Library Symposium

This has to been one of the best assignments I have ever worked on! The expression and inspiration from this class is amazing. I love the sharing, knowledge, and power that I have gained in this class. As I looked over the last semester’s blogs I realized that I have always loved libraries and reading. It has been instilled in me from a very young age especially coming from a small community surrounded by family. When I moved across the country I nearly lost that link…I forgot how much community and reading had always meant to me. Thankfully, I found my roots again and I have pursued my passion. In doing so, I have regained that sense of community and learned so much in the process. This class has shown me that libraries will be forever changing, but I am thrilled to be a part of that process. In fact, this class has even helped me to see a future I never even considered before. This class went internationally and I hope that some day when my kids are grown and I am seeking a new path, I will find the courage to spread library love to nations that do not have access to libraries. Thank you for all of the inspiration and foresight on where libraries can and should start progressing towards.

For my Symposium follow this link:

For a script of the slides and references please see this link:

INFO 287 Library Symposium – K Chung

Director’s Brief: Multi-touch Screen—Interactive Display

Within these few short months, I feel I have gained so much knowledge about how libraries are evolving. Most importantly, I am really excited to see how all of us are taking our ideas forward. During this semester, I have had the fortunate opportunity of working in a librarian role which has afforded me the opportunity to see how all of our learned hyperlinked information relates on a practical level.

One issue that continues to come up at our staff meetings is how far behind we are in our technology. On the few occasions that I have discussed this with my branch manager, I continue to bring up the example of the DOK and their interactive touch screen table. I think it would be amazing to introduce new ways of “researching” and engaging our patrons on this fun device and I think it would be a great way of getting people to tune into what’s happening at the library. Often times our library staff hears, “Geez, we had no idea you were having this event today…how cool!” It is with great restraint that we smile and reply with niceties.

An amazing TED presentation I came across was from Jeff Han back in 2006 and while that was over ten years ago, I still found his speech to be inspiring and informative as to how diverse the multi-touch screen can be for all organizations or businesses. As a result of my continued research for this project, I am more convinced than ever that this is something we could, should, and hopefully will bring to our library system.

Follow this link to learn more:

INFO 287 Directors Brief

It just keeps getting better!

Inspiring. It’s the one word that totally embraces each of the articles from the Infinite Learning Module. Watching, hearing, and seeing that libraries are embracing aspects of our everyday lives with things such as Emoji’s is fascinating. Who would have ever thought feedback on a patron’s experience could be easily summed up by little yellow faces ranging from “angry to “meh” to eyes filled with love” (Stephens, 2016). If any of you have ever tried to get people to fill out surveys, you can understand the challenge. After a few weeks of promoting these wonderful, information gathering tools its tough coaxing people into taking the time to fill them out. However, making the experience fun, easy, and relatable is the perfect alternative. While it is true there really cannot be a comparison between the amounts of information available in these two drastically different approaches, I can nevertheless imagine people are far more drawn to this interactive approach.

Another great example of this interactive experience is with Oak Park Public Library’s Idea Box (Greenwalt, 2013). Creating a room that is completely interchangeable and participatory is genius, but the real winning component is the building of community. Many people growing up just a few decades ago experienced a childhood where you were allowed to go to the park alone, play in the streets with the neighborhood kids until dark, and believe it or not most knew their neighbors by name. While this sounds like a nice place to live, most if not all of these factors have changed in today’s society. Although I’m not saying this still couldn’t possibly exist, it does appear to be more elusive than before. Personally, I feel this example of the Idea Box has the power to change how people interact within communities, but more importantly the library can play a role. Many of the ideas presented have a way of bringing people together and beginning conversations that can lead to friendly relationships. While I hate to generalize, I feel most times we are so wrapped up in our go, go, go mentality that we rarely take the time to connect with people within our own neighborhoods. Fortunately, the Oak Park Public Library has realized the major role they can play within their community. Libraries are now offering such diversity in their programs and services that many times people are shocked or confused by the activity within the library; a perfect example of this occurred recently at a program I hosted. In our community we have offered a week long program called Spring Break Spectacular for school aged children. One of the events was a Dance Off and while in the midst of dancing and having a good time, a young kid walked into the children’s area and said “Wait, I thought you couldn’t make noise in the library.” While this is generally fairly accurate, this was not his experience on this day!

Occasionally, libraries offer fun programs that are typically outside the norm of quiet library activities and there are many reasons why I think this opportunity is important. First of all, I want the kids to know we are a place where they can have fun, but secondly I feel it is essential to expose them to new cultural experiences. For one hour, the library was noisy. We learned the chicken dance, the electric slide, and other fantastic dances, but the most notable outcome of this event was that everyone in the children’s area had a giant smile on their face! It was amazing and creating this safe place for the public to focus on having fun, learning, and building community relationships establishes the library as a sanctuary.

On another note, it seems like when the word library is uttered the only thing that comes to the minds of many is Books, but this module has proven libraries are becoming so much more than that. Sure at the heart of it, books provide access to many different activities, but experiencing new ideas or technologies within the library provides access to so many incredible opportunities. During a recent professional development day with the state library system, I had the chance to visit the newest central library in our city. At lunch time some of us chose to go on a guided tour of the new building, as we explored all 9 floors, we were introduced to the Innovation Lab. Fortunately the librarian in charge of the lab was there and she shared with us the story of two very ambitious kids who came to them with the idea of making prosthetic hands for individuals in need. Since my father had recently lost 2 ½ fingers in a farming accident this story hit home for me, but more importantly I was seriously impressed with the initiative taken by these youngsters. Although hundreds of miles away, this story was quite similar to the story Williams (2014) presented of the young man in Kansas using free web designs to assist a young neighbor of his. In the end, what is most important are these stories as proof that libraries are changing the lives of children and teens across the country. Currently, our library system is committed to implementing 3-D printers in all 33 branches of our system.  However, our location has such poor electrical wiring issues that we have been informed that we’ve been pushed to the bottom of the list and my manager is not ok with this decision. Although, again we are faced with the battle of red tape and lack of equal access to all communities. We are finding ways around it and have sought support from our Friends of the Library. Our community is very fortunate to have such a successful group of volunteers and they are beyond amazing. Most importantly, they have come to the rescue again and have recently purchased 3-D pens for our local use. Since they came to us just this last week we have not had the opportunity to play with them and while I realize we probably won’t be making prosthetic hands—I’m super excited our community has the chance to be exposed to this new form of technology. Reiterating yet again that libraries are so much more than just books!


Greenwalt, R. (2013, February 21). Embracing the long game. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2016, June 20). Library emoji. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Williams, M. (2014, January 31). Kansas teen uses 3-D printer to make hand for boy. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

New Models and Inspiration!

I have to admit that over ten years ago when I decided to follow public librarianship as a career path, I never could have foreseen the future of libraries as we now see it! However, I have to admit that I love where the future is headed! As with many of us, whenever I tell someone that I work at the library I’m almost certain the first image conjured is rows and rows of library shelves full of musty old books surrounded by quietness and me sitting behind the desk reading books all day. While this image might reflect times past, it couldn’t be farther from the truth for today’s libraries.

Although, I know first-hand that libraries are continually evolving and changing to meet the needs of our communities, the New Models module helped me to see how libraries are pushing beyond even my personal hopes! This module was inspiring in so many different ways and it has left me with so many ideas I would like to incorporate into the library system that I am currently employed with. As Stacie Ledden (2017) emphasized in her Anythink Library recording, the focus of the Anythink experience is to provide an entirely different approach to librarianship. Although most of the ideas at this library are new and exciting, she discusses one aspect of community building that is commonly overlooked –customer service. At the Anythink library training for employees has become both a strong team building experience as well as a community building experience. One of the trainings offered is one I have not personally had within the library setting and I’m not entirely sure it is a common practice within libraries, but perhaps it should be. Ledden’s (2017) discussion refers to hospitality training for employees wherein a focus of this training emphasizes the need for employees to smile and greet each patron as they walk through the door.

Admittedly, she acknowledges how simple this is and while it seems silly or at the very least common sense this one act alone can have such a drastic impact! Most notably, it establishes community relationships and fosters those long-lasting positive memories for all of the users. However, it is also creating a sense of comfort and “welcome-ness” many of us hope to encounter in our everyday interactions.

Today’s libraries are many different things to many different people. If you ask a young child what their favorite thing to do at the library is they might say their favorite thing is playing on the computers (AWE stations) in the kids room, a teen might talk about hanging out with their friends, and an adult patron might suggest the peaceful solitude of looking for books in the stacks. Stephens (2016) suggests promoting a quiet and cozy atmosphere within the library helps to balance the crazy, chaotic activities such as those directly after school, but if there’s anything I can take away from this class it is the library has many different functions which are forever changing. As a Youth Services Librarian my focus is typically on the younger patrons of our community and I related most to a sentiment from Smith’s (2013) article, “The library should be a place of discovery and joy. Learning is an exploration and an adventure. Breaking down barriers and making the library experience delightful is another key goal.” Currently, engaging our teens in activities has been a struggle. They are at an awkward stage of life and participating in an activity seems too much like school for them to really engage, but lately I have attempted a new approach. We have created a board with the use of butcher paper. On it we have added inspiring quotes, message, or as in this month’s motivation we’ve created an interactive wall. April is national poetry month, therefore we put up a wall for “Post Your Poetry Here”. We included fun-sized pencils and colorful post-its. Since this was our first interactive experience with teens we weren’t sure how it would go, but surprisingly we already have quite a few poems. The best part is they are policing each other—when something appears that isn’t quite appropriate I am quickly notified and it is addressed immediately.

Most importantly this is an opportunity for creativity and a spark of being able to express themselves. I realize lots of libraries have magnetic poetry boards or interactive experiences, but I feel it’s important to provide these opportunities even if the budget is limited.

Overall, this module had been the most inspiring for me thus far. Everything assigned for reading or exploring filled me with such happiness! The articles sparked creativity for me professionally and I found myself sharing quite a few articles and ideas with my colleagues. The feedback is all positive, my immediate supervisor I’m sure is concerned with my ambitions  but the energy I feel after having completed this section is wonderfully uplifting! Many times as professionals we get stuck in the grind of day to day activities, but the article Architects of Dreams: Anythink’s Pam Sandlian Smith on the Power of Children’s Librarians points out one of the most important facets of being a librarian. She states, “You may not realize it, but you have the power to transform the lives of children, the library, and the community” (Smith, 2013). Even though we are typically hired to focus on one specific area of patronage, it is absolutely essential to realize that we impact everyone who walks through our doors! A friendly smile goes a long way, helping a child find just the right book relieves the parent’s stress, providing unique opportunities sparks motivational and creative juices; in the end, we are here for the public and we must strive to make their library experience the best they can possibly be!


Ledden, S. (2017, March 20). Anythink: A revolution of Rangeview Libraries [Blackboard Collaborate recording]. Retrieved from INFO 287 – The Hyperlinked Library Website:

Smith, P.S. (2013, May 1). Architects of dreams: Anythink’s Pam Sandlian Smith on the power of children’s librarians [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2016, March 23). The hygge state of mind [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Emerging Technology Plan


Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

The goal is to create an interactive tool to teach or inform the patrons/public about library services. Utilizing a multi-touch screen, similar to that referred to in Jasper Visser’s blog entry: Dok Delft, inspirational library concepts, the objective would be to provide library information at the tap of a screen, while also affording the opportunity for patrons to provide helpful feedback. In the YouTube video by Booth, McDonald, & Tiffen (2010) they make an interesting point that while librarians love to help people, the stereotype of them is that they are seen as unapproachable or enforcers of the library rules. While these assumptions are correct and untrue concurrently, this new form of technology would be a great way of introducing library services without patrons feeling like they are “bothering” someone by asking ”silly questions” or making it too obvious they have no idea what services are offered at the library.

Some of the options this multi-touch screen would include:

·         Event Information (flyers of upcoming events)

·         Event Gallery (photos of past events)

·         E-Library Demo

·         Book Reviews

·         Discover Library Resources

·         Language Options

When choosing any of these options, the user would be prompted to answer simple questions to further direct their actions. For example, Event Information would take you to a screen prompting the choices “Adults, Teens, or Kids”, once chosen the screen could highlight events specific to the correct age group. If one were interested in attending a particular event there would be the option to RSVP by entering an email address. This would be helpful in notifying patrons of any event updates; more importantly, this information could assist in knowing how many attendees to prepare for and again in comparing the number of attendees to the number of RSVPs.

In regards to E-Library Demos, the first screen would ask the question, “Did you know we have an E-Library Collection?” The next screen would provide the options “Yes and No”, if the response was yes the machine would prompt “Do you use books, audio, or video? Once chosen the next screen would prompt a “We’ve recently purchased these items you might be interested in.” On the other hand, if the patron said no, the machine could prompt “Did you know you can check out EBooks, EAudio, and EMovies for free?” Ultimately, this option would highlight the E-Library collection and features.

Each screen would begin with a broad topic and become more specific on each new screen as the patron answered prompts specific to their personal experiences. The location of this multi-touch screen would be located directly by the entrance so it would be the first thing a patron sees entering the building. In an effort to be accessible to all patrons, it would be mounted on an extendable arm so children and those in wheel chairs would have equal access.

A sample of the multi-touch screen Main Interface:

Although, it is quite possible this sample interface would be more attractive to adults there could also be an option for kids (perhaps included in the Languages toggle). The screen designed for children would present a new, friendlier, more attractive interface for youngsters. The page would be far simpler in that it would have only three icons: Popular Titles, Kids Event Pictures, and Upcoming Events. In the Popular Titles, the question posed would be “Kids what are your interests…fiction or non-fiction”. Once chosen, the new screen could present “Popular Titles we think you might like.” Since all kids like to see their pictures at fun events, kids could visit the picture option and choose specific events they may have recently attended to see if we captured their experience. The “Upcoming Events” icon would clearly help to inform and promote our regularly scheduled events as well as the larger events.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

Due to the versatility of options and topics that could be covered the entire community would be encouraged to interact and engage with this emerging technology.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince all library patrons that by interacting with the multi-touch screen they will be more informed about library services and programs which will create a more engaging community because ultimately our library’s mission is to inform, educate, inspire, and entertain.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Anthony, C. (2014, February 24). Innovation in public libraries [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Boekesteijn, E. (2011, February 11). Dok Delft takes user generated content to the next level [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Caughlin, A. (2013, March 5). Current and emerging trends and innovations in public library service [Web document]. Retrieved from

Visser, J. (2011, January 22). Dok Delft, inspirational library concepts. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

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

The decision making process for establishing policy rests in the hands of our library system administrators. Initially, the Community Relations Department develops a rough draft of the essential components where it is then passed along to the Principal Librarians and Deputy Directors. If it passes all of these filters, it is presented to the Director of our organization where ultimately the decision is either approved or denied.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

In order to establish funding, grants would be sought out in regards to:

  • Promoting public library services
  • Providing library access to community members
  • Engaging patrons with technology.

Other options would include seeking donations from The Friends of the Library or private donors.

Action Steps & Timeline:

Yes, this technology can and should be prototyped. As Visser (2012) states, “Develop in the open. People might help.” Receiving feedback and patron’s opinion can only help to make this emerging technology more user friendly which is absolutely essential to its continued success.

An estimation of the development time would be one month to develop the website design phase making sure it has all of the desired capabilities. Another three months would be dedicated to the trial phase during which time staff and patrons have the option of providing feedback that would eliminate customer frustrations.

In the end, the Director has to agree this is a worthwhile venture, but the Branch Managers, Principal Librarians, and Deputy Directors all have to be on board for it to get to the Director’s desk. However, considering a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed 53 percent of participants desired to have more access to EBooks, incorporating a new technology in which these features would help to bring awareness to these exact library services seems like an easy shoe-in (Eberhart, 2013). Nevertheless, Anthony (2014) makes the valid point that, “for something new to be innovative, it must also be useful and add value, that is new and better, not just new”. When considering this multi-touch screen and how it has been used by Boekesteijn, this new functionality seems like it could have a great impact upon reaching out to the community in a non-direct means of connecting them with services offered.

If in fact, the director decides this is a fruitless venture, the planned alternative is an electronic bulletin board. In other words, a television monitor would be mounted to the wall in which a power point presentation would loop through various upcoming events and recent photos. Although it would be cheaper, it would not be an interactive approach to technology, nor would it provide two-way communication about events via email. It would not be hands-on and there would be no positive reinforcement if the monitor was programmed to only loop through information. In fact, a patron may stand rooted to the spot hoping to see the photos for the event in which they participated only to be disappointed that they will not have the opportunity to see those photos.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Although this new service is mostly an interactive technology between the patron and a multi-touch screen, staff will at times be needed for assistance. If a patron is struggling to understand the functionality or perhaps the screen goes black, onsite staff will need to be responsive to these issues or concerns. However, it is predicted that the assistance needed will be no more than the average reference inquiry or assistance currently needed with the public computers. Therefore, the hours needed will already be a part of the employee’s regular work schedule and duties assigned.

As far as, adding this emerging technology system wide and preparing the IT department to evaluate, access, and provide monthly updates an initiative from our Director would have to be presented to the County’s Board of Supervisors. In the meeting one of the best attention grabbers might be to start by showing them articles and videos such as Dok Delft takes user generated content to the next level (Boekesteijn, 2011) wherein there is a discussion about how Microsoft Surface tables are being used in libraries around the world. Showing the Board of Supervisors that these technologies can be used to create emerging technologies specific to our library system will hopefully interest them in hearing more. In addition to this material, utilizing the American Library Association’s website at would be a great resource to highlight the most recent studies emphasizing library user facts such as: “There were 1.5 billion in-person visits to public libraries across the United States” reinforcing the need for public libraries and access to new technologies. This information would be closely followed by studying and comparing information provided by the California Library Association at Available through the CLA’s website is a plethora of information and statistics provided for all library systems within the state of California which could help to emphasize the need to add technological advances to our library system.

Also, this meeting would be a great opportunity to showcase what technologies the library currently offers which would be reinforced with statistical data, all while pointing out that the library is currently using an Integrated Library System called Millennium implemented in 2004. At the time of installation, it was already considered semi outdated within the library community. Now thirteen years later, our library system is far beyond the need for new technologies. Breeding (2017), reinforces this sentiment in pointing out that Millennium does not have the capabilities of connecting print with electronic collection making the assimilation of the E-Library with the regular collection a tedious task. Therefore, the need to increase the technology budget to accommodate the library’s technological advancements would be in the best interests of their governing constituents.

Clearly, this approach is not exactly an out of the box thinking approach, but in order to provide the county with emerging technologies capabilities and opportunities it needs to be supported by the governing board.

Training for this Technology or Service:

Staff will need to be introduced to this technology so they are able to promote and assist customers in getting started. Not to mention, staff needs to develop an understanding of the purpose of this emerging technology so this can be conveyed to the patrons. They will also need to be trained for instances of troubleshooting when and/or if the equipment has any issues. Staff should also be briefed on promotional expectations; examples of how to talk up the new service such as “Please stop by our new multi-touch screen. We have event information with RSVP functionalities, photographs of recent events, reading suggestions and more now available on our fun to use device. Also this is a great way for you to provide the library with feedback about the services offered or received.”

After this briefing, all staff members at branches with this new form of emerging technology should have the opportunity to interact and engage with the software themselves. This can help to notify the software developers of any glitches or issues that could possibly arise when used by the public. This training can easily be worked into each staff member’s daily rotation schedule.

As far as updating the events information on a monthly basis, the IT department would be responsible for updating and keeping the information current and relevant. Once the software was developed the IT department would be responsible for maintaining updates. Working closely with the software developer should help them to have a better understanding of the mechanics, functionality, and processes needed to update events, photographs, and more.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

Promoting outside the organization:

  • Announcements could be made about the new technology at regularly scheduled programs encouraging patrons to experience the touch screen themselves.
  • Post it to social media sites. The option to have a video tutorial posted on Instagram or FB is also a great way to promote the new technology.
  • Word of mouth from staff to patrons is another great way to introduce a new service point.
  • Live Demonstrations during peak hours i.e. after school, larger programs, etc.

Promoting within the organization:

Asking staff for ideas on what should be included in this emerging technology will encourage ownership build trust among employees.

  • Video tutorials about the functionality, ease of use, and options available can be used to incite excitement about what is to come.
  • Once a terminal is established within a branch, inviting other staff members to personally visit and see the capabilities available through the new technology is a great participatory way to involve everyone in the organization.


Benchmarks and Performance Metrics:

  • Do stats go up for check outs through the E-Library?
  • Does staff handle less questions about eBook inquiry?
  • Are there less trouble shooting questions in regards to the E-Library?
  • Has attendance at upcoming events increased?
  • How do the amount of RSVPs compare to actual program attendees?
  • Are more people talking about the book reviews available?
  • What is the feedback from your patrons?

Possible Stories:

Imagine a family coming in to check out their weekly library materials. As soon as they come into the library, the kids run over to the multi-touch screen to see if they are in any of the pictures posted in the Event Gallery. When they discover they are in fact on the screen, they jump up and down with excitement, overwhelmed that they are now “famous” at the library.

An older woman comes in and asks what this new contraption is, as staff explains the functionality to her she exclaims “You mean I can get my kindle books for free? Well, I’ve been paying for them for so long that I just kind of expect the expense, I had no idea the library could loan eBooks for free…this is fantastic!”

A gentleman walks up to the ASK Desk to tell staff that he is returning a book that he discovered through the new book review option and he loved it. Also, he’d like to know if this author has written any other books that he might be able to check out.

Possible Expansion:

Every so often the icons and options offered could vary to introduce new topics or services. As Stephens (2016) states, “Changes aren’t permanent but change is” and this is true about updating and varying the information on a regular basis. Not to mention, getting feedback from staff and patrons will let the IT department know what options are working and which ones need to be more fully thought out. Some ideas for changes might include:

Community or local services for elderly, homeless, or those in need. Such as the use of Mobile showers available at some branch locations, local food bank contacts, resources for getting help with addictions, etc.

  • Providing the option for patrons to write book reviews and submit them via the library’s webpage which could be linked to the new interface decreasing the need for the IT department to take on another task, but still allowing for a more participatory service.
  • Marketing the library’s social media websites.
  • Offering Job Hunting Resources to assist those interested in developing their resumes, learning interview skills, etc.


American Library Association. (n.d.). Public library use: ALA library fact sheet 6. [Website]. Retrieved from

Anthony, C. (2014, February 24). Innovation in public libraries [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Boekesteijn, E. (2011, February 11). Dok Delft takes user generated content to the next level [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Booth, M., McDonald, S., & Tiffen, B. (2010). Library of the future in plain English [Web video]. Retrieved from

Breeding, M. (2017, January 25). Perceptions 2016: An International survey of library automation [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

California Library Association. (n.d.). California public library statistics: Summary data [Data file]. Retrieved from

Caughlin, A. (2013, March 5). Current and emerging trends and innovations in public library service [Web document]. Retrieved from

Eberhart, G. (2013, January 22). Public library users want both books and technology [web log comment]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2016, November 17). Open to change [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Visser, J. (2011, January 22). Dok Delft, inspirational library concepts. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Hyperlinked Environments–The Public Library

This module really hit home for me on so many different levels. I chose to focus on the public library option because this is where I am currently employed and well, honestly I can’t imagine being anywhere else! I feel at home here…I LOVE providing story times, assisting customers in finding their materials, interacting with our patrons and all of the little things in between. However, since I am now in a management position there are so many political/bureaucratic perspectives to consider. Our recent focus has been on highlighting what our library offers for our community—it’s far more than books! Yes, we do offer the typical services of borrowing books and story time, but just as the readings suggest we have evolved…we now offer exercise classes for all ages, we offer technological assistance, we provide a sanctuary for our patrons to study, socialize, and grow, and so much more.

For over the last 20 years, our library has been fighting to be seen as more than a receptacle of books with the ultimate goal of convincing our community to support building a new library. We currently are tucked away unseen in the corner of a shopping plaza which is really quite sad but most frustrating is our total space consists of a 9,300 sq. ft. rented suite. Considering our community’s average income is $75,000 one would like to think of our residents as placing value in a stand-alone library building, but as some of the readings suggest, the more money a community has the less need there is for library services (SANDAG, 2015). Some of the daily challenges we struggle with are parking, lack of a community room, absolutely no quiet space during programs or after school, an outdated building unable to meet the technological needs of our community, lack of space, lack of ventilation, and the list  goes on. Unfortunately, our city council can recently be quoted as saying “Don’t worry we’ll give you your 9,000 sq. ft. so you library ladies can do your books while we handle the rest at our new community center”, but the problem with this option is our city council clearly does not understand the value that the library offers our community. As Berry (2014) states, “A supportive city council is committed to investing in a strong public library, the result of strategic relationship building”. In my opinion (and I think many of us would agree) that supporting one another is the key to any community’s success. When the community’s focus strictly centers on money making enterprises, the community loses a strong sense of self. After all, “The library is not a resource,” […] “It’s a community” (Morehart, 2016).

All of the readings for this section only help to reiterate what a viable and important role the library has in creating opportunity within a community. Two wonderful examples of how diverse libraries are becoming are the Ørestad Library and the Dokk1. Both of these libraries have evaluated their communities and in doing so, they have implemented the resources and services most needed and desired by their patrons. Not to mention, the umbrella of what is being offered is so vast and wide. A common occurrence at our library is a disgruntled patron approaching staff during a story time or afterschool activity (when our noise levels are a bit higher than normal) with negative comments about how this is a library and when they were young…that meant silence. Being a Youth Services Librarian my first instinct is to protect the rights of our younger patrons, but in all honestly these patrons have just as much right to their quiet library as our youngsters do to a creative, interactive space. Ultimately, the problem is space! However, if the models of Dokk1 and Ørestad Libraries could be emulated this could solve everyone’s problem while continuing to offer so much more. Both of these libraries talk of designing spaces to be multi-functional with features such as: playgrounds, artistic areas, quiet study areas, comfortable meeting zones, and the list continues on (Stephens, 2016). Most importantly these locations have kept in mind the need to adapt and change to the community’s needs (The Agency for Culture and Palaces, n.d.). Ergo, if furniture needs to be moved around to accommodate programs or if an area needs to be cleared for community center activities, staff is committed to making the necessary changes—all for the sake and betterment of their community.

The real question is: how quickly will this idea catch on in U.S. libraries? Perhaps this is too general of a statement or question and I’m sure there are libraries who are currently making positive impacts on their communities, but the need to be seen as more than a place of books is something I believe is essential to “library life”. As Berry (2014) points out developing connections within the community and really listening to what their needs are is a very effective way of bridging barriers. In many instances we hear the phrase “communication is key”, however, sometimes the red tape of government agencies overwhelms the true needs of the community. Even going so far as to prevent us from expressing and communicating plans that could benefit communities as a whole.



The Agency for Culture and Palaces. (n.d.). Model Programme for Public Libraries. Challenges: Zones and spaces. Retrieved March 7, 2017, from

Berry III, J.N., (2014, June 11). 2014 Gale/LJ library of the year: Edmonton public library, transformed by teamwork [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Morehart, P. (2016, August 17). Moving beyond the “third space”: IFLA forum examines library designs that embrace the community [Web log post]. Retrieved from

SANDAG. (2015). Estimate 2015 92071 [Data file]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2016, May 23). Dream. Explore. Experiment [Web log post]. Retrieved from

“Reality is Broken”

Although I am not one of the “183 million active gamers” in the United States, my husband is one and in all fairness this is what drew me to Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World. Let’s face it, marriage has many points of contention but one of the most common things I hear my friends complaining about is how long their husbands spend wasting away valuable hours sitting in front of their gaming consoles. I realize this argument easily can go the other way as well, but for all intents and purposes this blog is to reflect on the most relevant issue—gaming!  As McGonigal points out gaming has become synonymous with negative perceptions often times referred to as “wasting time, tuning out, and losing out on real life”. In reality, many of the headliners found in the daily news clearly use shock value to draw their readers in— “Man dies in Taiwan after 3-day online gaming binge” or “S Korean dies after games session”. Granted these are stories of extreme gaming with serious consequences, many of these headliners contribute to those negative judgments. On a lighter note, of course my husband can easily defend the numerous hours he has spent sitting in front of the television gaming; nevertheless, I approached this book with the hopes that perhaps a professional gaming designer could shed some light on this phenomenon providing a more positive and credible perspective.

The first question that comes to mind is what makes Jane McGonigal an expert in this field? A quick internet search reveals that she is well-known in the gaming community. In fact many of the national magazines have dubbed her as being part of very prestigious honors such as: “Top Ten Innovators to Watch”, “20 Most Important Women in Videogaming”, and ”10 Breakthrough Ideas in Science”. Aside from these accolades reading the first few chapters of Reality is Broken clearly highlights some of the phenomenal contributions she has made in attempting to change the negative perceptions surrounding gaming. Not only has she researched statistical information to back up her conclusions, but she has developed a strong philosophy on how gaming can powerfully impact our world for the better.

Throughout her book McGonigal points out that many people choose to game because they are seeking “more satisfying work, a stronger sense of community, and a more engaging and meaningful life” (2011, ch. 1, p. 7-8), but what if this essence of gaming could be applied to real-world problems? Time and again, she reiterates that people want to have that feel good emotion of contributing to something greater than themselves, which they satisfy in joining various gaming communities battling it out for “epic wins”. Unfortunately, most of us are stuck in the societal constrains of depression, embarrassment, or “the can’t do” attitude which prevents people from participating in “real-life” challenges. For many of us, the conclusion is real-world issues seem impossible to overcome so why even bother? However, it takes inventors like McGonigal to point out that games can “augment our most essential human capabilities—to be happy, resilient, creative –and empower us to change the world in meaningful ways” (2011, Introduction, p. 17).

Reality is Broken is written in three parts all supporting how McGonigal plans to spread her message and create a community of gaming that can benefit the world we live in. Part one discusses “Why Games Make Us Happy”. While there are many types of games such as finite, infinite, single-player, multiplayer, collaborative, etc. the one thing that motivates us to keep playing is the state of “flow”. This is where the rush of playing a game is better than winning or losing. Apparently, when we have the option of choosing a challenge we are more committed and optimistic about the outcome in comparison to “hard work” that is required for survival in our real lives. If and when we escape to the gaming world, there are clear goals, the ability to explore and improve without judgement directly leading to feelings of happiness and purpose.

Part two focuses on “Reinventing Reality”. McGonigal suggests the best way of incorporating this into our daily lives is by developing or participating in alternate reality games (ARG). While I found some of these to be absolutely genius, Chores Wars in particular was not impressive. Chore wars is an ARG where you gather friends, family, roommates, etc. to join this game in which you compete in completing chores. Therefore, the premise is that it takes the mundane act of chores and creates a fun, competitive experience. Clearly certain chores earn more points than others, but all in all you are still doing the chores. As previously mentioned I am not a gamer, ergo, I thought I’d run this idea past my husband to see if it garnered any sense of excitement…unfortunately, the response I got was less than enthusiastic.

On the other hand, another ARG described was Quest to Learn and this idea has me super excited for our future generations. Recently, I wrote a paper which focused on digital natives versus digital immigrants, one of the primary differences between these two groups was brain development when exposed to technology from a very young age. Again, this topic was addressed in Reality is Broken. Quest to Learn is a non-traditional approach to public schooling in which the students are provided a high-intensity curriculum through game-based reform. The students are still learning the same subjects such as math, science, English, history, etc. but they are doing it through more engaging activities such as secret (assignments) missions. After reading this chapter, I am shocked this type of school hasn’t sprung up everywhere! What kid wouldn’t want to learn history by discovering secret codes and solving secret puzzles? The really interesting part of this type of educational system is that it allows independence on the part of the student to discover, explore, and obtain new goals every single day. Most importantly, it is usually completed through collaborating with others.

Part three shares “How Very Big Games Can Change the World”. Throughout this book, McGonigal explores many types of games from Tetris to Farmville to World of Warcraft, but she also discusses how games can be used for changing some of the negatives in our world. One of my favorite examples was taken from a scandal that rocked the many of the members of British parliament. Investigative reporting uncovered that many of the members were illegally filing expense claims for ludicrous sums and unrelated personal expenses. After public upheaval, the government was forced to produce all expense paperwork for four years. While agreeing to do so, they produced the documents in the most convoluted form of scanned documents. Although, the government presumed it would take ages to sift through all of the information in order to make any semblance of it. A gaming company created a game out of it and invited the public to weigh in on it. Within three days, a third of the documents had been sifted through by over 20,000 participants wherein many inconsistencies and illegal claims were found. The most intriguing factor of it all was that all of this “legwork” was done completely for free by citizens concerned about the wrongdoing of their government officials.

Another remarkable game discussed was Folding@home for the Playstation 3. While the book discusses how the game was developed to solve the mystery of human biology and folding proteins, I was discussing this with a mother at one of my story times and she said “oh gosh, gamers are brilliant…did you know they uncovered the truth about the AIDS virus?” That night when I got home I immediately looked up the story on how gamers contributed to decoding the AIDS virus and sure enough, many of the articles referred to this program and its contribution to solving the protein of AIDS which will lead to all kinds of new developments in the research.

The real question: how does all of this relate to our course of the hyperlinked library? Although I have mentioned a lot of really exciting or interesting games one of my favorites was a game called Bounce. This was a game that involved inter-generational interaction. One of the rules was that the participants had to be at least 20 years apart in age, but ultimately the goal of the game was to contact someone from another generation and within 10 minutes discover what things you had in common. At the end of the phone call, depending on how many questions you were able to answer you gained points. I know this sounds simple and a little silly, but out of all of the games discussed I think this is the one I would most like to be a part of and I think it could easily be adapted to the library setting. In fact, I think a form of it already exists with The Human Library wherein instead of checking out a book you are able to check out a human and hear their story. It provides an opportunity to connect and see life from another perspective which is all a part of library services and the hyperlinked library experience.

Another way in which I could see this being fully successful is bridging the gap between generations and creating a program for teens/adults where teens would be able to assist adults in using or understanding technology. The library could seek ways of developing a program that would have the essential components of a game where there is the concrete goal, mission, and intrinsic reward system. Overall, I cannot say this is a book I ever would have picked up on my own, but I am truly impressed with McGonigal’s philosophy on where gaming can take our future and I would highly recommend it to anyone (in fact, I already have recommended it to a patron who thought it sounded absolutely fascinating)!


McGonigal, J. (2011) Reality is broken: why games make us better and how they can change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Foundational Readings and so much to say…

I must admit that starting out with Buckland’s manifesto was a bit daunting! I have no idea how many pages in I was when the debate about whether our profession should be called library science or information science began to seem like an impossible task, nevertheless it was at this point that I thought if our readings keep up at this rate…I’m doomed. Fortunately for me, the next foundational reading was a whole lot more relatable! Library 2.0 is something I think we have all been hearing about even if we’re not entirely certain what it exactly means. Casey and Savastinuk (2007) did a great job clarifying their take on it all and it brought to mind some really important factors to be considered. The most interesting point I feel they made was the big dreaded word—change. Clearly, this word can make even the best of us nervous because change can be both good and bad, but the point they clearly make is that if we as professionals choose not to embrace change then the prospect of our libraries futures look quite disastrous.


I consider my professional journey to be a fortunate opportunity in which I began as a volunteer slowly working my way towards a technician before becoming a supervisor and ultimately into the librarian/managerial role. I have had the challenges of learning all of these different roles within the library “ecosystem” and can easily place myself in someone else’s shoes because of these experiences. While I don’t think my experience will be exactly the same as everyone else’s, I do feel it can help me to better understand the concerns and frustrations of all different levels of library staff (aside from the administrative bit). While the library I currently work for is big on supporting one another when it comes to change, Casey and Savastinuk (2007) make a notable observation that “Library staff who provide direct customer service are the ones teaching the service and fielding complaints, suggestions, and comments” (p 14). My library branch is fully staffed at six full-timers and two part-timers…clearly we are a small entity. Most of the time it’s all hands on deck so we all encounter customer complaints, but we have our fair share of changes to be made like any other library. For example, we have a holds shelving area where all of our customer’s reserved items are kept. About a year ago, we noticed an increase in complaints about DVD materials disappearing. After watching the trend increase, staff decided the best solution was to keep all DVDs in the staff room. While it was (and still is) slightly inconvenient for all parties involved, it ultimately guaranteed customer satisfaction. No longer would staff have to apologize, reorder items, and listen to a constant stream of complaints—now they could rely on their items being there when they were supposed to be. While this seems like an obvious resolution, overall, it was the fact that staff communicated patron’s concerns and worked together to find a solution that worked for both patrons and staff.

We are always looking for ways to provide services and programs that would be of interest to our community. Most recently, we have offered exercise classes, crafting with professionals, and cooking with the teens. While all of these programs have very high attendance, nothing about them is original or unpredictable. Nevertheless, as I was reading a book about farms to the kids at story time recently, I asked how many of them had ever seen some of the farm animals pictured. I was astounded to hear most of them had never seen a real live goat or chicken. Since I grew up in a farming community, I was a bit shocked and after mulling it over for a few days I decided that I felt very strongly about introducing these “city” kids to some of the same experiences I had as a child. However, uncertain as to how it would go over with my supervisor, I approached the conversation with a bit of humor and said “so…how would you feel about a petting zoo in the library?” Luckily for me, she responded with “I love it”!Although, Library 2.0 (2007) addresses technology, it also focuses on providing something of value and new for communities while emphasizing each community will be different. In the end, my take on this is that it is absolutely essential for library staff to have an open mind where they are willing to be daring or comfortable enough to think outside of the box for programs and services. Since this previous conversation with my supervisor, I have scheduled a 4-H group to come in this spring with baby goats, sheep, rabbits, and chickens and I can’t wait to see our community’s response! After all, “We can’t solve the mystery of the future of libraries by asking users what they want: they simply don’t know! They can’t imagine the possibilities, just as users couldn’t have told Steve Jobs the future of music or mobile phones if he had asked them” (Denning, 2015). I’m just hoping a free petting zoo is exactly what our families are looking for…they just never knew a library could bring it to them!


On another note, I will say some of the other readings have me shocked, excited, and terrified all at once. After reading Open to Change (Stephens, 2016), I am really excited to learn about all of the new technological trends happening around the world! Our library system does have Automatic Materials Handlers (AMHs), we do have RFID check- out stations, but who knew these stations could generate book recommendations? I love this idea and while all of this seems absolutely fascinating, I’m not sure how that would work out with our strict privacy regulations…but seriously, how incredible would this feature be!?!

On a more cautious note, I was a bit shocked to learn of Open+ Libraries. I think many of our patrons would be on board within seconds and perhaps this is what is most important, but a part of me can’t help but wonder how this will affect our chosen career paths. I realize this sentiment is a bit selfish, but there are other considerations as well; what if there is a medical emergency for one of the patrons…who’s going to assist and process all the required paperwork. Although, Open+ seems very intriguing, I can’t help but have a million questions about how this whole thing works!


While I feel like I could continue on for hours ranting and raving about all we’ve read about in the past few weeks, I think I need to wrap it up and sign off! Until next time…

Buckland, M., (1997). Redesigning library services: A manifesto. Retrieved from

Casey, M., & Savastinuk, L., (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.

Denning, S. (2015, April 15). Do we need libraries? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Mathews, B. (2010, June 21). Unquiet library has high-schoolers geeked. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2016, November 17). Open to change. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

A Little Bit About Kelly!

Hi everyone! It’s me, Kelly! I come to you all from the from the warm, sunny San Diego area. (Granted, I did grow up in Michigan and understand some of the snowy pictures I have seen on your blogs!) Our family recently attempted to have a snow tubing experience in California and we got stuck in 10 hours of traffic…total bust! However, we did have some Frisbees in the van and we were able to find a look-out point where there was a small hill so our little ones could “sled” for a bit.

I have been working in libraries since 2012. I started out as a library page at a wonderful library, but when a more permanent position opened up for library technician in another library system I went for it. I have slowly worked my way up from a technician to a Youth Services Librarian. The librarian gig is still relatively new (about 6 months old) and some days it’s a struggle to not feel overwhelmed! Currently, I have 4 story times and 3 after school programs every week, monthly outreach to our local High School and Boys & Girls Club, occasional outreach to local Kindergarten classes, a monthly Book Club for adults, and planning in between it all…oh yeah–and that thing called helping patrons 🙂 I love everything I do, so don’t get me wrong it’s worth all the chaos, but some days are over before I have a chance to realize they’ve even begun!

I began taking classes to obtain my MLIS in the fall of 2014 and clearly, I too am on the slow track to completion! Slow and steady has been my motto and I am good with one class at a time especially since I work full time and have 2 fantastically, energetic children! Below is a picture of our family camping trip this last summer; Ana is 7 and Mateo is 5. My husband and kids are wonderfully supportive, but still guilt is a huge thing for a mom when weekends are spent studying instead of playing.

I’m really looking forward to this semester where I can hopefully learn about some of the new trends that slip by me because of my hectic schedule! If I must admit it, I am a little bit daunted by this whole class set up! I hope I don’t get lost in all of the pages of our class website…it seems pretty straight forward, but this is definitely a new approach! I hope communication is easy to come by and I look forward to “meeting” you all and learning together!