Final Reflection

Reflecting on this class and final module, this week asked, “How did you come to be where you are in the field? What decisions did you make? If you found your way to this profession, you’re looking to help people be the best they possibly can be.” While I initially found myself working at the library to pay through school, I decided to make it career after realizing how much I enjoyed helping people find what they were looking for.

Some other things that resonated with me this week was, “What we do is not simply what is written in our job descriptions.” Everyday is new a an interesting experience, from the subject matter we’re asked to research to the patrons we interact with everyday.

Additionally, several people have shared with me a trailer for an upcoming movie called The Public, which will focus on public libraries and the homeless. While the first 60 seconds of the trailer are very familiar, the rest of it almost turns into something from Taken or another intense hostage movie. Here in San Jose, several of our libraries and community centers are used at warming centers, where homeless individuals can sleep indoors and get a hot meal. However, this program is only activated a certain number of times a year, and in very inclement weather. I hope this movie opens up more conversations and long term solutions to help shelter homeless individuals, rather than have them be used as a threatening plot device.


Virtual Symposium

For our final project, I created a Prezi focusing on some of the things I learned this semester and how they are applied to the evolution of libraries. Click here or the image below.

Overall, I had a great experience in this class and it introduced me to many new concepts and models I hadn’t heard of before! I hope everyone has a wonderful and restful winter break, and I look forward to working with you next semester.


Director’s Brief

For our director’s brief, I wanted to do the Global Libraries option and decided to look into London’s Idea Stores and implementing their methods for San Jose Public Library. The Idea Store model was their answer to declining visitor rates and circulation. The result is a refreshed library and cafe with an upscale bookstore feel, flexible learning spaces hosting over 800 classes a year, and close ties with the community. While not all methods can be used in San Jose, several aspects can be utilized to make the library a more accessible place for busy users in the 21st century.

Director’s Brief


Reflection on Infinite Learning

I particularly enjoyed the lecture about infinite learning. One of the first things we learned in this program was the answer to the question, “but won’t libraries become extinct?” In this age of ever changing technology, and having a world of information in your pocket thanks to our smart devices, some may think that libraries won’t be able to stand the tests of time. But, libraries will always be around, if they can evolve with the trends and needs of their communities. An old model of a library; a place of quiet, shushing, and very limited or no checkouts, certainly wouldn’t far well today. But thanks to the idea that librarians are always learning, library systems have observed and learned about new trends to take them into the 21st century.

I especially enjoyed unexpected library programs. I had never head of the Books and Butchers program. And I would love to know the borrowing conditions on checking out a skull. These unexpected programs and services keep the library fresh and the public interested. Just last weekend, my library branch had an actual petting zoo stop by and setup behind our building. Many of the children had never seen an alpaca, and some had never even seen live chickens. By bringing these animals to children in an urban city, it was a new learning experience for many patrons. I look forward to other unexpected learning experiences the library can provide, and will think about  what kind of new programs I can help bring to library patrons in the future.

Me at our library’s petting zoo program

A Couple Things on Emojis:

More Thoughts Then I Realized I Had on Emojis:

I also did a bit of personal reflection on emojis. Besides launching a movie that no one asked for, I don’t use them very much. I will use the “like” and “love” options on social media. I will often use a silly face ( =P or =P ) to help convey that what I wrote was a joke, something that can be misinterpreted in text vs. spoken conversation.  But I find them a bit clunky to use, I often have to scroll through a series of images trying to find the right one, only to find out that my service does not have an emoji for pineapple. And since not all services use the same ones, I often receive text messages that include the X’ed out symbol because the emoji they sent me has no equivalent with my service. Some services like Venmo however, create emoji suggestions as you type. But emojis have been in our lives longer than we have realized. The Wong-Baker FACES pain scale, often used for children to help convey the level of their pain, was developed in the 1980s.

One of the lines from the lecture asked if it were possible to have term papers and thesis written in emojis in 50-100 years. While my first reaction was a hard no, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the possibly of a less clunky, more streamlined and standardized emoji-like language could be used more outside of social media, as it evolves over time.

One of my biggest issues with emoji is the room for interpretation many of them have. My phone comes with a large collection of emoji, many of which could mean many different things. And this isn’t uncommon, many people misunderstand or use emojis for a variety of different meanings all the time. They’re also not great at specific ideas or nuanced language. Thompson’s article in Wired, as cited by Stephens, notes that “text is our most powerful go-to communication tool.” Explaining concepts, providing directions, academic terms, etc. are currently impossible to imagine accurately expressing via emojis.

Comment on Library Emoji regarding the “information desk person” emoji

Using a visual symbol to convey an object or idea is not a new thing. Some examples include Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese and Japanese kanji, and even business logos. These have worked as a means of communication for thousands of years. These typically started as an image of the subject matter, and then became simplified over time. I think emojis, or another visual language, evolving into something more simplified and standardized over time could eventually become a new written (or typed) language.

Evolution of kanji

Another appeal of a visual language would be the possibility to communicate to those who do not speak the same language. Though this would still face some challenges including sentence structure and cultural differences.

While I don’t see the possibility of using them as an academic written language within a 100 years, I can fathom the likelihood of a new visual, standardized means of written communication in a few hundred years or less. 

Mobile Info Environments

Since the commercial use of smartphones launched approximately 10 years ago, a lot has changed in the ways we retrieve information. While millions of people were received access to information via the internet in the 1990s, mobile technology has been this decade’s tech revolution. And while we’ve heard that today’s smartphones are more powerful than the computers NASA used to bring man to the moon, where will smartphones take us next? How can libraries best tap into mobile tech?

Apollo Guidance Computer, 0.043MHz

The great appeal of smartphones is their mobility. No longer do you have to have to be home to check your computer, or bring your laptop with you to check emails, flights, or watch another cat video.

One of the more obvious updates libraries can do are creating their own apps to make their library services even more mobile. While we can advise patrons to check our website to use the catalog and manage their account, many still forget this information once they’re given the pamphlet that comes with their new library card. Instead, we can tell patrons they can download our app, either by showing them how to get the app, or providing a QR code on library handouts that will take them to installation. Having an app that remembers their login info makes checking their accounts, placing holds, or reading eBooks easier than ever. Some other information the app could store would be an image of their library barcode. Now if patrons forget their library card at home, they can still scan their barcode, much like digital ticket scanning at an event.

Collection digitization, available on a mobile platform, is another advancement more libraries are taking advantage of. The same way museums can have tours and exclusive information on an app, libraries can follow suit. For instance, SJPL has their California Room, which is a historical resource about everything San Jose from old postcards to home history. This room has limited hours, and many documents are stored for preservation. By digitizing these resources, thousands of people can look at the same 200 year old map while it sits safely in it’s climate controlled drawer.

SJPL’s California Room photo on mobile

Overall, the appeal of mobile technology is the ease of use. By making more services mobile friendly and optimized, libraries are making their services the most accessible.

Emerging Technology Planning

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

Making the San Jose Public Library’s online catalogue more interactive for users by allowing readers to rate and review materials that they have checked out. Similar to’s review system, customer will be able to review materials available in SJPL’s collection. Additionally, customers will also be able to suggest other materials that are similar, encouraging patrons to refer to the catalogue when they are looking for their next read.

Customers, including myself, have felt the frustrations of being recommended or reading a review for a book, only to find that is not available in the library. Instead of scrolling through Amazon or Goodreads for reviews, why not the library website, where all materials are accessible? Currently, SJPL’s catalog does include a Goodreads rating at the bottom of the item’s page, but this rating is always 4 stars, and is often not the correct rating on Goodreads.

Same star rating hidden at the bottom of every item page.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince San Jose Public Library that by utilizing the ChiliFresh application available within the Encore catalogue and Facebook, they will see an increase of visitors on the library website, which will which will result in increased circulation and participation in library programs, because patrons will become active participants in these online social spaces and be more aware of the materials and programs being offered.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

San Jose Public Library services a population of over 1 million, and there are over 400,000 library accounts from people who live throughout California. San Jose has a diverse population, and has an expansive library collection to cater to many different languages and cultures. SJPL is also located in the heart of Silicon Valley, where many turn to tech for route home has the least amount of traffic to what they should eat for lunch.

Today, everything can be rated and reviewed online, “Whether we’re rating hotel rooms or judging other humans, there’s one certainty in this age of online reviews: Everyone’s a critic.” People enjoy recommendations, good and bad, and receiving them as well. As Visser mentioned in Inspirational Library Concepts, libraries need to “embracing change and turn it into a strength.” Additionally, as mentioned in Contagious: Why Things Catch On, people are often influenced by public opinion. The psychology of imitation, trusting the recommendation of others, from personal friends to reading reviews on yelp. By allowing patrons to review materials on the catalog, customers will then be able to use the library’s website as a on stop place for their next read.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

This article from The Digital Shift contains feedback from other library systems had positive experiences when implementing services like ChiliFresh to their catalogs. Reimagining Reference in the 21st Century also contains a lot of information about the interface and features ChiliFresh uses. There is also a FAQ provided by ChiliFresh that answers many questions library systems may have about the service.

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

Some of SJPL’s mission and vision include:

  • Services and collections that are relevant to community needs, readily accessible, and easy to use.
  • Technology that appropriately expands and enhances service.
  • Timely and accurate information assistance that will inform and empower the public.
  • We are a learning organization that is not afraid to change and take appropriate risks in pursuit of meeting community needs. We constantly reassess our services and methods and try to see ourselves through the public’s eyes.

Implementing a customer based review system taps into each of these goals and more.

As for usage, SJPL has an Internet Access Policy that can be used as starting point to build off of. As for guidelines on what patrons are allowed to post, Coffs Harbour City Library has their Ratings and Reviews Guide that can be referred to. Additionally, ChiliFresh contains adjustable filters depending on what kind of content and wording is acceptable for your organization. However, no filtering software is perfect. As a result, there is another setting that allows only approved content to be posted, so staff can verify whether or not a review or comment is appropriate for the website.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

While Innovative Interfaces already has review options available in their Encore system, there will be an additional cost for the service. While the price is unclear, it would be charged as an add on. Once a price is received, it can be evaluated if it fits into the current IT/Web budget, or if it is purchase that can be considered the following fiscal year. If not, can additional funds be collected through grant writing or another source. The use of staff time, once people are trained and aware of the service should be minimal. This self-service resrouce for patrons follows Michael Buckland’s Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto, “with so much more service possible in the Electronic Library, expanded use of library service seems likely to depend more and more on facilitating self-service than on ever more one-on-one service by library staff.”

Action Steps & Timeline:

Step One: Receive estimate from Innovative Interfaces about the add on for SJPL to see if the cost is within budget or possible through a grant.

Step Two: Test ChiliFresh. Take advantage of the free 30 day trial of ChiliFresh to see if this is a service patrons would be interested in. The trial could be done with the public to get their feedback on the service. Would they use it, any suggestions for improvement, etc. Alternatively, the trial could be done by the Web Team as they test out its capabilities before the public is aware. Since there is a possibility of testingnthe service and not subscribing, this prevents patrons from getting upset that a service has been removed.

Step Three: Share results with the Library Board, including the director and division managers.  Compare cost of the service to the feedback and response received.

Step Four: If approved, subscribe to the ChiliFresh service and add the new feature. Since ChiliFresh is partnered with Innovative, the addition of the review system should be quick and easy.

If there is an “no,” the alternatives would be to look into repairing the broken Goodreads rating system and making that more prevalent on an item’s catalog page. Another alternative would be to look into the pricing of SirsiDynix Social Library, which has the same capabilities as ChiliFresh’s Facebook interface, but does not include any in catalogue rating.

Step Five: Train Web Team and Staff. The Web Team will receive correspondence from ChiliFresh/innovative

Overall, the estimate and testing phase should take no longer than 1-2 months. If SJPL wishes the purchase the service, the service could remain on the website from that point on. This 2 month timeline is the quickest possibility. The longer possibility may involve waiting until the start of the next fiscal year (July) for this service to be implemented.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Depending the options chosen, the impact on staff could range from minimal to requiring extra hours for staff to review the posts. The software side will be handled by ChiliFresh, and the Web Team would learn about the options available for this service. Maintenance would be minimal, as the web team already monitors the status of the catalog. If SJPL chooses to review all posts before they go live on the website, this would become an additional duty for the Web Team, or something staff can do on rotation similar to the RefChat rotation (each branch does 1-2 hours per week) but probably not as time consuming.

Training for this Technology or Service:

Training would be done by the Web Team, who would do a couple training sessions (same information, presented at different times for choice of convenience) for clerical and full-time staff. These staff members will then outline the features to other staff members at their branch locations. This is similar to our how our summer reading challenge is broken down for staff every year. Since most staff will not be on the administrative side of ChiliFresh, the training will be short and an overview of the features.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

To highlight the reviews on our website, staff will be encouraged to showcase the reviews while showing patrons how to use the catalog. Since the star system will be prevalent, it will be hard for users to miss the feature if they are using the catalog.

To push some promotion, certain reviews written by SJPL users or staff can be printed on a small poster (11 x14) along with the star rating and a picture of the material. Below will be a note to find more book reviews and recommendations by patrons like you. These posters can be placed close to where the item would be shelved, so those browsing the library (but not using the catalog) can also learn about the service.


Since Innovative does annual billing, the evaluation will be over the course of 11 months and the decision to continue the subscription will be made before the next billing. Additionally, this gives patrons the chance to find out and become familiar with the rating system and Facebook application.

This evaluation can be quantitative, as we can review the number of hits on the library website to see if there is an increase of use, compare circulation numbers to see if there is an increase, and if more users are now accessing their accounts online with the help of the accessible Facebook app. We can also evaluate interest and shares of Facebook events, as SJPL already advertises some of their events on Facebook, but they don’t receive a lot of users clicking the “going” or “interested” button and they usually have little to no “shares.”


ChiliFresh: FAQ


Coffs Harbour City Library: Ratings and Reviews

New Apps Bring OPAC Functionality to Library Facebook Pages


Reimagining Reference in the 21st Century


SJPL: Computers-Internet Access and Use Policy


The Yelp Effect: Why We Can’t Stop Ourselves From Rating Everything


Visser, J. DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts.

Hyperlinked Environments: Participatory Museum

This week, I looked in Hyperlinked Environments, specifically the Participatory Museum. In this well organized and thought out book/online resource, Nina Simon divides the subject into two parts, theoretical and types of projects. Four main ideas make up the theoretical section, including scaffolding, Me to We Design, social technographics, and social objects. In the second section, one chapter each is devoted to four types of participatory projects—contributory, collaborative, co-creative, and hosting events. I specifically enjoyed the visuals and charts she provided, such as this one in choosing the best project for your institution.

Additionally, one of her case studies was about her involvement with The Tech Museum in San Jose, CA, right where I live, for The Tech Virtual Test Zone. Unfortunately, this was one of her least successful projects, as the staff infrastructure collapsed due to the museum not hiring or providing the positions she requested. As a result, the staff and volunteers were spread too thin throughout the project, and the community connections she was hoping to make fell through after the museum directors made several changes to the format, date, and space. “While it’s easy to say, ‘this is an experiment,’ it’s difficult to build trusting relationships with people who are adversely affected by the changes that every experimental project undergoes.”

I found some of her challenges parallel with some of those faced by our librarians, in which the short staffing of our location has put undue stress on the one full time librarian we have. Additionally, she occasionally does not enough time or resources to build the relationships she would like with community members. In terms of success that has worked for our library, contributory events have been the library’s bread and butter. Most of our events are under a short time limit, and require limitations and guidelines to keep patrons on the right track. As Simon noted, “limitations make people more likely to participate and that better-defined parameters lead to higher-quality and more relevant participation.” However, I now want to think and consider more contributory and collaborative projects that will get the community’s interest.

While the participatory museum structure has been successful in many institutions who want to remain relevant in the age of youtube and snap chat, it also has some critics who disagree with its mission. These critics miss the quiet and contemplative nature of their museums prior to the “experience economy,” as mentioned in this New York Times article. Library staff are no strangers to similar criticism, as many public and academic libraries allow talking in many of their spaces. Just earlier this month at one of our library locations, a woman was “shushing” other patrons, and when library staff informed her that patrons were allowed to talk, she argued and kept saying “you’re wrong.”

In response to the criticism, the participatory museum’s formula is not for all institutions. If engagement with the community and patrons is part of an institution’s mission statement, like many current public libraries, the concepts and projects outlined by Simon can be very helpful. These practices probably won’t fit in places that primarily deal with preservation, like old archives or a memorial, in which quiet reflection and climate control is much more important than giving visitors an interactive experience. But participation is revitalizing many institutions, those that haven’t looked at current trends and evolve with may not last, like the Las Vegas Art Museum which closed after 60 years due to poor attendance and not enough donations.

Blog Post 2: Hyperlinked Communities

This week we read about some interesting hyperlinked communities and fostering them within the library. I was particularly interested in the Minecraft Community of Fairfield County, CT (coincidently, where I grew up!) because of the popularity of Minecraft at our library. I would say at our location, about 50-75% of the children using the computers after school are using it to play Minecraft! I don’t know much about the game itself, and I never would of thought of making a library specific server for our patrons. It sounds like a large time commitment (I’m assuming a lengthy setup, continuing maintence and monitoring the chat board), but if that much of your community is engaging in something the library can tap into, it sounds like it could be a good investment.

Additionally, I also enjoyed the Instagram article and ways libraries can utilize social media. San Jose Public Library (SJPL) promotes and encourages “shelfies” which are people posing with one of their favorite book, and the “book face” posts where people complete images on book covers, often with their own face.

However, I will say that there is a disconnect in the article between posting content and making sure your patrons see it. SJPL has been trying to improve its branding and marketing over the years (it has its own small department, about 4 people) and has been trying to up its social media game for a while now, posting about all the suggestions made in the article, with a minimal following. All the SJPL posts I do see are primarily “liked” by other library staff members, while not so many patrons. Part of the issue is not having a lot of followers to begin with. One way to potentially solve this and gain a larger social media base would be having a contest about liking and sharing SJPL posts. By having patrons follow the page or share a post with the chance of winning a prize as a reward (such as a book, SJPL merchandise or tickets to a local show) the subscription base would get bigger and then more patrons will see the posts about special and regular events.

Context Book Report: Contagious

For our book report, I decided to read Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. Before choosing, I had gotten a hold of few titles that sounded interesting and read a few pages of each to see which was most successful at getting my attention. Berger’s writing stuck out to me, which seemed like a good sign considering the topic. Furthermore, one the of the other titles I was considering, Made to Stick, was actually referred to few times in Contagious. I found Berger’s explanations more direct

Contagious ultimately breaks down six principles that drive things to catch on, whether this is selling a product or go having a video viral. This includes social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value and stories (STEPPS). The more principles, or STEPPS something utilizes, the greater chance it has at being shared.

Social Currency

People’s desire to share things that make them look good, cool, or in the know. Libraries should continue to follow trends in technology to meet their patrons on similar footing. Offering ebooks and easy to use apps like Hoopla give patrons a taste of 21st century libraries. Collection Bashing & Trashing talks about “paying attention to user interests” and working beyond the collection to serve customers in the best way possible.


When someone sees, hears, smells, or tastes something, does it make them think of something else? For instance, if a trigger is more likely something comes up in day to day life, the more people will remember it frewuently. This is why Mars bars sold more candy during the NASA Pathfinder mission to Mars, and one fo the reasons why Rebecca Black’s Friday probably gets stuck in your head once a week and has 112 million views.

When people care about something, they are more likely to share it. People typically don’t talk about “ok” experiences, but the ones that make them very happy or sad an/or angry. The stronger the emotion, the more likely they are to share, such as excitement and amusement, and anger and anxiety. People also share things that are awe-inspiring or surprising, like the now popular youtube series, Will it Blend.


People are more likely to do what other people are doing. The psychology of imitation, trusting the recommendation of others, from personal friends to reading reviews on yelp. Public opinion is also very important, as in the case of Lesson’s From Seattle’s Failed Bid to Rebrand its Public Library. After a survey about the library’s rebrand, a well-regarded newspaper in Seattle, wrote that SPL was “about to blow a bunch of cash on a lot of cosmetic nonsense..” After this, a lot of attention was drawn to the rebrand which followed a public outcry, despite the fact that the money for these efforts came from an outside grant.

Practical Value

Another part of practical value is highlighting an incredible value. Berger points out that good deals, or sale prices, sell more than compared to the regular price being just as low to start with. For instance, customers are more likely to by a $20 t-shirt if it’s marked down to $12, than if the same shirt was priced at $12 to begin with. Furthermore, people use these reference points in relation to frequency. If a store constantly has an “amazing” 70% off sale, people become desensitized and it no longer is amazing.

Libraries can learn from this by marketing themselves more intelligently. When customers see the same programs and materials without a lot of change, they grow to expect that. Alternatively, if a library makes a large push that all of it events are free, this can potentially cheapen the feel of libraries since people will grow accustomed to it.


Schmidt talks about “unparalleled user experience” to create and connect with users in Services before content. By exceeding patrons expectations, people are more likely to tell their story/interaction with others. San Jose Public Library’s (SJPL) marketing team has been asking staff for their own stories, such as a rewarding moment or even interesting interaction, with the goal of sharing these stories to connect with customers.

Overall, the book was very informative and enjoyable. One of my observations would be that this book explains why certain things catch on, it is not a “how to” make things catch on.  While applying more than one of these principles to something increases its chances of being shared, it is not a foolproof method.

Hyperlinked Library Reflection

For this week, I enjoyed Denning’s Do We Need Libraries, “The computer age is about the change in management mindset enabled by computerization.” I enjoyed his look into the wrong answers to the future of libraries, including “merely computerizing existing services.” For instance, AMH (automated materials handling) machines can be quite useful, but only to an extent. Most of this sort machines help check in and place items in correct bins for quicker sorting, the Seattle Public Library has a machine that actually puts the books directly onto the shelving carts.


While this is cool concept, when I spoke with one of the library staff, they explained that they don’t use that feature very much anymore, because the process took too long and it often broke down. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.


I also enjoyed Aaron Schmidt’s Exploring Context, and his realization that he was the guy bathing in the library bathroom. He ponders the possibility of showers in the library for the group of people who would benefit from this, the homeless. While showers and libraries aren’t typically thought together to most people, he welcomes the challenged assumption and even mentions that a library in Helsinki has saunas. I thought this was interesting because in a previous project in another class, someone pitched the idea of showers in some of the San Jose libraries for these very reasons.