Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

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.

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.

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

Below is Project Information Literacy infographic about the survey results:


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

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


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


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

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

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


Job Postings: St. Joseph County Public Library

Some great opportunities have popped up at the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana. If it wasn’t enough that Michael used to work there, these listings show great potential for some digitally minded, sense-of-humor carrying and industrious librarians. :-)

Check them out below…

Branch Manager, Western Branch (Full-time)

  • Education/Experience: ALA/MLIS degree
  • Pay Range: $1,595.20-$2,392.80, biweekly
  • Description: Under the direct supervision of the Coordinator of Branch Services, the Branch Manager will, amongst other things, manage employees and volunteers for Branch Services, hire, train, and enforce library policies, resolve difficulties, recommend changes to employment status, establish performance standards and evaluate employee performance. Branch Manager will also support the St. Joseph County Public Library mission by modeling internal and external customer service.

Assistant Branch Manager, Centre Township Branch (Full-time)

  • Education/Experience: ALA/MLIS degree
  • Pay range: $1,461.60 – $1,974.40, biweekly
  • Description: Working under the direct supervision of the Branch Manager, the Assistant to the Branch Manager will, among other duties, offer information and reference, circulation services and patron computer services. They will also recommend, maintain and weed an assigned portion of the collection, as well as plan and participate in programming, blogging, displays and tours. Assistant Branch Manager will also supervise Francis Branch employees and volunteers in the absence of the branch manager, train, schedule, and supervise shelvers and volunteers, schedule staffing, assign duties, review and check work and eliminate ordinary difficulties.

Digital Lab Assistant, Sights & Sounds/Digital Lab (Full-time)

  • Education/Experience: Bachelor’s Degree or specialized technology certification
  • Pay range: $1,216.00 – $1,643.20, biweekly
  • Description: Performs duties to provide computer and equipment assistance to Lab patrons per service guidelines. Lab Assistant will work under the direct supervision of the Manager of Sights & Sounds. Essential job duties include assisting patrons  and co-workers with use of the Lab’s equipment and software, as well as create and lead public Lab classes and tours. Other duties will include check-in, check-out, assessment, and inventory of circulating equipment, track and record usage statistics and provide service at Sights & Sounds service desk on an as needed basis.

For instructions on how to apply or to view a full list of job openings follow the link here.

Libraries and film: “Punk ass book jockeys,” information literacy, and beyond – A TTW Guest Post by Eamon Tewell

Librarianship has long been informed by ideas outside of the profession that are then brought into it. One of the intersections that has always interested me is libraries and film. Some areas of this overlap have been well documented, while others represent very new terrain. The portrayals of libraries and librarians in movies, and more broadly librarian stereotypes, as the recent title The Librarian Stereotype addresses, has been of continued interest to the profession–entire books and films have examined the topic. These representations have interesting things to tell us about how others conceive of librarians and what that means for our work (see, for example, Nicole Pagowsky and Erica Defrain’s excellent article on how librarian stereotypes and faculty perceptions impact our instructional roles). But apart from the questions of our professional identities as represented in popular culture, I have found a lot of ideas worth exploring on other aspects of film, TV, and media as applied to libraries.


Like a number of other librarians who provide information literacy instruction, I often incorporate media into the classes I teach. This can mean anything from to asking students to look at different news sources covering the same topic and critique the source’s biases, to using search examples that draw attention to problematic representations of women and people of color in pop culture. One of my best-received approaches to using media in the classroom was showing students three short clips from TV shows that related to libraries or information sources such as Wikipedia, and using these excerpts to start a discussion about how students use the library and other information sources. Some really interesting and enjoyable discussions were spurred by these 1-5 minute clips. I found that examples from movies or TV shows illustrating information literacy concepts can resonate much more with students than talking about these topics generally, and allow for a way for learners to express their own knowledge and understandings in relation to the library’s own sometimes confusing rules and expectations. This article has more details on my use of TV clips in library instruction.


The ways that libraries and librarians are represented on-screen provide alternately frustrating and funny insight into the ideas that others have about our profession. But when we think more deeply about these representations they express complicated positions that can bring up important questions about our collective identity. I have looked at the ways libraries are portrayed in two acclaimed comedy series, Parks and Recreation and Community, and how library anxiety is represented in them. The catch phrase from Parks and Recreation describing the fictional town’s librarians, “Punk ass book jockeys,” is part of the show’s tongue in cheek characterization of librarians, yet an undercurrent of distrust and unease with libraries is present within this satirical take. Film and libraries have a long history together, but relatively little research has been done in this area. Contemporary movies appear in the library literature more often, including an analysis of Party Girl, the classic 90s take on one young woman’s turn from the club scene to pursuing a library degree, and the information seeking habits manifested in The Big Lebowski. What many of these library/film studies combinations have in common is an interest in critically evaluating the media’s conceptions of libraries and using film analysis as a lens to examine larger issues of professional identity.


While these are just two areas of the intersection between libraries and film that I have considered, there is lots of great work being done in the realm of applying visual and popular media to aspects of librarianship. Joel Burkholder’s This Is Info Lit tumblr focuses on real world examples of information literacy, while Stephanie Alexander’s recent LOEX presentationdescribed how she used satirical news sources in her classes to teach aspects of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. These creative projects make apparent that there is no shortage of ideas to be explored within librarianship to meaningfully improve the work that we do, whether through theoretical approaches or everyday practices.


Eamon Tewell is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. Eamon has published and presented on the topics of popular media and active learning in library instruction, televisual representations of libraries, and critical information literacy. He tweets at @eamontewell.






NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Library Edition

Note from Michael: I was honored to work on this project for a second year. The 2015 report offers a cohesive and thoughtful approach to the future. I hope you’ll check it out.

The New Media Consortium, in collaboration with University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zurich have recently released their New Horizons Report > 2015 Library Edition. A five-year horizon examination of key trends, significant challenges and important developments in technologies, their work examines the potential impact on academic and research libraries.

The report was written by the 2015 NMC Horizon Project Library Expert Panel. If you’d like to take a peak at the wiki that chronicled their work and produced the report follow the link here.


> Download the NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Library Edition (pdf).


#IRDL2015 Twitter Chat Resources

I am honored to be participating in the  2015  Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) at Loyola Marymount University. My focus with the scholars explores personal learning networks and reflective practice. Tonight, I’ll be hosting a Twitter chat for the 22 scholars. This post will serve as a resource for that chat.

Our hashtag  for the institute is #IRDL2015 and our chat hashtag will be #irdl2015chat. We practiced on Tuesday with – very cool site for Twitter chats.

For tonight, the scholars are reading:

Horowitz & Martin:


The Questions:

Q1. MacMillan describes her “research experience” – what does the “whole pattern” of your experience look like?

Q2. What’s the role of theory in your research or are you drawn to applied research?

Q3. Horowitz and Martin describe important considerations for the researcher/practitioner and their relationship to LIS education and LIS professors. How might we improve/enhance these connections?

Q4. What realizations have you had about your own research practice?
Tips for the Chat:

  • Start by introducing yourself, share your location (in your room, in the library, at the cafe?)
  • Use the hashtag #irdl2015chat
  • Use @ replies to address individuals
  • Use answer numbers (A1, A2) to keep thoughts organized
  • Share images, links, video, etc


Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn – A TTW Guest Post by William Bejarano

As part of Michael Stephens’ Hyperlinked Library course offered through San Jose State University, I reported on the book Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn, by Cathy N. Davidson. We were encouraged to use creative means to convey our reports, so I took the book’s central theme to heart and utilized several free and available web tools to comment across platforms.

Part 1: TameTheWeb – “Introduction”

The main thrust of this book is the notion that we are using outdated criteria to measure our educational progress. This is a crucial idea for information professionals to understand, because it attempts to call our attention to the largely invisible shift in how we find, absorb, and utilize information, which could be changing the very idea of what we consider valuable.

Given that much of the book is dedicated to questioning and possibly dismantling the argument that distractions and periodic attention shifts are a bad thing, I’ve decided to create a distraction-heavy presentation with different points presented on separate formats. If the author is correct in her assessment of how users absorb information, then anyone reading this book report will likely be checking Twitter and Tumblr (among other things) before getting to the end of it anyway. By appearing on all of these platforms, I hope to stay a step or two ahead of you!

(For you traditionalists who prefer to have everything in one place, the entire script is available at the very bottom of this post, in one big text-heavy entry).

Part 2: Screencast – “The Gorilla Illusion”

Part 3: Tumblr – “Distraction as an Asset”

Part 4: Slideshare – “Fighting Gravity”

Part 5: Twitter/Storify – “Using Hyperlinks for Good”

Part 6: Soundcloud – “Conclusion”

BejaranoBioWilliam Bejarano has worked as Information Specialist at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies Library since 2013. Prior to that, he worked in Technical Services at the Rutgers University Libraries for eight years. He holds a Masters in Employment and Labor Relations and will complete his MLIS degree in July 2015. You can email him at [email protected].

Continue reading Now you see it: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn – A TTW Guest Post by William Bejarano

The tumblarians – a TTW guest post by Tamarack Hockin

The LIS blogosphere is what brought me into librarianship. I was travelling in Tasmania more than a decade ago when I happened upon Jessamyn West’s (still going strong!), and started the discovery process for my own career in libraries. I began spending part of my daily hour at the public terminals reading up on the issues of profession, reflections from practitioners, and linking around within a community of library bloggers. Enter the biblioblogosphere. I have just wrapped up the first semester of my MLIS, and had the amazing opportunity to delve more deeply into the biblioblogosphere in Dr. Michael Stephens’ LIBR200 course. The past few months have been spent constructing some preliminary research into the tumblarians, and considering their place within the existing research on LIS bloggers and information communities. It might be safe to assume that many of TTW’s readers are familiar with the biblioblogosphere since this is an area of special prominence in Michael’s research and many of his past posts.

For those who aren’t familiar, I’ll share here the world’s shortest review on the topic: Beginning in around the early-mid 2000s, LIS bloggers formed an informal online community of practitioners and researchers who shared personal-professional information. This community has been compared to a new form of grey literature for the profession (Powers, 2008), and bloggers themselves identified meaningful benefits from participating in these online conversations (Stephens, 2008). I’ll keep the citations brief, and just sum up the biblioblogosphere as comprising librarians who shared information and reflection on the profession, and who interlinked between one another’s blogs through conversation (e.g., commenting) and endorsement (e.g., blogrolls).

But back to the tumblarians. Who are the tumblarians, what are they doing, and are they an actual community? If the term isn’t new to you, then perhaps you’ve read Tkacik’s piece in The Digital Shift, or Power’s round-up in the Journal of Access Services— or perhaps you yourself are a tumblarian. For myself, I’m lucky enough to know a couple of tumblarians IRL, and was able to supplement this dearth of academic research on the topic by direct conversation. Let me tell you about what I found*. A combination of tumblr (the platform) and librarian, the tumblarians are defined mainly by their use of the hashtag of the same name. Tumblarians share information on diverse topics, but library-related information does take prominence.

I found that the tumblarians bear striking resemblance to LIS bloggers, and may be candidates for inclusion in the same grouping (while the platform is distinct, it shares many similarities with more traditional blogging formats). Like the LIS blogosphere documented in the research, there is a mix of personal and professional information, a community of inter-linking, and topics relevant to the profession are discussed. That said, there are also a lot of quirky animated gifs and pop-culture references. It’s a real mix of social and information. What I find most interesting is the way that this virtual community which is embedded in tumblr and centred around libraries and librarianship, is just that— a community.

My semester long project took place within the context and conversation of Fisher and Durrance’s (2003) information communities, which stressed the ways in which communities form around information needs. Yet it seems there is more than just an information need which leads tumblarians to engage with the blogosphere. Librarianship is deeply rooted in information, and our profession centres on concepts of informational authority, balance, and accuracy. Previous LIS bloggers have described themselves as LIS citizen-journalists who discuss and engage with the issues of the profession. Yet there is editorialising too, and also a lot of irreverent and playful content. The tumblarians especially seem to embrace the social aspects of a blogging community, mixing fandom and research side by side, separated only by their use of hashtags. A blog post (even a long one) is too short a space to get deeply into the issues and themes worthy of real examination. My hope is that I will have more time to follow up with the LIS blogosphere, the tumblarians, and the ways in which librarians and library workers are engaging in discourse about our profession.

We spend so much time with information, but I’m particularly interested in how we’re communicating.By “what I found”, I need to clarify that this was not actual research but findings through informal conversation buttressed by conceptual frameworks. Hence my using the term “preliminary” to characterise my research project.

See also, References Fischer, K. E., & Durrance, J. C. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen & D. Levinson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World.

Powers, A. C. (2008). Social networking as ethical discourse: Blogging a practical and normative library ethic. Journal of Library Administration, 47(3-4), 191-209. S

tephens, M. (2008). The pragmatic biblioblogger: Examining the motivations and observations of early adopter librarian bloggers. Internet Reference Services Quarterly 13(4), 311–345.


photo cc by-nc-sa KylerStorm[Flickr]Tamarack Hockin is in the first year of her MLIS at San Jose State University, and has been a library technician for six years working in Canadian public libraries. Find her wry humour on twitter @tamahoc, or contact her to talk libraries, anytime, via

Library as classroom: What’s the big flippin’ deal? — A TTW Guest Post by Jolene Nechiporenko


In my hyperlinked library class we’ve been learning about the library as classroom and the benefits of the flipped classroom.  The flipped classroom lends itself to the newer concept of teaching and learning, the active, community centered, collaborative, group learning in which both students and instructors can be learners or teachers.

What is a flipped classroom? The flipped or inverted classroom assigns pre-class, often an online video, pod cast, or reading material, homework and then utilizes class time to complete an active discussion or learning exercise.  “Lectures are moved online to be viewed before class, and classroom time is dedicated to learning activities that require students to engage concepts at a higher level in a group setting and with an instructor at hand to answer questions, give feedback, and prompt reexamination of key ideas.” (Baepler, Walker, & Driessen, 2014)

What’s so great about a flipped classroom?  Flipping the classroom offers new opportunities to both students and instructors that the traditional classroom does not.  Among these opportunities is flexibility for both the students and the instructors.  Students can access, ‘at home’ materials online wherever and whenever they want thanks to the incorporated technology. These recordings or materials remain available to students for repeated use.  “It allows a blended, (online and face-to-face) and self-paced instruction more aligned to how this generation of students learn.” (Brunsell & Horejsi, 2013)

Flipping saves time in the long run.  Instructors record their lecture only once until they feel the need to make changes or updates and students can view/listen to the material as many times as they feel necessary.  This process, known as ‘off-loading’ allows for better use of classroom time. Kim Miller explains off-loading as it pertains to information literacy instruction “…it’s hard to jump into more complex application and exploratory activities during a traditional 50 or 60 minute class if students don’t have a basic foundation on which to build advanced skills.  Off-loading the procedural instructions, like how to navigate the library’s website or basic catalog searching, to pre-class activities can free up in-class time for librarians to help students work through more complex activities.” (Miller, 2013)

Off-loading provides for better use of classroom time which can foster active, collaborative learning.  “Engaging students in active learning during class gives them an opportunity to think critically about what they are leaning, something often lacking in traditional library instruction.” (Fawley, 2014)  “The [Horizon] report notes, “Students are increasingly evaluated…on the success of the group dynamic,” as well as the outcome.  This might involve peer evaluation and self-reflection in addition to review of the group’s work. (as quoted in Stephens, 2012)”

“Thanks to social-networking software, information can flow not just from teachers to learners but in multiple directions: among students, from students to classroom teachers, from teacher-librarians to classroom teachers and students.” (Loertscher, 2008). In this ideal environment, instructors can assume the role of student and students have the capability to be the instructor. “When an assignment is given, everyone-teachers, librarians, students, and other specialists- can comment, coach, suggest, recommend, and discover together, and push everyone toward excellence.” (Loertscher, 2008)

Why should libraries be interested in flipped classrooms?  It’s ideal for an instructor to collaborate with a teacher librarian and have their class take place in the learning commons where a world of resources are readily available to the learner.  Flipped classrooms are often found in libraries, especially in the information commons.  In addition, the flipped classroom can be applied to information literacy instruction in which the librarian is the actual instructor.  “Libraries are increasingly called on to pursue innovative educational initiatives in order to remain engaged with a user base that is beginning to expect more personalized, mobile, digital, and responsive information services. (Booth, 2011)

Want more information?  Check out this great info graphic:



Booth, C. (2011). Reflective teaching, Effective learning. American Library Association.

Brunsell, E.,& Horejsi, M. (2013) Flipping you classroom in one “Take”.  Science Teacher, 80(3), 8.

Fawley, N. (2014, September 1). Flipped Classrooms. American Libraries.

Knewton. (2011, August, 29). The flipped classroom. [Infographic] Retrieved from

Loertscher, D. (2008, November 1). Flip this classroom. School Library Journal.

Miller, K. (2013, February 25).  Flipping Out: Preflip planning. Retrieved from ACRLog.

Miller, K. (2013, March 28).  Flipping Out: Reflection upon landing. Retrieved from ACRLog.

Stephens, M. (2012, April 25). Learning everywhere [Web log post]. Library Journal. Retrievedfrom


Jolene Nechiporenko is a senior student in the Master of Library and Information Science online degree program through San Jose State University’s School of Information. She lives with her family in North Dakota and plans to pursue a career in librarianship.