Reflective Practice

This has been one of the toughest semesters I’ve had since I started grad school.  Not only were my classes challenging (I learned a lot!) but work has been filled with unforeseen circumstances as well. As a the Library Supervisor for my branch I am in charge of the circulation (4) and page (3) staff as well as our volunteers (30). Of the four employees on our circ team one has been diagnosed with cancer, another resigned due to failing health of a family member, another who worked for the library for 30 years retired at the end of April. On my Page team of three, one of my youngest pages had a seizure while at work (she is doing much better thankfully), and another of my pages retired (today was her last day). Within the branch (a total of 16 employees) there have been deaths in the family, serious illness in family members and family deployments to the Middle East. We cover up to 4 service points every hour (we have a drive-up window, the customer service/circ desk on the floor as well as the Info desk, and our branch covers call center for the system on Fridays), my branch manager and myself have jumped in to cover service points and my team has been great at taking over and completing their co-workers tasks while they have been out, while many of the librarians and assistants have picked up extra hours. The group of people I work with a some of the most phenomenal people I have had the pleasure of working with, in the face of adversity, everyone is willing to pitch in and get the job done. Why? Well because we all love what we do.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because I feel like this last module has been exactly what we as a branch have been trying to do this season. This was the first time that we had so many crisis situations and stressful events both at work and outside. I noticed that the branch as a whole was crumbling and something needed to be done fast. This may sound silly, but one of the first things I did was start dressing more professional. Not that I didn’t dress appropriately before (business casual), but I felt like I needed to “feel” like a leader in order to guide and support my team. I not only had to be available to them physically, but mentally and emotionally and I encouraged the habit of “taking care of yourself”, if they had any suggestions and/or concerns I was available to listen and follow-through.  Katie Clausen (2012) discusses the importance of professionalism in speech, attitude, dress and character and I could not agree more. For myself, the act of dressing professionally improved my attitude both on and off the floor and enhanced my character. As Clausen explains, “our opinions and contributions matter- and they define our character”.

This leads me to reflective practices, as Professor Stephens explains it is “mindfulness to the nth degree” and if you have found your way into the library world it must be because you were “looking to help people be the best they can be”. When I reflect on why I chose this position, it was because I wanted to help people, it was what I knew how to do best. One of the most rewarding parts of being a supervisor is seeing your staff grow and accomplish goals. It’s also awesome when you can get them excited about coming to work! This year I created a new “Fun question/topic” of the week for staff. Basically it’s a way to get everyone discussing something fun instead of the emotional situations everyone was dealing with. Some of our favorite topics were “What is your favorite song, currently?”, “What’s your favorite Star Wars Quote?”, and “Tell us the best place you have traveled to!”. All of these topics got the staff talking about happy memories and good times, it was an escape if you will and I think it helped everyone to be mindful and focus on the positive.

In his article about compassion, Professor Stephens says “the best librarians make that emotional investment because they believe in the institution and the communities they serve. This is a great piece of advice to guide us through the library world. Sometimes it’s hard not to get discouraged with the City entity or the HR department because they are blocking a program or protocol isn’t what you expected, but in the long run you need to reflect on who and why you are serving or chose to serve. I got into libraries for my love of books, but I also realized how much I love working with patrons in a learning environment because it’s such a diverse mix of people who believe in the library and love what it stands for.  The one constant in the library is that everyone who is there wants to be there. They came for a reason and it’s my responsibility to make them feel welcome, safe, and provide them with resources and tools to enhance their knowledge whether it’s staff, volunteers, or patrons. “Leadership is built around values, beliefs, relationships, passion, and emotional resources…more of a belief and condition of the heart than a to-do-list” (Stephens, 2016) and I could not have said it better myself.

Virtual Symposium

I decided to do my Virtual Symposium on my Director’s Brief which was a proposal to create a Teen Makerspace Tech Lab. I work for the Scottsdale Public Library and they are dead set against makerspaces and 3D printers claiming that they are a waste and useless. I believe they are wonderful and support artistic exploration and experimentation especially for teens.

This class has opened my eyes to all of the wonderful things that libraries are doing for their communities. If I were presenting this to the director, the administration and the library board, I would hope that they would reconsider expanding our digital lab to teens by rebranding it a makerspace tech lab and adding stop-motion animation software and a 3D printer to empower them as our future leaders.

I hope you enjoy my presentation.

INFO287 Virtual Symposium JCIS from jennette cisneros on Vimeo.

Director’s Brief: Teen MakerSpace and Digital Media Lab expansion

This past semester I have learned so much about libraries around the world and it seems that the opportunities for libraries to evolve is endless. I was very impressed with Chicago Public Library and the teen space YOUmedia. Although it was only possible through a grant, it gave me the idea to propose a teen digital media lab at the library system I work for. As I had mentioned before, one of the branches is a shared use facility with a high school and they offer an after school program called Sultans of Rock where teens can come out and have a ham session with their friends and hang out. It’s a pretty successful program and I originally thought that I would want to add a recording studio with sound and video editing software and possibly add a green screen so they could make music videos. However, as we all know about budget constraints and staffing issues. Since this library basically shuts down when school is not in session, I knew that this would not be a good use of funds or resources.

As I was looking though articles and Pinterest, I went back to our library website and found some inspiration. I want to have more creative options for teens, something that they will enjoy and not only become engaged in the program but the program will empower them. Our main branch has the most diverse teen population, mainly from a more urban and low-income area. While the teen space is equipped with computers and video games, something is still missing. Then it hit me, we have an awesome digital media lab for adults, why not include teens in the mix and add a 3D printer and stop-motion animation software?!?! Research has shown that teens want to be creative and given that opportunity they will learn, participate, and feel empowered. What I propose is we expand the adult Digital Media Lab to include teen collaboration. I would also like to purchase 10 HUE Animation Studio kits and a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer.

JCisneros_INFO285_Director’s Brief-2

To Infinity and Beyond- Library Learning Forever!

After reading through the “Infinite Learning” module I was extremely excited and ideas were coming at me left and right! I was very impressed with the amount of creativity and learning that involved teens! Incredible is all I have to say, but now with the threat of the IMLS funding being cut, that could mean that there might be less opportunity to get teens into the library and involved.

Here is where the resourceful librarians come in with their creativity and ingenuity! Take for example my library system. As I mentioned in the last blog post, the shared-use branch at the high school has a program for teens called “Sultans of Rock” where teens can come after school and rock out with their instruments, sort of like a garage band but in the library! Now we also have a digital media lab at our main branch that is basically for adults only, so it doesn’t get used as  much as it could. Why not ship that equipment down to the shared use facility so teens can make videos using the green screen, record their music, or create podcasts for projects, it would be incredible!! I was really impressed with Chicago Public Library’s program YOUmedia and not only were the teens very involved and proud of their accomplishments, but the staff was also really involved and it showed by the amount of resources they offered which included mentors, author events, library workshops, performances, materials and technology/digital opportunities. This was what led me to the idea of transferring the digital media lab so teens could become more involved and stay after school to do something they are actually interested in. Or we could keep the lab at the main branch but add the “Sultans of Rock” program to the teen programming there and allow the teens to use the digital media lab to record and create videos. We could provide an environment of learning and give them the freedom to create, and when you give teens respect and responsibility they understand and appreciate that. I know at the main branch, there are more inner city teens, so the program could really be beneficial for them and eye-opening for the staff.

Don’t count out senior citizens in the learning department! Most of senior patrons have the most interesting questions and a lot of them are proficient with their smart phones, e-book devices, and tablets. Two of my favorite patrons are in their 90’s and neither one has slowed down, anytime they hear about something new they immediately read up on the subject and always ask the librarians and staff where they can find more information. This is definitely how I want to be at 90+! This last year at my branch we received a grant and began offering the Senior Makers programs that involved coding, building robots, designing decals with image editors, and my favorite- making gingerbread houses with LED lights using a basic sensing circuit (with their grandkids), just to name a few. Like Tommy Stanton of CPL Maker’s Lab said “adults hear about technology but they don’t think it’s for them, the maker lab allows adults to get exposed to tech so they don’t feel left behind.” On the other end of the spectrum we have seniors that don’t know much about technology and many have requested computer classes, unfortunately the library is not allowed to offer free classes that the city offers for a fee (boo!). However, we do offer digital download/e-Reader classes which are well attended at each of our branches every week.

This just proves how invaluable the library is for every age group and how the environment really cultivates life-long learning. We as future librarians must continue to provide unexpected and infinite learning opportunities for our library communities by being lifelong learners ourselves.

New Models

Here’s the cool thing about libraries, they are always evolving. If your library has not changed in the last decade, they
must be waiting for someone on staff or the library board to RIP, seriously. We’ve already seen the amazing ideas that libraries like
DOK in Amsterdam are creating, the atmosphere is not only inspirational but it’s contagious! You’re probably wondering contagious, yuck!?! But I mean contagious as in more and more people are beginning to understand the new concept of libraries and in some way they would like to replicate at least a part of what DOK represents.

So as we continue our quest of hyperlinked models, we are introduced to this really cool idea here in the states called Anythink Libraries and their clever design and upgrade of the traditional library. Times change, we all understand that, and to stay relevant your purpose and idea need to adapt and transform (“Libraries Transform”…anybody?). First of all their Manifesto is spectacular! I saw this once on Pinterest and had no idea it was some libraries version of a mission, because mission statements can seem blah, no offense to those that have contributed ideas to libraries, but in reality I would much rather be known as a Wizard, a Genius, and/or an Explorer. The community reaction to the Anythink Library has been nothing but great reviews. Patrons are excited about the revitalized vision of the library, as they should be. I think if you present a new idea and concept from the beginning, there is more acceptance from traditional library users. However, libraries are the new community centers, the hub, and the more programming, spaces and ideas that are offered, the more the community will engage.

Another important part of Anythink Libraries is their staff, and the integral part they play within the community and the library industry. I can’t stress enough how important it is for a library system to support their staff and empower them. After reading through their Strategic Plan, here are some of my favorite elements regarding staff:

  • Time is given to staff to explore creative ideas and endeavors.
  • Anythink provides training for essential staff skills.
  • Optimistic attitude-we believe anything is possible.

I always get excited when I read through all of these innovative ideas, and I want to carry this over to my own library system! While not on the level of Anythink Libraries, my library system has a few programs, spaces, and “outside-the-box” ideas. Our ESL program is a huge success that started out small and has grown to classes at all of the branches. In fact it was such a success that we even offered an 8 week Citizenship class to prepare people for their citizenship interview and test. Another program we offer at our branch that is a shared-use facility with the local high school is called “Sultans of Rock”, which is a drop-in jam session for teens and they really enjoy and appreciate that they have an opportunity to play and listen to music every week. Not to hop on the bandwagon, but we are just about to launch our first Books2Go, which is basically a free micro-library that will be featured at parks all around the city. The first micro-library will be at one of our largest dog parks in the shape of a doghouse filled with books to share! While each of our branches are unique to their community within the city it’s nice to know that there are quite a few opportunities and creative ideas that we are taking advantage of. Are we done with innovation, no, never! What I would encourage from my system is not only staff appreciation but more importantly listening and enacting some of the ideas and suggestions from not only librarians and admin, but from the rest of the staff as well. This will empower them which will lead to happy staff and happier patrons.

Emerging Technologies

Evidence and Resources

Social media platforms have exploded over that last decade and are evolving everyday. Libraries that are smart are upping their game by being present on popular social media platforms. But it takes more than presence and promotion to get “followers” and more importantly participation. Orkney Library had over 10000 Twitter followers in 2014, today they have over 33K followers and it’s because most of their “Tweets”  are hilarious and snarky,  and not always the stereotypical library promotional post. Changing the current attitude of the library from just books and stuffy librarians to fun, interactive, community centers is what social media can provide if done correctly. Adding an emotional connection to the post is another way to get patrons in the community and all over talking and reposting. Try to think of posts from the point-of-view of the patron/follower, what is it that they want to hear, rather than what the library wants to tell them.

Goals and Objectives

Most libraries have social media sites already, and many promote programs and books in a plain and simple format that doesn’t really catch followers attention. The goal is to

  1. Increase followers
  2. Increase participation through the libraries social media platforms
  3. Create a “WOW” factor. What is the “WOW” factor?
    1. It’s posting something bold, audacious, with a smidge of sass that promotes the library!

 

Audience

Libraries tend to focus on children, families, and let’s face it, a lot of library users are Baby Boomers and the Traditionalist who believe that libraries are for books and quiet time. Libraries are missing out on Millennials and teens and young adults of the iGeneration and I believe this project needs to be focused on them. If we are to change the concept and perception of the library, it should start with the up and coming generation. This is also the generation that is heavily involved with social media platforms.

  1. Millennials
  2. iGeneration- teens and young adults

 

Action Brief Statement

Convince igeneration and Millennials that by following the Public Library on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Tumblr they will be following one of the most dangerous places that exist which will make them question, think, and challenge with an open mind because great libraries build communities.

Ideas

 

Social media sites and suggested ideas to increase followers and participation with the “WOW” factor.

    1. Social Media sites- focusing on young adults and teens
      1. Twitter:
        1. Posts need to be 140 characters or less
          1. Posts need to be smart, amusing, WOW factor, sassy
            1. Example: Book Burning Party– Troy Public Library
            2. These posts can run continually
        2. Promote eMedia club (similar to book club but only online social media presence.)
          1. Could be book, movie, music
          2. Through Hoopla since there are no holds lists on this digital platform and everyone can join in.
          3. Could post on first Monday of the month and run through the end of the month or each week to keep interest up.
  1. Tumblr:
      1. Promote people/patrons around the city reading. Capture the reader and connect the title to current ILS system so patrons can check-out the item.
      2. New York Public Library Underground
      3. Note that this can also link to other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
      4. These posts can run continually.
      5. Not all cities have distinguished landmarks, perhaps finding readers throughout the city would create more buzz.
    1. Instagram:
      1. Promote randomness of the library
        1. Keep the attention of the teens and young adults
        2. Behind the scenes pics
          1. Librarian fandom-what does your cubicle/office look like?
      2. Promote monthly book challenges and hashtags
        1. #bookchallenge

Mission

Community connections, infinite possibilities.

Policy

  1. Respect
  2. Use good judgement
  3. Be accurate
  4. Think before you post
    1. Emotional connection
    2. WOW factor
  5. Sample Policy

Funding

There should be no extra need for funding as all social media is free. Staff time should not be a factor as 2 staff members per branch are in charge of a few posts per week. There should be 1 monthly meeting to continue to improve service and implement new ideas. The project is meant to build a connection with the youth and young adults in the community.

Timeline

I would say that it should take about 6 months to get off the ground. Some factors may include referring to the legal department, getting the go-ahead from the director or possibly the library board. If the answer is no due to the “WOW” factor, a less audacious approach will be taken.

  1. 2 months-social media task force
    1. Create the team
    2. Develop goals
    3. Create training manual
  2. 2 months- training assigned project staff
  3. 2 months-develope post calendar
    1. Brainstorm meetings- at least 2
    2. Everyone on team send in ideas
    3. Meet to collaborate and come up with posts/ideas
  4. At the 7 month mark posts should be ready to go LIVE.
  5. During the previous 6 months, IT should be working on developing the connection from Tumblr to ILS system.

Staffing

To start, there should be at least 2 staff members at each branch in charge of these 3 platforms. If the platforms should see an increase in participation, an additional staff member can be added at a later date.

  1. Start with 1 social media platform
  2. Start with 2 staff per branch
    1. These do not need to be librarians
    2. Each branch could be responsible for one post per week per staff member
  3. Continue to add platforms and staff as needed

Training

Staff should already be well acquainted and comfortable with social media platforms. Trying out a new format (WOW factor) could create backlash. Older patrons may not like it, parents may not understand it, which is why this type of presence is focused on teens, young adults, and millennials.

  1. Staff may volunteer for project
    1. Must be comfortable and already understand social media
  2. 1 Librarian from each branch will be on the project task force to identify goals, design training, and train when necessary.
  3. Training can begin once procedures, policy, and goals are confirmed.

Promotion

  1. Through widely known library Facebook page to start
  2. Word of mouth
    1. Community websites/apps
    2. High school and college social media- become their followers
    1. At programs
    2. Throughout the community
  3. Began using the new platform and format
    1. WOW factor- reposts, shares, likes, retweets etc

Evaluation

Each year the goal would be to increase followers by 5% and participation by 5%. If there is an increase, the platforms can either increase the amount of posts, promote more content that is online, or add an additional platform to reach other social media users.

Hyperlinked Environments- Public Libraries

 Is it safe to assume that community center libraries are the new public libraries of the future? Is that the direction the information field should be headed toward? Those of us who have worked in public libraries have seen the budget cuts and felt first hand how thinly stretched the staff and resources are. On the other hand it’s amazing to see a lot of libraries are becoming interactive and innovative spaces within their communities. So what exactly should public libraries focus on to create hyperlinked environments? What are the obstacles and how can we as future librarians tackle the problem?

Space

The recent trend is the four spaces of the library- experience, involvement, empowerment, and innovation. As Jakob Laerkes explains, it’s more of an active space for patrons with overlapping spaces that allow for a much more interactive and creative experience in the library than people are used to. Dokk1 in Denmark is probably the most advanced library to date, they have the usual library materials with an emphasis on digital content, but what makes Dokk1 stand out is their focus on needs of the community, the library provides a space for performances, meetings, activities, art and general gatherings. It’s a very interactive experience, a long way from the shushing librarians of yesterday. Obviously we all can’t imitate Dokk1 nor can most of us do a total rehaul of our library space, but we can create small spaces with these ideas in mind! For example, at my library we had a “computer lab” that was never ever used because the City shut down the Library’s idea for free computer classes because it conflicted with the Parks & Rec departments computer classes that were offered for a fee. So after years of being empty, we created a group study room which gets a lot of use everyday. Was it what we originally wanted, no, but the patrons are happy with the extra space that they can collaborate in. Are we still working to get computer classes approved in the future, yes, because there is a demand for it!

Needs vs. Wants

Research has found that one of the most important tools provided by the public library are free computer and internet access. Although more prominent in urban areas, this shows that the library has been moving forward in keeping up with technology trends by providing this resource to patrons in the community. Of course nothing is perfect and budget constraints make it impossible to replace computers with the most current and advanced systems. This leads me to the idea of Makerspaces, should it be something huge, over-the-top, and expensive? It’s programming that should fit your communities needs. Library systems could apply for grant funded programs that focus on different makerspace concepts. If there is a high response to the program(s) for a set amount of time then perhaps a makerspace is right for your library. Unfortunately budget and staffing concerns are what limit a lot of libraries to what types of innovative experiences they can bring to their communities. How can this problem be solved? It seems that every fiscal year another position gets cut and more work is put on the staff. What can be done to alleviate stress and concern? Believe it or not, when I first started at the public library as a page assistant 5 years ago, it was the first job I ever had where my co-workers were excited to be at work?!?!?! Was I naive or just new, or were my co-workers actually passionate about what they did?

Training

Library systems put an emphasis on the community and the patrons, however, I think the top focus should be the staff. When you get on an airplane, you always hear the speech about putting on your oxygen mask first before your kiddos or loved ones, why, well because you wouldn’t be much help to them if you’re passed out because you took care of them first, right? This is what libraries need to do, take care of their staff first and the rest will follow. Of course this sounds easy, but as I mentioned before, it’s nice to work with people who love their job, the environment is light, staff have ideas and are open to change and progress. The transformation of the Edmonton Library allowed their staff to team up with different departments, levels, and backgrounds to come up with innovative ideas for the library community. They also provide leadership training to all staff which led to empowerment. Libraries that empower staff are really leading the way because ideas come from those who have a good support system, and that folks, is why public library staff should be treated with respect and dignity from their own library system.
From new space configurations, to the demand of computers and internet access, to makerspaces, to staff empowerment, these are just a few concepts needed to create Library 2.0. Innovative thinking from supported staff, spaces created for “doing” and “interaction”, and listening to the needs of the community will happen through consistent and dedicated team effort from the library, the staff, and the community. 

 

I Live In the Future – Context Book Assignment

In this day and age of fast paced, ever changing technology, libraries seem like they are on the extinct end and losing the battle. The Hyperlinked Library is not just  about new and emerging technologies, but it’s a way for students moving into the world of librarianship to introduce innovation into a world that is sometimes very slow to adapt and react. In his book “I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted”, Nick Bilton explains how the fear of the unknown can stunt innovation and why everyone should be ready to evolve with technology by creating the perfect user experience.

So trust me on this one, the public library can learn a lot from the porn industry. Let me explain, the industry keeps one step ahead of technology in order to retain their audience. Rather than asking themselves how can they continue to get people to use their old stuff (magazines, DVD’s, peep shows), they are ready for what’s next (digital technology). The porn industry has recognized the importance of developing a connection with the community, if you exchange library for porn industry, it still makes sense. Librarians have figured out that outreach is important as well as programming, but it only works if it’s relevant to your community. When was the last time your library asked you what you wanted as a patron? Or as librarians, how can we engage the community and change the perception that a library is only about books and quiet time?

Bilton explains the term “technology hypochondria” which is the divide between those who rush towards new experiences, fearful that they might miss something, and those whose fright leaves them feeling disoriented and left behind. New technology creates anxiety and this goes back to the days when the telephone, railways, and phonograph were introduced, it’s not a new phenomena. Way back when, people claimed that comic books would create juvenile delinquents, the phonograph would replace reading, and the railway would make you suffocate, those claims seem ridiculous now but currently, people assume that the internet, video games, and social media will turn your mind to mush. Again, it’s the fear of the unknown that is creating the barrier. Unfortunately many of us work with the librarian who has done the same program/outreach/task for the last 30 years and doesn’t feel the need to change anything because it’s worked for 30 years, or so they believe, but times are changing. It’s important to be prepared for backlash, but it’s more important to always have a voice for innovation, even if it’s blocked, one day it will be accepted! 

Social media platforms have grown exponentially over the last decade, and Bilton points out that our “online friends” are influential, with recommendations to restaurants, books, movies, news and more. Since there is a common interest there is more trust and our online friends actually help us sift through online content that is important to us, and this is what Bilton calls anchor communities. It should be noted that each individual does not receive the same level of trust which can grow or change at any given time. Why are most libraries not using social media? Or maybe the question is how can we engage the community when we do post to social media? Chandler Public Library has Library Face Friday which involves the community and staff. Basically it’s a picture of the face of the cover of the book and the body of the person. It’s actually really cool and there are a lot of unique and creative book covers that people have used. If the community is involved with the social media posting, more patrons are likely to listen if another patron raves about a book they read or a program they attended. 

Another point that Bilton brings up is how users will pay for the experience if it’s a quality product, they can have it immediately, and if the price matches the experience. Most big companies in 2010 were not evolving as fast as technology was changing. The users stated “you make it easy to own, or we’ll make it easy to own”, hence the dawn of the illegal downloads. The Disney Vault is the old way of thinking, people will just illegally download the movies that are in “The Vault”. Apple has evolved because they’ve added devices and content and even though everything needs to be purchased, people will buy because the experience is cool, immediate, consistent, and simple. What type of experience can we provide for our library community? The library is free, consistent and simple to use, sometimes we have to wait for materials or programs, but that is the “price” we pay for the experience. We can do more such as get to know the community, talk with them and ask them what they want. One of the branches in my library system is around a large population of retirees with no senior center in the area, so they have three Bridge days (they take that game seriously!!), a grant program gets seniors involved with different technologies like coding and robotics which they love, and an art program presented by a Phoenix Art Museum docent about a different artist once a month. Bilton says “you’re selling to a new audience, you need to talk to them differently”, just as these programs “speak” to the seniors, the shared-use facility which connects the public library to a public high school should speak to the teens. Programming should involve and be relevant to the community that surrounds the library because the experience is what will bring them back. 

So what does the future look like for libraries? Societies are changing and change is the only constant but everyone wants immediate gratification. The lessons to take away from both Bilton and The Hyperlinked Library is like consumers, patrons have the ability to sway the discussion. Libraries are more than books, they are community centers, they are spaces to do things, to learn, to create, to be a part of something. Note to future librarians- listen, communicate, ask, innovate, think ahead, and creating the experience will continue to be the fun part.

 

Bilton, N. (2010). I live in the future & here’s how it works: why your world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted. New York: Crown Business.

 

Hyperlinked communities-Why libraries and change go hand in hand.

     This class is a good reminder about why I wanted to work in public libraries and why I decided to get my MLIS. As a kid, I grew up in libraries and really enjoyed the idea that I could check out anything and participate in the summer reading program that the library offered because it was free. Back then, libraries were still places where patrons had to whisper and the librarian would shoosh anyone who dared to speak in an audible voice. We used card catalogs and got our books stamped with the due date and it was mostly a place to study and read, not play. A few decades later when I started taking my boys to the library, there were computers and play areas. Children’s programs were offered every week along with different activities which were still, thankfully, free. I started working in libraries close to 5 years ago, because prior to that I had worked in a bookstore for a season and realized my love for books and reading could become a part of my career, but I wanted for everyone to be able to participate and get as many materials as they wanted, hence the public library became a path towards a new career.

    What I have found after 5 years, 3 of those in a supervisor role, is that change is the only constant in the library, and not everyone is on board with that. Technology is constantly changing, but so are the communities around the library and that has to be the focus of library if the goal is to remain relevant. The library system I work for includes 5 branches, one of which is a shared-use facility connected to a high school while another one is across the street from a middle school. I believe adults tend to forget what it’s like to be a kid, especially after school. So while we tell our patrons that we are more like community centers, sometimes the staff acts as though the teens are bothersome and would rather not have them in the building at all. Taking a page from the “Unquiet Library” , at Creekville High School in Georgia, and the librarians/media specialist Buffy Hamilton and Roxanne Johnson who are involved with the students, I felt that offering the inviting teen atmosphere and not only involving the teens with the coffee shop and trivia contests, but communicating and actually talking with the teens was the way to do it. So many times have I seen librarians automatically be in the defensive when the teens make their way in at 2:30pm, and I think their passion is actually coming up with new rules. No wonder the teens don’t want to listen to adults, it’s like being in school after school. The “Unquiet Library” has good starting points, teens are the future so treat them with respect as you would an adult, communication and listening is key, and keeping up with relevant technology that teens use such as social media to research makes the library fun and practical for young adults. I would love to see my library create a “coffee shop” and after school trivia games or some activity that would involve the kids. How about a theme everyday, Movie Monday, Trivia Tuesday, Weasley WEdnesday (Harry Potter or any fandom) etc. I’m excited just thinking about this!

On the same wavelength as community centers and the “Unquiet Library” is the DOK Delft library in Amsterdam, the new modern library which is more like a place of discovery. AS Jasper Visser explains in his article DOK Delft,Inspirational Library Concepts the library is a place of inspiration, participation, and interaction. There is an art library, multi-media stations that include video games, and virtual archival information relevant to each patron. Like DOK, many US libraries offer free wi-fi and maker-spaces which are great for entrepreneurs and small start-ups. My library system offers this type of maker-space at the main branch in conjunction with the  local university which has been a great way to get people from the community into the library for services other than books.

     Changing the way that we as a society think about the library is hard, but it needs to be done. Books cannot sustain us, so other services need to be brought into the environment. While bringing in showers and connecting gyms to library spaces may sound outrageous to some, Aaron Schmit explains in Exploring Content that it’s the perfect idea to get the surrounding community talking about and into the library, “When evaluating new initiatives, we should consider the library less and our communities more.” Basically, if you are going to work in a library you need to be open for change, consistently, and listen to the community in order to be innovative and remain that awesome place that people like to frequent for fun!  

 

Hi all!

Just a bit about me before we dive into this semester! First though, can you believe we are already at the end of January? Where does the time go?

I’m originally from El Paso, Texas but have lived in Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, for the last 15 years. I’m a weirdo and love the heat! Right now it’s 58 degrees and sunny and I’m FREEZING!!! Yes, I’m wrapped in a heating blanket right now, I wore my wool pea coat this week and I call 80 degrees sweater weather, really! In the summer, the Valley hits upwards of 115 degrees, ahhh the heat, the sun, the sweat! I really don’t mind, that’s what air conditioning is for!

I chose this class for 2 reasons. First, the only constant in libraries is change. So this course seems perfect, adapting is what we do in libraries, and the more informed I can be, the better. I also heard great things about our professor, so that was reason number 2. And I don’t just mean from other students. I was on a flight and happened to sit next to a library director of a small system and he mentioned Professor Stephens when I said I attended SJSU.

I’ve worked in a public library setting for almost 5 years now and love it. So becoming a reference librarian would seem the logical next step. However, I would love to become a film librarian and work in a special collections library such as Lucasfilm, Jim Henson Company, or the Margaret Herrick Library just to name a few!

Each semester seems to become easier, not because the assignments are simple or effortless, but because my attitude for learning has changed and I’m loving everything that is presented in each of the courses that I’ve taken. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thrilled to graduate in December!! Yay for binge-watching Netflix and free time and no more nervous twitches and gut-wrenching feelings that something is due but you have no idea what?!?!

Cheers to a great semester ahead!

This awesome library is in Mexico City, Biblioteca Vasconcelos. If you are ever in the area, check it out, it’s amazing!

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