Category Archives: Librarian 2.0

Public Service is a Library Program: By TTW Contributor Justin Hoenke

10 PRINT "Hello World!"
10 PRINT “Hello World!”

The last time I posted on Tame The Web was on August 6, 2014 in a post titled Catching Up. The title of that post sort of sums up the past year and a half in my life here at the Chattanooga Public Library…lots of work for the community and not enough time to sit back, reflect, and share with everyone in the world. It’s all good. In that time, I’ve had some ideas floating around in my head and over the months and days they’ve been revised, edited, and now they’re ready to go.

In my role as Manager of The 2nd Floor/Coordinator of Teen Services at the Chattanooga Public Library, I’ve been looking a lot at how libraries operate their youth services departments. From kids to tweens to teens, we all seem to have a common theme connecting us: we all have so much passion for working with ages 0-18. That passion leads us to want to constantly offer the best services, be it story times, maker programs, special events, and more. The passion to give back to our community drives us.  It is that passion that makes youth services in public libraries some of the most innovative and popular public library offerings.  Corinne Hill (Executive Director, Chattanooga Public Library) and I call Youth Services in public libraries the “bread and butter” of public library services…the keep us well loved in the community and they act as our most popular circulated materials and programs attended.  In summary, Youth Services drive public libraries.

However, passion alone cannot drive a youth services program. While amazing and powerful, passion can also lead to some misguided decisions when it comes to how we should operate at our core.  The days where youth services staff were plentiful and there was an almost unlimited time to plan and prepare for programs has gone away.  These days, the need for great public service at all times is what we need to focus on. The need for great public service at all times is the opposite of having large amounts of time to plan and prepare. You can’t do both at the same time. You can try, but you will get stressed and burnt out in the end.  As a manager, I’ve stared at the weekly schedule and tried to figure out formulas for how my staff can have the time to prepare for programs that they’re used to having and also to have that necessary public service time. After working on it for a year, my conclusion is simple: it just isn’t there anymore and if we want to grow and continue with our successes, we need to change how we work.

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Realizing that this was the new normal in our youth services lives, my colleague Megan Emery and I began having discussions about this new reality. How can we continue to maintain great levels of passion for what we offer to the community and have our public services faces on at all times? How do we achieve balance with something that seems to be so naturally out of balance…innovation and public service? How does a public library operate in times of lean staffing, increased community usage, and the need to constantly innovate?

From that conversation came a phrase that now drives what we’re trying to accomplish at the Chattanooga Public Library: PUBLIC SERVICE IS A LIBRARY PROGRAM. There is an art to working a public service desk in public libraries. You have to be “on”. What do I mean by this? You’re basically involved in a shift long performance art piece where you’re helping, teaching, and aiding the community.  The traditional library program, you know, the ones that take place only from 4-5pm on the third Tuesday of every month and only for ages 13-18? Yep, those ones.  Those types of programs can and will still happen but it can no longer be our focus.  What can be our focus? The public.  Being “on” for them at all times. Being there for the community at all times.

If public service is a program then how can we actually have programs for our community? This ties into another thing that we’ve been thinking about a lot in youth services libraries….unprogramming, never ending programming, anti-programming….whatever you want to call it. It’s an idea that takes the library space, turns it into a destination, and adds programs, activities, and chances to learn into everything that we do. The 3D printer, button maker, rainbow loom…whatever it is, it’s all there and it’s ready for the community to use.  The programs happen during our open hours and they don’t end.  The library staff working in public services becomes the programmer. Their job is simple: guide the community in the library, help them find what they need, teach them all about the learning opportunities in the library, and to simply just have fun.

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That’s where our passion for what we do in youth services can go.  We don’t have to leave it behind and become nonstop public service workers.  We can weave that aspect of our job into what makes us passionate about working in libraries.  Public services is our programming.  We can create engaging learning opportunities for our community and run those opportunities while we’re working public service. We can mix the two and it will not be the end of the world. It will be a seismic shift, but we will survive. This is the new way for us to work and be the best for our community.

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

Learning Everywhere: OPLN – The ‘must-have’ tool for new librarians — A TTW Guest Post by Tracy Maniapoto

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the connections I make in a digital world.  The main purpose for the reflection was to fulfil a MIS assessment on Online Personal Learning Networks [OPLN] in Dr. Michael Stephens Fall 2012 Transformative Learning & Technology Literacies class. I think that Richardson and Mancabelli’s description of an OPLN as a unique learning environment where ‘we learn what we want or need to learn using the vast resources and people online’ is fitting (2011, p.3).  This method of informal learning complements traditional learning and helps us to function better in all aspects of our daily life: at home with family and at work.

What excited me most about creating an OPLN was that I had to figure out what information I needed and where this was going to come from.  This was a personal journey that only I could take; I set the direction and the path to follow.  I also had to think about how I would curate what I found.  Organising the information into one space or place had its benefits: ease of curation, portability and accessibility spring to mind immediately.  The end result is more than simply an assessment; it is a practical tool that I can use throughout my career as an academic librarian.

Getting started

Diving head first into the ocean of information that is ‘the internet’ works for some folk, though I needed something more structured or defined to begin with.  As my OPLN was unique to me, I asked myself two questions:

  1. What are my current information needs both professionally and with my studies?
  2. With whom, what or where do I need to connect to help me address these needs?

I used the first question to form my goals statement highlighting my main information needs for both groups as below:

Professionally, in my role as a teaching librarian at a New Zealand University, it was important for me to keep informed about:

  1. Teaching methods/styles that promote information literacy
  2. Changes affecting the NZ University and academic library environment
  3. The use of social media tools within the academic library environment
  4. Professional development opportunities for librarians/information professionals
  5. Mentors and role models within the library or information  profession environment
  6. Maori information resources and Maori world view

With my studies, and particularly in relation to my research project, it was important for me to keep informed about:

  1. Trends in digital and emerging technologies both globally and within New Zealand
  2. Trends in educational learning methods and styles

In categorising my main information needs, the scope of my resources falls broadly into the following four areas:

  • Pedagogy (21st century learning, participatory learning)
  • Technologies (mobile and emerging)
  • Relationships (social media, professional development, mentorship, NZ University and library environments)
  • Themes (information literacy, M?ori-focused resources)

Having defined my resources, the next step was to start collecting relevant information.  I needed a discovery tool and, though I hadn’t quite realised at the time, I had been using one religiously for the past few months.

My discovery tool of choice: Twitter

It still amuses me, even now, that the majority of information resources that appear on my OPLN were sourced from one tool: Twitter.  Yes, Twitter.  This would be my answer to the ‘who, what, and where’ question I raised earlier.

I had created a Twitter account in 2009 and my activity between then and mid-2012 consisted of a whopping 40-ish tweets. In hindsight, my use of Twitter and my knowledge of its capabilities were pretty, well, pitiful.  In the early stages of the LIBR 281-14 programme, each student was encouraged to create a Twitter account (if they didn’t already have one) and use it as part of the class engagement. We were encouraged to share links to relevant or interesting articles, webpages, and anything else we could find.  Within two months of starting the programme, I had tweeted more times than in the previous 3 years!  I am thankful we were encouraged to use Twitter as an information discovery tool.  It wasn’t until I began putting my OPLN together that I truly understood its value in my personal learning.

What I love most about Twitter is its ability to filter information*.  On the suggestion of a work colleague I monitored twitter feeds using first, Tweetdeck, and then secondly, Hootsuite (I actually preferred the first as the interface was more to my liking even though they look similar). Once I found people to follow, and by people I mean librarians, fellow MIS students and educators, I started to get a ‘feel’ for how information is best dispersed through this platform.  For me, Twitter is like an index to the internet and is a simple way to conduct an environmental scan on a topic of interest with, dare I say it, minimal effort on my part.  Naturally, I had to read any tweets and click through links for myself to see if the information suited my needs.  The hard part though, finding the information in the first place, was done by those I followed: brilliant individuals passionate about their interests and wanting to share them with the world.

Interestingly, since using Twitter I’ve noticed it is used in more and more places.  I used it myself as an engagement tool within my presentation slides at the LIANZA 2012 Conference.  This morning I followed live ‘tweets’ from attendees at the Ascilite2012 Conference in Wellington, New Zealand (about 190km away) using the hashtag search: #ascilite2012.  When my classmates post useful links I can find these by searching #transtech.  Just moments ago I received this tweet as I was writing:

The link took me to another Ascilite2012 attendee’s collection of notes on ‘Web 2.0 Pedagogy: Mobile Social Media’ and included a number of links to related websites and educator blogs – wow!  While it would be great to attend this conference in person, Twitter is definitely my ‘next best thing’.

Going back to the point at hand – I now have my information sources.  The next step was to find a tool for curation.

My curation tool of choice: Netvibes

I tossed around the idea of two curation tools: Symbaloo and Netvibes.

I learned about Symbaloo from a classmate’s blog and I was really impressed with the look and feel it had.  I experimented with the design online and whilst the interface looked great, I already had an idea of how I wanted my OPLN to look.  In my mind it would look similar in format to Tweetdeck but would need to encapsulate all types of information, preferably as live feeds.  As luck would have it, Netvibes was mentioned in another classmate’s blog so I gave that a try.  I haven’t looked back since.

There are many of wonderful features in Netvibes.  First of all, it’s free.  Second, it provides enough functionality (for me at least) to successfully curate the types of information sources I wanted to share: websites, blogs, twitter feeds and follows (no surprises there!), videos and links to journal and newspaper articles.

Netvibes allows you to curate your own private and public dashboards and I expect my public OPLN will continually evolve around my topics of interest at any given time.  For the new librarian or information professional, the power of connected learning through the development and curation of your own OPLN is empowering.  You won’t know what you don’t know until you come across it and an OPLN can help you find things you didn’t even realise you were interested in.

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful to Dr. Michael Stephens, to my LIBR 281-14 classmates, and to the many individuals who have participated in my online personal learning network.

*IMHO educators and librarians are the best at collecting, filtering and disseminating valuable information in 140 characters or less.

References:

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press

 Tracy Maniapoto is an Information Services Librarian at Massey University Library in Palmerston North, New Zealand and a distance student studying towards her MIS at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  Tracy’s interests include mobile technologies, academic libraries and utilising Twitter to grow her PLN!  You can follow her on Twitter @libr4ry_girl

 

Exchanging business cards for library cards at the Portland Business Expo

The Portland Regional Chamber held its annual business expo on Wednesday, and booths included the usual: credit unions, hotels, sign shops, telecom companies, the Portland Public Library.

Attendance was light in the early afternoon, but began to pick up as …. — “Wait!” I know you’re all saying, astonished: “The Portland Public Library???!!

Sonya Durney, who is the Business and Government Librarian at my library just recently did something super awesome.  She took her show on the road the Portland Business Expo and talked to local small businesses about the benefits of using their local library.

Durney explained: “If we can help local businesses, it’s helping the community. It’s a very symbiotic relationship – the community thrives, the library thrives. Everybody’s happy.”

Click here for the full article and for the WONDERFUL photos our Business and Government Team took at the expo, click here.

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

 

 

 

Create, Play, Read – Lending Devices to Teens (PART 3)

Shirky, of course, advocates that we embrace “as much chaos as we can stand.” In this scenario, staff is encouraged to try out a new thing without regard to the way “it’s always been done.” This is messy, scary, and probably unwanted in most institutions. 

Ideas above are from:
Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky
Embracing Chaos by Michael Stephens

It has been a little over a month since we began our grand experiment with lending devices to teens (for the first post on this, go here.  for the second, go here) and I am here to check back in and follow up about the project with 100% honesty.

The Nook is still circulating and has a hold list.   The device has been loaned out, returned, and been taken well care of.  There hasn’t been as much interest in the Nook as there has been the iPod, but I think that’s to be expected with these types of devices and teens (for more on this, see Are Teens Embracing E-Books?)

The iPods have been lost.  They were lent out to two teens at the same time and like clockwork a week  later, they were gone.  The teens came into the library and told me about their story.  Both of them were using the device and let their friends borrow it to play a game and then their friends walked off with the iPod. I listened and explained to them that I understood where they were coming from but the fines for losing the device were staying on their card ($324).  I didn’t tell them outright that I was a bit sad by the loss (for the library, for the teens that wanted to borrow them, and for the teens that lost them…that’s a hefty fine), but I think they could see it in me.  Sometimes you don’t have to say much to get a message across.  Emotions are a heavy thing.

Am I bummed that this all happened?  Of course.  There’s a small part of me that’s sad about how it all went down, but there are two sides to every story.  The overall excitement that the teens had when they found out we’d be circulating these devices showed me that I was on the right track.  Sure, we lost two iPods, but you have to remember it’s just an iPod touch and not some one of a kind, priceless thing. I’m also happy that we tried something new, something out of the ordinary for our teens and we now have more experience for when we run this program again…and don’t get me wrong, we will try again.  I would be letting down the nine other teen patrons in the hold queue for the iPods if I didn’t.  In conclusion, this minor setback will not get me down.  I’ve seen many bigger successes – such as the one last week where one of my longtime teen patrons who just became a US citizen after being in this country for a few years – to put me down for the count.  Those are the things that matter.  An iPod touch?  Not so much.

What did I learn from this?

  • You’re gonna lose items…and it’s ok.  It’s all part of the learning process.  Libraries lose a lot of materials with high value – think about when an audiobook collection goes missing or a disc needs to be replaced in a multi item set.
  • The teens have to know that they’re responsible.  Fines may not be the best way to do this, but that’s a bigger issue for another time.
  • eBooks and teens?  There’s a limited audience.
  • Teens want to have an experience.

How will this work next time?

  • One of the observations I made with the teens that had borrowed the devices was that they were more into using YouTube and the web browser than they were using the apps.  A possible solution would be to limit access to YouTube and the web browser and limit the devices to what they were intended for: curated app experience devices
  • Credit checks/signed applications from parents/etc will not work no matter how hard you try to push this on teens.  Teens can barely keep track of what they’re going to do after school, let alone understand what signing a piece of paper means.  Perhaps a better way forward is for the people working with these teen patrons in the library to make individual calls on each lender.  It may be a good idea for those working in the teen library to take some time to sit down with the teens that potentially want to borrow these devices, show them what they can do, and explain in fuller detail what it means to be “selected” for this program.


I won’t call this program a failure.  I learned that there is a BIG demand for a specific kind of device (the iPods) and less of a demand for another (eReaders).  What the teens want is an experience they cannot get anywhere else. I plan on giving it to them.   I’ll make sure to check back in once our new iPods arrive in the next few months

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Create, Play, Read – Lending Devices to Teens (PART 2)

(for the first post in this series, please click here)

Once I had the idea for lending out iPods with pre-selected apps to teens, I had to do some investigating and thinking about how these devices would be used.

I would describe the iPods as “locked down”.  By that, I mean that the borrower can’t do much other than use the iPods for their library defined purpose (play or create) and use the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To access restrictions, visit your settings on your iPod.  Under the General tab, scroll down to find restrictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in the restrictions section, you will see a number of things that you can turn off for the user.  I turned off everything except for Safari, YouTube, and Camera.  This section is locked by a 4 digit passcode which the borrower does not have access to.

I’ve also decided to use Find My iPhone app as a means of locating the device as a last resort (if it goes missing, stolen, etc).  Find My iPhone relies on the borrower being in an area that has wifi, but also has an option which will notify the Apple account holder (the library) of the next time the iPod has connected to a wifi network.  I know that this will sound a bit “Minority Report/1984/we’re watching you and your every move”, but I assure you that this is not the point of using this app.  In order to keep our investment safe for other members our community to borrow, I decided that using Find My iPhone was in our best interest.  Luckily, we haven’t had to resort to using it yet and I hope we never have to, but if the need arises it will be there for us to use.

And finally, I’ve been asked the question “Do the teens have to sign some kind of agreement to take out the iPods?”  My answer to this question is…sort of.

While we do not have a print version of a lending agreement in place that the teens/parent/guardian has to sign, we do have a spiel that we do give the teens before we check them out to them.  It’s not the same every time, but it goes something like this:

Just so you know, but checking out iPod out is kind of a big deal.  If it gets damaged, lost, or stolen, you’re going to have quite a hefty fine on your library card that you will have to pay before you can use the library again.  So, if you’re ok with that and you can be responsible with the iPod, then you should totally borrow it.

We usually end this conversation with a funny secret society type of handshake.  My hope is that it resonates with the teens a lot more than signing some piece of paper.

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Create, Play, Read – Lending Devices to Teens

We can talk all day about whether or not it’s a good idea to lend out devices to patrons, but in the end action is better than any kind of talk.  After listening to both sides of the lending devices story for a few weeks, I decided to say the heck with it and buy some Nooks and iPod Touches to lend out to my teen patrons.

My approach to lending out these devices was simple: sure, anyone can go out there and buy these devices and put whatever they want on them, but what about all of the cool stuff  they may overlook?  There’s so many great apps and games out there that there’s no way you could try them all.


I approached the devices as something that the teen library would “curate”.  The librarians of the future are also our community leaders.  They not only inform their communities, but they also teach, show, and introduce their communities to new things.  I took that approach when selected the apps and ebooks that would come loaded on each of these devices.  I also came up with a “brand” for the devices….PLAY, CREATE, AND READ SOMETHING.  It is my hope with the brand that people come to see the “____ SOMETHING” idea in the library as something unique that a library does not offer traditionally.


The criteria for selecting apps and ebooks was simple.  I asked myself “what would I want to experience on these devices?” and also “what could give someone who is borrowing this device the best experience possible?”  Each iPod came loaded with $50 in iTunes store credit, and for the Nooks I purchased $100 in ebooks (you can see the complete lists of what are on the devices below).
The program rolled out yesterday, so I don’t have any feedback to give yet, but I’ll make sure to follow up on this post soon.
Here are the details of each of these programs, what I loaded onto the devices, and more, please visit:

PLAY SOMETHING
CREATE SOMETHING
READ SOMETHING

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Hack A Kindle*

UPDATED ON 1/28/12 (see below)

*sort of

 

I bought a Kindle for these reasons and for the past few days, I’ve been using it in a few different ways.  I bought two books from Amazon totalling $6.99.  But most of the space on my Kindle is taken up by a collection of PDF’s.  Yes, this is how I’m hacking a Kindle.  It’s my PDF collection device.

Does your library subscribe to some databases?  Chances are, they do, and this will be where you will start your hacking.  My current topics of interest include empowering patrons to create “stuff” in the library, user experience, teens and technology, and The Beach Boys.  I dove into these topics pretty deeply one night and searched for PDF’s that interested me.

I was always happy to see this PDF Full Text icon

If I couldn’t find an article in PDF form, I turned to Google Chrome extensions to help convert that text into a PDF.

I highly suggest "Save as PDF"

Once I downloaded the articles, I sent them to my Kindle account using my Send to Kindle email address.  The next time I turned on my Kindle, I synced the device and viola!  My PDF’s showed up, ready to view, highlight, share, and cite.

At first, the process may be a bit cumbersome (and there may even be better ways to do it!), but once I got into the groove of searching/saving/uploading PDF’s, I had quite a collection in no time.  I highly suggest that if a librarian has a patron that has a Kindle and is interested in collecting their research that they at least think about using this way to aid the patron.

UPDATE!
I got an email from @verbivoria last night (thank you!) that explained how to use Instapaper to  send web articles to your Kindle:

You can use Instapaper to save web articles you like, convert them to Kindle files, and then import to the device.

The neat thing is this: you install a “Read Later” button on your browser, and when you find something that you want to peruse later, you click the button. I find this invaluable.

I found these two articles to be really helpful if you need help setting up this process: Lifehacker   Dave-Smith.org

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Web 2.0 & Libraries Parts 1 & 2 Available Free on Hyperlinked Library Site

I am happy to announce the full text of both of my ALA Library Technology Reports are available now at the new TTW companion site The Hyperlinked Library.

The rest of the site is currently under construction, but for now you’ll find:

Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software (2006) – http://thehyperlinkedlibrary.org/libtechreport1/

Web 2.0 & Libraries: Trends & Technologies (2007) – http://thehyperlinkedlibrary.org/libtechreport2/

Special thanks to my SJSU SLIS grad assistant Patrick Siebold who worked very hard the past few weeks inputting the content. I know the examples from ’06 and ’07 may seem out of date and quaint in some ways, but I’m very proud of the framework we used for the works back then. Conversations, Community, Connections, Collaborations – all those great C words Jenny Levine and I used throughout our early social software roadshows in 2005 & 2006 provide a useful context for looking at Web 2.0. I hope these works are still useful to some of you. Comments are open for adding more to the chapters and I plan on doing some types of updating as time permits.

The site will also serve my course Web sites and other items related to my teaching. 

Revisiting Participatory Service in Trying Times – a TTW Guest Post by Michael Casey

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.

 

This post is a reflection/response to questions posed at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture, exploring the challenges, solutions and potential for participatory services within libraries and museums.

Special Thanks to the Salzburg Global Seminar  and IMLS for the invitation to participate in this event.

 

Participatory Culture and Teens

Teen Librarianship has a unique place within libraries.  It’s not quite a new idea for libraries to provide dedicated services to teens, yet it doesn’t still have the same kind of rich history we have with other populations.  This gives teen librarianship a unique place within libraries today; it allows the librarians that serve these groups the chance to experiment in regards to how we approach library services.  Teen librarians are not exactly bound by the same rules and programs which have held public libraries together for many years.  Librarians working with teens have the chance to fully embrace participatory culture and help build a community of patrons who participate just as much as they consume.
THE LIBRARY STAFF IS THE COLLECTION
Librarians can act as the teachers for guiding their community towards being more active in sharing.  This is one of the ways libraries in the 21st century can show their public value to their communities.  The role of the librarian is transformed when librarians help their communities create content instead of merely just consuming it.  We become teachers for our community, guides who help patrons learn and experience in new ways.  This also adds value to the library staff.  No longer are library staff just “there to help”, but they are there to help you experience.  This added value re purposes libraries; the staff has become as important as the collection.  Much like the reference book that helps you repair your car, the staff and their unique skills can help patrons navigate the 21st century.

LET’S BUILD SOMETHING
The use of technology has changed the way our community members can communicate with other.  Patrons are no longer restricted by geography, forms of communication, or channels to publish their communication.  Libraries now have a vast array of tools in our utility belt that we can call upon to engage patrons, build unique collections, and more.  For example, take Historypin, which allows users to upload photos and pin them to a Google Map.  With photos added, the true power of Historypin becomes clearer, as it creates a visual map of your community.  The best part about it?  It’s free to anyone that wants to contribute and share.  Our communities now assist in building collections, and librarians become the curators of those collections.  Better yet?  Teen are learning new ways of communication which will no doubt aid them in their own search for identity but also give back to the complex fabric of the community in which they live.

(check out this and this for examples on teens creating unique content for their local public libraries)
This post is a reflection/response to questions posed at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture, exploring the challenges, solutions and potential for participatory services within libraries and museums.

Special Thanks to the Salzburg Global Seminar  and IMLS for the invitation to participate in this event.

 

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor