This book was a very easy read about a subject that is not intuitive to me being a digital immigrant. I appreciate that the book has chosen a broad audience to address that includes parents, educators, and librarians— to create a conversation between all those who have high stakes in dealing with the changing needs of the digital native population. The idea of creating a dialogue between parents and their children, educators and their students, librarians and their users, was a strong point throughout the book and reiterated in the synthesis, “…this book is an invitation to conversation. It’s an invitation sent out especially to parents and teachers of DigitalNatives and would-be Digital Natives” (274).
I think libraries would make an excellent place to “…make space for students, parents, and teachers to educate one another about what’s going on in cyberspace and to explore together ways to mitigate the risks that online life brings with it” (102). The book highlights many of the same topics as this course, which compliments my feeling this week that “the virtual world complements and extends the offline social sphere” (25).
The world is becoming more interconnected, and more interrelated. Library space is changing since cyberspace can, and often is, accessed there. This means there needs to be information on topics that include cyberbullying, privacy, online safety, intellectual property rights, accessing quality information versus the quantity of information that can be found on the Internet and how to battle information overload. “Digital literacy is increasingly a critical skill for Digital Natives to learn. We are not yet doing what we can, or even what we need to do, to teach Digital Natives to be media literate in this new, more complex information environment” (181).
The way Digital Natives are interacting with information is changing rapidly. Librarians need to stay educated—be aware of the technology so the conversations/education seminars are relevant to Digital Natives. “This participatory digital environment requires all of us to become more media literate” (128). “We ignore the social norms of DigitalNatives at our peril” (148). “Those who come to understand the dynamics of information production in the digital era will be better prepared than anyone else to thrive in the integrated digital world. And the best way to learn these dynamics is to participate in information production directly” (159).
Use older Digital Natives to stay informed and current on how to engage Digital Natives—to create a community-based solution to the complex and continually evolving issues created by new information and technologies. “Tap into—and celebrate—the creativity of the DigitalNatives to help solve the problem” (105). “And it is Digital Natives who are best poised to engage in this process” (125).
Digital Natives are creative—the library must also be creative in ways to educate and engage them. “What stands out to us is…the extent to which this creativity represent an opportunity for learning, personal expression, individual autonomy, and political change” (113). AllowDigital Natives to “control the shaping of culture, the making of ‘meaning’” for the way they use the library (125). “Digital Natives presuppose their role as shapers of culture…information diversity, with greater participation by young people, is a positive development that we believe will be good for the long-term health of our society” (126). Allow them to navigate and interface with the library using their mental maps—and new ways of how libraries can be relevant to them could be developed—and ultimately they could create new terrain within society through this exploration and application of their critical thinking skills. “The way that many young people are using information technologies is changing the way the world works. We don’t yet know the full impact of these changes, but we know that they are profound and will alter all manner of dynamics over the coming decades, if not centuries and beyond” (287).
Located within the university’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), the center is in the process of building an historical collection of the best children’s and young adult literature from around the world, as well new books submitted by publishers, and additional titles selected as resources for teachers and librarians.
The center, which seeks to serve educators, scholars, researchers, librarians, teachers, and parents–also plans to host a Website of literature-based resources for librarians, teachers, and parents, providing access to theInternational Children’s Digital Library, and serving as a permanent home for the Children’s Reading Round Table of Chicago.
GSLIS was established in 1930 and is one of the largest master’s degree programs in the country. The American Library Association-accredited school boasts four full-time faculty with expertise in children’s and young adults’ literature.
The center is funded in part through the Butler Family Foundation and is a partnership between the GSLIS, the School of Education, and the Rebecca Crown Library.
In Michael’s Library 2.0 class, I had the opportunity to read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and I wrote up the lessons I thought libraries could take from it as they seek to better themselves in a Library 2.0 world. Here’s the condensed, bloggy version of what I took away.
Lesson one: The Aeron chair. This chair was break aesthetically from how office chairs had always looked, but despite some initial outside skepticism, the design team persevered because they knew they had created a great project; the chair came to be the company’s biggest seller. Similarly for libraries, it is important not to reject ideas for fear of disruption or anything being different. Maybe people will grumble about a new website design at first because the way they’ve always gotten to things isn’t there now. But if it adds more features, allows for more interactivity, gets captured better by search engines, etc., dealing with some short-term uncertainty is ok. You set yourself up for more long term success.
Lesson two: New Coke. The disaster that was New Coke came about in large part because Coca-Cola designed it to do well in taste tests where it was sipped. But people don’t drink Coke by the sip, they drink it by the can, and the impression after one sip is much different from the drinking a whole can. Libraries should also be careful about how they get feedback from patrons. Do your survey questions capture how patrons experience the library? If testing your site, maybe they can find the Help section on your website when you ask them to, but will they think about finding it when you don’t explicity tell them to?
Lesson three: The sculpture’s fingernails. They didn’t quite know how they knew, but several art historians could tell that a sculpture purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum was a fake; one of them said something about the sculpture’s fingernails just didn’t feel right. They were right. Just like something can feel fake, it can also feel real, spot-on, exactly right. This post from Sarah Houghton-Jan is exactly what I mean. She says about the Vancouver Public Library front page, with pictures of library users and quotes about how they use the library: “Something about it resonates with me, and all I know is that I like it.” That’s just the sort of reaction we should be going for, with designs like that which immediately hit people and say, this is the essence of the library, this is what we do.
Chris Oien is a library science student at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Networked Student was inspired by CCK08, a Connectivism course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes during fall 2008. It depicts an actual project completed by Wendy Drexler’s high school students. The Networked Student concept map was inspired by Alec Couros’ Networked Teacher. I hope that teachers will use it to help their colleagues, parents, and students understand networked learning in the 21st century.
Anyone is free to use this video for educational purposes. You may download, translate, or use as part of another presentation. Please share.
I’ll be sharing this with my classes and the Dominican faculty. This so speaks to how educators should be moving forward as well as the fact that librarians should offer access to these “emerging synchronous tools” to help guide the way.
I like this model. Maybe this is what LIS768 should become. I’ve already seen these things play out in the classroom: responses from authors, blog comments from big names in Social Media and a sense of empowerment in the students themselves.
I am grading their final papers today – papers on academic law libraries and social technologies, the Cluetrain and reputation online, to name a few. Good stuff! If you want to check in on their class blogging, all of the LIS768 CSC bloggers are listed here.
His words are so well-chosen and ideas so spot on IMHO:
To move towards a move innovative organization requires experimentation, trial and error, doing new things, and breaking rules. Libraries looking to become more innovative are confronted with reality: it takes 100 crazy ideas to find 10 worth funding experimentally in order to identify 1 project worth pursuing. As it has been said, that it takes a lot of acorns to grow an oak tree.
The challenge is that most library organizations are structured and managed to continue current practices rather for than for innovation. Both strategy and resource alignment are focused on supporting short term missions and goals. This holds library organizations captive to a culture that is antagonistic toward innovation. Such a culture kills most attempts at innovation and can eventually drive innovative individuals away. It is not that the individuals within a library do not want to innovate, they talk about it all the time. Simply put, the structure of library organizations and their approach to management may make them unwittingly systematically hostile to innovation.
Schnell highlights a book by Gary Hamel:
Gary Hamel notes that that the bottleneck within an organization that ultimately throttles innovation is almost always located at the top. Organizations are trained to look to the top for clues about where it’s going.
What happens if the folks at the top are mired in outdated ways of thinking? Some directors may stifle innovation because in their career they’ve never been encouraged to foster such a culture. Others may just not care to as they finish their careers. Others may have played the role of gatekeeper for so long, there’s no alternative.
Others go out of their way to empower staff. One dean of libraries once told me: “I don’t understand all the new stuff, but that’s what I rely on my staff to do: figure it out and tell me what we should do.” I’d take that style any day!
Michael Casey and I just wrote about library marketing for our next column and from what we’ve heard from our calls on Twitter, some libraries are throttled by tight control on the message. Guess what? The world has moved on and the message belongs to everyone. (The column will be out October 16th)
More from Schnell:
In his book The Future of Management, Hamel discusses new management principles which can help transform a library into a more innovative culture, including:
variety, diversity, experimentation, depoliticizing / depolarization of decision making
resource allocation flexibility
enabling activism through democracy (devolution of accountability, distributed leadership, unalienable )
engagement and mobilization through a common cause
increasing the odds and successful contribution of serendipity
These are wonderful points and they speak to where I think business, organizations, and, yes, libraries. I use a category here at TTW called Library Innovators, and I suspect that many of the libraries and librarians I tag with that category as I gather stuff here would fall in line with some of the principles above.
Of course, my mind turns to LIS curriculum. I don’t teach management but I would be very interested in seeing how these new models are being incorporated into courses. Shouldn’t we be instilling a sense of experimentation, flexibility and a sense of curiosity in our graduates?
I thank Eric for the most cool post. Much to ponder.