conceptual frameworks. Hence my using the term “preliminary” to characterise my research project.

See also, References Fischer, K. E., & Durrance, J. C. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen & D. Levinson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World.

Powers, A. C. (2008). Social networking as ethical discourse: Blogging a practical and normative library ethic. Journal of Library Administration, 47(3-4), 191-209. S

tephens, M. (2008). The pragmatic biblioblogger: Examining the motivations and observations of early adopter librarian bloggers. Internet Reference Services Quarterly 13(4), 311–345.


photo cc by-nc-sa KylerStorm[Flickr]Tamarack Hockin is in the first year of her MLIS at San Jose State University, and has been a library technician for six years working in Canadian public libraries. Find her wry humour on twitter @tamahoc, or contact her to talk libraries, anytime, via

Thanks Arizona!



Thanks to all who attended my talks in Arizona on Friday and Monday. What a wonderful group of library folk. I am looking forward to returning in November for AzLA in Flagstaff.

Slide downloads are below:

May 29, 2015: Learning Everywhere: The Transformative Power of Hyperlinked Libraries, Prescott Valley, Arizona, for the Arizona Library Association  SLIDES:

June 1, 2015: Trends & Technologies Update, Phoenix Public Library,  for the Arizona State Library:

Thanks Florida Library Webinars!

2014-11-19_1416370136Just finished recording a webinar for the good folks in Florida.

The slides are here:

Some Links from Office Hours that were used in the talk:

A Genius Idea:

In the Moment:

Library as Classroom:

Holding Us Back:

Infinite Learning:

Learning to Learn:

Mobile at the Library:

Reflective Practice: