See You at PLA

hyperlibMOOCI am excited to be speaking at the Public Library Conference in Indianapolis.  See you there!

Thursday, March 13, 2014
04:15 PM – 05:15 PM
135-136

Hyperlinked Learning Experiences at Public Libraries: MOOCs & Beyond

This presentation will explore emerging models of connected, open learning—offered for free— with great potential for staff and the public. Can we support students of all kinds in Massive Open Online Courses? What’s the potential for professional development and lifelong learning when courses can gather the best of the best in a field and offer experiences and exploration anywhere? This session will explore new ideas and thinking about learning at the library.

Note: any #hyperlibMOOC participants attending, please say hello. I have name tag ribbons and Stickygrams for you.

Really? No Place for Collaboration at the Library

exetersignsVia Pam the Librarian:

http://pamlibrarian.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/kicked-out-of-the-library/

Last week I went to the Exeter Public Library with a colleague to work on a project for our high school. We needed Internet access, a table to spread our documents out on, an outlet to plug-in our devices, a spot away from the distractions of our school, and a buzzing atmosphere where we would feel inspired to create new ideas for our project. What better place than the local library?

We arrived to a very still and silent library. Two women behind the main desk looked at us as we walked in and went back to work. Patrons were sitting in chairs reading newspapers. There were some available study carrels in the corners. No group tables near outlets.

We tried the second floor. We were faced with several empty chairs and study carrels and signs that say “no talking.” There was an empty “meeting room” with no table and no chairs. Another meeting room was locked.

Because it was 10 a.m. we went into the Teen room (which is located directly behind the Reference desk.) The room is empty because it is a Friday and all of the teens in town are in school. We sat at a booth with an outlet and spread out our documents. As soon as we started working we were interrupted by a staff member who said that we are not allowed to work in there because we would intimidate the teens. I jokingly suggested that the fact that we are high school teachers/librarians could gain us access to this empty room. The librarian did not think it was funny and asked us to leave. I asked her for a suggestion of a location where we could work together at a table near an outlet. She said there are outlets all over the walls but could think of no table near an outlet. She recommended we try the second floor and I said that we will need to talk about our project. She reminded us we are not allowed to talk on the second floor.

We packed up and spent the day at Me & Ollie’s cafe where we sat on couches around a coffee table near an outlet surrounded by the buzz of the cafe. A young woman was reading a book next to us. An older man was typing hurriedly on his laptop on the other side. People were having meetings, drinking coffee, and getting business done. We were welcomed by the staff. They made us tea. And we got our work done.

This is unfortunate. I get that maybe adults shouldn’t be in the teen area without a teen, but maybe an exception could be made? And maybe some space for working together should be in the works soon. I did check out the library’s web site and Facebook. Looks like they had mini golf last year in the library! Maybe someone from the library should comment. Maybe it was just an off day?

I would suggest a “kindness audit” of signage though. :-)

Quiet

New San Rafael Library Web Site

Sarah Houghton writes:

http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2014/03/new-san-rafael-public-library-website.html

I’m pleased to announce that last week we launched a new website for San Rafael Public Library athttp://srpubliclibrary.org. The site was designed by Influx with their Prefab library website service. We are very happy with it!

websitescreenshot

Our library is relatively small and we don’t have the time or staff brain bandwidth or expertise to design, maintain, troubleshoot, and host a website. We were happy to hire Influx to do this work for us. For very little money a whole lot of pressure and stress has been relieved from our collective library brain.

So far, we’ve gotten some really fabulous feedback from library users, stakeholders, and city government officials.  Take a look, let us know what you think, and check out Influx if you’re looking for a quick, customizable (and yet still ready out-of-the box) website solution!

This is an impressive redesign. If you are looking for a Web refries, take a look at Influx and their Prefab library website service.

Survey: Preparing our Users for Digital Life Beyond the Institution

Brian Kelly (Cetis, University of Bolton) and I are carrying out a survey to support a contribution for the LILAC 2014 information literacy conference.

The aim of the survey is to identify institutional policies and practices to support use of Cloud services by staff and researchers as well as current institutional policies and practices for staff and researchers before they leave their host institution (e.g. due to redundancy, retirement or to take up a new post) who wish to continue to make use of IT services and digital resources.

The findings will be published in a poster on “Preparing our Users for Digital Life Beyond the Institution” to presented at the LILAC 2014 conference.

The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/lilac14-cloud-literacy – we would really appreciate it if you could take the time to fill it in.

For further information see Brian’s blog post: Preparing our Users for Digital Life Beyond the Institution: http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/preparing-our-users-for-digital-life-beyond-the-institution/

Many thanks,

Jenny Evans - Maths and Physics Librarian - Central Library | South Kensington Campus | Imperial College London

Note: Cloud services can be defined as ‘web-based software’ hosted in ‘the cloud’ (on web servers outside your institution).

TLCover

News: Download “The Transparent Library” e-book here!

TLCoverI am very happy to share that over the past few weeks Michael Casey and I have edited together all of the Library Journal “Transparent Library” columns into an e-book that we are making available for FREE to readers of TTW.

Here’s the description:

The “Transparent Library” gathers 29 columns from Michael Casey and Michael Stephens. Originally published in Library Journal from 2007 – 2009, the column explored concepts related to transparency, management, engaging communities, social media, strategic planning and constant change. The e-book includes supplemental essays and columns, and includes a new conversation “The Transparent Library Revisited.”

We’ve wanted to assemble the “Transparent Library” columns for some time. Including a few extra pieces from my “Office Hours” columns – including a piece called “The Transparent Library School”  - and Michael’s post from Tame the Web concerning participatory service, we believe this collected group of essays offers insights, conversation starters, and roadmaps for improving the openness of an information organization. Thank you for downloading. Please share far and wide.

By structuring the transparent library for constant and purposeful change we reduce the negative impact that change has on both the staff and user. Incorporating change into the organization through creative teams and open lines of communication allows the transparent library to add new tools, respond to changing community needs, and move ahead with new initiatives without shaking up the foundation.

PDF Version: TheTransparentLibrary2

Kindle Version: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/239835/The%2BTransparent%2BLibrary.mobi

transparent

Are you my mentor? Twitter & Mentoring – A TTW Guest Post by Abigail Willemse

Are you my mentor? An exploration of the intersection of Twitter & mentoring relationships.

In the real world mentors are usually organic relationships without specific titles, goals, or responsibilities. Mentors are simply experienced people you get to know and look to for advice, informally and organically. They’re people you go to coffee with, people you ask for guidance, and people you call when there’s a big decision to make. (Barr, 2013, para. 14)

Ideas about mentors and mentoring have changed a lot over the years, particularly with the advent of social media. As an avid Twitter user, I was curious as to how mentoring relationships may be formed and cultivated on this medium. I personally had experienced a lot of support, encouragement, and inspiration from other library and information professionals on Twitter and was keen to find out if this was the case for other people.

My research used a variety of methodologies, including a literature review and some qualitative questions, to explore this topic. Responses were received from fourteen librarians from Australia and New Zealand, and the results were then grouped thematically.

Five overall themes emerged which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Hung up on mentoring?
    There are a lot of different concepts of mentoring out there ranging from the more traditional concept of a hierarchical relationship of a student & teacher, to a more informal concept as described by Barr (2013). The participants’ responses indicated a spectrum of viewpoints of this concept.

  2. A rose by any other name…
    There are a variety of other terms such as PLN (Personal Learning Network), e-mentoring, and networking, that also describe the support and mutual encourage you may receive on Twitter. However, I feel that while relationships on Twitter are not always defined and announced as such, mentoring definitely features as part of active participation in my PLN through Twitter. It involves giving and receiving guidance, advice, support and expertise in a whole range of professional and personal issues.

  3. We’re all in this together!
    Twitter allows for an ‘flatter playing field’ (as described by one participant) in which peers can learn from and share with one another.

  4. Have you got a minute?
    Hurt (2013) recommends “mentoring moments” as formal mentoring relationship may stifle a good relationship. Instead of feeling you have to commit to a full-on relationship; what about just taking a moment to talk, find out where the other person is at, and offer input in that moment when they need it? It’s a lot like Twitter where you can ask for help or “crowd source” and often within minutes (once you have a bigger network) someone will give you a helpful answer or link.

  5. Twitter + other platforms.
    Twitter is a really useful place to find contacts and experts in the industry; it’s great for small bite-sized conversations, but longer more in-depth conversations are better to take place on other platforms such as email or blogs, or even face-to-face. Twitter is a really useful tool in breaking the ice; finding something in common with other people and experts and spending some time with them helps facilitate relationships & communication in other media as well. One participant noted that:

    Ideally a mentoring relationship could operate across multiple spaces, changing whenever the needs of the people in the relationship change. Ultimately, yes, I think Twitter can provide a good platform for conducting a mentoring relationship, with the proviso that it can move to other platforms or formats as necessary.

You can read my full research published in the New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal (NZLIMJ) here:

Willemse, A. J. (2014). Librarians using social media: The role of Twitter in forming and cultivating mentoring relationships. NZLIMJ, 53(3). http://www.lianza.org.nz/resources/lianza-publications/nzlimj-e-journal/librarians-using-social-media-role-twitter-forming-an

 

Sharon Cornwall_Abigail Willemse_01Oct2012_0003m-compressed-just-AbigailAbigail is a young and enthusiastic information professional hailing from New Zealand, currently employed as Electronic Resources Librarian at Wintec. She has worked in a variety of libraries & on a number of projects, including co-leading ANZ 23 Mobile Things. Her interests include social media, mentoring, new information professionals, and promoting all things library at every opportunity. You can find her on Twitter @ajwillemse91 or blogging at www.octopuslibrarian.wordpress.com

References

Barr, C. (2013, February 25). How to find a mentor [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinktraffic.net/how-to-find-a-mentor

Hurt, K. (2013, April 30). Mentoring moments: Just in time support [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://letsgrowleaders.com/2013/04/30/mentoring_moments/

 

The New Information Literacy Framework and James Madison by TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

Today, the first draft of a new Framework for Information Literacy has been released for comment. ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force  has been charged with revising the info lit standards. (For the record, I am a member of this committee but I do not speak on behalf of the committee here.) The task force’s work address the recommendations made by a previous review group . The task force is working on a product that I believe will be qualitatively different than the existing standards.

The “Old” Standards
The current (old) ACRL Information Literacy Standards were monumental when they were completed in 2000. They had a significant impact on libraries and on higher education by coalescing conversation around information in meaningful ways. Over the years, many of us have been critical of the Standards and highlighted their shortcomings, and I think that we must recognize the important role they have played in shaping information literacy instruction.

However, any of us who have spent time working with the current standards recognize that they pretend to be something that they are not. They, in effect, do not actually set up standards. They do not create a single set of outcomes that all students across higher education could be measured against. They are a detailed set of indicators and outcomes that are intended to measure a set of skills that are so broad and far reaching that the standards could not possibly be successful. There is no single set of measures for the vast degree of information literacy applications that exist. I don’t mean to say that the old standards are not important because they were, but we should recognize that the old standards are not standards in the same way that there are reading, math, or spelling standards.

The New “Framework”
Recently, I was listening to an episode of WNYC’s show Radiolab which I thought was pertinent to the Information Literacy Task Force. The episode featured historian and writer Joseph J. Ellis who was discussing the Constitutional Convention of September 1787 which Ellis wrote about in his book, American Creation. The framers of the Constitution were struggling to find agreed upon answers that would help them form a national government. The founding fathers could not agree on fundamental questions such as, “Who is in charge?” Hamilton and his followers argued to disband state governments and focus on strengthening a centralized government. Jefferson and his followers wanted no central control at all.

James Madison, who eventually wrote the basic document, had a great epiphany. At first Madison was very disappointed that the convention didn’t seem to solve anything. The Constitution didn’t present any answers. Ellis notes, “[Madison] starts to think differently. He starts to say, ‘oh yeah’…this could work precisely because it’s unclear. And he found what he calls a ‘middle station’…The Constitution is not a set of answers. It is a framework for argument. This is a document that allows us to continue to discuss and debate the core issues that we face…” (You can listen to Ellis’ discussion on Radiolab at, “Sex, Ducks, and The Founding Feud” Thursday, December 19, 2013, http://www.radiolab.org/story/sex-ducks-and-founding-feud/).

Now, I am not trying to equate the Information Literacy Task Force to the Constitutional Convention. (Although it may be fun to try to figure which Task Force members would be Washington, who would be Franklin, and who would be Madison.) But, I am drawing the comparison in that we are attempting to create a new way of thinking about information literacy that does not present *your* campus with answers. Let me say that again – the Task Force is not writing outcomes for your campus. I am not sure how we could actually do that. I do not believe it is possible for us to write all-inclusive skills for all instances of information literacy across the diversity of higher education.

The new information literacy framework outlines threshold concepts that differentiates the novice from the expert researcher. The thresholds may appear different within different disciplinary swansonphotocontexts. They may appear to be different for different institutions. This is a dramatic change from the past standards. The task force is presenting a novel approach that will take some adjustment for many. It is my hope that these concepts open a point of conversation between faculty members and librarians. Since the new framework does not outline skills to teach, but, instead, thresholds of understanding and dispositions for action, librarians and faculty can explore how student’s develop as information literate learners within the curriculum. This is move past the one-shot session toward more meaningful pedagogical exchange.

More importantly, for our profession, I hope that this document is never a completed document. This Framework should not be in existence for 14 years before it is revised. If the next revision occurs in 2028, then we (as a profession) will have failed. We need to consider such questions such as: How do these thresholds grow and change? Do new thresholds appear and old ones disappear? Are there different thresholds for undergraduates and graduate students? Our goal should be to engage in an ongoing conversation about where these thresholds exist.

I see this Framework as a bold step in the right direction, but it is by no means a perfect or definitive step. There will be many critics. But, to me, that is the point. This will not be a finished document. You should try to poke holes in the Task Force’s work. You should voice your opinions and push us to a better understanding of what we do (click here to go to online survey). I do not know any other way that this Framework will be improved.

Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book,Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at@t_swanson.

People, Libraries & Technology – A Weblog by Michael Stephens