Technology is inherent to the digital native. They are exposed to and interact with technology almost from the time they are born, so it makes sense for librarians to incorporate technology and digital media into early literacy programming and services.
Using disruptive technologies as learning tools is not a new concept. In the late 1960’s Sesame Street proved that television could be used to teach early literacy.
As children enter school, Connected Learning, using emerging technology as a tool for learning about a topic of personal interest, focuses on how technology can be used to link different “spheres of learning” to support curiosity and meaningful learning (Jafri, 2017; Sesameworkshop.org, n.d.; Stephens, n.d.).
Graphic by Nat Soti.
The antiquated library model of Learning in the Warehouse is being replaced with a new Culture of Learning model. Libraries are becoming learning spaces where early literacy is supported by play and experimentation with hands-on activities that cultivate curiosity, imagination, and creativity.
Photo Source: Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
Launch Pad Makerspace at Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
From manipulatives to maker-spaces, librarians are rising to the challenge of this hyperlinked era. They are embracing the innovative infrastructure of the 21st century and developing participatory programming that harnesses emerging technologies, not only for early literacy and beyond, but in the acquisition of cultural competencies and social skills necessary for media literacy (Annenberg, 2013; Bookey, 2015; Stephens, n.d.).
Bookey, J. L. (2015). 8 awesome ways libraries are making learning fun. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jordan-lloyd-bookey/8-awesome-ways-libraries-_b_7157462.html
Innovative models of library space are using human centered design/design thinking techniques to evolve and embrace the concepts of library as space and create a welcoming and inclusive environment. The new library model strives to position the library as the hub of its community, fostering an inclusive environment that is welcoming and supportive of lifelong learners in their pursuit of knowledge. Today, library spaces are designed to engage the patron and encourage exploration, discovery, sharing and creation, as evidenced by maker spaces and the Library of Things. This concept of inclusion and community also impacts the librarian’s role. Roving reference services, for example, unshackle the librarian from the desk, enabling more natural and comfortable interactions with patrons (Peet, 2016; Stephens, M., n. d.).
The notion of borrowing more than books from the library is one component of the new library model. The public library has been described as the original sharing economy, and the Library of Things has become a popular service for many patrons. The Sacramento Public Library offers in their Library of Things a variety of materials such as a sewing machines, home and yard equipment, a power washer, camping equipment, developmental toys, musical instruments and a GoPro camera. Other items like a 3D scanner are available for use in the library. With a focus on UX, patrons voted via the SPL website for items they want to borrow from the library. The most popular items requested were sewing machines, a laminator and a bicycle repair station. New classes are being offered by SPL because of the Library of Things, further supporting the lifelong learners’ acquisition of new knowledge and skills.
The Library of Things pull-out poster, illustrated by Brian Mead. Image courtesy of: Americanlibraries.org
The Library of Things also addresses accessibility issues that many community members face, offering the use of household and technological items that people may only use once, would not be able to afford to purchase, or find the space to store in their homes. Libraries are taking service to the next level, listening to their community’s needs, discarding the ridged rules of yesterday, and creating a community space where people can explore, discover and be creative (Garrison, 2015; Peet, 2016).
Williams, C. (2016). How libraries, yes libraries, are helping people to ditch the stuff they don’t need. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/library-of-things-sustainability_us_57237259e4b01a5ebde55e76
Many individuals are interested in the self-paced, informal learning offered by online courses to help achieve personal and professional goals. The emerging digital environment offers an alternative to formal institutional education, increasing accessibility and affordability, and has the potential to revolutionize lifelong learning. Digital scholarship is more than acquiring information, it’s about enhancing learning through community connections and collaboration where anyone can participate, share, and contribute, changing what we think lifelong learning is about. SPL seeks to develop a connective concept of the “hyperlinked library” that strives to enable and engage the online learning community through activities and discussions across virtual and physical platforms (Alman & Jumba, 2017; Bali, Crawford, Jessen, Signorelli, & Zamora, 2015; Stephens & Jones, 2014).
In September 2017, the Sacramento Public Library began offering Lynda.com services to its patrons. Lynda.com is an online learning platform that offers a range of learning opportunities in their online library of video tutorials and courses on business, creative, education and tech skills learning topics. The asynchronous courses are taught by industry experts and are provided in five languages, English, Japanese, Spanish, French, and German. Lynda.com provides online instructional services both to individuals and to groups (Lynda.com, 2017).
One pitfall noted in the utilization of these large scale, online courses is the completion/retention rate, often as low as 4-12% (Stephens & Jones, 2014). The lack of social learning and feelings of isolation can contribute to low retention and dropout. In other words, scholars may prefer to learn in a group. One way to address this concern is to provide a space, physical and virtual, where people can meet and form a community to discuss what they are learning in a course. The discussion of course topics can augment and deepen the understanding of the material as well as construct local networks and support groups to provide an even higher quality learning experience.
Target Community Demographics
Online educational programs are attractive to all members of a community who are interested in furthering their knowledge and skill levels to advance their personal and professional lives. Open access online courses are a good way of educating those for whom money, time, distance, or traditional education methods are a constraint to learning. Some individuals may lack the necessary equipment needed such as digital skills, equipment, internet connection. Over 50% take courses for fun or curiosity; 44% sought improved job skills, 17% add skills to secure a new job; and 14% were retired. Statistics point out that the populations taking online courses mirror the patrons that libraries serve. Known as the people’s university, public libraries offer a variety of mechanisms to obtain knowledge, making it an ideal place to host a community of learners. Open online courses have the potential to reach a variety of users at all stages of their scholastic development (Alman & Jumba, 2017).
Action Brief Statement
Convince __Sacramento Public Library____ that by __providing a place for a Lynda.com MeetUp __ they will _augment and enhance the learning experience___ which will__increase enrollment and completion of Lynda.com courses_ because __of user preference for social learning__.
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service
The concepts of open education resources and online open access courses is a popular topic in the LIS discipline. There are many research articles on these subjects. Here are a few informative articles. Please also refer to the references at the end of this paper as well as links embedded in the text:
Ackerman, Steven, Mooney, Margaret, Morrill, Stefanie, Morrill, Joshua, Thompson, Mary, & Balenovich, Lika K. (2016). Libraries, massive open online courses and the importance of place. New Library World,117(11/12), 688-701.
Hew, & Cheung. (2014). Students’ and instructors’ use of massive open online courses (MOOCs): Motivations and challenges. Educational Research Review,12, 45-58.
Paulin, D., & Haythornthwaite, C. (2016). Crowdsourcing the curriculum: Redefining e-learning practices through peer-generated approaches. The Information Society,32(2), 130-142.
The use of an environmental scan and learning needs assessment will help visualize the big picture and should be used as part of a comprehensive planning process for any program implementation. Scanning provides a practical and systematic means of using available data to inform the programming efforts and feasibility. The learning needs assessment helps to tailor the program to the learning needs and interests of the community.
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service
The Sacramento Public Library recognizes how technology can improve services for its community, and is committed to providing its community open access to free information and continuing education to contribute in an informed democracy. In support of SPL’s dedication to lifelong learning, the goal of Connecting to Opportunity is to provide a physical and online space to facilitate a blended learning environment that expands the learning experience of Lynda.com courses from a passive to interactive. In addition, various institutions have developed discussion groups and recommendations to consider when determining policy and procedures for an open online course.
The Library Support for Massive Open Online Courses Discussion Group: The ALA recognizes the need for further discourse on open online courses, often referred to as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and offers a discussion group on their website. Librarians are discussing the challenges and the opportunities that MOOCs provide and the implications of MOOCs as they relate to intellectual property, fair use, licensing, instructional support for instructors and courses, open source content, and supporting students’ acquisition of research and information literacy skills. This discussion group also provides a means of networking and collaborating with other librarians to share strategies and resources as well as maintain currency on the topic.
The Commonwealth of Learning offers a Policy Brief on MOOCs that gives policy implications and recommendations on developing open online courses including assessment of costs and benefits and quality assurance.
Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service
The largest expense of this program is the Lynda.com infrastructure, already supplied by SPL. That leaves staff time to develop and implement the group meetings. The ultimate goal would be a group or volunteer led program. SPL’s Friends of the Library commonly contribute to library programming and could be tapped for any funding necessary for successful implementation. In addition, tapping into any professionals or college students who might be interested in volunteering their services as group facilitator or guest speaker.
Preparation for Lynda.com Meetup
Request permission, recommendations and suggestions from Lynda.com provider, “Contact us”.
Advertise on meetup.com, PL website, social media, printed fliers, local newspaper.
Contact current MeetUp group for collaboration and networking.
Invite them to attend MeetUp and ask them to advertise on their MeetUp site
Have interested patrons register for the meetup as well as the Lynda.com course.
Initial meeting will introduce Lynda.com to group members.
Provide a real time in service on the service.
Allow time for students to utilize library resources to create enroll in Lynda.com.
Discuss possible course topics.
Recommendations for selecting courses and engaging patrons
Optimal Course length: 5-8 weeks.
Positive correlation between length of course and course completion.
Selection of Courses
Format and quality of video lecture.
Audio-visual aids (Alman & Jumba, 2017, pp. 16-22)
Mechanics of offering a Lynda.com course MeetUp
Contact platform outlining our plan to get permission.
Option to view course videos during the MeetUp.
Time consuming, leading to a lengthy meeting.
Schedule one week behind the actual course schedule to allow for time to download and review the videos and become familiar with the content before sharing with the group.
May be contrary to recommendations of viewing short segments to allow for attention span and self-pacing.
4. Connect laptop to projector for showing videos or real time online navigation on the screen in community room at library.
5. Facilitate a discussion: outline key points, discussion questions, etc.
6. Snacks and drinks? (Alman & Jumba, 2017, pp. 16-22)
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service
SPL has already provided the LMS (Learning Management System) platform Lynda.com free of charge to its community through its website, eliminating the need to purchase a platform and the creation of course content. The main area left is personnel time. The staff needed to develop and deliver this program minimally requires a librarian who is experienced with ICT (Information and communications technology) can create the MeetUp.com page as well as advertise on the SPL social media pages. Initially, the MeetUp group would be facilitated by library staff who provides an introduction to the service Lynda.com., familiarizing attendees with Lynda.com. Later meetings can be volunteer or group member led to assist in moderating discussions and ensure appropriate behavior. Topic selection can be organic with the option to augment materials with expert speakers both online and in person. There is also potential to connect to the global community through online webinars interfaces such as WebEx or LinkedIn, owner of Lynda.com. Training concerns are limited in this application. A general in-service on Lynda.com would benefit the staff charged with implementing the MeetUp group (Yeager, Hurley-Dasgupta, & Bliss, 2013).
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service
Develop a flyer outlining the MeetUp-Hyperlinked Opportunities.
SPL website and social media
Local press outlets-Grapevine, Sacramento News & Review
Library program entitled “An Introduction to Lynda.com”
Plugs at other programs
Collaborate with existing groups and develop MeetUp group on MeetUp.com
Marketing this program can be done in a variety of ways and is very important to attracting participants. Contacting Lynda.com to notify them of an interest in developing a community around their courses might result in free advertising on their website calendar. Using SPL’s social media sites along with community media would be useful in increasing awareness and interest in the program.
Meetup.com has groups who meet and discuss online learning courses. Currently there are MeetUp groups created as part of Coursera, an online course platform similar to Lynda.com. A comparable Meetup group would be created to promote Lynda.com at SPL, encouraging users to form a community to advance the study of online coursework offered through the service.
The Lynda platform has analytics that provide a quality review process as well as quality assurance protocols that give a breadth of quantitative evidence to inform outcomes and success of the program. The students themselves can offer insight into the value of the program by completing evaluations and surveys for SPL. Comments that discussions helped improve their comprehension of the material, sharing of their opinions, and other participants insights enriched their understanding. Summative assessment and evaluation could be comprised of a printed survey of participants given on the last night, and an email version to those who dropped out. Questions about what worked and what didn’t work, the level of participation, the format of the meetings, reasons for not completing the course, if the patron would be interested in another Lynda.com course group MeetUp. (Alman & Jumba, 2017, p. 17-22; Kesim & Alrinpulluk, 2015).
The service could be expanded to include various target groups of the community, such as veterans, seniors and teens. For example, Coursera offers a free class to veterans and organizing a support group similar to this for veterans could be very helpful for that population. Many proprietary LMS companies like Coursera, now offer their platforms free of charge to nonprofit organizations. The infrastructure for the open access online course is set with the host site, relieving SPL of the administrative functions of marketing, participant registration, user instruction, and technical support (Alman & Jumba, 2017, p. 22).
The Sacramento Public Library is a place where the community’s learning needs are assessed and cultivated. Incorporating digital scholarship via open access online learning courses like those offered through Lynda.com and augmenting the program with a course community MeetUp serves strengthen the concept of the “public library as place”, as a community learning hub, and as a hyperlinked library.
Bali, M., Crawford, M., Jessen, R., Signorelli, P., & Zamora, M. (2015). What makes a cMOOC community endure? Multiple participant perspectives from diverse cMOOCs. Educational Media International, 52(2), 100-115. doi:10.1080/09523987.2015.1053290
Kesim, & Altınpulluk. (2015). A Theoretical Analysis of Moocs Types from a Perspective of Learning Theories. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences,186, 15-19.
Twitter is conducting user research on increased character limits through global beta group testing. Increasing the limit from 140 to 280-characters is meant to allow twitter users to more effectively express their intended meaning or emotion. Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, tweeted the news.
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu
Details were further explained via Twitter’s blog Giving You More Characters to Express Yourself. According to product manager, Aliza Rosen, Twitter conducted research and identified a discrepancy in character use among languages. All languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean frequently hit the 140-character limit when Tweeting. Specifically, 9 % of English Tweets reach 140-character limit, a significantly larger amount than Japanese Tweets (0.4%). Japanese, Chinese and Korean languages use characters that communicate twice as much information than do European languages. This limitation may not only restrict posted tweets, but discourage people from posting altogether. Twitter believes increasing the character limit will enhance the user experience (Rosen & Ihara, 2017).
Twitter, a product of Web 2.0, is a participatory forum open to everyone. Unfortunately, this freedom includes those who use social media to abuse, troll, harass and bully. “Anonymity abets anti-social behavior” and there are concerns that the “content, tone and intent” of social media is evolving in a manner that fosters a “culture of hate” (Raine, Anderson & Albright, 2017). Twitter themselves stated in the blog Progress on Addressing Online Abuse (2016) that online abuse has increased dramatically. They are widely criticized for not seriously addressing this problem, causing many Twitter followers to point out that increasing the character limit will further facilitate abuse.
The Pew Research Report The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Onlinediscusses the challenge of maintaining access to information in a real-time, participatory social media culture, and monitoring and administering consequences for abusive behavior. The report explores the pros and cons of options for cleaning up social media including eliminating anonymity and privacy (Raine, Anderson & Albright, 2017). According to their blog, Twitter recognizes these challenges and is focusing on controls, reporting and enforcement of abuse to affect change. They have modified features and filters to give the individual user more control over the participatory experience. This includes filters that block material and accounts through key words and phrases, a Hateful Conduct Policy, and a direct way to report abuse (Twitter, 2017). Raine et al, (2017), agree with the concept of fostering a culture of collective support, stating that we need to return to behaving socially and exhibiting social control.
Twitter is a useful forum to gather and disseminate information. Like all online resources there are benefits and drawbacks to this real-time, open forum. Librarians must do what they can to foster a community of collective support, advocating inclusion and diversity, providing information including options on how to deal with online abuse, and role modeling positive, productive interactions on social media.
The article Nashville, Salt Lake City, Columbus Eliminate Fines integrates a fresh perspective on the age-old tradition of fining patrons for the tardy return of library materials, shaping an understanding of the barrier created by this practice. The underlying purpose of overdue fines is to get the library book returned, not to generate revenue, or block patrons from checking out materials. Research and statistics support no correlation between overdue fines and accountability, but rather confirms negative impact by imposing an additional barrier on those who already experience inequitable access to information (Dixon, 2017).
Refusing access to information materials that should be available to everyone is divisive and opposes the principles of the Library Bill of Rights and Library 2.0. It affects the development of a participatory culture by compromising “radical trust”, the interdependent fundamental foundation on which libraries are built, the library’s belief that the patron will conscientiously return the book they borrow, and the community’s belief that libraries are a welcoming and supportive place. The library should be open to all, serve all, not just those that can afford to pay overdue fees (Stephens, 2012).
Finally, in the spirit of a more positive and pleasant work environment, librarians might prefer to avoid playing morality police, shaking down patrons for overdue fees on materials that their tax dollars probably paid for in the first place. Either way, here is a video for the library mobster in all of us.
Dixon, J. A. (2017). Nashville, Salt Lake City, Columbus eliminate fines. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2017/07/funding/nashville-salt-lake-city-columbus-eliminate-fines/
Stephens, M. (2012). The age of participation. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/02/opinion/michael-stephens/the-age-of-participation-office-hours/#_
Studio C (2016). Library fine crime. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p96O7segLUw
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is an informative book about introverts, contemplative people, and extroverts, people of action. The author, herself an introvert, offers an examination of introverts that is useful for personal study and reflection as well as relating to others. Beginning with an introduction of the Extrovert Ideal, Cain explains how society shifted from valuing character to valuing personality. She credits the industrial revolution and the rise of big business for this shift to a Culture of Personality. That’s when personality became more important than inner character. One hundred years later, we are still dealing with a Culture of Personality (pp. 19-71).
Cain examines business practices meant to foster creativity, innovation and performance such as brainstorming, small group work, and common work areas concluding they are counterproductive to performance and productivity. Rather, employers should provide diverse workspaces that benefit both introverts and extroverts. An open common space for interpersonal interaction and private workspaces for employees when they want to focus or be alone to facilitate creativity and productivity. This holds true for library space as well. She talks about deliberate practice and how solitude increases performance leading to expertise because the individual can intensely focus, without interruption, on challenging aspects of the task (Cain, 2013).
Insightful physiological, psychological and sociological research studies on temperament are provided. The author defines temperament as “biological, inborn based behavioral and emotional patterns that are observable in infancy and early childhood”. The reader is provided information on the biological origins of human temperament as well as sociological and psychological research on the influence of cultural and personal experience on the development of personality. Of interest is a longitudinal study by Harvard professor Jerry Kagan who studied the reactivity of infant’s nervous systems when responding to stimuli. He identified traits of high reactivity including alertness and aversion to novelty as a biological basis for introversion, whereas low reactivity nervous systems have a propensity for boldness the biological basis for extroversion. Studies of MRI results show that extroverts are highly reward sensitive. Conversely, introverts show more brain activity in another part of the brain that is responsible for delayed gratification. In other words “introverts are geared to inspect, extroverts are geared to respond”, making them wonderful compliments to each other, and capable leaders in their own way (Cain, 2013, pp. 97-181).
Cain points out that other cultures do not adopt the Extrovert Ideal. While the American culture focuses on individuality, other cultures value harmony. She specifically identifies Asian culture and its emphasis on “Asian-Style Soft Power”, a subtle persistence whose strength comes from substance and not charisma. She uses Gandhi and Rosa Parks as examples of soft power along with some insightful interviews with students, teachers and CEOs, all of which serve to reinforce the concept that “conviction is conviction” no matter what decibel level it is given (Cain 2013, pp. 170-181).
Lastly, the author relates how the introvert can survive the Extrovert Ideal. She examines the person/situation debate which asks if there are fixed characteristics of personality or does a person adapt situationally? We are all born with certain personality traits, but we can also adopt the skills necessary to support our core personal project, or what we believe in. Introverts can function in an extrovert world by drawing on their own strengths and utilizing the restorative niche, a place to go to “restore your true self” (Cain, 2013, pp. 205-267).
This book is a great resource that offers evidence and techniques for introverts to survive in the Culture of Personality. Historically, the library has attracted introverts. The very nature of the profession echo the characteristics of an introvert including active listening and critical thinking skills. However, library services are transforming. There is a huge demand for librarians who “think different” (Mathews, 2012). How will the Culture of Personality affect the librarian? Will this trend towards emerging technology, online social engagement, user centered services, collaboration, and outreach drive out fixed trait, introverted librarians? Can they adapt? Will extroverts be more attracted to the field? Will a new kind of librarian emerge?
Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Broadway Books.
Cain, S. (2012). Susan Cain talks about herbook, the power of introverts. Penguin Random House, YouTube.com. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/12-layf7Q6I
Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism. Retrieved from https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/18649/Think%20like%20a%20STARTUP.pdf?sequence=1
“Any change in technology that would have a significant effect on the methods available for acquisition, storage, delivery, or searching procedures could have important consequences for library service” (Buckland, 1992). Online databases and record digitization impact acquisition, storage and searching by reducing the size of a physical information collection yet increasing the total amount of information available. Databases and digital collections impact the delivery of services by enabling the user to access information globally from their personal technological device. Harnessing technology to provide optimal, equitable information access to meet the user’s needs is one objective for Library 2.0.
Think Like a Startup (Mathews, 2012) provides a good description of the library of the future, or Library 2.0. Building off the slogan “Everything is Beta”, Startup methodology is utilized to promote innovation, evaluation, and transformative thinking to create a culture of change, with an important component being the incorporation of user centered perspective in the feedback loop. Using this startup methodology enables the information professional to think outside the box, or the 4 walls of a library building. I also like the analogy of the role of microscopes and telescopes as perspectives in stategic planning. Both are necessary to formulate a holistic approach when implementing a plan of action.
The Web is a game changer for access, collaboration, and communication of knowledge. The internet continues to evolve from the text based data of the past, to the interactive, participatory experience of today. Emerging technologies and the continuous, connected computing environment will impact both the individual and the global community profoundly in the future. Emerging technologies have a significant impact on information science and its professionals are challenged to stay on trend and utilize these advancing technologies to provide the community the most innovative access to information. It is important for the information professional to be open to and experiment with technological innovations and changes, always with a willingness to learn and expand their knowledge base.
Here is a brief but interesting Ted Talk about librarians of the future. Lis Pardi, a usability researcher and user interface analyst, talks of libraries not as place but as experience.
Buckland, M., Gorman, M., & Gorman, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: a manifesto. Chicago, IL: American library association.
Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism. Retrieved from http://brianmathews.com/
My name is Kelli and I have finished my first year in the MLIS program. After having finished the core classes I am thrilled to be choosing courses this semester that expand my knowledge even more. I chose this course because I am interested in concepts like the Hyperlinked Library that thrive on user input and involvement, and build a sense of community with the use of emerging trends and technologies. I am encouraged by the comments of our instructor in his introductory videos, and am looking forward to putting myself out there, trying new things and, hopefully, gaining a working knowledge of the social tools used in Web 2.0 that are facilitating the participatory culture of Library 2.0.
Initially, I began this program wanting to be a public librarian. I still feel called for that, but now have also been exposed through various courses to many other opportunities that are available with this degree. I have taken a course on metadata that created an interest in digital records and archives. I just finished a course this summer where I wrote the code to design a website. It was like learning a foreign language and a lot of fun. I have found that I am intrigued by the idea of cybersecurity, and would like to explore more about this. So rather than narrowing down my area of focus, this program has expanded it. I think it is truly wonderful to have so many choices and pathways to choose from.
I tend to be an introverted homebody who likes to read, garden and work on my house. I live by the river and love to walk along its trails in the mornings and evenings. I am a new grandmother. My granddaughter, Riley, is now 6 months old. While life has its challenges, trials and travails, nevertheless, I feel blessed.