Category Archives: TTW Contributor: Justin Hoenke

Expanding The Conversation (by TTW contributor Justin Hoenke)

Have you ever found yourself inside the library echo chamber? I think we all have.  You’ve got something great to share or say about libraries and you put it out there…and it’s only talked about by librarians and libraries.  Some great presentations and pieces have been written about the echo chamber (some of my  faves are from Ned Potter, Sally Pewhairangi, and Steven V. Kaszynski).    These have got me thinking…how can we avoid the echo chamber?  My thought is this…expand the conversation and try, try, try your best to include those outside of the library world.  But how can we do this?  Here’s one way that I’ve found to be quite effective over the past few weeks.

I’ve fallen in love with a new service called Branch.  What is Branch?  It’s a new site that allows you to take ideas, tweets, and more and expand on them with anyone.  Wanna talk beyond the 140 characters of Twitter or not get involved in a messy comment thread?  Take it to Branch and have a conversation.

That’s exactly what I did when I started reading a series of posts on Read Write Web by Richard Macmanus titled Social Books.  I saw that the posts had an audience.  The article that caught my eye was this piece on GoodReads.  Specifically, I noticed that 183 people have shared/liked it on Facebook and a whopping 583 shares on Twitter. I also noticed a lack of librarians in on the conversation.  I wanted to see if I could expand the conversation and  get some library perspective into the mix.  So I took it to Branch:

As of the time of the writing of this post, the Branch conversation has led to some cool things that have expanded the conversation. Richard Macmanus, the author of the Social Book series Read Write Web joined the discussion on Branch and shortly thereafter wrote a post entitled The Social Library: How Public Libraries are Using Social Media which explores such topics as libraries using social media to connect with community, social catalog enhancements from LibraryThing, Candide 2.0.  I know that numbers are not everything, but there’s been a lot of sharing of the piece going on.  Look at the sharing stats below:

 What strikes me most are the number Facebook and Twitter shares.  To me, that’s a lot of people who have checked out the article…and then shared it.  Who knows how many people have actually read the article, but it’s likely that there’s even more.

And this is where I get most excited about this piece: think about how there are people out there today who are not involved in libraries reading about libraries, what libraries do, and how libraries improve community.  That’s the cool part about expanding the conversation.


Librarians Around The City (by TTW contributor Justin Hoenke)

On a recent break from work at my library, I walked down to the local cafe to get my daily summer iced tea and lemonade.  On my walk back to the library, I noticed a couple looking at a large map of Portland, ME.  They looked like they were trying to find something but couldn’t figure out where to go.  I stepped in and said, “Is there something I can help you find?  I live downtown and I’m also a librarian.  It’s part of my job to help people find what they need.”

In the end, I helped the couple find what they were looking for and we went our separate ways.  It got me thinking about roving reference and how well it could possibly work OUTSIDE of the library.  Imagine a few librarians roaming around downtown, helping people find what they were looking for, recommending great local businesses and restaurants, and handing out informational pamphlets that helped folks discover new things around the city?  An idea like this may work best in a smaller town or one that had a tourist population, but theoretically it could work anywhere as well.  Perhaps a great partnership opportunity for libraries and downtown districts could (such as this one: http://www.portlandmaine.com/) make the project even better.  It would allow two organizations to share resources and people and give a new and exciting spin to librarians connecting people to the community.

Care to chime in on the discussion at Branch?  Visit here: http://on.branch.com/UbwweJ

For more information on embedded librarians, check out these two great posts from Michael that give some history on the topic:

Two Librarians Attempt to Knock Down Walls
The Transparent Library: Dear Library Directors

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

Librarian Identity (by TTW Contributor Justin Hoenke)

Early in my career, I made the mistake of mentioning in one of my one of my presentations that I was one of those librarians that didn’t read a lot but somehow got into libraries.  Since then, I don’t think I’ve been able to live that down.  To some, I’ve become “ that teen librarian  who doesn’t read” and to some extent I think that’s hurt me.  I was wrong in saying that I don’t read.  In fact, I read quite a bit:

  • I read the most on my phone (news, gaming, music, sports, RSS feeds)
  • I play video games, all of which either require at least some reading
  • I read two stories to my son every night
  • I currently have one book I am reading on my Kindle

My statement that “I don’t read” was said to grab audience attention.  Maybe it did that at the time, but as I look back at the ramifications of my statement and I wish I hadn’t said that at all.  People now ask me “how can you be an effective teen librarian if you don’t read?”.  The statement that “I don’t read” has also been questioned when it comes to my advocacy for video gaming as literacy.  Saying that “I don’t read” has diluted my message that gaming can be an effective form of literacy.  Why would someone want to listen to someone talk about how much reading is in video games when that someone is also saying “I don’t read” in the same sentence?

This has got me thinking about librarian identity and how we always have to be mindful of what we say and how we present ourselves.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve focused on creating an identity for yourself over a few years because, like the “I don’t read” example above, those little moments can really shape your identity.  Taking the road which shocks someone may get someone’s attention, but is that the kind of attention that you want to remain focused on you?

Recommended reading:
Professionalism Matters in Job Search by Michael Stephens
Piling On on the web by Stephen Abram

Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

German-American Gaming League (by TTW Contributor Justin Hoenke)

I had the honor of helping unveil the German-American Gaming League while I was in Hamburg last month for the Bibliothekartag Library Conference.  If you’re interested in the league, please visit this link for more information (please note: the page is in German, so have Google Translate handy!)

What is the German-American gaming league?

In the gaming league take people from Germany and the United States in an open competition against each other. Here are several computer games such as Wii bowling and playing Mario Kart.

Why did the German-American gaming league?

We believe that gaming will have a major impact on the culture and knowledge in the future. With this and many other projects we want to prepare cultural and educational institutions at that future. We would also like to develop an international network on the topic of gaming. Our colleagues in the United States are already implementing for many years a gaming league. There is even a National Gaming Day.We now want to expand this league to Germany, thus ensuring a sustainable and interdisciplinary networking.

Furthermore, we want to network with this project, the institutions with gamers.

Where are the competitions?

The competitions are held in participating libraries, museums and archives.

What is the cost to attend the gaming league?

Participation in the gaming league is for both the players and for the institutions in which the competitions take place absolutely free.

Who can play?

The gaming league is open to every person who has the desire to join in playing video games. There is no age restriction.

What games are played?

There are only played games with no age restriction. We begin in the first season with Wii bowling and Mario Kart. More games will follow.

When will the gaming league, and how long a season?

The Gaming League was officially launched in the Library Conference 2012 in Hamburg. This means that from now on, they can enter institutions. The gaming events in Germany are said to have taken place up to 30.11.2012, ie on 01.12.2012, we want to present the German champion, then travel to the finals in the United States. The next round will begin in June 2013.

Important: The registration period ends on July 20, 2012 , and we start with 20 institutions – first come, first play, first :-)

Who makes the gaming league?

The Gaming League is a cooperative project of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, the association Zukunftswerkstatt culture and knowledge eV and libraries and gaming lovers from Germany and the United States.

Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

King Middle School Expedition Learning TV

click on this image to watch King TV

At the request of the students, our class embarked on a geography themed expedition this year to study the beauty and mystery of this huge country. All the students in our class are new to the US. After researching they have became experts on one of the US Census regions. In addition, they developed a practical understanding of how the world is categorized into the 5 themes of geography.  –Catherine Paul 

I wanted to share this awesome project some of the teens who use my library just did at their school.  They came into the library today and were really excited to show me.  Great job by Abdi, Ahmed, Anas, Hafs, Musa, Nasteh, Princie, and Roukia!

UPDATE: Click here for even more videos about what the teens are learning at King Middle School!

Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

Exchanging business cards for library cards at the Portland Business Expo

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

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

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

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

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

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

 

 

 

Nintendo 3DS and the Louvre

What a great partnership.  I’ve been playing Kid Icarus: Uprising on my 3DS for the past few weeks and have been enjoying the experience quite a bit.  The 3DS is a neat little system and from what I see here in this video it makes the Louvre experience even cooler.

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Please consider supporting the Young Writers & Leaders Film

The Young Writers and Leaders film is part of a Telling Room programSonya Tomlinson, David Meiklejohn, and 15 Portland, Maine area teens (all of whom use my teen library everyday!). Simply stated, the film tells the stories of the teens and their involvement in the Telling Room program and their lives in Portland, ME.

Their goal is to take their film and the fifteen teen participants on a trip to Boston and  spend the day in the city visiting a sister writing center, pairing up with Boston-area young writers, and holding a screening of the film in a  film house that holds 250 people followed by a Q&A with the Young Writers and Leaders students.

Over the past two years, I’ve come to know a lot of these teens one on one from my time with them in the library.  As I sit and write this, I see Ali sitting in a study room in front of me listening to music and working on something even though it’s spring break this week.  Just this morning, I met up with Chrispo and gave him a drum set that I had sitting around collecting dust in my storage unit.  He’s been wanting to play drums for years now and used to use garbage cans at the open mic events we held in the teen library in 2010.  I remember having many talks with Edna at the teen service desk just one year ago about her librarian-ish obsession to categorize, archive, and color code all of her homework in a specific brand of Office Depot three ring binders.  These teens have come a long way in the two years that I’ve known them and now they’re getting a chance to tell their story and take it on the road to another community.

Please consider supporting this project by visiting their Kickstarter page here.

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Fictional Band at Your Library?

The backstory:
I’ve been working with a fellow Portland Mainer named Kirsten Cappy who runs the book consulting company  Curious City to come up with a program to promote the new book Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham (out June 2012).

We had the idea to send the book out on the road, much like the characters in the story.  We asked “how can this work and how can we help out libraries?”  My response was: “make it easy and simple for teen libraries and give them a summer reading program in a box”.  Simple things for the library to host and give their community something neat and exciting.

This is what we came up with.

We’re looking for libraries between Boston, MA and Austin, TX to join in on the ride.  It’s simple: you host our traveling road show, you get free stuff and a program for teens, and that’s it.

If you’re interested, check out our official press release here:
http://curiouscitydpw.com/2012/03/28/fictional-band-at-your-library/

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor