Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

IRDL: Call for Proposals

Note from Michael: I am honored to be working as an instructor on this project with some outstanding folks. 

Call for Proposals

We are issuing a call for applications for the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) 2016. We are seeking novice librarian researchers who are employed by academic libraries or research libraries outside an academic setting in the United States to participate in the Institute. Novice researchers typically may have conducted research but have not yet had a peer-reviewed article published as the primary author or had an individual presentation accepted by a peer-reviewed conference. We define “novice” broadly; if you feel that you would benefit from being guided throughout the entire research design process, we encourage your application. Librarians of all levels of professional experience are welcome to apply.

The third workshop will be held on June 6-16, 2016, with arrival on campus on Sunday, June 5, and departure on Friday, June 17.

The William H. Hannon Library has received a three-year grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to offer this continuing education opportunity for academic and research librarians. Each year 21 librarians will receive, at no cost to them, instruction in research design and a full year of peer/mentor support to complete a research project at their home institutions; the learning experience, travel to and from Los Angeles, CA, accommodations, and food will be supplied to Scholars free of charge. The summer IRDL workshop is supplemented with pre-Institute learning activities and a peer learning network that provides ongoing support. The workshop will be held on the campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. For more information about the project, including the project partners, the San José State University School of Information and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC), please see the project website:  http://irdlonline.org.

We seek librarians with a passion for research and a desire to improve their research skills. IRDL is designed to bring together all that the literature tells us about the necessary conditions for librarians to conduct valid and reliable research in an institutional setting. The cohort will be chosen from a selective submission process, with an emphasis on enthusiasm for research and diversity from a variety of perspectives, including ethnicity and type and size of library.

Selection criteria:

  • Commitment to the year-long process of communicating with other participants and conducting the proposed study within the 2016-2017 academic year;
  • Significance of the research problem to the operational success of the applicant’s library or to the profession of librarianship;
  • Thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and clarity of the research proposal;
  • Enthusiasm for research and a desire to learn.

We will be accepting applications from December 1, 2015 to February 1, 2016.

Scholars accepted to the Institute will be notified in early April, 2016.

Please contact Project Directors with any questions about the Institute or the application process:
Kristine Brancolini, Dean of the Library, Loyola Marymount University
[email protected]
Marie Kennedy, Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian, Loyola Marymount University
[email protected]

Project Info Lit: Grads Challenged by All They Need to Learn After College

Note from Michael. I was honored to serve on this project’s advisory board. I wrote about it in “Office Hours” here:

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/10/opinion/michael-stephens/the-livelong-day-office-hours/

Most of today’s college students who think they only need to land a good job once they graduate are blindsided by all they don’t know about life skills and surviving in the workplace once they’re out of college, according to a new national research report released today.

“Clearly, a wide gap exists between the life skills grads have and the ones they still need to learn, ” said Alison J. Head, a principal research scientist at the University of Washington’s Information School and the director of Project Information Literacy (PIL). “Most of the grads we studied scrambled to learn such essential new skills as money-management, household repairs, how to advance in their careers and communicate better on the job.

The report, “Staying Smart: How Today’s Graduates Continue to Learn Once They Complete College,”? is the eighth report from PIL, based at the University of Washington’s Information School. The ongoing research study examines how Millennials find and use information for solving information problems they have in the digital age.

In their latest study, 1,651 recent college graduates from 10 US colleges and universities were questioned about the challenges they face, and the information-seeking strategies they develop, use, and adapt as they make the transition from college to their personal and professional lives.

Researchers found three fourths of the graduates they studied sought how-to information—quick fixes they could use to solve urgent problems in their personal lives. Over half spent much of their time trying to improve their delegation and negotiation skills with older coworkers, or extending the very short shelf life of technical skills learned in college only a few years before.

Not surprisingly, grads were heavy users of Google search when trying to find learning sources. Social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and TED Talks were go-to sources—but MOOCs, like Coursera and Udemy were not. Notably, they turned to friends, coworkers, and family with their learning needs almost as much as the Web.

Even though grads have more information outlets than all of the generations before them, learning after college still posed challenges for them. Most struggled to carve out available time in their busy lives to keep learning.

Others could not afford the expertise they wanted from professionals like career advisors, attorneys, or accountants. Still others had trouble staying motivated to learn everything they thought they should know to stay current from the volumes of information around them.

While three-quarters of the graduates believed college had sharpened their cognitive skills for finding and evaluating information, only about a quarter thought their college experience had helped them learn how to frame and ask their own questions.

 

All in the all, the findings from this two-year study suggest that colleges and universities are turning out ?graduates that are specialized, employable, and relatively proficient information seekers. Yet, they also reveal the failure of higher education to? prepare lifelong learners who know how to identify and ask their own questions, which may the one skill they need most in their post-college lives.

 

“As more and more college students are specializing in their majors so they are more employable, they are taking fewer courses in liberal arts, where general inquiry and problem solving are part of the curriculum,” Head said, “our study reveals some of the shortcomings of an education that is solely focused on financial rewards at graduation.”

Graduates in the study sample had completed college during 2007 and 2012 and had attended one of 10 US liberal arts or research colleges or universities: Belmont University (TN), Ohio State University, Phoenix College, University of Redlands (CA), Trinity University (TX), University of Central Florida, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Washington.

The lifelong learning research study was supported with a National Leadership Grant (LG-06-13-0186-13) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The full report for “Staying Smart: How Today’s Graduates Continue to Learn Once They Complete College” is available here (112 pages, 6.9 MB, PDF)

A short promotional video is also available (2:58 minutes)

An infographic highlighting the report’s major findings is available.

For more information, contact the study’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Alison Head at 707-800-7590 or [email protected]

From TTW: Happy Holidays & Thanks to All!

 

TTWHolidayCard

Holiday Greetings to all and the very best to everyone for 2016! We’ll see you in January!

Thanks so much to TTW readers, our excellent contributors, guest authors and all the folks I met in my travels this year!

Shout out to these conferences and libraries for being so welcoming:

Ontario Library Association, Toronto, Ontario.

Alaska Library Association Conference, Juneau, Alaska.

Connecticut Library Association Conference, Mystic, Connecticut,

Prescott Valley, Arizona, for the Arizona Library Association.

Grand Valley State University, Michigan Library Association.

I LEAD USA, Springfield, Illinois.

Prince William Public Library System, Virginia.

Ohio Library Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Library 2.015 Conference

Colorado Association of Libraries, Loveland, Colorado.

Arizona Library Association Conference, Flagstaff, Arizona.

Carmel Clay Public Library, Indiana.

Sarasota County Library System, Florida.

Consider Funding: Rod Library Quest for the Microsoft Surface Hub

https://pawprint.uni.edu/project/1243

Rod Library wants to empower and inspire the University of Northern Iowa community to discover, imagine, create and innovate. For several years the library has continued to make positive strides toward enhancing the user experience. Help the library continue on this quest by purchasing a Microsoft Surface Hub. The Surface Hub is a unique tool that has the ability to collaborate, create and share all in one. This tool will give students and faculty a hands-on, real world experience in the classroom and will help create skills for their future. Please help Northern Iowa Jones and the Rod Library provide cutting-edge technology that enables campus development and growth with your generous donations.

Job Description: Innovation Catalyst Librarian

The job posting has been taken down but this listing has promoted much discussion in my classes, and I’ll be mentioning it in talks. Saving it here for posterity.

http://www.trentonlib.org/Cit-e-Access/webpage.cfm?TID=92&TPID=9534

Innovation Catalyst Librarian (Librarian 1)

Trenton Free Public Library, Trenton NJ

Salary: $50,765 starting
Status: Full-time and benefitted, 35 hours per week including evenings and weekends.
Application Review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Description
The Trenton Free Public Library is in search of a passionate, creative, type-A professional who will be instrumental in helping lead our organization into significant and meaningful Change!!  Our Library is poised to leap into the future and we are looking for someone to assist.  We are not interested in snail paced incremental change- but rather overhauling everything from policy to staff training, from technology to programming and more immediately.

This position is a rare opportunity to shape a dream job!   We are NOT looking for someone to simply run our Facebook page and Tweet; but rather an individual who is focused on the future.  We want to create an environment where you won’t just advise us on the next ‘big thing’— with only your own vision as the limit- you can CREATE the next big thing!

The successful candidate will, with a great deal of autonomy, work directly for the Library Director. They will engage in all aspect of professional Librarianship.  They will work in all areas of the Library so as to be versed in where and what improvements and change are needed.  They will assist other Librarians in pulling together various divergent areas of the Library’s services to create cohesion and thus improve our performance.  They will take the lead on grant applications to assist in the funding of  innovative services and opportunities.

The Librarian must have strong leadership skills, passion, and a clear vision and ability to implement 21st Century Librarianship and Library Services in all aspects of Library Service. In addition, a thorough knowledge of:

  • the principles, practices and techniques of modern library operation;
  • current trends in the delivery of library services;
  • library and social media technology;
  • grant application;
  • integration of technological solutions for everyday challenges;
  • reference and research techniques;

the ability:

  • to maintain accurate records and statistics and complete reports;
  • exercise initiative and independent judgment;
  • establish and maintain effective working relationships with customers and all library staff;
  • communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.

Education and Experience
The successful candidate must have a Master’s degree in library science from an ALA accredited library school and public library experience. Demonstrated knowledge of technology and social media is expected.

“It’s not what about you studied, it’s about what you learned”

Adaptive experts and deep learners are the employees most in demand in the tech industry.

John P. Mello Jr., whose article, “For Tech Careers it’s Not About What You Studied, it’s About What You Learned”, discusses Project Information Literacy’s (PIL ) survey regarding early adult research habits, and how they, “resolve issues of credibility, authority, relevance, and currency in the digital age”,  which was conducted in partnership with the University of Washington’s iSchool. You can access the full article here on Monster.com.

Below is Project Information Literacy infographic about the survey results:

AfterCollege

I would encourage you to take the time to review the article as it highlights the argument Mellow and Project Information Literacy hold about how college majors do not really matter to future employers. Alison Head, PIL’s Director as well as Principal Research Scientist, explains that  what employers most value are people who can, “find information, select it, analyze it and then apply it to some sort of solution and talk about what those solutions are.” Innovation is the future and livelihood of tech work place environments and thus, Head explains, employers want people who can, “deal with unusual problems.”

The only problem with this, Head again argues, is that the need to create deep learners and adaptive experts comes at a time when students are being taught to be test-tasting strategic learners, “We’ve got a bunch of strategic learners on our hands. They’re good at taking tests, but not coming up with new ideas and solutions.”

Read more about the article and the study here on Monster.com.

Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world by Jane McGonigal — A TTW Guest Post by Ryan Tucci

For reference purposes it is important to note that this book review and supplemental video were originally completed as a Book Context Assignment for Michael’s The Hyperlinked Library course, taught in the Fall of 2015 at San Jose State University.


Socially Isolated
Addicted young people
Few real-life social ties

These are just a few of the phrases used to describe the traditional “lonely gamer” in the article The “lonely gamer” revisited by Diane Schiano, Bonnie Nardi, Thomas Debeauvais, Nicolas Ducheneaut, and Nicholas Yee. This has been the stereotype of the traditional gamer for the past two decades.

However, Jane McGonigal, a New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned game designer would argue otherwise. In McGonigal’s 2011 book Reality is Broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world, she explores the positive benefits that games can have on people’s everyday lives and how gamers are connecting socially and intelligently to create a better world.

As libraries seek to transition into the role of Library 2.0 we must be willing to listen to our users and understand their needs. According to the PEW Research Center’s report titled Adults and Video Games, written by Amanda Lenhart, Sydney Jones and Alexandra Macgill, 53% of Americans aged 18 or older play video games while one in every five adults play video games on a daily basis. If we turn our attention to teens, a staggering 97% of teens play video games. Games offer us an exciting and engaging opportunity for us to connect with our users in a more positive way and in a way that they feel more involved. If so many of our users are turning to games as a form of entertainment and social connectedness, we as librarians would be wise to look closely at how games are engaging users in a positive way.

McGonigal combines her extensive experience in the gaming industry with well researched psychological theories to explore why games make us happy and how we can apply 14 ‘fixes’ to reality. McGonigal argues that these ‘fixes’ would make for a much more engaging and rewarding reality. If you would like to explore McGonigal’s 14 fixes in greater depth, I would recommend you read the book in its entirety as it reads well for gamers and non-gamers alike. For the purposes of this post, I will be exploring only a handful of the 14 fixes that I feel could be applied effectively to library space to better engage users and promote a more participatory Library 2.0 experience.

According to McGonigal, there are countless forms of games for players to engage in, these range from single player to multiplayer to even massively multiplayer games, some of which take no more than five minutes to play and others that can involve a much more extensive time investment to play. Although games come in diverse forms, McGonigal outlines four key traits that all games have in common at their most basic level.

The Four Defining Traits of Games

First, all games have a goal. By providing players a goal the game gives them something to work towards. As McGonigal says, this goal is a sense of purpose.

Secondly, all games must have rules. These rules give the player the foundation for how they are expected to accomplish the goals set out for them by the game.

Thirdly, for games to be effective they must have a feedback system. A feedback system allows users to quickly evaluate how well they are doing in relation to meeting their goals.

Finally, games must have voluntary participation. Users must feel in control of their participation in games. This is one of the most important aspects of games; the ability for players to enter and leave a game at will ensures that they are in a safe environment.

These traits form the basis of all games, and it is upon these that McGonigal has derived her ‘fixes.’ I have chosen to explore three of these ‘fixes’ in more detail below.

Fix # 3: Do more satisfying work

“Compared with games, reality is unproductive. Games give us clearer missions and more satisfying, hands-on work” (McGonigal, 2011, p. 55).

According to McGonigal, creating more satisfying work begins with two important things: a clear goal and actionable next steps. By clearly presenting a goal we are able to know exactly what it is we are being asked to accomplish, while actionable next steps ensure that we know exactly what is expected of us to ensure that we succeed in that goal.

According to McGonigal, one game in particular does this extremely well. World of Warcraft is a popular massively multiplayer game created by Blizzard Entertainment. Players navigate a massively online world completing quests, leveling their characters and working in teams of 5, 10 and 25 players to overcome huge tasks impossible to complete on their own. When players accept a quest from one of the thousands of non-playable characters (NPCs) in the world, they are presented with a clear goal with actionable next steps.

Quest in World of Warcraft: Glory to the Horde

GTTH

Above you can see an example of a World of Warcraft quest called Glory to the Horde. The goals for the quest are clearly outlined. Players are being asked to win two battles at two very specific locations. The actionable next steps are clear: take part in the battle and lead the team to victory. Another reason this work is so satisfying in this virtual world is that the rewards for completing quests are very clearly identified, making completing the quest more fulfilling.

According to McGonigal, there are almost endless series of quests in World of Warcraft. It is the clearly defined goals and actionable next steps that make World of Warcraft so engaging with players and make the work they are doing more satisfying.

Fix # 5 Strengthen your social connectivity

“Compared with games, reality is disconnected. Games build stronger bonds and lead to more active social networks. The more time we spend interacting within our social networks, the more likely we are to generate a subset of positive emotions known as “prosocial emotions” (McGonigal, 2011, p. 82).

Prosocial emotions, according to McGonigal, include love, compassion, admiration, and devotion. Essentially, any feel-good emotions that can be directed to others. Although games don’t evoke these emotions on their own, they are an added side effect of playing games in social networks, such as Facebook, and I would argue in many face to face games, like chess or Monopoly.

When playing games through social networks, many of them allow you to trash talk your opponent by posting to a chat window or to their virtual profile. Although trash talking normally carries a negative connotation, McGonigal argues that research shows that playful teasing is one of the fastest and most effective ways to create positive feelings toward another person (McGonigal, p. 84). Dacher Keltner, a researcher at the University of California argues that teasing feels good because it builds trust and makes us more likable.

While McGonigal primarily focuses on video games, I think almost anyone who has played any kind of game (video game or board game), has had a playful teasing experience. It is these social encounters that help games promote social connectivity to the people around us.

Fix# 8 Seek meaningful rewards for making a better effort

“Compared with games, reality is pointless and unrewarding. Games help us feel more rewarded for making our best effort” (McGonigal, 2011, p. 148).

According to McGonigal, real life just doesn’t give us the feedback we need to feel rewarded on a daily basis. Although this fix isn’t necessarily tied to a game in the traditional sense, it does apply game mechanics to everyday activities.

McGonigal once joked while doing a presentation at a technology conference that she wished she could receive instant feedback after doing a presentation like she got after playing a game. For example giving a good presentation would award her +1 Presentation Skill, after helping stick up for someone you would receive +1 Backbone, etc.

A few days after the conference she received an email from Clay Johnson, the director of Sunlight Labs, a community of open-source developers looking to make the government more transparent. He attended her presentation and quickly coded a website that allowed people to send +1’s to people for a wide variety of different tasks and attributes. If a user signs up for the service, all their +1’s stack to create a very game-like profile for yourself. It is this idea of meaningful visual rewards that can help encourage people to put forth a better effort.

Gaming may be fun but how can it be utilized in the library?

So how can librarians use this book to better serve our patrons? As I mentioned earlier, a large number of Americans are already playing games, and it isn’t just kids. Adults and seniors are also playing games and in many cases they are playing games more frequently on a weekly basis (Lenhart, Jones, & Macgill, 2008). According to Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service, written by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk, libraries are “losing the interest of our users,  [w]e no longer consistently offer the services our users want, [w]e are resistant to changing services that we consider traditional or fundamental to library service” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. xxiv). By utilizing the ideals presented by McGonigal, libraries can create more engaging ways to get users to participate in library services.

Children’s librarians could implement World of Warcraft style quests for book clubs, as outlined in McGonigal’s fix #3. They could ask teens to read a certain number of books per week and present them to the librarian for their rewards. Libraries could invite people into the library to take part in board game nights to strengthen social connectivity as outlined in fix #5. This would build trust within certain library communities.

It is for these reasons that libraries can look to video games and the gamification of services to create more engaging experiences for our users. By exploring Reality is Broken, by Jane McGonigal, information professionals will gain a better understanding of the positive psychological impact games are having on players around the world and how they are positively influencing user experiences. McGonigal’s ‘fixes’ can be used to create stronger participatory services to library users by providing a unique engaging experience using game mechanics.

Supplemental Video

References:

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service.

Lenhart, A., Jones, S., & Macgill, A. (2008). Adults and Video Games. PEW Research Center.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. New York: Penguin Press.

Schiano, D.J., Nardi, B., Debeauvais, T., Ducheneaut, N., & Yee, N. (2014). The “lonely gamer” revisited. Entertainment Computing, 5(1), 65-70 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.entcom.2013.08.002

References for Video Supplement:

Lenhart, A., Jones, S., & Macgill, A. (2008). Adults and Video Games. PEW Research Center.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. New York: Penguin Press.

Media Evolution. (2011). Gamification- how we can use game mechanics in areas that are not a game.

Rolighetsteorin. (Oct. 15, 2009). Bottle Bank Arcade. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/zSiHjMU-MUo


Ryan lives in Ottawa, Canada and is currently obtaining his Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree at San Jose State University. He has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Minor in Communication Studies. Prior to his MLIS, Ryan received his Library and Information Technician diploma and has been working in the library field for four years. He currently works at Carleton University MacOdrum Library. His interests include: emerging technology, big data, copyright, open access, and information literacy.

Ryan Tucci