Monica harris writes: If you could draw your whole world, what would be in it? Join us for an Idea Box of your own creation, April 3 – 30, at the Oak Park Public Library Main Library.
Note from Michael: I look to the State Library of Queensland often for inspiration and examples of participatory engagement for users. I also have a special spot in my heart for the librarians and info professionals of Australia, who welcomed me for two extended visits that I will never forget!
ALICE is the colloquial name State Library of Queensland (SLQ) has given to a research project lovingly called Digital Library Project 5! You can see why we needed another name to give us some creative inspiration and as we felt we were heading down the proverbial rabbit hole and did not know whether we would end up at a Mad Hatters Tea Party or have the Queen of Hearts calling for our heads, ALICE, was the nickname chosen.
With this research project we are exploring what a public library could be in 2020 in the virtual realm. SLQ has just launched its joint Vision paper for Public Libraries Next Horizon: VISION 2017 for Queensland public libraries (Public Libraries Connect) with Queensland Public Libraries Association and we see libraries as creative spaces, connecting people and content, technology trendsetters and incubators for the community. I want to say up front that ALICE is NOT a library management system. We were not exploring how to organize ‘stuff’. We wanted to explore the connection to you, the reader, the author, the cinematographer, the editor, the family historian, the researcher, the bookclub member and all the other users of libraries and what that connection could be in the digital world.
We asked Readers, Library users, Library staff, Authors, Writing Centres, Digital publishers, documentary makers, and technology geeks. And then we checked out what was out there and we determined that the creators of music were much more connected to their consumers, customers and fans in the digital world than the creators of stories. Readers can connect with readers but not really well to the vast array of content available for free or to compare purchase prices or to really connect to authors. Creators of content, and yes I am also talking about the self publishing world of family histories, local newsletters, digital zines, also cannot easily access the vast array of publishing tools, editors, designers or an easy distributing channel in the digital realm that could help them to become published. And where does the community resident find the local digital stuff, and where does the local creator put their stuff for maximum findability? There was some analysis of the marketplace and the recommended position to be explored for a design solution was the mesh-up of the following:
So where is ALICE at now? We are working with a design company for the design solution and have held a workshop to test what is actually possible. The image above is a very early view of what an ALICE could be with a reading shelf, social feed, search functionality user profile, library bag, connections, and regional library section. The book shelf could also be used by businesses with all the functionality of a library user but designed for businesses to manage their digital content and connections. The author gets to have a connection with every reader of their content and can also see the interactive statistics for their content that has been loaded to the platform. It is also to be designed for all formats of content. And while content is part of ALICE the design solution is very much around the profile of the user of ALICE. This is still very much a work in progress and if the design solution is accepted, SLQ will then be determining a business model to be pursued should ALICE get the go ahead. It is still too early to tell if whether we can invite a whole community to join in our tea party, whether ALICE has a future and if anyone else but the library industry has an interest but it is very liberating exploring what could be.
Comments can be directed at Twitter @janecowell8 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Cowell is the Director of Regional Access and Public Libraries at the State Library of Queensland. Key projects during this appointment are the Library Leadership program for Public Library staff, State Library’s Literacy Framework Libraries for Literacy every day, every way, and The Library Dividend: the socioeconomic value of Queensland Public Libraries. Prior to this role Jane was a Senior Consultant with the AEC Group, working with local governments and State Libraries across Australia on strategic planning, library service models and community consultation in the areas of library and community services. Jane has over 20 years public library management experience, including serving as President of Queensland Public Library Association.
Jane is passionate about public libraries as community hubs and community learning centres, and sees many opportunities for libraries presented by the rapidly changing digital, social and economic environment. as well as some challenges in addressing the stereotype view of the library, especially around collections.
From Michael: Thanks FGL for contributing this guest post! I can’t believe how many years it’s been since I interviewed you for LJ: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6262153.html
Hi, friends – Feel-good Librarian here, with biggest, shiniest congratulations to Michael and the whole Tame the Web community! Ten super years of information sharing and general quality assurance in the library world. Awesome!
TTW has covered so many topics, but the ones that appeal most to me have been about keeping the heart in technology. Most of my interactions are still in person, but many occur through technology: email, internet, IM and texting, as well as the telephone. I’ve experienced feel-goodness at both ends of the spectrum recently.
I still teach internet skills for our homeless shelter. A patron that I taught in the seminar a few sessions ago stopped me in the lobby recently. She said, “You teach the computer seminars!”
I agreed, and she told me the following: “I learned how to do stuff on the computer here so I could fill out applications. I’d never heard of that. I went over to Taco Bell and they said I had to apply on the computer, they didn’t even have paper ones anymore. If it hadn’t been for the library teaching me how to do computers, and the shelter teaching me how to live, I’d still be in the gutter.”
On the other hand, I told a friend at church that the library has online databases she can access from her home computer with her library card number, covering lots of topics. I emailed her the link. She texted me later, after she followed the link and delightedly explored our list.
Friend: There is a whole database for home maintenance! I found gas furnace tune-up instructions for [husband]. And I found the hobbies database!!!!!
FGL: You are the perfect patron! You actually follow directions, use the resources, and then to be so excited about them!
Friend: And YOU are the fairy princess librarian with the magic wand that opens the door to the “Room of All Knowledge.”
Feel-good to fairy princess, folks. Sometimes it may not feel that way to you, since you know the ins and outs of your everyday library processes, but please don’t forget that when it works, YOU can do magic in someone’s life.
Ten great years of technology – and heart. Thanks for the magic, Michael!
#TTW10 “Tamer” Graphic by Theresa Papaurelis, Graphic Artist at Indian Prairie Public Library. (http://ippl.info)
I decided to be a librarian in late 2006 at the urging of my mother in law Jill. She had been a librarian for many years and spoke of her work very passionately. With a simple poke and a simple “you know, you’d be good at this library thing“, I was off to attend Clarion University of Pennsylvania in January 2007.
When I was a kid visited the Northland Public Library in Pittsburgh, PA on a weekly basis. I remembered two things about my time there: they had rabbits in the children’s area and they had the best selection of books on whales in the whole wide world. Oh yeah, and I thought it was a super fun and magical place. To me, that’s what libraries needed to be.
My time in library school was good but I always fell out of place. I wanted to have fun! I wanted the library to be this amazing place full of wonder, joy, exploration, and full of heart! Instead, I found myself writing out cataloging records by hand or presenting papers on teen literature. I got something out of that but…there was another side.
Enter Tame The Web in early 2008.
Instead of talking about what goes in the 250 field in a bib record , Tame The Web was talking about things I could relate to: What Kind of Conversations can you have? My Library is…A Rock Show! I could relate to this. It was full of wonder, joy, and exploration! This was real. This was people connecting with people.
Since those days that’s been my focus with being a teen librarian. In order to succeed and give the community what they want, I realized that connection had to come first. All of those other things: collection development, cataloging records, and all of the other stuff I learned in library school were very important and had their place but first and foremost….IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE. I feel like it has worked out pretty well for me and the communities that I’ve served.
This taught me something else that was somewhat unexpected: there is so much value in connecting with your professional community. Through library blogs, Twitter, and other social networks, I have met a number of people that not only do I now call my friends but also who have given me so much professional advice and aided in my growth as a librarian and as a person.
All because of a blog that was started ten years ago. I don’t know if Michael thought about these kinds of things when he started Tame The Web, but they happened. And I thank him for that. What may have seemed like a ripple at the time has now created a very positive and helpful tidal wave.
Today marks ten years that Tame the Web has been up and running as a library focused blog.
After learning about blogs and blogging in 2002, I was inspired to begin blogging in April 2003. TTW officially began April 1, 2003, with a post about a recent presentation I gave at Computers in Libraries 2003, published from my brand new Apple laptop at Panera Bread in Mishawaka, Indiana. I learned as I went along, creating posts, adding links, and sharing my thoughts. Once in awhile, I would get a link from another blogger, pointing traffic my way. It was a thrilling time. Over the years, I believe TTW opened some mighty important doors for me: a PhD at UNT, teaching positions, and presentations and research all over the world. I am in awe of what’s happened in part because of this blog.
I would like to thank the guest authors and contributors who have posted recently, as my time for blogging has ebbed and flowed. I am happy that TTW has grown to be more than just me posting mean cell phone pictures and “Ten Things About…” essays to a family of folks that share and contribute to the profession. I must also thank the TTW readers who have been here for so long and have contributed in so many ways: by commenting, by emailing, and by introducing themselves at a conference saying “I read your blog.” The support has meant the world to me. Look no farther than here to see what I mean: http://tametheweb.com/2007/06/18/jake-march-13-1994-june-18-2007/.
In the beginning, I used the iBlog software for 2 years, then Movable Type. In 2006, we made the jump to WordPress. You’ll find links below to the old blog files. Warning: many of the links no longer work!
First post on TTW: http://tametheweb.com/iblog/B143020931/C1179432239/E961783833/index.html
Here’s the 2003-2004 version: http://tametheweb.com/iblog/B143020931/
Here’s the 2005-2006 version: http://www.tametheweb.com/ttwblog/
Over the next few weeks we will celebrate ten years of TTW with a look back, a look forward and some invited posts from people that inspire me. Thank you for everything! #TTW10!
To get started, here are some TTW favorites from the archives and the most popular posts by comments:
Libraries Doing Cool Things with iPods: This was when the “Library Circulates Shuffles” story broke and people were starting to talk about iPods in library settings. This post ultimately lead to this piece at LJ Net Connect. I really think it’s cool that what starts as a blog post can become an article.
Ten Things a Blogging Librarian Must Do: More ethics and guidelines for successful library blogging. One of my favorites: “And share yourself. I love learning about folks and how they see the world. Their POV may help me understand or change mine. It also adds to the community that is the blogosphere and more so the Internet. We are people… be yourself!”
Ten Steps to Insure Staff Buy-In: A recent post tied to a talk from Internet Librarian. One of the most important things library directors and administration should recognize is however you play out projects or implementations directly impacts library staff. They take the brunt of the change. Keep them informed and ask for their input. Library staff are not going to care about Technology X if their usual response is “No one tells us anything” when confronted with change.
Ten Things A Library Can Do to Boost their Techie Stuff* (*without breaking the bank): This post is a favorite of mine and it all rings so true in almost 2006. Michael Casey commented recently: “Looking at this more than a year after posting causes me much frustration and angst when I realize that so many libraries — libraries that can and should have embraced all of these long ago — have yet to adopt more than one or two. Blogs and RSS feeds, especially, seem to be a no-brainer, yet they continue to be difficult projects to push upstream.” Well said!
Ten Things I’ve Learned Presenting at Library Conferences: This was born out of a conference I attended where one speaker of two talked so long, the other person hardly got to say two words. The first speaker went on tangents and blah blah blah’ed too long. I was irked as were many in the audience. Check out the comment too – it’s so easy to fall into that acronym trap! I catch myself all the time. ILF..RSS..PDA..CMS..PHP…
Twelve Techie Things for Librarians 2005: A look forward for 2005, posted in January. How did we do? Where are we at?
Ten Things I’ve Learned as a Blogging Librarian: Ethics again! Typos! Virtual Communities! A cornucopia of my thoughts on blogging and libraries.
Threads of Conversation at ALA (2005): Could also be subtitled “Queer Eye for the Library Guy” because of a chance meeting with Ted Allen. A futurist post, I guess, as well, that includes this: “In my mind: Libraries will be headed by directors who grew up as gamers and got their degrees in new permutations of MLS programs. Librarians, I hope, will be visible and relevant and have presence. We won’t be hiding behind a reference desk or a mental wall of technophobia.” Written pre-discussion-of-Library 2.0 this is even more important now!
#TTW10 “Tamer” Graphic by Theresa Papaurelis, Graphic Artist at Indian Prairie Public Library. (http://ippl.info)
(from TribLive, Pittsburgh, PA: http://goo.gl/Tu7GM)
My favorite part? A partnership with the local school!
What an awesome take on an already awesome project.
PS: Jill Godlewski is not only a fantastic librarian, but she is also my mother in law.
My new column is up at the LJ site:
In a discussion after a recent presentation, an educator stood to make a counterpoint to my take on participatory teaching. “I’m paid to have control,” she said. More than one person in the room gasped.
I should have directed her to the new Horizon Report. Among the key trends identified as those impacting teaching and learning for 2013 is an emphasis on “open.” The report states, “Open is a key trend in future education and publication, specifically in terms of open content, open educational resources, massively open online courses, and open access.”
Open teaching, open courses, open minds. It struck me that emphasizing control over what students read, how they respond to discussion questions, and how, essentially, they learn might not be the best path forward when technology and other trends are rapidly changing the learning landscape….
What prompted the need for a Risk and Reward Conference?
Shelley and Stacie can provide the back-story about how this initially came about.
Shelley Walchak (SW): Libraries across the country have been deeply concerned about their future since the beginning of the recession, and yet, one Colorado library district – Anythink Libraries (Rangeview Library District in Adams County) seemed to be resistant to the downturn. In fact, within the last 5 years they have built or remodeled seven libraries and won ALA’s National Medal as well as the John Cotton Dana Marketing Award.
SW: Colorado libraries were curious as to how Director Pam Smith and her staff were so successful. As I worked with libraries across Colorado, directors and staff wanted to understand Anythink’s successes. And so, a visit with Pam Smith, followed by a discussion with her Manager of Communications, Stacie Ledden, led to the development of a committee to create a conference that would explore Anythink’s successes. Without the following committee members, R-Squared: The Risk & Reward Conference would not have been born: John Bellina and Tasso Stathopulos from Ricochet Ideas, Barb Brattin (Telluride), Susan Dobbs (Anythink) , Shelly Drumm (formerly with Colorado State Library (CSL), Ryan Ewers (Aurora), Jamie Hollier (CSL), Scott Lupo (Anythink), Steve Hansen (formerly Anythink), Valerie Horton (Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC), Christine Kreger (CSL), Stacie Ledden (Anythink), Sharon Morris (CSL), Judy Poe (Bayfield) , Elena Rosenfeld (Weld), Crystal Schimpf, (CSL), Pam Smith (Anythink), Judy Van Acker (CLiC), and Shelley Walchak (CSL).
Stacie Ledden (SL): Once Pam and Shelley started talking about launching a conference, they brought in the Anythink Communications team.
SL: At the time we were working on an exhibit for Anythink called “The Power of Creativity,” which will be on display at R-Squared. The exhibit highlights six characteristics of creative individuals–originality, curiosity, risk-taking, open-mindedness, connecting, productivity–and its purpose is to show people that creativity manifests itself in many different ways. It’s not just artists, writers, dancers, musicians who are creative: everyone has some creative ability.
Click the link above to read the whole interview.
I for got to post last month’s LJ column here at TTW:
I would add other soft skills such as intuition, political awareness, and a willingness to make and learn from our mistakes. Transparency is evolving into an even more clearly defined “full frontal” strategy for some corporations—putting it all out there. We should follow suit. Library schools should teach case studies of failed library systems and initiatives. We must study our failures as much as we study our successes. There seems to be an ongoing unwillingness to do this. But in fact some libraries make bad decisions, and we have to admit that in order to learn those corrective lessons.
What soft skills would you add? What traits are needed for 21st-century information work? The crux of the matter is this: these skills should be taught throughout our programs, from the core to electives, practicums, and culminating experiences. Teachers should not only teach these skills, they should model them. It’s a tall order for our evolving curriculum, and assessing skills such as intuition and sensitivity is tough. The yield of such hard work, however, is an evolved institution that trains dynamic, responsive library professionals.
Don’t miss the excellent comments from readers on the LJ site!
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