Virtual Symposium

I created this using Adobe PremierePro for the first part, and for the second part. There is music, so turn up the volume! Make it full-screen for best effect. Apologies for the watermark on the second part.


Director’s Brief – Virtual Reality

Recently I had the opportunity to try the HTC Vive virtual reality system at Spokane Public Library. The library was able to obtain the hardware and software through a grant from the Best Buy Foundation, in order to teach/connect teens with VR technology.

Libraries have always proffered access to emerging technologies, lowering the barrier to entry for learning new skill sets. Technology features prominently in the delivery of contemporary library services, providing innovative ways to access information. Virtual reality enables people to explore new environments, which has dynamic implications for learning. Virtual reality refers to computer-generated environments that simulate the physical world with realistic sensory experiences. Libraries have become more about experiences in education than just about books. Designing these experiences can be a new and exciting element to librarianship, engaging users with emerging trends in technology and service. Libraries will provide an intensified level of learning and knowledge to a generation raised on electronic devices, and virtual reality will bring with it an understanding of the virtual world.

Director’s Brief

Infinite Learning/Library as Classroom

The concepts of “infinite learning” and “library as classroom” pair seamlessly to show evidence of libraries providing lifelong learning for all, a major tenet in the library world. This learning doesn’t have to take place inside a school or library, but occurs wherever learners happen to be, and whenever is convenient for them.

Technology plays a critical role in infinite learning. Perry and Weimar (2016) remind us that “kids born today will never live in a world where there aren’t devices like smartphones and tablets”, and whatever tech may be on the horizon. With the surge in mobile devices growing rapidly, libraries have an even greater opportunity to evolve as information “classrooms” (Pedersen, 2016).

The library as creative classroom involves combining play, collaboration, and innovation to help learners achieve. Inspired and insightful library “teachers” can provide both physical and virtual spaces for growth, collaboration, and communication, allowing learning to expand to new and exciting dimensions.

One final thought: I was fascinated by the use of emojis as a library tool, especially using them to survey and compile net-promotor scores for analysis. I stumbled upon the website Emojipedia, a reference website that as of March 2017 boasted 4 million unique users. There is even a World Emoji Day (July 17), which I plan to celebrate this year. As stated in the lecture, and in Thompson’s Wired article (2016), 92% of people online use emojis to express emotion and to add an emotional element to writing that helps prevent miscommunication.

Pederson, L. (2016). The future of public libraries: A technology perspective. Public Library Quarterly, 35(4), 362-365.

Perry, K., & Weimar, H. (2016). Learning with and without technology. Young Adult Library Services, 14(2), 20-21.

Thompson, C. (2016). The emoji is the birth of a new type of language (no joke). Wired, retrieved from

IoT: Is online privacy a thing of the past?

Or perhaps it is better to ask if it was ever a thing to begin with. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an effective tool for gathering and delivering information. It is estimated that by the year 2020, 25 billion devices will be connected to the IoT (Smith, 2015). This is bound to have an effect on an individual’s privacy, which is gradually being surrendered unwittingly by consumers without their realization that data is being monitored and collected, or how that data is being used.

Privacy challenges are a definite disadvantage to the IoT. Almost anyone can access the continual flow of data and use it for potentially dubious or illicit purposes. The increase in connected devices allows hackers more entry points into private information (Meola, 2016). As sensors become more ubiquitous, people have progressively less knowledge of what information is being collected and shared, and for what purpose. Have you ever clicked “yes” to agree to Terms of Use without having read them? If so, you are probably forfeiting privacy rights and possibly opening yourself up to corporate surveillance and data breaches. IoT devices and digital services propagate a lot of personal information. There is a low level of trust that companies are protecting any of the data being collected; 78% of consumers are greatly concerned about their data being sold (Groopman, 2015).

How does this pertain to libraries? The technology exists to use patron data, collected in real-time, to make customized recommendations. While this information can be used to save staff time and improve patron service, there are ethical considerations that libraries will need to address. Patron confidentiality is highly prized in libraries, and the public must be reassured that any personal information gathered by the library will not be sold or used by others.

Groopman, J. (2015). Consumer perceptions of privacy in the Internet of Things. Retrieved from

Meola, A. (2016). How the Internet of Things will effect security & privacy. Retrieved from

Smith, M.S. (2015). Protecting privacy in an IoT-connected world. Information Management Journal, 49(6), 36-39.

New Models

This module got me thinking about how libraries embrace change in terms of physical spaces, especially after viewing the NC State University Hunt Library and the Dokk1 library in Aarhus in previous modules. My only real venture in designing library spaces was being part of the design team for a library space that had previously held the children’s collection (which had been moved to another floor). Weeks of meetings and months of planning paid off, and we unveiled our LevelUp coworking space last fall.

I decided to search for other libraries that have innovative uses for their spaces – designed for people rather than books. Here are some of my favorites:

Vennesla Library in Norway

Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm, Sweden

Charlotte Mecklenberg Library in North Carolina

Teesside University library in England

Soneva Kiri library in Thailand

Biblioteca Sandro Penna in Perugia, Italy

Emerging Technology Planning – Gamification of Library Instruction and Orientation

Gamification, applying game elements to real-world learning, has been increasingly utilized in academic settings to engage and motivate students by presenting banal tasks in an innovative and fun manner. The rapid development of the smartphone, the mobile web, and social media have furthered the pervasiveness of games in daily activities that goes beyond the game world. The billion-dollar video game industry is proof that people will invest great measure of time and energy into games, and this can be harnessed by libraries to improve user engagement and education. Students in higher education have the game skills necessary from playing video games, making them a prime target for gamification of library services. People learn better when they are active participants in the learning process, and using gamification as a teaching strategy in library orientation offers users a positive and pleasant participatory experience. Participatory spaces are where learning occurs.

The 2012 NMC Horizon Report states that gamification helps students more easily connect with educational material that motivates them to succeed in personally meaningful ways. With technology steadily being used in libraries to deliver services, innovative ideas in this process are becoming more commonplace. Academic libraries in particular aim to improve students’ research literacy skills by introducing games and game dynamics into their library curriculum with the ultimate goal of transforming practical assignments into something more entertaining. This example of participatory service using current technology is a powerful tool for engagement and motivation of library users. This plan is to create an interactive orientation where students learn more about the library’s online presence in a fun way


The goals for introducing gamification into library instruction in an academic setting are intended to strengthen the learning of users who are new to the world of higher education.

  1. Introduce students to the library’s website and resources.
  2. Familiarize students with online library processes.
  3. Increase the level of active learning and student engagement.
  4. Reduce library-related anxiety among students.


College students seeking their education in on online environment are often located some distance from their educational institutions, and thus have very limited use of the physical libraries of those institutions. With large numbers of new students, individual one-on-one instruction and even group orientation is not feasible. For this reason, it is especially important that distance learners have the skills necessary to navigate the libraries’ websites and make use of available online resources. For many of these students, information literacy is a new concept, one that should be mastered in order to succeed academically. However, many students already possess similar skills from playing video games. Gamification of library orientation can take this learning objective to a new level, engaging online students and teaching them crucial research skills in an innovative and enjoyable manner. If you cannot change the student, then you can shape the student’s user experience to meet his comfort level.


Convince online college and university students that by participating in a library orientation game they will learn valuable skills which will assist them in their studies because of the necessity of information literacy in higher education.


Gamification can encourage imaginative learning and provide useful data and metrics for improving library user engagement. There are many different aspects of the library that lend themselves well to gamification, and many resources available for libraries to use for inspiration.


The mission for this plan is to raise online students’ awareness and level of engagement with the university’s library website and digital resources by adapting game dynamics to library instruction.

The mission of the university library is to provide quality resources and innovative services to promote intellectual growth and creativity by facilitating access to information resources and teaching the effective use of those resources. Gamification of these processes using technology and imagination will assist in this endeavor.

Guidelines and policies for this plan will be set by a team consisting of librarians and faculty of the university. Policy advisement will be sought from these libraries that have successfully implemented gamification into their programs:

  • University of California, San Diego, Libraries
  • Grand Valley State University Libraries
  • Ohio State University Libraries
  • Utah Valley University Fulton Library
  • University of Huddersfield Library

The library orientation game will provide an introduction to the library’s online resources through an interactive game similar to an online scavenger hunt, with tasks that involve students searching the library’s website to solve increasingly difficult challenges. The game will use “gating” for key concepts, which will prevent players from progressing until they have mastered a skill. A progress bar will show students how far they have advanced in the “quest”. While intended for new distance learners, the game will be open and available to any student with access to the library’s website.


This project will require staff time of three to four librarians to determine the challenges. Students and faculty of the Information Technology department will provide technical expertise in game design techniques. A budget of $200 will be allotted from the discretionary fund to be used for marketing and promotional needs. Acquisition of necessary hardware and software will be funded as needed through the IT department.


Phase I:

  1. Identify essential library skills needed for distance learners
  2. Obtain necessary permissions and collaborations from faculty and department heads
  3. Establish the project team
  4. Examine games put in place by other institutions
  5. Obtain necessary software and/or hardware

Phase II:

  1. Implement game elements into curriculum for library orientation (actual game design)
  2. Playtest the game with library staff
  3. Incorporate game promotional materials into orientation packets for new students
  4. Promote the game through library and university websites and campus initiatives
  5. Evaluate results through student feedback and data obtained through game play

Game design will occur during the 2017 Summer session, with the game to be launched one week before the start of the 2017 Fall semester for online students and during orientation week for onsite students. The game will continue to be available throughout the academic year, with evaluation of the results to be conducted during the 2018 Summer session. Necessary adjustments will be made as needed at that time depending on the success of the project as determent through the evaluation process.


This project will require a project team consisting of four librarians, students and faculty of the Information Technology department (with experience in coding, graphic design, and JavaScript), and student advisors for the initial research and development phase. Input may be sought from game designers on a voluntary basis as needed. Project librarians will remain available throughout the academic year when required for user assistance. Building a game in-house with permanent library staff allows the game to be completed and updated as library resources change and student advisers graduate.


All public services staff and library tech personnel will be trained to troubleshoot the game, and to assist students with their progress. Training will be scheduled one month before the start of Fall 2017 semester. All library staff will be required to playtest and complete the game prior to its launch. Training will be provided by the members of the project team.


As this game is intended for students of the university, promotion will be directed at students and faculty. Through teacher collaboration, class credit may be offered upon completion of the orientation game, particularly in lower-level English courses. Extrinsic motivation is often necessary for students to voluntarily play an educational game. The game will be promoted to students with emphasis on “fun” through university orientation packets delivered via email, and on the websites of the library and the university, as well as linked to on Canvas. The game will be promoted to teachers as “an innovative method for introducing new students to the library and its services through educational games”.


Feedback from students, teachers, and playtesters will be the primary means of evaluating the game. Data on the number of times the game was begun and the number of times it was completed will be obtained and analyzed. Upon completion of the game, players will be required to complete a survey on the game’s usefulness, level of difficulty, and entertainment value. The game will be considered successful when the initiation vs completion ratio is 85%, and survey feedback is numerically scored at eight out of ten positive responses.


My interest in gamification came about as a result of the virtual scavenger hunt that was designed by my library when the new website was introduced. Before it was unveiled to the public, library staff were asked to participate in this game in order to determine the website’s usability. Using gamification as a tool provided feedback from a greater number of participants than simply asking for comments. In researching the topic I was intrigued by some of the fun ways that other libraries, particularly academic libraries, have of providing education and learning to their users. I hope to encourage my library to make our website more participatory and interactive, possibly by utilizing LibraryGame.


Bigdeli, Z., Haidari, G., HajiYakhchali, A., &   BasirianJahromi, R. (2016). Gamification in library websites based on motivational theories. Webology, 13(1), 1-12.

Broussard, M.J.S. (2012). Digital games in academic libraries: A review of games and suggested best practices. Reference Services Review, 40(1), 75-89.

Felker, K. (2014). Gamification in libraries: The state of the art. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 54(2), 19-23.

Green, G. (2012). The innovative use of technology in libraries [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Adams, S., & Cummins, M. (2012). The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 higher education edition. Austin, TX: The New Medium Consortium.

Kim, B. (2012). Harnessing the power of game dynamics. College & Research Libraries, 73(8), 465-469.

Kim, B. (2015a). The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era. Library Technology Reports, 51(2), 5–9.

Kim, B. (2015b). Gamification in education and libraries. Library Technology Reports, 51(2), 20-27.

Kim, B. (2015c). Designing gamification in the right way. Library Technology Reports, 51(2), 29-35.

Mallon, M. (2013). Gaming and gamification. Public Services Quarterly, 9(3), 210-221.

Pun, R. (2016), Winning ways to gamify your library services. Computers In Libraries 36(9), 12-15.

Schneider, K.G. (2006). The user is not broken [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Smith, A.L., & Baker, L. (2011). Getting a clue: creating student detectives and dragon slayers in your library. Reference Services Review, 39(4), 628-642.

Spina, C. (2013). Gamification: Is it right for your library? AALL Spectrum, 17(6), 7-9, 25.

Stephens, M. (2012). The age of participation. Library Journal, 137(3), 40.

Young, J. (2016). Can library research be fun? Using games for information literacy instruction in higher education. Georgia Library Quarterly, 53(3), 1-7.


Hyperlinked Environments

I love the “choose your own adventure” aspect of this module! I chose to focus on the hyperlinked public library, both because I have 30 years of experience working in a public library setting, and because my other class this semester is Issues in Public Libraries. As I read the various materials for this module, I couldn’t help but compare the content to my workplace, Spokane Public Library (SPL).

The Four Spaces model was of particular interest to me. First introduced by Danish LIS scientists, this model envisions the intersections among the four spaces (inspiration, learning, performative, meeting) that support four goals (innovation, experience, empowerment, involvement) in order to bolster four processes (excite, explore, create, participate). The four spaces occur in both the physical and virtual worlds.


Spokane Public Library demonstrates its use of the four spaces model in several ways, including:

  1. First Friday (inspiration, performative) – The first Friday of every month, the library stays open two extra hours and displays art by local students and artists, as well as having a musical act or two.
  2. LevelUp coworking space (meeting, learning) – This state-of-the-art area offers wired meeting rooms, computers loaded with business and design software, a hi-tech classroom with an interactive whiteboard, and video conferencing equipment, among other things.
  3. Library of Things (learning, performative) – This collection (available for checkout) includes musical instruments, science equipment, and video recording equipment.

Compared to Edmonton Public Library (EPL), Spokane’s library system is just starting to take baby steps toward the transformation from a “house of knowledge” to a “house of access”. Librarians at SPL are getting out into the community and interacting with people wherever they happen to be, rather than waiting for people to come through the door. Like EPL, SPL offers free library cards to all residents of the area, and gives “internet only” cards to those without ID or address verification. The guiding principle behind this is that nobody should be denied access to information because of their life circumstances. Just as EPL creates teams to tackle issues, SPL has constructed Solutions Teams to address such diverse concerns as children’s programming, shelving procedures, and how to reduce theft and vandalism in the restrooms.

The Dokk1 project, with the Aarhus library, really inspired me with new, fresh ideas of how public libraries should be. Of course, the money for a complete re-design is not available (yet), but SPL already has staff that are “visible, engaged, and present”, out in the open at the library rather than behind a desk. SPL is also starting to direct its attention on spaces and people, rather than on books and other traditional library materials. Libraries are more than just buildings, they are microcosms of their communities, and exist both in physical and cyberspace to provide a portal to the world.


LibraryCon! Why didn’t I think of that!

I am going to try to convince my library to host a LibrariCon. Other library systems have done it, and we have so many great local resources available: comic book stores, local artists and authors, Spokane Batman, Spokane Deadpool, we could even have a HeroClix tournament. And we would have to have a costume contest! I know that Spokane has had a small comic con for a couple of years, maybe we could combine them and get some good library publicity.

Participatory service in the 21st century

Participatory library service is active, not passive. It transforms libraries from places that hold stuff to places that host experiences. After viewing the lectures and perusing the other materials for the last two modules, I asked myself two questions:

  1. What things does my library currently do to provide participatory service?
  2. What can my library do in the future to develop into a 21st century library?

Spokane Public Library, where I have worked for many years, has over the past couple of years started this transformation, although there is still more work to be done. It began two years ago with a Future Study aimed at re-imagining the library for the next twenty years. The library initiated community conversations at each library branch, covering many diverse communities and neighborhoods. The feedback received proved very consequential when designing the study. The library also developed a social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This allows the library and staff to interact more fully with the community.

In order to present authentic community engagement, the library changed its focus from its programs and services to the interests and concerns of the community. Since access to information is not really an issue in the digital landscape we are in, libraries can concentrate on assisting users in the creation and production of content. Libraries in general are becoming more about what they do than what they have.

Embedded librarianship is another concept being embraced by Spokane Public Library. Librarians travel around the community (physically and virtually) providing specialized knowledge and services. Some of the specialties that these librarians offer include genealogy, local history, and business acumen. In a newly designed are of the library called LevelUp, users have free and open access to co-working spaces, high-tech classrooms, computers loaded with business and design software, and a Bloomberg Terminal.

To be a 21st century library means to deliver great performance, both at traditional library services and participatory services. Spokane Public Library has started on the path to becoming such a library, with monthly art shows and musical performances. Currently in the planning phase is a public performance area with a stage, lighting, and sound equipment. Customization of services and spaces are essential for libraries to thrive.

With enough funding, I can envision a new Spokane Public Library along the lines of the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, which has been described as “a place not of the past, but of the future”. Design and visualization can change public perception of libraries. Rather than just proffering services, libraries can offer tools (physical and digital), opportunities, and incentives, as well as space to create. Media labs, recording studios, and an “idea box” such as that at Oak Park Public Library will hopefully be a part of my library’s future. It is my hope that this is just the start of nontraditional library activity, and that the public perception of libraries will evolve as libraries do. Out-of-the-box thinking will become more and more necessary as we continue into the 21st century. There is more than one way to visit a library!

Context Book assignment

BiblioTech: Why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google,

by John Palfrey

            Are libraries still relevant? Will they serve a purpose in the digital age? These seem to be the most axiomatic questions that those in the information business are confronted with today. In his book, Palfrey (2015) addresses the issues behind the question, and discloses why the answers are definitely “Yes!”, provided that libraries adapt to the ever-changing environment in which they find themselves. Clinging to a nostalgic perception of libraries is not enough to preserve their existence in a contemporary world. Information professionals must establish an unequivocal and positive case for the part that libraries will play in dynamic modern society.

Palfrey encourages librarians to be innovative and creative in transitioning libraries from being merely warehouses of information to places where knowledge is created and shared, without losing the connection between virtual and physical spaces. Library space needs to be maintained as places to collaborate, innovate, meet and work. Stephens (2011) states that the Library 2.0 model “encompasses both physical and virtual space”. The librarians that will most prosper in the system of participatory service are those who are adept at bridging the divide between the traditional library landscape and the ever-evolving technological landscape. They are forward-thinking trendspotters, networked to other information professionals with technical skills and digital know-how. Critical analysis skills and media production skills will be necessary to providing service in modern libraries.

Popular (but inaccurate) thought alleges that with global corporations such as Google and Amazon available around-the-clock, the library’s mission of providing access to information is being usurped. This brings up the question of whether or not for-profit companies can be trusted to provide free and unbiased information, and whether the safeguarding of complete and open access is something they are in a position to dispense. Libraries can address the things that Google and Amazon cannot provide: face-to-face interaction, collaboration, spaces and places for innovation, and expert assistance in determining accuracy and relevancy in a sea of random material put forth during a basic Google search.

According to Palfrey, libraries should “shape, rather than merely react to, the digital revolution”. He challenges librarians to be creative risk-takers, and to be well versed in new technologies and resources, and know how to apply them effectively. Today’s libraries, especially public libraries, serve a diverse array of customers, with diverse needs, and provide an expanding number of diverse services. The information ecosystem will continue to shift toward the digital. Within this ecosystem, preservation of materials, both digital and analog, is becoming more difficult, in part due to new and revolutionary formats, and the concept of “data rot”, where information is stored in formats that may become obsolete.

Palfrey concludes with ten steps to assuring the legitimacy of libraries present and future. These steps include redefining libraries for the digital era, becoming networked with other institutions, and creating a digital infrastructure to build on. He recommends acquiring feedback from library customers, collaborating and cooperating with similar educational organizations, and investing in library research and development to bolster innovation. These directives will ensure that libraries retain their esteemed place in the rapidly changing information terrain.


Palfrey, J. (2015). BiblioTech: Why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Stephens, M. (2011). The hyperlinked library.

John Palfrey at the “Google Era Librarians” Conference – Milan, 17/18 March 2016