Mobile and Web technologies are creating a world of everywhere and anytime learning opportunities, and libraries can play a key role in this future. Imagine the emerging hyperlinked library as an active creation space, magnetic community space, new tools and resources space— a practical anything space. Imagine this library available everywhere and at anytime via mobile devices and tablets. How will services change? What training, skills, and support will staff require? What does this future look like going forward as we encourage “edgeless” learning as a means for transformative change for ourselves and for our users?
Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University, will explore the culture of “Learning Always” and the emerging models of connected, open, and free instructional environments that offer great potential for staff and the public. Can we support students of all kinds in Massive Open Online Courses? Can we create spaces in our institutions for discovery, play and knowledge creation? What’s the potential for professional development and lifelong learning when courses can be designed to present the latest from the best of the best in every discipline and offer experiences and exploration anywhere and anytime? This session will explore the creative ideas and thinking behind the momentum toward learning everywhere, and how our libraries can be at the forefront for supporting and taking advantage of this new learning culture.
Biography ~ Michael Stephens
Dr. Michael Stephens is Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. He was the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar in Australia, consulted and presented for US Embassies in Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey, and presents to both national and international audiences about emerging technologies, learning, innovation, and libraries. Since 2010, Dr. Stephens has written the monthly column “Office Hours” for Library Journal exploring the issues, ideas, and emerging trends in library and information science education. To review Dr. Stephen’s archive of work, visit his Tame the Web website and blog http://tametheweb.com.
The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Library and Information Science was recently granted reaccreditation by the American Library Association (ALA). The school’s MLIS program has been continuously accredited by ALA since 1969, and the recent decision by ALA extends the program’s full accreditation another seven years, through 2021.
“We are elated to receive full reaccreditation from ALA,” said Dr. Sandra Hirsh, director of the SJSU information school. “Over the past year, our faculty and staff have worked extremely hard to demonstrate our adherence to ALA standards and represent the excellence of our MLIS program. I am grateful to everyone who played a role in the reaccreditation process.”
Hirsh also noted that the school’s MLIS program was the first exclusively online master’s program to undergo ALA reaccreditation. According to Hirsh, during the reaccreditation process, “we were able to demonstrate our school’s technology-rich, collaborative online learning environment.” Members of ALA’s external review panel explored online courses and interacted virtually with students and faculty, as panelists reviewed the program.
Every seven years, all ALA-accredited library and information science master’s programs must be reaccredited. The reaccreditation process for the MLIS program at the SJSU information school took more than a year, including submission of an extensive written report to ALA in January 2014, a site visit during March 2014 by a six-member external review panel, and a meeting with ALA committee members in June 2014.
The school’s students, alumni, and advisory board members, as well as employers of MLIS program alumni, were instrumental in the reaccreditation process. “Many individuals stepped forward, participating in interviews with the external review panel and providing information we included in our written report,” said Hirsh. “We value their contributions.”
According to the report from the ALA external review panel, the school’s students and alumni “are enthusiastic about both the program’s offerings and their choice of careers. They spoke warmly of the access that they have to the faculty, of their capacity to collaborate with colleagues, and of the support that they receive from the school’s staff.”
In their report, the panel also noted the commitment of the school’s faculty members “to adopting and promoting innovative online teaching and integrating technology into distance education.”
The ALA Committee on Accreditation made the decision to grant reaccreditation for the maximum possible term of seven years to the school’s MLIS program on June 29, 2014. The next comprehensive review of the school’s MLIS program by ALA is scheduled for 2021.
- See more at: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/about-slis/news/detail/master%E2%80%99s-program-san-jose-state-university-reaccredited-american-library#sthash.B9WjKBmf.dpuf
We’re delighted to announce that Smithsonian thought leader and digital strategist Michael Edson has agreed to give the opening keynote at Internet Librarian International in London this October.
The Dark Matter of the Internet
According to Michael, history is defined by periods in which we thought we had a pretty good idea of what was going on, punctuated by brief moments when we realised we really didn’t have a clue – we’re going through one of those moments right now, and it’s all wrapped up with the internet and scale. Like dark matter, the internet has a force, a mass, and a capability that is often unseen or undetected. For today’s organisations, success comes down to how well we harness the dark matter of the internet and the collaborative, social, peer-to-peer and read/write opportunities it presents. Join us to hear Michael’s thoughts on how the internet’s dark matter is the future of our libraries and information environments.
At the forefront of digital transformation in the cultural sector, Michael Edson has worked on numerous award-winning projects and has been involved in practically every aspect of technology and New Media for museums. He helped create the Smithsonian’s first blog, Eye Level; the first alternative reality game to take place in a museum, Ghost of a Chance; and he leads the development of the Smithsonian’s first Web and New Media Strategy. Michael serves on the Open Knowledge Foundation’s OpenGLAM advisory board and was a member of the National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works” task force, which mapped the relationship between the arts and the quality of life in American communities. Michael is an O’Reilly Foo Camp veteran and was named a Tech Titan: Person to Watch by Washingtonian magazine.
I’d argue that our libraries of all kinds also serve as creative classrooms, supporting learners by employing the building blocks mentioned above. Just explore some of the notable examples of academic, public, and K-12 library spaces shared here in LJ over the past few months. You’ll find community learning spaces that help people achieve, game-focused initiatives that make the library a laboratory for exploration, creation zones with requisite digital and 3-D hardware for building things, and potentially endless opportunities to connect virtually with people worldwide.
The Value of Public Libraries – Telling Our Stories – Video Initiative
Chatham-Kent Public Library is celebrating Ontario Seniors Month with the release of a very special video. This video features Una Miklos, a Blenheim Senior who describes the important role libraries have played in her life. The public library is a lifelong resource for members of the community. Chatham Kent Public Library staff will debut this video at the Municipal Council meeting on Monday, June 9 2014.
This video is part of a series that Chatham-Kent Public Library will be launching this year recognizing and celebrating all populations who use our resources and our space. Videos will be uploaded to the YouTube channel: The Value of Libraries – Telling Our Stories. Stay tuned for more great stories from our patrons!
Chatham-Kent Public Library invites community members to create and submit their own videos featuring stories about libraries making a difference in their lives and communities. This initiative will celebrate libraries as places to share and grow with others, to build communities, and make connections. The videos will provide testimonials as to the benefits libraries offer and raise the profile of libraries in our communities.
Chatham-Kent Public Library would like to help build a strong network of library supporters by gathering messages that can be shared and used by libraries and community members alike.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are gaining in popularity as another tool in the expanding field of learning technologies. At the same time, the librarian’s role is being redefined as many move from traditional reference and instruction roles to offering more integrated and embedded information services, whether via subject-specific or general expertise. What opportunities do MOOCs offer for librarians, and how can librarians adapt to and take advantage of the opportunities offered by this new platform? In this panel discussion, three MOOC practitioners will discuss where librarians can “fit” as embedded learners, connectors and collaborators within the MOOC learning environment. Q & A to follow.Program Take-Aways
Participants will gain an understanding of what MOOCs are, what they offer, and how they compare to traditional methods of instruction.
Participants will learn a variety of roles that information professionals can play within MOOCs based on research and the experience of presenters as MOOC teachers, facilitators and students.
Participants will have the chance to ask questions of presenters to more concretely link the proposed roles with their individual experiences with MOOCs.
A big AHA! moment about 21st century participatory librarianship came from an unlikely source: a book about ancient pueblos of the American southwest. The author observed that each pueblo was comprised of a collection of living spaces surrounding a large common area – first, the Great Kiva, and later, the plaza. Every living space faced into this common area, which was the hub of pueblo life and ceremony, because, as the author noted, every community needs a center (Scully, 1988).
That’s it! I thought.That’s the 21st century library. The 21st century library is some combination of physical and virtual space that serves as the hub of its community. It is the community’s place to participate in, contribute to, and experience conversation, information exchange, companionship, debate, leisure, entertainment, shared history, and yes, even ceremony. Stephens (2011) argues that library school programs should teach future librarians to create such spaces for constituents to gather and collaborate – not just to work on their own projects but to collaborate on the library’s content as well.
The identity of a 21st century library can and should be as unique as its community. Rather than limiting itself to building a standard collection, the library can be a place where community members contribute to the creation of a local collection of their most unique things (Stephens, 2011). This is being done at the DOK Library in the Netherlands, for example (Boekesteijn, 2011), where patrons are not merely users but also collection builders, adding their own photos, personal stories, town memories, and even recipes to the library’s material.
How wonderful that, for the first time in hundreds of years, a non-commercial space can once again be the epicenter of its community. Not the downtown shopping district. Not the mall. The library is not trying to sell anything; it is just trying to be. To be the place where everyone interacts, where everyone feels at home, where everyone can contribute, and where everyone feels they are right at the heart of things – even if it is by Internet connection. The library as 21st century pueblo.
Paul Kaidy Barrows is a MLIS candidate at San Jose State University. A web and information services professional for more than a dozen years, his passion is empowering seekers and learners through technology and education.
Context Book Assignment: Net Smart: How to Thrive Online
Critics of modern social media and our emerging hyperlinked culture are abundant. So are cheerleaders and utopians, who praise the potential of new media and our always-on, always-connected, society.
Critics warn us that Google might be “making us stupid,” as Nicholas Carr put it. They wonder, as Sherry Turkle has, “Why do we expect more from technology and less from each other?” They worry that we are becoming overloaded with information, unable to focus on sustained chains of reasoning, and “driven to distraction.” They express concern at the tendency for Facebook to make us depressed. They point out that—like junk food, pornography or drugs—the Internet has a great potential to be addictive. Critics often emphasize that the Internet has become over commercialized and is robbing us of our privacy.
At the other extreme are the cheerleaders. Excited by the possibilities that the Internet has created, these cheerleaders are often guilty of wishful thinking that leads to vast exaggeration of Web 2.0′s possibilities. They see it as overturning existing government and business hierarchies, flattening the world, and doing away with the necessity for information authorities and taxonomies. They emphasize its “power of organizing without organizations.” On the extreme edge of this utopian realm of modern communications, are those who see us evolving into an eventual “singularity” with our digital devices—where artificial intelligence will allow us to escape the limitations of our biological bodies.
Until I read Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, I thought its author, Howard Rheingold, was a cheerleader. He is often credited with inventing the term “virtual community,” was advocating for the power of computer networks to create new forms of community long before the World Wide Web was invented, and has long toyed with the idea that computer technology can enhance our ability to work cooperatively and amplify our creativity.
However, in this book, Rheingold’s position is much more nuanced, and indeed helpful, than that of either the critics or the cheerleaders. His goal is to help us use social media well. He sees its potential to do tremendous good. He recognizes the legitimacy of many of the critics, but wants to figure out how to overcome these challenges, rather than simply give up in the face of the problems the critics identify. He wants us all to use the Internet mindfully and wisely, so that we are each able to expand our own personal potentials and at the same time unleash collaborative efforts that could enrich all of our lives.
Rheingold’s thesis is that the Internet can make us either smart, or stupid. It can help us build communities, or isolate us. It can be a great way to learn, or an unproductive waste of time. It depends on how we use it.
The author proposes to show us five key information literacies that are essential to this task. He gives each of these literacy skills a full chapter. The five literacies are:
1. Attention. In my view this is the most important chapter in the book. Attention is a skill that can be trained. Social media can be incredibly distracting. But we can take a “meta-cognitive” approach to it: Paying careful attention to exactly how we are deploying our attention. (Yes, I do mean to say “paying attention to attention.”)
Should we be clicking on the Facebook icon? Or would our attention be more skillfully used in continuing to write a report for our boss?
The answer to such a question is not always obvious. Here is a similar choice: Perhaps you are doing a Google search. Several of the results have nothing to do with the subject matter that you were researching. Should you avoid them? Maybe. Chances are it would be a waste of time to focus your attention on something that isn’t the question at hand. However, it is also possible that serendipity will lead you to uncover something new that you can use in a different context. Yes, answers to questions like this are not formulaic, therefore the point is that you will be better able to make such choices if you are paying careful attention to where your mind is focused—rather than drifting from link to link in a trance-like, mindless, manner.
Similarly, should you be focused on your Smart Phone or watching your kid play soccer? It may depend of the circumstances. Taking a mindful approach, being aware that you are a faced with a choice, and choosing consciously, is a skill that can be learned.
Anyone who has ever tried meditating discovers that their “brain has a mind of its own.” The essence of mindfulness meditation is sitting quietly and paying attention to your thoughts. The most common technique involves focusing on your breath. Almost immediately, your mind will wander off from your breathing. You practice, over-and-over, bringing your attention gently back to your breath. With extended practice, your brain becomes much more able to pay attention, and your mind becomes much more aware of what it is doing. Emerging evidence from neuroscience may confirm that practicing meditation increases our attentive skills.
This kind of meditative practice is one of many suggestions Rheingold makes in this chapter. Most of his tips are similar in that they teach you “to be aware of being aware” and to pay attention, while using social media. They help you to be intentional about your focus, instead of drifting. He also points out that trying to multitask is almost always futile because the attentional energy, in switching rapidly from one task to another, comes at a cost of lost focus and increased cognitive effort.
2. Crap Detection. This chapter will probably be the most familiar to librarians. It is about effectively seeking accurate information on the Internet. He discusses how to sort out true from false or misleading information. Again, he circles back to the subject of attention, advising readers to learn to use disciplined attention while focusing on their many sources of information, and to make sure that their attention is where they intend it to be while digesting information
3. Participation. Rheingold puts a lot of emphasis on knowing how to actively participate in web culture, rather than just passively consuming web content. He says that, “Every PC as well as smart phone is a printing press, broadcasting station, political organizing tool, and site for growing a community or marketplace” (p. 249). Knowledge of how to participate in this arena, which is still in the process of emerging, will be a key form of literacy in the future. He discusses a range of participatory activities—from simply tagging or “liking,” all the way up to curating, blogging or community organizing.
Rheingold emphasizes that this kind of participation is both personally rewarding as well as contributory to the common good. He has a number of tips for being aware of your risks (to privacy, for example) and your impact on others as you participate in online activities. He is aware of the capacity of the profit motive to skew online motivations and warns that you may think you are just playing online, but someone else could be growing rich from your actions by harvesting information about your choices.
4. Collaboration. This chapter discusses emerging technologies and activities that encourage coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Subjects such as crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, virtual communities, non-market social production (for example open source software), and collective intelligence, are discussed. Again this is a chapter that is directly relevant to many of the ideas that we have discussed concerning creating hyperlinked libraries.
5. Network Smarts. This chapter is about how to participate wisely and effectively in networks. The author discusses academic theories about how human beings have participated in networks, and how this has affected our evolutionary development. Even though modern social media has roots going back to the dawn of our species, modern communications technology expands this and creates new types of relationships among people with innovative social possibilities. Rheingold shows us how to bond, how to build social capital and how to enable reciprocity in these new networks. He advises us how to expand interpersonal trust and form bridges that interconnect people from diverse networks. He places a lot of emphasis on contributing. “Paying it forward,” is a key factor in effective individual participation in networked culture.
Again he also warns about the risks. He understands the necessity of paying careful attention to what you are sharing. He wants us to be mindful about protecting our individual privacy and the privacy of others.
Relevance to Libraries and the Hyperlinked Library Model
This is just a taste of the rewarding banquet available to readers of this book. What can libraries and librarians learn here that is applicable to their work?
First, the book has a lot to say about concepts familiar to readers of TTW: Participation, community, the web as a platform, emerging technologies, social information and knowledge production and so forth. It could easily be used as a text or supplementary reading for a course on the hyperlinked library model. It is filled with valuable references and sources that every emerging hyperlinked librarian would find useful. The author knows his stuff. He has taught, lectured and written on these subjects since the dawn of the Internet. In addition, he has interviewed many leading experts on the topics he discusses. He shares that knowledge.
Second, Rheingold has provided librarians with a useful road map to life in the hyperlinked world. I think this map should be added the standard information literacy curriculum. What could be more important to today’s students than learning how to be “net smart?” I think we already make many efforts in this regard, especially concerning what he calls “crap-detection.” But his notions on participation, collaboration and networking, would provide much useful material for information literacy instruction. His understanding of how mindfulness and attention skills interact with these topics is of great value. All of the skills he discusses could be adapted to make valuable additions to library instruction, from the elementary level through college.
Finally, I think this book is a goldmine of useful ideas for librarians looking for ways to expand and improve upon the practice of their craft as information intermediaries. Furthermore, Rheingold does not merely teach specific skills useful to librarians who want to better understand these emerging technologies, he has suggestions about how to build your own learning techniques and personal learning networks, so that you can stay on top of this rapidly changing world as the future unfolds.
In short, if you are finding this course to be useful, and think that librarians should know more about the ideas presented by Michael Stephen’s in The Hyperlinked Library, then I am sure you will feel similarly stimulated and inspired by this book.
As an additional treat, the book is accompanied by occasional drawings by Anthony Weeks. Weeks commendably summarizes some of the main points that the author is making.
Here is an example:
Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: How to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Bob Lucore is a student in the School of Library and Information Science at San José State University, where he works as a graduate assistant maintaining the School’s Drupal-based web site. For 25 years he worked as an economist, teaching at Colorado State University and Centre College and working for various labor organizations, before serving as Director of Research and Policy for the United American Nurses. He blogs on library issues at Attentive Librarian and on economic and public policy issues for Americans for Democratic Action.
Warren Cheetham’s final report and presentation about his 2013 VALA Travel Scholarship to the USA, to investigate libraries and broadband internet, is now publicly available. The report was presented at the VALA Library conference in Melbourne earlier this year.
This page has links to the written report and a video of the conference presentation. The page linking to the paper seems to indicate that it’s not available yet, but scroll to the bottom and accept the terms and conditions to access the paper. The video link requires a name and email to register, but it should then play right away.
I was honored to host Warren for 16 hours when he arrived in the US and we had a lively conversation about his project and libraries around the #evening fire. If you are interested in his experiences and insights touring the US – Champaign-Urbana, Chattanooga, Chicago & Washington DC – take a look at the paper and the video.