March 20, 2017
Virtual Reality Plan of Action
Remember the View Master, where you would put in a wheel of tiny images and you could look into the light and be wowed? Well, virtual reality has evolved quite a bit since then. Now, we’re getting closer to being able to full immerse oneself in a digital world completely foreign to our own. Instead of seeing a still image of the Pyramids from your View Master, someday you can actually visit, interact, and walk around in remote places of the world thanks to virtual reality. Absolutely loved a roller coaster at the local theme park? It’s now possible with the right tools to film your ride on the roller coaster, upload it to YouTube, and then view it 360 degrees using VR headsets as cheap as $10. It’s not all about games and riding roller coasters, however. According to Alexander, “a further twist is the use of VR for digital storytelling, which we now recognize as a major form of digital media” (Kelly, 2016).
This rapidly evolving technology is on the cusp of the next wave libraries need to implement. VR will allow people to visit faraway lands, be entertained and engaged, or learn a new skill: create VR ready videos. School Library Journal has included virtual reality in their top 10 tech list for 2016 (Ishizuka, 2016).
“The library is also a virtual space where individuals can gain access to information, resources and rich experiences the library offers” (Garmer, 2014). Imagine the possibilities if patrons could tour their library from the comfort of their own home, with a VR headset! This is a breakthrough for home bound or elderly patrons in particular. A simple tour of the library offers patrons access to information in virtual spaces, which are as important as the physical realm.
There are so many options for headsets. Though there are very inexpensive options such as the Google Cardboard, this plan will encourage the purchase of three HTC Vive headsets for circulation accompanied by a user agreement.
This is not mere “technolust” as mentioned by Stephens (2004), but a solid plan with phases of implementation. Virtual reality is here to stay.
Goals & Objectives
The primary goal of the virtual technology headsets as a circulating item in the collection is to introduce a new digital format to the community. The main objectives of this service are:
- Introduce a fun, educational, and entertaining technology to the library community
- Inspire creativity and entrepreneurship by educating patrons about the VR format
- Offer a new technology that might be cost prohibitive to some to everyone
The Pleasant Town Public Library serves roughly 27,000 patrons in an urban area. The median age is 51 years old, with a median household income of $99,000*. Pleasant Town has a rapidly aging population, for whom VR headsets could be a great asset in particular. In the most recent survey of the community, Pleasant Town residents would like to see more technology classes and opportunities offered at their library, especially after the library’s recent renovation and somewhat barren Makerspace. The library has recently deployed a survey to see what types of technology in specific the community are hoping to see, largely focusing on two areas – tech and arts & crafts.
The Pleasant Town Public Library has 40 employees, and the main employees tasked with assisting with the VR headsets, answering questions, and circulating them will be the adult reference and circulation staff. The individual overseeing the project is the Emerging Technologies Librarian, supervised by the Assistant Director.
Action Brief Statement
Convince library administration that by offering circulating VR headsets they will increase digital literacy skills, engage patrons in an all new, never before utilized digital environment, and offer a cost prohibitive service for all which will increase digital literacy skills, because virtual reality is going to become the next most common and important digital format in coming years.
Evidence and Resources
A quote from someone I believe to be an innovator in the truest sense of the word, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, has said “there’s always a richer, more immersive medium to experience the world, and after video, the next logical step is fully immersive virtual reality” (Entis, 2017). These resources have guided me in realizing the many applications and relevancy of VR in general, and as VR relates to libraries and putting VR tech into practice on a variety of budgets.
The mission of this project supports the library’s mission, which states “the purpose of the Pleasant Town Public Library is to provide and promote a variety of library resources and services in response to the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of both the residential and business communities” (adapted from Library Mission and Awards, 2016).
The guidelines of this circulating tech are as follows:
- Limited to in-district Pleasant Town Public Library cardholders
- Must sign user agreement prior to checkout
- Checked out by patrons 14 and up. Patrons between ages 14 and 17 must obtain parent signature of user agreement prior to checkout.
- Replacement cost of $800, or fair market value for a new headset (whichever is least expensive)
- Checkout period of one week
- Will comply with patron behavior and internet use policies as approved by the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees will be presented with a general circulating technology blanket policy for approval at a future board meeting. This policy will cover circulating technologies. We will query other area libraries for example policies using listservs and professional contacts.
Each of the three HTC Vive headsets cost $800. This is a perfect opportunity to seek out grant opportunities or propose a funding opportunity to the Friends of the Library, who earn money for such projects by selling donated and withdrawn books from the library’s collections. The total cost for the devices is $2,400.00. An additional $100 per headset will be reserved for cases and incidental items such as a USB extension cable or hardware replacements. This will bring the total cost of the project to $2,700.00.
This project will require staff time for training. Before launch to the public, staff will have the opportunity to borrow these headsets for one month for a reduced loan period. This will allow them to spend time with the headsets and learn how to use them in a relaxed setting that will reduce cost on company time.
Action Steps & Timeline
- Month 1: Submit proposal and ideas to supervisors (assistant director and library director). If not approved, adjust guidelines and policy
- Month 2: Submit policy to Board for potential approval
- Month 3: If approved, purchase headsets and accessories. If not approved, make adjustments and attempt approval of policy next Board meeting.
- Month 4-5: Spend time with technical services to catalog and process the headsets, and allow time for staff to take home the headsets
- Month 6: Promote headsets to the public, unveil them for checkout
- Ongoing: Clean headsets and wipe any accumulated data, if applicable, and ensure working condition. Train new staff how to circulate and check for damage as they are hired.
The reference desk or circulation staff will be required to make sure patrons are briefed in how to use the headsets, instruct them to sign the user agreements, and actually see to it that they are checked out. When the headsets are returned, they will inspect the headsets for physical damage and put into the office of the technology team who will them do a second checking for damage and reset if needed for the next patron. This will not add any additional hours for reference or circulation staff, but the technology team have dedicated off desk hours that they will devote a few hours a week to maintaining the circulating tech collection to.
Training for this Technology
Circulation desk and adult reference desk staff will be trained from a circulation standpoint, but all staff must have a basic understanding of these headsets. Training is already well intertwined in the library culture, so the standard one hour devoted to continuing education that each staff member receives each week (at the minimum) can be devoted to education. The technology team will develop instructional videos for the library YouTube page that can be used for patrons and staff alike to instruct them on basic use.
Promotion & Marketing
- Social media blitz. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram will all be keen on marketing the service
- Invite relevant members of the press to gain coverage on the headsets
- Include relevant programming and thus information in the quarterly library newsletter
- Develop section of the library website to explain the parameters of these headsets and that they are available to patrons
The primary metrics for evaluation will be circulation statistics and results of an optional survey sent to patrons after they return the headsets. This will evaluate both the amount of people actually using the headsets, and the feedback from the users themselves. Staff feedback after the staff trial period will also be taken seriously. The positive or negative reviews from patrons who use the headsets will be taken the most seriously over how much the headsets are circulated.
The service may be expanded in the future by adding more headsets and expanding to different brands. The library may purchase cheaper headsets for use in programs, such as the View Master VR, which can be used with a smart phone. The high end HTC Vive headsets are meant to get the community excited with the top of the line product in VR and set the bar high for future immersion with VR technology. “Mining user behavior” will also be crucial (Casey & Stephens, 2008). Asking patrons HOW they are using the headsets will be important to evaluate the project. If it seems like mostly gamers are checking them out, do programs around gaming with VR. If artists are using them to create time based art projects in the VR realm, buy books on the topic. Mining the user behavior and how they use or don’t use VR headsets will speak volumes about their success and future considerations.
Casey, M., & Stephens, M. (2008). Measuring progress. http://tametheweb.com/2008/04/15/measuring-progress/
Entis, L. (2017) I didn’t believe VR was the future – until now. http://fortune.com/2017/01/13/virtual-reality-future/
Garmer, A. K. (2014). Rising to the challenge: Re-Envisioning public libraries (A report of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries). http://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/documents/AspenLibrariesReport.pdf
Ishizuka, K. (2016). Top Ten Tech 2016. http://www.slj.com/2016/12/reviews/best-of/top-10-tech-2016/
Kelly, R. (2016). 9 Ed Tech trends to Watch in 2016. https://campustechnology.com/Articles/2016/01/13/9-Ed-Tech-Trends-to-Watch-in-2016.aspx?Page=2
Library Mission and Awards, 2016. http://www.wauclib.org/library-mission-and-awards
Stephens, M. (2004). Technoplans vs. technolust. http://tametheweb.com/2004/11/01/technoplans-vs-technolust/
*Fictional data for Pleasant Town created by Jostock, M. (2017)
March 13, 2017
I’ve decided to share my comments on the issue of privacy this week, as I believe it to be timely and very important. The past week has made me reconsider being an Amazon Echo owner, I will say that much. It’s very interesting to me that “93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important” (Madden & Rainie, 2015). To be connected is to be listened to and tracked. I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but to some extent it’s true. Have you ever been at a restaurant and Google Maps asks you if you can take some photos of, say, the Panera you’re sitting in? It’s just creepy. But we swipe these notifications away like they’re nothing.
Switching gears here: I was also interested in the Pew article that stated that parents use the internet as a punishment tool “65% [h]ave taken away teen’s cellphone or internet privileges as punishment” (Anderson, 2016). Though I think withholding a cellphone or internet could be an effective punishment, what good does it really do? I think it can be detrimental to the cultivation of our hyperlinked…well…anything! What if that teen was acting out due to bullying, or found a subreddit (reference to the sort of “tribes” on reddit.com) that they found a sense of community and support? Taking that away from your child could exacerbate the situation, cause them to distrust you (especially if you intend to snoop through their phone, which it is obvious many parents do, 61% checking their web history at that (Anderson, 2016)). I don’t intend to tell people how to parent or judge people. These are my opinions *darts under table, escaping potentially ensuing mommy war in the comments.*
Now, let’s bring it back to libraries. One of my favorite parts of working in libraries as that we are (at least purported to be, anyways) champions of privacy and intellectual freedom. I have been watching the work of the Library Freedom Project with enthusiasm over the past couple of years, applauding them for their work at the Lebanon Public Library with standing up for and dealing with flack relating to establishing Tor at this library. Though I don’t see this working in my library and likely not any Chicago area library (one can hope) I really admire their efforts, their attempt to educate the community, and deal with federal blow back. I view libraries as a beacon in this crazy world we’re living in as it relates to privacy especially.
Anderson, M. (2016). Parents, teens and digital monitoring.
Madden, M., & Rainie, L. (2015, May 20). Americans’ attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance. Retrieved March 9, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/#
February 27, 2017
The “crowdsourcing” design that was offered by the Los Angeles Public Library is extraordinary. I think every part of every library’s strategic plan needs to have an empty space for patron input. Whether it be adding a title to the collection or adding a new service, libraries need to take note on their community needs and adapt. My favorite part of this lecture is when Stephens states that libraries are designed for people, not books. This transcends to other offerings at a library, whether it be circulating technology or eContent, also. The crowd sourced design undertaken by the Los Angeles Public Library is similar to the Community Analysis discussed by Casey & Savastinuk in Library 2.0: “as part of the community analysis, the library should take a good look at itself and whether the collection and services it currently offers are able to meet the needs of the community” (2007). Community analysis sets the groundwork for institutional change. Let’s say a large immigrant community begins forming in your library’s area. This community’s needs need to be addressed by collecting items in their native tongue, offering services relevant to these individuals, and doing outreach to this group.
Participatory service is being seen at all levels in library land. Project Outcome has been influential to help public libraries measure impact at more meaningful levels. Let’s take collection as an example where participatory service has, in my eyes, become ubiquitous. Many libraries are open to “patron purchase suggestions” or have some sort of web form on their site for patrons to suggest material. At my library, it’s a given that you will buy this item unless it drastically defies the collection development policy.
People want to feel connected to their library. When we went through a renovation, it was HUGE hit among the community to sign their name on the drywall before it got covered up with a fresh coat of paint. They wanted to leave their mark. I think the participatory and hyperlinked nature of our digital lives, which is largely becoming synonymous with our lives in general, has encouraged this mentality and normalized it. We expect to be stakeholders in everything.
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service Information Today, Inc.
Mack, C. (2013). Crowdsourced design: Why Los Angeles is asking the public to create the library of the future. https://www.good.is/articles/crowdsourced-design-why-los-angeles-is-asking-the-public-to-create-the-library-of-the-future
February 20, 2017
Though Gleick’s book traces the history of information from the perspective of a true origin story (as far back as drums used as communication during the time of early man in Africa), it is apparent that information innovations and bursts of progress are nothing new. Telegraph to telephone to internet humans have always had to adapt to “the next big thing.” Librarians and library services are not exempt from change either. In the Denning article, he states that “libraries have made significant efforts to make themselves relevant to the computer age with elaborate efforts to computerize services and develop new technology” (2015). To some extent libraries have made great attempts to move rapidly alongside technological strides. But I disagree if he is insinuating that this is some sort of fight for relevancy. I believe that libraries and librarians have been the earliest adopters of new technology as they have become ubiquitous tools in the rest of the world’s lives.
Gleick’s book focuses specifically on information theory alongside the progress of communication technologies. There have been needs for librarians to adapt to technology from very early on. Gleick discusses the World Congress of Universal Documentation that took place in 1937. Renowned science fiction author H.G. Wells was the match that lit the fire for a new technology to be able to store information, and this revolutionary technology was microfilm. We still use microfilm to this day in many libraries, but it’s most important successor for our current web based society would have to be the PDF, in my opinion. At this point Wells was also contemplating some sort of central source for knowledge, the follow up to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In the 21st century we would cite the internet or Wikipedia as being our central codex of knowledge, Wikipedia being the topic of a long discussion later in Gleick’s book. Yes, libraries have computerized, would you walk into any library today to find them answering reference questions solely by looking through microfilm? While much of our technology has changed and the manner in which we find information has evolved, the principles remain the same. There is an art to the search, though it is no longer with the card catalog but with the OPAC and ILS, I think of librarians as glamorous janitors with all of the keys to knowledge that they love to share with other people.
Reflecting on the title of Gleick’s book, “flood” is certainly a very eloquent way to describe the explosion of information and access to information that the internet has provided us. James Gleick ends his book with this poignant statement – “We are all patrons of the Library of Babel now, and we are the librarians, too” (2012). I found this statement to be fitting for his book, which ends on the optimistic note that though there is simply too much information for any one human to synthesize, we do have so much available that it is there for the taking nonetheless. This idea fits in perfectly with the idea of participatory service which is a means for patrons to curate their own libraries and library experiences to fit their needs. “Participatory service seeks to do for library services what the participatory Web has done for the Web itself” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). In the same way that information theory and communicative technologies have evolved in tandem, the library has grown with them, the Web, and the user. I like the reference to the comment card (what we call the suggestion box at my library) referenced in Library 2.0. Just like the image in the lecture of the Amazon review where users can even participate in adding metadata (both helpful for other users and Amazon themselves) participatory is the name of the game in any library striving for the Library 2.0 model. Wikipedia is our central codex of human knowledge, the one H.G. Wells sought after, but it embodies the participatory model just as seen in library service for the simple fact that a few humans cannot do it all. Without the dedication of Wikipedia Foundation volunteers and average users this beacon of all human knowledge could not exist.
To Denning’s initial statement, I would hand him James Gleick’s book – The Information as well as the Library 2.0 book. I view these three ideas as coexisting and not competing, that is, technology (including communicative technology), information theory, and librarianship/libraries. If you could imagine them on a graph they would be going up and down together in tandem, with only minute differences as they speed up and slow down over time to adapt and adopt to change. The library of the future is synonymous with technology, but not because this is to be a crutch with which to woo people in to raise patron count each month, but because this is what librarians have always done and it is fundamental to the work we do.
Denning, S. (2015). Do We Need Libraries?
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service.
Gleick, J. (2012). The information: a history, a theory, a flood. New York: Vintage Books.
February 13, 2017
The hyperlinked library model offers many insights into the future of ideal library service. One of the most striking things to me about this model is the emphasis on the inter-connectedness of all individuals in the same sense that the web is an interconnected, living being. “The Web, in the form of a corporate intranet, puts everyone in touch with every piece of information and with everyone else inside the organization and beyond” (Weinberger, 2001). The typical “pyramid” model of the so-called Fort Business Weinberger discusses is not how human resources are meant to be organized. Of course, there are necessary hierarchies, such as a doctor performing surgery over the nursing assistant.
Progress defies departmentalization. Progress belongs to the librarians willing to sharpen their skills and become one with the so called “Library 2.0” (Stephens, 2006). I see many libraries who have not broken the bonds of departmentalization that I believe to some extent hold them back from embracing Library 2.0, and the Hyperlinked Library model. I’ll use the example of DEPARTMENTS. Let’s take a public library, perhaps it is separated largely into four areas – administration, adult services, youth services, and circulation, for example. What if there is an adult services librarian who moonlights as a children’s music performer, or a children’s librarian who volunteers at the local senior center and is great with the elderly? These departmental barriers would prevent some of these librarians from ever exhibiting their varied skills. Being a librarian is being a jack of all trades. If someone in circulation wants to hold a children’s story time and has the education and/or training to do so, why can’t they? Likely because their organization is compartmentalized. I am fortunate enough to work in a library that found itself so compartmentalized at one time that during the renovation they got rid of all departments. This came with some growing pains, as you might expect. The most important skill of all in Stephens’ article, in my eyes, is being “the embracer” (Stephens, 2006). Embrace change, work with change, or be swept away. Put up the brakes if you have to, but ask yourself why something makes you uncomfortable. This is what the hyperlinked library and Library 2.0 mean to me.
Stephens, M. (2006, Spring). Into a new world of librarianship. NextSpace, 8. Retreived from http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/publications/newsletters/nextspace/nextspace_002.pdf
Weinberger, D. (2001). The hyperlinked organization.
January 28, 2017
My name is Molly and I’m very happy to be learning about the trends and futures of libraries with you all. I graduated in 2015 from Bradley University. I started on my MLIS at SJSU in Fall 2015 and I expect to be done in December of this year. I currently work full time at a public library. I have been looking forward to taking this class since I started the program. All of the work that the ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries does feels right at home with the content of this class, and I’m always looking for different ways to keep up to date or sharpen my skills, so this class is a good fit.
As future librarians we need to be up to date with trends. Particularly in my function at work, I need to constantly be aware of trends and how libraries are changing and what we can do to serve our constantly evolving communities. I am looking forward to learning more about trends in libraries with you all and having enriching discussions and exercises.