Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

Really? No Place for Collaboration at the Library

exetersignsVia Pam the Librarian:

http://pamlibrarian.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/kicked-out-of-the-library/

Last week I went to the Exeter Public Library with a colleague to work on a project for our high school. We needed Internet access, a table to spread our documents out on, an outlet to plug-in our devices, a spot away from the distractions of our school, and a buzzing atmosphere where we would feel inspired to create new ideas for our project. What better place than the local library?

We arrived to a very still and silent library. Two women behind the main desk looked at us as we walked in and went back to work. Patrons were sitting in chairs reading newspapers. There were some available study carrels in the corners. No group tables near outlets.

We tried the second floor. We were faced with several empty chairs and study carrels and signs that say “no talking.” There was an empty “meeting room” with no table and no chairs. Another meeting room was locked.

Because it was 10 a.m. we went into the Teen room (which is located directly behind the Reference desk.) The room is empty because it is a Friday and all of the teens in town are in school. We sat at a booth with an outlet and spread out our documents. As soon as we started working we were interrupted by a staff member who said that we are not allowed to work in there because we would intimidate the teens. I jokingly suggested that the fact that we are high school teachers/librarians could gain us access to this empty room. The librarian did not think it was funny and asked us to leave. I asked her for a suggestion of a location where we could work together at a table near an outlet. She said there are outlets all over the walls but could think of no table near an outlet. She recommended we try the second floor and I said that we will need to talk about our project. She reminded us we are not allowed to talk on the second floor.

We packed up and spent the day at Me & Ollie’s cafe where we sat on couches around a coffee table near an outlet surrounded by the buzz of the cafe. A young woman was reading a book next to us. An older man was typing hurriedly on his laptop on the other side. People were having meetings, drinking coffee, and getting business done. We were welcomed by the staff. They made us tea. And we got our work done.

This is unfortunate. I get that maybe adults shouldn’t be in the teen area without a teen, but maybe an exception could be made? And maybe some space for working together should be in the works soon. I did check out the library’s web site and Facebook. Looks like they had mini golf last year in the library! Maybe someone from the library should comment. Maybe it was just an off day?

I would suggest a “kindness audit” of signage though. :-)

Quiet

New San Rafael Library Web Site

Sarah Houghton writes:

http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2014/03/new-san-rafael-public-library-website.html

I’m pleased to announce that last week we launched a new website for San Rafael Public Library athttp://srpubliclibrary.org. The site was designed by Influx with their Prefab library website service. We are very happy with it!

websitescreenshot

Our library is relatively small and we don’t have the time or staff brain bandwidth or expertise to design, maintain, troubleshoot, and host a website. We were happy to hire Influx to do this work for us. For very little money a whole lot of pressure and stress has been relieved from our collective library brain.

So far, we’ve gotten some really fabulous feedback from library users, stakeholders, and city government officials.  Take a look, let us know what you think, and check out Influx if you’re looking for a quick, customizable (and yet still ready out-of-the box) website solution!

This is an impressive redesign. If you are looking for a Web refries, take a look at Influx and their Prefab library website service.

Survey: Preparing our Users for Digital Life Beyond the Institution

Brian Kelly (Cetis, University of Bolton) and I are carrying out a survey to support a contribution for the LILAC 2014 information literacy conference.

The aim of the survey is to identify institutional policies and practices to support use of Cloud services by staff and researchers as well as current institutional policies and practices for staff and researchers before they leave their host institution (e.g. due to redundancy, retirement or to take up a new post) who wish to continue to make use of IT services and digital resources.

The findings will be published in a poster on “Preparing our Users for Digital Life Beyond the Institution” to presented at the LILAC 2014 conference.

The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/lilac14-cloud-literacy – we would really appreciate it if you could take the time to fill it in.

For further information see Brian’s blog post: Preparing our Users for Digital Life Beyond the Institution: http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/preparing-our-users-for-digital-life-beyond-the-institution/

Many thanks,

Jenny Evans - Maths and Physics Librarian - Central Library | South Kensington Campus | Imperial College London

Note: Cloud services can be defined as ‘web-based software’ hosted in ‘the cloud’ (on web servers outside your institution).

TLCover

News: Download “The Transparent Library” e-book here!

TLCoverI am very happy to share that over the past few weeks Michael Casey and I have edited together all of the Library Journal “Transparent Library” columns into an e-book that we are making available for FREE to readers of TTW.

Here’s the description:

The “Transparent Library” gathers 29 columns from Michael Casey and Michael Stephens. Originally published in Library Journal from 2007 – 2009, the column explored concepts related to transparency, management, engaging communities, social media, strategic planning and constant change. The e-book includes supplemental essays and columns, and includes a new conversation “The Transparent Library Revisited.”

We’ve wanted to assemble the “Transparent Library” columns for some time. Including a few extra pieces from my “Office Hours” columns – including a piece called “The Transparent Library School”  - and Michael’s post from Tame the Web concerning participatory service, we believe this collected group of essays offers insights, conversation starters, and roadmaps for improving the openness of an information organization. Thank you for downloading. Please share far and wide.

By structuring the transparent library for constant and purposeful change we reduce the negative impact that change has on both the staff and user. Incorporating change into the organization through creative teams and open lines of communication allows the transparent library to add new tools, respond to changing community needs, and move ahead with new initiatives without shaking up the foundation.

PDF Version: TheTransparentLibrary2

Kindle Version: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/239835/The%2BTransparent%2BLibrary.mobi

transparent

Are you my mentor? Twitter & Mentoring – A TTW Guest Post by Abigail Willemse

Are you my mentor? An exploration of the intersection of Twitter & mentoring relationships.

In the real world mentors are usually organic relationships without specific titles, goals, or responsibilities. Mentors are simply experienced people you get to know and look to for advice, informally and organically. They’re people you go to coffee with, people you ask for guidance, and people you call when there’s a big decision to make. (Barr, 2013, para. 14)

Ideas about mentors and mentoring have changed a lot over the years, particularly with the advent of social media. As an avid Twitter user, I was curious as to how mentoring relationships may be formed and cultivated on this medium. I personally had experienced a lot of support, encouragement, and inspiration from other library and information professionals on Twitter and was keen to find out if this was the case for other people.

My research used a variety of methodologies, including a literature review and some qualitative questions, to explore this topic. Responses were received from fourteen librarians from Australia and New Zealand, and the results were then grouped thematically.

Five overall themes emerged which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Hung up on mentoring?
    There are a lot of different concepts of mentoring out there ranging from the more traditional concept of a hierarchical relationship of a student & teacher, to a more informal concept as described by Barr (2013). The participants’ responses indicated a spectrum of viewpoints of this concept.

  2. A rose by any other name…
    There are a variety of other terms such as PLN (Personal Learning Network), e-mentoring, and networking, that also describe the support and mutual encourage you may receive on Twitter. However, I feel that while relationships on Twitter are not always defined and announced as such, mentoring definitely features as part of active participation in my PLN through Twitter. It involves giving and receiving guidance, advice, support and expertise in a whole range of professional and personal issues.

  3. We’re all in this together!
    Twitter allows for an ‘flatter playing field’ (as described by one participant) in which peers can learn from and share with one another.

  4. Have you got a minute?
    Hurt (2013) recommends “mentoring moments” as formal mentoring relationship may stifle a good relationship. Instead of feeling you have to commit to a full-on relationship; what about just taking a moment to talk, find out where the other person is at, and offer input in that moment when they need it? It’s a lot like Twitter where you can ask for help or “crowd source” and often within minutes (once you have a bigger network) someone will give you a helpful answer or link.

  5. Twitter + other platforms.
    Twitter is a really useful place to find contacts and experts in the industry; it’s great for small bite-sized conversations, but longer more in-depth conversations are better to take place on other platforms such as email or blogs, or even face-to-face. Twitter is a really useful tool in breaking the ice; finding something in common with other people and experts and spending some time with them helps facilitate relationships & communication in other media as well. One participant noted that:

    Ideally a mentoring relationship could operate across multiple spaces, changing whenever the needs of the people in the relationship change. Ultimately, yes, I think Twitter can provide a good platform for conducting a mentoring relationship, with the proviso that it can move to other platforms or formats as necessary.

You can read my full research published in the New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal (NZLIMJ) here:

Willemse, A. J. (2014). Librarians using social media: The role of Twitter in forming and cultivating mentoring relationships. NZLIMJ, 53(3). http://www.lianza.org.nz/resources/lianza-publications/nzlimj-e-journal/librarians-using-social-media-role-twitter-forming-an

 

Sharon Cornwall_Abigail Willemse_01Oct2012_0003m-compressed-just-AbigailAbigail is a young and enthusiastic information professional hailing from New Zealand, currently employed as Electronic Resources Librarian at Wintec. She has worked in a variety of libraries & on a number of projects, including co-leading ANZ 23 Mobile Things. Her interests include social media, mentoring, new information professionals, and promoting all things library at every opportunity. You can find her on Twitter @ajwillemse91 or blogging at www.octopuslibrarian.wordpress.com

References

Barr, C. (2013, February 25). How to find a mentor [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinktraffic.net/how-to-find-a-mentor

Hurt, K. (2013, April 30). Mentoring moments: Just in time support [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://letsgrowleaders.com/2013/04/30/mentoring_moments/

 

Embracing Creativity and Play at CityLibraries Townsville

Warren Cheetham writes:

I am very proud of this, because it’s taken a cultural change of about five years to allow something like this video to be produced.

How so?

Digital storytelling is relatively cheap and easy to do, using the tools that most people carry with them each day – tablets, digital cameras and smart phones. Encouraging staff to take time to play with those devices at work has taken a lot of encouragement and support. It was seen as something outside of the ‘real job’ and the idea of taking work time to play seemed a bit wrong.
The second part of the journey involves the wider organisation understanding the opportunities social media can offer, to engage with our community, and not just communicate one way, in a formal, corporate voice using media releases.

In a world where 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, the production of this video might not seem too significant, but for me, it represents the end of old ideas and methods, and the releasing of staff to embrace play and show creativity in their daily work.

And don’t miss this post about Makerspace “rules:’ http://stainedglasswaterfall.blogspot.com/2013/09/make-good-things-make-things-good-our.html

News: Karen Schneider Wins the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst For Change Award

A heartfelt congratulations to Karen!

From http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/02/karen-schneider-wins-elizabeth-futas-catalyst-change-award

CHICAGO – Karen G. Schneider, university librarian at Holy Names University, Oakland, Calif., is the 2014 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award. This award is given biennially to an individual for making positive changes in the profession of librarianship and consists of a 24K gold-framed citation and $1,000 contributed by the Elizabeth Futas Memorial Fund of the American Library Association.

“The 2014 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award jury chose to honor Karen G. Schneider for a career noted by risk taking, inspiring and mentoring colleagues, and making opportunities for change out of the challenges to librarianship,” said Ann Symons, committee chair.

Throughout her career Schneider has served as a leader and innovator, creative thinker and writer, librarian and technology expert. As a member of the American Library Association Council, she has served many terms providing insightful and constructive discussion to issues facing the organization. While sometimes seeming outspoken, she has always been an articulate proponent of accountability, change and action.

Her blog, Free Range Librarian, was one of the earliest in the profession and her book, “A Practical Guide to Internet Filters,” resulted in her being selected as an expert witness in the Mainstream Loudon First Amendment case. Both serve as examples of her groundbreaking and life-long commitment within the library community.

“The Futas jury was unanimous in its choice for this award,” Symons said. “The committee was impressed by her unusual combination of integrity, skill, intellectual energy and commitment. As an innovator and catalyst for change, she has developed one of the earliest training programs for the Queens Library, wrote one of the first regular columns on Technology for American Libraries, and  founded both the Resource Sharing Committee of the Statewide California Library Consortium and the first rapid delivery network for California’s private academic libraries. It is this energy and passion for change that make Ms. Schneider the perfect recipient for the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award.”

Members of the 2014 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award Jury are: Ann K. Symons, Chair, Douglas, Alaska.; Holly Clark Carroll, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, Colo.; Judith J. Field, Wayne State University, Northville, Mich.; Samantha Schmehl Hines, Missoula College Library, Mont.; and Denise M. Zielinski, Joliet Public Library, Ill..

The Futas Award will be presented on Sunday, June 29, at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

TTWNostalgic

A New Logo for TTW

A shout out to John LeMasney this Monday morning as I finish spiffing up our new look here at Tame the Web. An email from ILI prompted me to ponder a new logo for TTW last week. I asked for thoughts from Facebook and John, a designer and technology consultant/trainer, messaged offering to work with me for free!

I follow John’s work on FB and must admit I was thrilled to get to work with him.

I filled out a “Design brief” at his site, we had a phone chat and then finished the process via Facebook chat. The Red Heart image above was an early iteration that I appreciated, but it felt a bit “nostalgic” to me.  If I was the type who got tattoos… :-)

His creative process is highlighted here:

http://lemasney.com/consulting/2014/02/01/32-365-designing-logo-tame-web-michael-stephens/

The finished logos are here:

ttw_block

 

cropped-ttw_horizontal1.png

 

Please click through and checkout John’s design work and checkout his presentation/training topics. I recommend his work highly.

Thanks John!

Information Literacy for Business Students: Request for Ideas & Input

Dear Tame the Web community,

As an information literacy librarian at a southern university, I have been charged with developing and teaching a one credit undergraduate information literacy course for business students. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not so much. The problem is that I don’t want it to be just another information literacy course (no offense to information literacy courses). I want to take it out of the classroom, into the real world, out of the library databases and into free, quality information they will have to use once they get outside of college and into their jobs. And of course I want to inspire them to be curious about the world, information, the connectedness of it all and how it affects their lives.

The challenges are plentiful. One being that the course is only one credit. That means that I have about 6 weeks to help business students learn the concept of information literacy, the concept of research, how to use keywords, Internet searching, database searching in several rather unintuitive business databases, privacy, plagiarism, citing, evaluating information and seemingly everything else under the information literacy/metaliteracy umbrella.

In order to break this all down, here are things I feel I have to do to stay within the pre-determined course objectives and course description.

Things I have to do:

  • Teach business databases to ensure success in college research

  • Articulate the meaning of and need for information literacy skills

  • Keep the work for the course under 3-6 hours per week

  • Create both a face-to-face and online course

  • Use Moodle as a CMS

Things I want to do:

  • Incorporate social media/online communities (related to research) into the course

  • Use a scaffolded, creative, interesting course project that includes a final project with my current leading idea being to incorporate the job search and research necessary (company, industry, financial health and consumer/investor) to write a cover letter and prep for an interview

  • Develop students learning objectives that reflect metaliteracy principles

  • Create a vibrant online space where students feel connected, engaged and challenged

Basically, I want to make the course cool, practical and useful. I want the students to learn important concepts that will follow them their entire life and have a good experience doing it. Am I worried too much about the students liking the course? Maybe. Do I have a high standard because I have been in some pretty exceptional online learning spaces and want to replicate? Definitely yes.

But how do you do an online community that is exciting and challenging (but not too challenging) in an undergraduate environment in 6 weeks? How do you do that with students who may only be in the class because they are in desperate need of one extra credit to stay a full-time student?

So many questions and so little answers – at least so far. At this point, you may be wondering why this post is on Tame the Web. Michael has been kind enough to allow me to use his blog as a forum for my thoughts, fears, pressures, questions and ideas and because I am developing this course as an independent study course with Michael as my last class in a Post-Master’s Degree Certificate Program at SJSU SLIS.

So, I am reaching out and open to suggestions, ideas, examples, thoughts, hope and communication from my professional community. If you would like to get in touch, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at terri.artemchik@gmail.com. I am so looking forward to your thoughts on my slightly idealistic and currently messy potential information literacy course for business students.

 Terri Artemchik is an Information Literacy Librarian at Coastal Carolina University’s Kimbel Library. She has an MLIS from Dominican University and is finishing up a Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Digital Services & Emerging Technologies from San Jose State University’s School of Library & Information Science. 

planning

The User is Still Not Broken by Brian Kenney

Don’t miss Brian Kenney’s new column:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/60780-the-user-is-still-not-broken.html

Meet People Where They Are—Not Where We Want Them to Be

Libraries are very good at organizing and presenting content in anticipation of users’ needs. From cataloging resources to creating booklists, to offering workshops and classes, we’re all about meeting people where we think they may be. The trouble is, not all individuals fit into our elaborate schema.

It’s difficult to genuinely meet people where they are. It’s far easier to set up a system that we think might help most users—and a whole lot cheaper. Meeting people where they are can take a serious commitment of staff time.

In the past decade, libraries have experimented with creating alternatives to their “build it and they will come” paradigm. Teen librarians, working with teen advisory groups, have encouraged their users to help determine teen programs and services. Letting the public have a role in ordering materials is one way to open a library’s collection to its readers. Book-a-librarian programs allow us to focus on our users’ needs in more depth than is possible at a reference desk.

For several years, my library provided drop-in e-reader help. But in the past 12 months, interest in e-readers has taken a nosedive, so we expanded the program to offer help for other types of devices. The response has been enthusiastic: the public has hauled in cameras, phones, laptops, and iPads. No amount of handouts, FAQs on our Web site, and classes could begin to address the variety of questions we have received, and few programs have generated gratitude.

Technology isn’t something we offer, it’s something we do, and helping people understand how to use their technology is perfectly in line with what libraries do best: respond to people’s needs.