Why are we doing this? We’ve got a lot of wall space on The 2nd Floor and more importantly it starts conversations among our library guests and our staff. When our staff shares an example of a library service that we offer of something that interests us personally we open up the library to some great conversations. In those conversations, we make connections with our community. These connections make our place in the community stronger.
Oops! I broke the 3D printer! And you know what? It’s OK.
Bits of a 3D printer, post hacksaw
One night on The 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library I attempted to make 3 Stretchlet bracelets on our 3D printer at one time. We’re taking our 3D printer to the local children’s museum later this month and wanted to built up our arsenal of 3D printed giveaways. My idea was to attempt to speed up that process and boy oh boy did it not work.
I came back to see the mess you see below. Something went wrong and our whole extruder was covered in plastic. I attempted to chip bits of the plastic but I had no luck. I called on James and Geoff from The 4th Floor to assess the damage. They took our 3D printer away, let us borrow one of theirs (thank you oh so much), and came back down 15 minutes later with the diagnosis: the electronics were a-ok, but they had to cut out some bits with a hacksaw. They contacted MakerBot support and the final verdict was in…
Thanks for contacting MakerBot Support! The part that are you are inquiring about can definately be purchased by contacting MakerBot Support at 347.334.6800 Option 2, MOnday through Friday 9am-6pm (EST).
The name of the part is called Extruder Carriage and the cost of the part is $12.
Phew. The 3D printer will be good to go in a week or so, and the damage wasn’t too bad. What did I learn besides the obvious “don’t make too many stretchlet bracelets at one time”? Well, it helped me see that even if I make a mistake with this 3D printer thing that it’s all going to be ok. It’s just a machine that can be fixed. It’s not the end of the world.
Now I have this awesome pile of plastic and bits of a 3D printer lying around that everyone on the 2nd Floor can show to tweens and teens and say “see, we messed up and that’s OK because we learned something.”
J: Yah, just a test. We put it online because that’s the whole point of the on air hangout…to record a conversation and share it online. Plus, it was kind of neat to watch how we worked through any trouble we had.
J: Yes. What we’re doing on the 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library (our space dedicated to ages 0-18) lines up really well with what the 4th Floor is going for. We want to try neat things and see if they stick. We’re happy to show our successes, failures, and the road we took to get there.
W: Can you share any other ways you’re putting your tests and trials out there?
W: But isn’t that embarrassing putting all the errors and mistakes out there for the public to see?
J: Not at all. Part of the fun is trying out new things and seeing how the community reacts. If they don’t respond to something we do on the 2nd Floor, all that says to me is “keep on thinking, keep on trying.” It’s actually pretty exciting.
W: That’s very cool. I think it’s good for us to remember that while we might be good at librarianship, and a few others things, there are people in our community who use our libraries who are much better at certain things, and their input and observations on our library processes and trials can help build better services.
So I see you’re doing a summer coding camp at Chattanooga – what is that teaching the teens about keeping your mistakes open and public? Software development is a wonderful example of how something (like computer code) can get better and better the more it’s distributed and developed by many people.
J: When I was a teen, I used to think that adults never made mistakes. They were the ones in power and they never messed anything up. Boy, I was wrong. That way of thinking had a big impact on me as I grew into adulthood. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be that “perfect adult” but what I was doing was something that I could not keep up with. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and you know what? We grow from those mistakes.
I think making these mistakes and keeping them public is a great thing. It shows that we’re all human and that we’re all learning and growing.
W: We’re messing around with a 3D printer here, and one of my first pieces was dodgy so we finished the print before it was complete. I was going to throw it out but Neal my co-worker stopped me and pointed out that the print actually showed the insides and structure of a 3D print. Turns out, it’s a piece that other staff look at and are intrigued by the most!
J: That’s so rad to hear! When we create something, of course we want it to be perfect. But our colleagues and friends will see things a different way. Your idea of something that is junk may be someone else’s idea of gold.
A few weeks ago when you visited Chattanooga, you talked about how Australia is planning and implementing a country wide fiber optic system. With a project that big, there’s gotta be some mistakes that are made along the way. How has your country been managing this project and any mistakes that are made? I can imagine that if there are any bumps along the way there may be a huge public reaction.
W: Such a big, expensive project comes with a lot of scrutiny, and every mistake or misjudgment can easily get blown out of proportion by the project’s critics. One thing that this and other technology related projects has taught me is the economic concept of ‘opportunity cost’. Some of the criticisms leveled at Australia’s National Broadband Network include the idea that we should wait until the relevant technology gets cheaper, more reliable, etc. The opportunity cost is that while we’re waiting for that time, we miss out on the benefits that implementing that technology now could bring.
I think this thinking helps to round out the idea of ‘making mistakes’ in our daily work. By not making mistakes, by not taking responsible risks, by waiting until someone else makes it perfect before can adopt it, we miss an opportunity to benefit from any success of the project now.
Warren Cheetham is the Coordinator of Information and Digital Services at CityLibraries Townsville. He has worked in public libraries for twenty-one years, and his professional interests include the application of technology to public libraries, and how to best deliver information services, reader engagement, corporate research services and training to library staff and customers in an online environment.
PARTNERS Since the program happened on The 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library it would be easy for everyone to think that this all happened at the library and it was all the library and that was that. But that’s not the case and I’d like to take this moment to tell you about our partners. Without the support of Engage 3D, AIGA Chattanooga, and the Benwood Foundation, DEV DEV would not have happened. Their support (educational, funding, brainpower, design, etc) and dedication to the program and the community of Chattanooga is one of the key ingredients as to why this beta test run of this program was as successful as it was.
It really takes everyone in the community getting together to make amazing things happen.
SUPPORT Without the support of EVERYONE at the Chattanooga Public Library, DEV DEV would not have worked. Every day, the circulation staff would wait on the teens that came into the library at 9am, making them their white hot chocolates and letting them in the doors before the rest of the public could get in. The rest of the staff smiled and welcomed the teens every day. They knew how big this was for the teens attending DEV DEV and they made sure they had the times of their lives.
Photo by @chattlibrary http://instagram.com/p/chi99IiWnz/
The parents brought it all together. Not only did they drive the teens back and forth from the library, but on the last day of the program they came out to show their love and support. It is in moments like this where you can just see teens gaining so much love and respect for their families. Awesome.
TEENS DEV DEV would not have happened were it not for the amazing talent and dedication of the teens involved in the program. For four weeks, you gave your attention and hard work to learning how to build websites, make robots dance, and program video games. You blew all of our minds. For me personally, as I get older, I am happy to know that the world is in such good hands. To borrow from southern lingo….Ya’ll are gonna do some amazing things.
SO WHAT’S NEXT? DEV DEV was not meant to be a one shot program but instead an ongoing series, a library/community brand if you would like to call it that. As with any program of this size and scope, some time is needed to rest, reflect, and accurately plan the next steps. We’ll be doing that over the next few weeks at the Chattanooga Public Library. I already had a great discussion today with Engage 3D Education Director James McNutt about online learning communities. He is a brilliant dude and I can’t wait to see his ideas in motion.
Instead of siphoning teens off into different rooms (and locking away noisy activities), the space is airy and completely open. The openness means, among other things, that it only takes one or two librarians to monitor the entire space.
Rice says his team renovated the floor on the cheap, using paint and low-cost materials to fill the space. “Teens appreciate the rawness,” he says. “Rich materials might be a little bit of a turn-off.”
The key, he says, is a space without much security, where kids feel free to just hang out. “It makes teens feel as if they have free reign over the space,” he says. “They don’t feel like they’re under this intense adult scrutiny.”
This is what it’s all about: A tween and his Dad enjoy Ms. Pac Man at the Library
When I was a teenager, I spent most if not all of my time in video game arcades in shopping malls. It was the time of fighting games…Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, World Heroes, Primal Rage, and many, many more. Who knows how much money I spent playing those games and more importantly, who cares. What mattered most (and what sticks with me to this day) was being in the same room with people my age who enjoyed the same things as me. It was exciting. It was fun. It created friendships and community.
Video gaming in libraries isn’t a new thing. It seems to have picked up steam in the last decade and is now something that most libraries will offer to their communities. This is a good thing: video games can be fun, rewarding, help those playing them understand stories/character/plot, and so much more.
I’ve always wanted to recreate that vibe that I felt back when I used to frequent the arcade in the public library. It was exciting to stand around an arcade machine and watch someone get as far as they could in a game on one quarter. It was exciting to go one-on-one with someone in a game like Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat. Public libraries are places where people come together and experience something. Why not have a bit of that something be an arcade machine?
It has been a dream of mine to get an arcade machine in a library since I started in libraries back in 2007 and this past week, thanks to the Friends of the Chattanooga Public Library the support of the staff at the Chattanooga Public Library, and my wife Haley (she found it on Craigslist for only $150!), we now have an original Ms. Pac Man arcade machine on the 2nd Floor of the library…and it has been a great thing. I love seeing the reaction people have when they realize that the library has an arcade machine. I love seeing families (like the photo above) playing it together. I love seeing the teens gather round and have tournaments to see who can get the highest score.
I cannot wait to see the community and friendships that this little ‘ol machine will create.
This idea came from a film maker last year. He wanted to work with the library & the only money we had was from a grant from the Allstate Foundation. It was a large project where over a dozen teens worked on a PSA that lasted 5 minutes. We took that as a learning experience.
This year we found another local film maker named Mike LaVoie. I contacted the White Plains High School SADD chapter to see if they would like to work on the project. We had a smaller group…I think there were about 7 teens altogether. Mike put togethera no-budget script and explained it to the teens. I (Teen Librarian Erik Carlson) worked on locations, the library parking garage, a co-workers home & a local cemetery. Mike showed them some movie magic to make the car to appear to be moving, using fake smoke, lighting tricks. I came up with the eye drops for tears & one of the teens was able to talk a local medical supply store to loan us a wheelchair for the afternoon (this was a last minute thing).
I’m Your Neighbor, Portland is a Portland, Maine community-wide read and series of public events in designed to promote a sense of community among the diverse people who make the port city their home.
I’m Your Neighbor, Portland is sponsored by the Portland Public Library and funded by the Maine Humanities Council.
Over the last three decades, the city of Portland has seen a significant cultural shift through the arrival of immigrants and refugees from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Here in Maine, we’re blessed with a crop of recent titles, from picture books to young adult novels, that offer both particular cultural details about the lives of recent arrivals to our state and themes to which any reader can relate.
The goal of I’m Your Neighbor, Portland is to engage members of the Greater Portland, Maine community, both new arrivals and long-term residents, in reading books about recent immigrants to Maine and sharing in discussion of differences and commonalities, to build understanding between the two groups.
The series will open with a gala launch on May 25, 2013
Thursday nights can be slow at my library. The teens have all gone home for the day, and the only ones that remain are the quiet few who are tearing through their homework or have their eyes focused on their internet browser. Tonight at my library, the scene was the same but before me was a pretty huge question:
My little brother locked me out of my iPod. He’s five years old and he won’t tell me how to unlock it. How can I start again? Do I need to buy a new iPod?
The teen was pretty bummed that he couldn’t access his music. I’ve seen him here in my library before…he’s always got his headphones on and he’s always got a smile on his face. You can tell that this kid loves music. Tonight, I didn’t see that kid. I saw someone who was really bummed out. He presented his iPod to me.
That’s where we were to start. With a quick Google search, I showed him how to find help on Apple’s website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1212. He tells me that he didn’t know that there were such helpful things on the internet.
Our next step was restoring the iPod. I told him that everything was going to be deleted, and he understood. He said that all of his music was on his computer (more on that to come)
After about ten minutes of waiting and watching the iPod slowly restore itself, the teen’s frown turned into a smile. He was the same kid that I remember seeing every other day in the library. When Welcome to Your New iPod flashed on the screen. He threw his hands up in the air. ”YES! FINALLY! THANK YOU!”
Next up, we searched for his music. He had never used iTunes before, so all of his music files were buried in a Real Player folder somewhere on his hard drive. He helped me locate the folder and I showed him how to drag and drop into iTunes. He smiled again when his music library showed up. My final step was telling him about syncing his device. I told him to use iTunes to manage his music and to always keep iTunes synced to his iPod. His music library automatically refilled itself and when it was done, he disconnected his iPod from the computer, plugged in his headphones, gave me a fist bump, and walked away jamming out to his music.
Thursday nights can be slow at my library, but they can also be some of the best times I’ve ever spent in a library.
The book, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, is based on the findings of a large-scale collective of ethnographic studies conducted by y over 20 researchers at MIT from the Digital Youth Project on youth and their social/friendship-driven and interest-driven practices producing, consuming, and sharing media and technology. The case studies offer pretty fascinating insights into youth culture and voices. The authors of the studies concluded that youth often engage in three genres of participation with tech/media: hanging out, messing around and geeking out. It is a participatory cultural progression in intensity and complexity both in terms of development (first social, then personal, and finally an enriching of both of those areas) and of learning. Other topics addressed in the book include gaming, media production, and how media/ technology usage and access are impacting friendships, families, privacy, and dating.
The Three Genres of Youth Participation with Technology and Media
In the hanging out phase, youth are often driven socially to interact with media based on extending their already existing friendships. The primary focus here is on social development, usually conducted without adult supervision. Youth are almost always “on” digitally even when physically with others, and may not have much time for reflection and introspection when dealing with others digitally as they do face-to-face. The exchanges take place both privately (IM, texting) and publicly via social media outlets, with the public forum often leading to interpersonal and intrapersonal lessons that often have highly visible consequences. Adults often place many judgments on this particular stage of media/tech interactions and will often attempt to dictate access. Youth, however, are creating and dictating their own digital social norms. As Thomas and Brown note, the question for this stage is “What is my relationship to others?” (2011).
During the messing around stage, youth are often independently and open-endedly experimenting with technology, exploring media, and seeking information to pursue more personal interests. They are self-directedly acquiring new transliteracy skills and learning how to construct queries. The level of involvement and investment is dictated individually. They often share their creations with others to assess and provide feedback on, or to seek out technical assistance from. Access to technology and media tools is essential for this phase, along with the autonomy to delve into their own interests and seek out information or to create/customize using media. They may experiment with repurposing tech tools or creating work-arounds for tech/media issues. Regardless of whether there is an end-product or goal fulfilled, the tinkering aspect allows youth to gain new skills and knowledge.
In the geeking out stage, youth focus in on interest(s) more intensely that develop both their personal and social agencies while building deep knowledge and proficiencies. Whether this takes the guise of online gaming, fan activities, or media creations, youth are deeply involved in manipulating technology, creating and/or remixing media and collaborative knowledge-building/sharing via specialized knowledge networks based on their personal interests. This involvement often centers on online communities of experts, often dealing with peers (and sometimes adults) to seek out and provide information and assistance to others. Peer-based feedback and sharing are essential and reciprocity is expected in this phase, especially when it helps establish authority or expertise. This stage develops more deeply a youth’s personal and social personas and interests.
Youth and Transformative Learning
Youth are practicing their own form of transformative learning via their progressive acts of hanging out, messing around, and geeking out. They are often engaging (often unknowingly) in deep learning, extending themselves beyond gaining explicit knowledge and instead dealing in tacit knowledge while they take greater ownership of their personal and social roles (Thomas & Brown, 2011, & Transformative Learning Theory, 2007). They have embraced that learning processes can be fun, messy, challenging, and potentially intimidating/scary, but create the opportunity for subjective reframing (Mezirow, 1997, p. 7). Youth are most often turning to each other to build knowledge and connect with media and technology instead of school or the library, probably because they aren’t finding validation for their interests via these venues or their methods of learning; this is unfortunate as it most definitely supports their personal and developmental needs. When not under the direct guidance of parental or educational authorities, students are seen to assume more adult-like roles and increased ownership of how they present themselves, and their learning and peer evaluation (Mizuko et al, 2009).
What can librarians and trainers glean from these works?
Librarians and trainers can aptly take much from this large-scale study. Dr. Pinkard of the Digital Youth Network notes that literacy (and illiteracy) are defined by the technology of the time so to be “literate in 2020 will mean being multi-literate: the ability to critically consume and produce media such as print, video, sound and screen” (Pinkard, 2011, Rethinking Our Definitions of Literacy). Because we as librarians are concerned with literacy, we need to offer opportunities for literacy development and promotion in all different medias. Although the research for this book was conducted on youth, I think providing patrons regardless of age with a venue for play and examination with media and technology is crucial. For the “Hanging Out” stage, I don’t think libraries should be afraid of social media (which many seem to be). I think they should embrace it. Engage with patrons, whether via Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.
For “Messing Around”, it would be wonderful to provide patrons with access to tools to experiment and play with tech without set learning goals, but rather an open venue. It was emphasized repeatedly in the book that youth needed to have the opportunity for open-ended tinkering in order to transition to a more in-depth involvement with learning and engagement. Effective examples of youth media programs are centered on the youths’ own passions and interests and allot sufficient unstructured time so youth can fiddle around and explore without the need to heed direct instruction (Mizuko et al, 2009). In the place of classroom teachers, lab teachers/leaders do not assume traditional authority roles in which their job is to assess youths’ abilities, but instead should aspire to be co-conspirators and collaborators (Mizuko et al, 2009). An excellent example of a media lab that has been quite successful is the YOUmedia lab at the Chicago Public Library.
There have been other successful media labs that have been created for adults as well, such as the Skokie Public Library’s studio’s media lab which has served as a model for other libraries.
For “Geeking Out”, youth provide an excellent example of the types of deep learning and collaborative knowledge-building that can transpire in a Learning 2.0 program. They have modeled the need and expectation for play as a means of deep learning, a concept that not all adults are comfortable with. Libraries can offer programming that allows for in-depth play with librarians embracing the role of guide on the side. As Thomas and Brown point out, a fusion of information and experimentation lead to a new culture of learning, which youth exemplify (2011, p. 117). We would do well to heed the cultural change that youth are creating and embracing and consider this in our library programming and services.
Ito, Mizuko (ed.). (2009). Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.
Maria Papanastassiou is a graduate student at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science. After her graduation in May 2013, she will be pursuing her certification in order to become a teacher librarian in Illinois. Maria’s interests include young adult literature, emerging technologies, and promoting transliteracy.
People, Libraries & Technology – A Weblog by Michael Stephens