Join the conversation: http://tametheweb.com/2011/10/
Join the conversation: http://tametheweb.com/2011/10/
I’ve been looking forward to this session – focused on how we teach future library and museum professionals.
First up, David Lankes, Professor, Director, Masters in Library and Information Science, Syracuse University, School of Information Studies, Syracuse, New York, explored this statement: The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. He posited that knowledge is creation through conversation. I really appreciate his idea of focusing more on the librarian not the library – fascinating!
Consider this quote from Lankes: “Why showcase culture if we are not enabling conversations about that culture?”
For more see: http://www.newlibrarianship.org/wordpress/
Nest up was Kidong Bae, ICOM chair of the National Committee of Korea; former President of the Korean Museum Association; Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology, Hanyang University; Director of the Jeongok Prehistory Museum, Gyounggy Province; Seoul, South Korea. He presented thoughts on the changing nature of museums in Korea in relation to social changes. The nature of communication is changing with the impact of participation and sharing. He posited the mission of the modern museum: Communication for all without any barriers between groups and individuals.
Deirdre Prins-Solani, Chair, AFRICOM; Director, Center for Heritage Development in Africa, Mombasa, Kenya, chose to do a bit of storytelling as a means to frame her remarks about the skills needed for museum professionals. She recalled a childhood where she was not allowed to visit museums – she called these “forbidden places.” I got caught up in her stories and found them telling and demonstrative of how important it is to understand the complexities of culture. Notable quote: “We live here but belong to something bigger,” is something museum professionals should understand about the nature of communication technologies in the 21st Century. “Technology can be used as a problem solver.” It can change the way people live. “We should stop deferring our dreams.”
I can’t hep but think of a couple of columns I wrote last year that generated a lot of discussion. Sometimes I think we retain focus on skills and concepts that might not serve our future library leaders. From “Can We Handle The Truth:”
End the disconnect between some LIS schools and the libraries in their institutions. Instead, LIS schools should partner with their institutions’ libraries to form learning laboratories. Professors, librarians, and students must work together to create new models of service and outreach. These models are evaluated and tweaked, and effective practice is reported to the greater community.
Replace “bibliographic instruction” with multichannel delivery (in person, online, at the point of need) of the basics and advanced steps for research. LIS students should learn fewer “subject of the week” resources and focus more on process, critical thinking, and workflow. It’s not just “five databases for finding articles” but social networks and alternative information streams as well.
Increase the value of students’ own personal learning network—they probably have one and don’t even know it. Use Facebook and other info streams to match up similarly focused undergrads and grads to enhance their learning and sharing—and feed into the research process.
Expand liaison programs, where the librarian is housed in the discipline’s school—visible, vocal, and active with faculty. While much current LIS education can prepare people for this, these embedded librarians will also need other skills focused on communication, the specific discipline, and research methods/support.
The library building itself becomes the Commons—as per Georgia Tech and Loyola—where support, technology, and space inspire student creativity. LIS schools must offer coursework devoted to planning, implementing, and evaluating the commons both physically and virtually.
And from “Stuck in the Past:”
It’s not out of the question to imagine these service models based on community enrichment and building connections. We need a course in library school devoted to teaching people to build spaces both physical and virtual for constituents to come together. We need to prioritize marketing and branding these spaces and services consistently. Doing so will help us in creating, maintaining, and evaluating the Information Commons. The Commons, a vital part of what our spaces can be, is strengthened by each person who makes use of it. The Digital Media Lab at Skokie Public Library, IL, is a perfect example of space devoted to content creation for users. Take a look at “My Family’s History” to see what’s possible (bit.ly/h0PyLw).
All of these examples point toward a future work environment for library and museum professionals that breaks down the walls of the institutions and emphasize skills based on conversation and participation. Technology is just one part. Heart and humanity should be at the core.
Join the conversation: http://tametheweb.com/2011/10/
Noha Adly, Deputy Head, ICT Sector, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt, explored various technologies in use at her library as well as by some insights about the way people are interacting with technology and information. Key areas of importance: search beyond text, user interaction with devices and data, and new representations of data. She also called for an increase in tools that enhance and enable multilingualism for search and retrieval. A favorite quote: should we provide an “Invitation to spoil the catalog” with user input! – love this idea. Also – library is building a digital archive of Egyptian Revolution: +230K images, +2,8M tweets, videos, FB pages
Susan Hazan, Curator of New Media and Head of Internet Office, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, entitled her talk “Crown Sourcing R Us,” and polled the group about their own institutions and if they involve the public in crowd sourcing. She offered some great examples of crowd-sourcing, including
Outstanding examples of involving users!
(Photo by Dr. David Lankes: http://twitter.com/#!/rdlankes/status/127290138190548992/photo/1)
Rob Stein blogs from the Seminar three questions for consideration:
1. How can museums aid in addressing the socio-economic consequences of a widening technology gap?
A number of participants spoke eloquently about the social and economic consequences that impact marginalized communities who lack the same easy-access to technology that many of us take for granted. This lack of access means a lack of opportunity to engage with the cultural evolutions of content produced online and critical dialogs taking place on blogs, twitter and cultural websites. The prevalence of information access is contributing to a changing set of skills and digital media literacy that cannot be replaced by other means. The ability to sift, process, remix, and reformulate thoughts and critical argument is – quite specifically – a new form of literacy that will increasingly determine the opportunities and inclusion afforded to the privileged.
This fact has been well documented in the literature, and for those of you eager to learn more, I would recommend reading Henry Jenkins’ work – particularly his white-paper on “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” (PDF).
New to me, was the realization that addressing the technology gap only delays the problem until the next disruptive technology arrives. While we don’t yet know what that technology is, it’s a safe bet that the privileged among us will have access to it before many in our local communities do.
Since museums, and art museums in particular, posses such rich collections of artifacts, media, and artistic communication, are there ways that we can use those assets to address the underlying issues of media literacy? This opportunity further reinforces the value of museums’ existing efforts to build critical thinking skills into a wide range of programming efforts. Addressing the root skills at the heart of digital media literacy can work alongside efforts to provide comprehensive digital access to begin to positively impact and bridge that gap.
Don’t miss the whole post!
I’m part of the Communication & Technology plenary this morning. My slides are here:
I’m planning to talk briefly about the four areas of technology/trends and how participation from community of users can enhance information environments, library service and our interactions with each other.
Highlights from case studies from around the globe during this evening’s fireside chat:
Catalina Escobar, Director of Makaia, a non profit working with libraries, Medelli?n, Colombia:
Implementing SMS notifications for circulation messages and general messages has been useful, but has presented some challenges. These include the perception that emails from the library are like spam and purchasing set allotments of text that sometimes run out before the end of the year.
Digital heritage – gathering histories, scanning documents and more for sharing online – is an important consideration for future services. Library also did outreach and invited people to bring in their documents and photos for digitize ton. Creative Commons licenses are added to all.
From May Pagsinohin, Executive Director, Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology, Marikina City, Philippines:
An fascinating case study about natural disasters and museums. The Science Center was hit by a typhoon and five staff were trapped inside for 18 hours. May said the damage was disheartening but she decided to push her mental “reset” button and set about recovery. Rebuilding, fundraising and bringing the community together were top priorities.
From Anupam Sah, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Formerly
Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Mumbai, India:
The museum opened up an opportunity for people to display their personal collections in museum space. Folks could even co-curate their objects with museum staff!
“Old Town Project” – an historic section of the city will get an interpretation center. The process includes updating infrastructure and conserving the monasteries. People work on the project to build up the old town. This is another form of storytelling within the community.
My words above don’t capture the emotion conveyed by our speakers or the excitement in the room as these stories played out. This is a benefit of this kind of meeting: that global perspective not found in many conferences is shared in the form of personal stories. A common word of all three stories? One audience member pointed out it was “passion” – bring beliefs to our work.
Do you have passion for your work? Can you tell the story of your institution with passion?
Dr. David Lankes carried this thought a step further – how can we unlock the passion in our community?
Amidst all the dynamic discussion and work, it’s a pleasant surprise to wish San Francisco City Librarian Luis Herrera a Happy Birthday during our evening meal in the Schloss.
Happy Birthday, Luis!
Note from Michael : I am honored to have written over two years of The Transparent Library with Michael Casey. I am pleased he took me up on an offer to do a guest post about participatory service for the Salzburg Global Seminar week. I asked him to explore where we’ve come from 2005 and where we are headed. This was the topic of a blog he started in 2005 and a book he co-authored in 2007. But the world has changed a great deal since 2005. Perhaps the biggest change has been that of the economy derailing many initiatives and services in public libraries. In the end, however, I think you will see that Michael still has a lot of optimism regarding the strong future of public libraries, especially those that embrace a participatory service model.
Participatory library services have come a long way over the past six years. You don’t have to look far to see libraries participating in social media outlets, interacting with their community through blogs and SMS, and polling their users with online surveying tools. Entire industries have grown up around the idea of the participatory library, just take a look at Springshare.
We see many great examples of public libraries using services like Facebook to reach out to, and engage, their community. The New York Public Library has almost 42,000 Facebook fans, Hennepin almost 6,000. Many other libraries around the world have created a presence on Facebook.
But in those two examples, as in so many other library Facebook pages, you see some interaction between the library and the individual library user, but most of what you see is one-way. Most library Facebook pages are used for announcements and events notification, not true communication.
Yet this is just one example. Take a look at the Blogging Libraries Wiki and click through to a few library blogs. Many of them are no longer active. Others are gone and the URL simply redirects to the library’s homepage. And when was the last time your local library sent you a survey link that asked you for your ideas? For many of you, the answer is either “never” or “not for a few years”.
Over the past six years we’ve seen and heard a lot of push-back regarding the use of new social tools in the library. One quote that comes to mind is from 2007, “Right now people are enamored of blogs and wikis and Facebook and this sort of thing. But that’s this year’s set of technology. Five years from now we’ll be talking about a whole different set of things.”
Ironically, the world still uses those same tools today. The only difference is that in late 2007 there were 50 million active Facebook users, today there are over 800 million.
So with this huge audience available to us, why haven’t we made greater use of the tools at hand? Why haven’t we moved beyond the idea of just talking to our community to actually engaging them? Or, to quote Tim O’Reilly, “How do we get beyond the idea that participation means “public input” (shaking the vending machine to get more or better services out of it), and over to the idea that it means government building frameworks that enable people to build new services of their own?”
The participatory library is open and transparent, and it communicates with its community through many mechanisms. The participatory library engages and queries its entire community and seeks to integrate them into the structure of change. The community should be involved in the brainstorming for new ideas and services, they should play a role in planning for those services, and they should definitely be involved in the evaluation and review process.
These are not new ideas. I put them to paper in my 2007 book. Some critics of that book argued that libraries have been doing these things for ages. I wish I could say I agree.
The economic downturn has created very difficult times for libraries in this country. We’ve seen many public libraries struggling to stay open and remain relevant in their community. Many libraries have had to reduce hours and lay-off staff. Some have reached out to their communities, not only for short-term help in raising badly needed cash, but also for long-term help with planning.
The importance of this participation cannot be overstated, especially in these difficult economic times. Taxpayers are more and more reluctant to part with any percentage of their diminishing paychecks. Getting them to participate, at any level, will go a long way towards gaining their buy-in.
With limited resources, public libraries need to struggle for every dollar, and with limited tax revenue, funding agencies will part reluctantly with every dollar. It’s up to the library to be heard, to get its community of supporters to be heard. When faced with the question of who to cut, those funding agencies must know that a cut to the local public library can not be done quietly Public libraries are a core and critical resource in the community, and public library supporters are vocal and they vote.
Take a look around your library. Is there someone in charge of your social networking presence? Better yet, do you have a group of librarians charged with reaching out on Facebook and Twitter and, soon perhaps , Google+? You take reference questions over the phone and via text, why not through those other social outlets? And how are you involving those Facebook fans in your library’s planning process? Are you asking them to participate?
Your library’s blog may be shuttered for good reason — maybe your Facebook page has far more readers. Or, perhaps your blog went dormant simply because you didn’t assign someone (or some group) with the responsibility to keep it going. Whatever the case, spend a little bit of time reexamining all of the ways you’re reaching out to your community and reallocate resources in order to most efficiently talk to, and talk with, that community.
There are far more tools available to us today than there were in 2005. And our communities have grown over these past six years. Kids and adults of all ages are now far more involved and engaged through social networking outlets. The ideas of participation and transparency are no longer new — many in our community now expect these things as a standard part of organizational operations. By taking advantage of those available tools you may find that renewed efforts by your library are met with much greater success today than ever before.
It’s far from the end for public libraries. It’s easy, in these tough times, to only listen to the naysayers and prognosticators of doom, to only hear those in our community calling for the elimination of libraries. But limited tax revenues, the Internet, and eBooks are not burying the public library. Limited tax revenues will force us to become more efficient, the Internet is part of our future, and eBooks are simply another delivery vehicle. We control this future, and we can make it a successful one by making full use of the tools at hand.
As part of the process here at the seminar, participants self-selected into five working groups based on the identified key areas of the topic. Each group is responsible for producing a set of recommendations for each area articulating a plan for the future of museums and libraries.
1. CULTURE AND COMMUNITIES
FACILITATOR: Jack Lohman, Director, Museum of London, United Kingdom
2. LEARNING TRANSFORMED
FACILITATORS: Michelle Hippolite, Kaihaut?, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand & Sirje Virkus, Director, Digital Library Learning, Institute of Information Studies, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia
3. COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY
FACILITATOR: Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Libraian, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, United Kingdom
4. BUILDING THE SKILLS OF LIBRARY AND MUSEUM PROFESSIONALS
FACILITATOR: David Lankes, Professor, Director, Masters in Library and Information Science, Syracuse University, School of Information Studies, Syracuse, United States
5. DEMONSTRATING PUBLIC VALUE
FACILITATOR: Luis Herrera, Director, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, United States
Saturday morning, each group will present their report for feedback and discussion.
Learning Transformed: Technology, advances in neuroscience, and research are changing our understanding of effective learning environments and experiences. The boundaries between in-school and out-of-school learning are blurring, and the importance of early and lifelong learning has been recognized. What knowledge and skills do our publics need and want, and how are museums and libraries responding to these needs? How do libraries and museums tap the knowledge and skills that their publics can bring to their institutions?
The next plenary session was centered on Learning Transformed. Pablo Andrade, Studies Department Manager BiblioRedes, DIBAM, Santiago, Chile, opened the session with a presentation on participatory management mechanisms and the thriving virtual community created for residents of Chile. A key phrase impressed me in the video above about the community Andrade shared: “community of local content.”
Elaine Heumann Gurian, Consultant/Advisor to Museums in the US, then shared some ideas about education reform. Sharing examples that exists “under the radar” in schools across the US, Gurian forecasted six elements of a future landscape of learning:
Incremental content instruction
Group problem solving
Individual chosen in depth mastery (we all become experts)
Skills proficiency (working with hands)
“In the future it will take a village to raise AND educate a child,” she said and it also will include libraries and museums playing a role as extenders of the learning process. Services become disaggregated as a result of technology and other cultural changes.