Bakeware Checkout – Emerging Technology Planning   Leave a comment

So you’ve binge-watched the entirety of the Great British Bake Off and now you’re just itching to try your hand at baking some of those gorgeous cakes you saw, but you don’t own any of the pans you need to even attempt it!

You could go out and buy it, but where would you even store it afterwards? Some of these are pretty expensive, and your small apartment is already looking pretty cluttered as it is.

Well, I suppose you could just let that dream stay a dream.

But what if you could come into your local library and check out the exact pan you need for free without having to figure out where to store it afterwards?


When I assisted the children’s librarian on an outreach a few months ago, an exchange I had with a customer stuck with me. He spoke to me about how he had read about libraries that checked out baking pans, and how that’s helpful for most library customers nowadays because people tend to live in smaller living spaces like apartments. This was a sentiment reflected with many of my friends. The desire to try to bake was there, but lack of space or money for specialized bakeware were major inhibitors to them. Not only that, I always hear of people trying give away their bakeware because they weren’t using them, either because their children have grown up or they belonged to a deceased family member and no one in the family bakes. What if libraries housed those bakeware and saved them from landfills, while simultaneously matched the bakeware up with the people who want to use them, but lack the space or money for specialized bakeware?

My goal for this service is to convince the public that by coming into the library and checking out bakeware, they will become curious to try new things, which would inspire them to experiment with new skills because we have lowered the investment cost for them to begin.

Objectives for this service would include:

  • Encouraging customers to bake new things
  • Saving customers money because they will not have to buy new bakeware
  • Saving customers space in their homes because they can return the bakeware when finished
  • Enticing customers who would usually not come to the library, especially the ones who think libraries are synonymous with books
  • Building a sense of community by sharing the finished baked goods

The mission statement for the San Jose Public Library states that the services and collections are relevant to community needs, is readily accessible, and easy to use. It also states that the library is a learning organization that isn’t afraid to change and take appropriate risks in pursuit of meeting community needs.

A similar service of lending out bakeware or kitchenware can be found in several libraries around the United States. The bakeware can be limited to one checkout per card, with a similar checkout period as the magazines (1 week with up to 2 renewals), as well as similar fines for late items ($0.25 per day with a maximum of $5 per item). As with the alternatives to paying for lost books, an alternative to paying for lost bakeware would involve the customers bringing in a new or like new replacement bakeware.

This service could be prototyped at a branch located in a neighborhood with homes that are primarily small living spaces. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library would be an ideal location, with many of the housing in


the area being apartments, dorms, and shared housing.

Action steps:

  • Library administrator approval or rejection.
  • Secure funding from Friends of the Library Bookstore.
  • Collect bakeware through donations, or purchasing used bakeware at yard sales and charity shops.
  • Create response survey sheets to place in the hanging bags with the pans.
  • Catalog bakeware and place in a hanging bag with surveys.
  • Encourage staff to bake cakes and bring into the library on launch day.

Bakeware for this service could be obtained from donations, from staff and customers who no longer have a need for them, with additional purchased with funding through Friends of the Library Bookstore. There would be a one-time need for additional staffing to catalog and bag the bakeware into hanging bags. Afterwards, this service will not require additional staffing beyond those already staffing the circulation desk for checking in/out bakeware. Customers would be instructed to wash the bakeware before and after use, and staff will check pans upon return and rewash as needed.

For the bakeware lending service’s launch day, staff could be invited to bake cakes to bring into the library. Free food is always a good way to draw interest!

Promotion of this service would work best through social media, especially with an image-oriented service like Instagram. Customers could be encouraged to take pictures of their creations and post to social media outlets with appropriate hashtags.

Evaluation of this service would involve survey slips included in the hanging bags (what did you make with it, would you check out bakeware again, would you recommend this service to others, is the borrowing period long enough, and blank space for suggestions). Evaluation could also include tracking the social media tags associated with the service.

This service could be expanded with the offering of cake decorating classes or a regularly scheduled meetup for customers and staff to share what they’ve made. Depending on customer feedback, this service could be further expanded to include other bulky, niche equipment too.


Evidence and Resources:

Posted October 22, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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What’s Going on with Our Data? – Privacy and the Hyperlinked Library   6 comments

Data collection is a part of participating in the digital world. We’re told that it a necessary sacrifice for the sake of our safety and convenience. At what point do the benefits of giving up our privacy outweigh the downsides? Although we’ve come to accept some levels of data collection as part of the price we pay to participate, the PEW Research survey on privacy and information sharing shows that, depending on what we’re getting in return, we are willing to allow our personal information to be collected. This is particularly true following the recent large volume of data breaches. We’re feeling less and less in control of our privacy, and our confidence in companies or the government keeping our information secure is dropping as a result. Another PEW Research survey on Americans’ attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance noted that while credit card companies receive the highest level of confidence in keeping information secure out of all the online service providers, the percentage is at a whopping 9%. Not particularly comforting.


Adults aren’t the only ones dealing with privacy issues in the digital world, teens are too. According to a survey on parents, teens and digital monitoring, teens and their online behaviors are often monitored by their parents, often involving checking the teens’ browsing history, social media profile, and phone call and message records. About 15% of the parents surveyed reported using monitoring tools, such as location tracking, in order to monitor their teens.

The good news is that there are ways for us to take some control over our information, and many Americans are already taking those steps. Some of the less technical ways of protecting privacy includes clearing cookies and browser history, disabling cookies, refusing to provide information, or providing inaccurate information. More technical ways of protecting privacy involves using a proxy server or virtual personal network (VPN).



Posted October 9, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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In it Together – Reflection on Participatory Service and Transparency   1 comment

Alright, so we’ve established that change is good, if libraries want to stay relevant. That’s great. Now what?

Well, for one, libraries definitely won’t be able to keep up by sticking to the libraries-as-a-book-repository model. In the new information age ushered in by the Internet, libraries are not the first place anyone goes to when they have a burning question they need answered. That honor goes to our new overlord, Google.

So what can we do? Focus less on the materials we house in our libraries and focus more on the people that come into our libraries and their lives. That might seem like an odd direction for libraries to go into, however, at the core of libraries, we’re all about access. Now that the Internet has made access to information incredibly easy and convenient, we should turn our attention to bringing our customers access to other things that the average person wouldn’t be able to have. Libraries were already doing something similar when public computers with Internet access became a part of the services we provided, followed by free Wi-Fi access. Rather than simply behave as an access point to information, why not provide access for customers to create their own experiences and to share that?

Moving ahead with such changes may seem daunting, but that could be lessened by including the customers and library staff in the discussion for change early on. In this manner, change would be a little less scary when everyone participates in the discussion. After all, aren’t we in it together? Without our customers, we’re nothing. Together with our customers, we can take libraries as a concept further to a more exciting future and leave behind the old notion that libraries are only about books.

Posted September 25, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy – Context Book Report   4 comments

I have to admit that I chose What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee partly because, as an avid gamer, I am always looking for ways to justify my hobby. Gaming tends to have a bad reputation. Most scholarly works on the topic of gaming tend to be focused on the negative aspects, such as addiction or the connection between violent games and violent behaviors. I had initially come across this title while doing research on the gaming community as an information community, but at the time that I discovered this title, I had ultimately passed over reading it for my research. I was pleased to find this title in the list of books to choose from, and given this second opportunity, I was more than happy to take up the book at last.

Compared to books and movies, video games are not a type of media that can be passively consumed. Video games involve interacting with the virtual environment and learning from said interactions in order to progress. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee explores how video games are an evolution to learning. With traditional schooling, learning is passive and solitary. The student sits in a classroom and memorizes information from the teacher and a textbook. In this setting, the student is not encouraged to work with their peers to find answers to a problem. On the other hand, the learning employed in video games is a type of learning not unlike the scientific method. In this kind of setting, instead of memorization, the learner is encouraged to think similarly to a scientist by forming and testing hypotheses, reviewing the results, and retesting for better results.

Good video games are a delicate balance of being challenging and being designed in such a way that players are able to learn how to play their game, with challenges gradually increasing in difficulty and complexity. Design the game to be too easy, and the players will lose interest quickly. On the other hand, design the game to be too difficult, and the players will become too frustrated.

Video games also encourage participatory culture, which can be reflected by the various websites, magazines, and chatrooms dedicated to specific game titles created by players for other players. This participatory nature of video games is taken even further with mods, where players create extensions to the game or create completely new games by using the video game’s software.

What can we glean from Gee and apply to libraries?

One of the first connections I made was how traditional learning is passive and solitary, relying on facts. Does that not sound similar to what the average person thinks of the library: a quiet building full of books? If libraries are to avoid extinction, perhaps we should emulate some aspects of video game design. Rather than keeping the focus on solitary absorption of information and facts from books, we should shift the library’s focus to becoming a place where users can explore information and use the library to create. This shift in focus is aligned with the concept of library 2.0 in that libraries should be moving towards a focus on people, rather than content.

Gee, J. P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Posted September 18, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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Change is Good – Reflection on Foundational Readings   1 comment

“Libraries are extinct.”

“Wait, people still use libraries?”

These words, and variations of them, were things I hear on a regular basis when I tell people that I work in a library and aspire to become a librarian. Growing up, I saw libraries as a place where I could borrow books. The libraries of today have evolved beyond being simply a place where one could find books, and lots of them. Despite that, why is it that people think of only books when libraries are brought up in conversation? As the general public gained easier access to the Internet, the sheer amount of information they have access to rapidly increased. Businesses had to rapidly adapt to this changing environment brought forth by the Internet. However, libraries appeared to lag behind. In order for libraries to stay relevant, we too must adapt to the change.

In the age of the Internet, media (printed, audio, visual) are readily accessible. As such, if libraries are to survive, we need to move beyond providing access to these materials and focus more on what other services we can provide to our customers. The key to this, according to many of the foundational readings, is to embrace change and to anticipate the needs of our customers. After all, this is the age of the customers. Gone are the days were customers take a business’s word on how good a product is. Customers seek out reviews left by other customers and judge for themselves if they want to purchase from that business.

At the same time, while technology is an important tool for libraries, we should not get too caught up with making technology the center of our decisions. After all, technology only plays a part in keeping up with change and chasing after every single new gadget would not be the best usage of our time or funds. It is easy to get caught up with new technology, but we should carefully assess them to see how it could add to the library instead.

Much of the foundational readings stressed the importance of making changes in order for the library to stay relevant. Change for the sake of change, on the other hand, would do little to help us keep up with that goal and serve more to annoy both staff and customers. Instead, the goal is to make deliberate changes towards improving while also having the willingness to reverse or drop changes that do not work. Change is scary, but it is a necessary part of helping libraries evolve.

Posted September 11, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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Introduction   5 comments

Hi everyone! I’m Thu-Thao and I’m currently in my third semester for this program. I do prefer my nickname Thu (rhymes with the number 2) over my full first name because it opens up so many opportunities for wonderful puns, and I greatly enjoy puns. I’m pursuing a public librarianship path with an emphasis on youth services, both children and young adult. Having worked in a public library since 2008, I have been able to interact with a wide age range of customers. This allowed me to discover that I enjoyed working with children and teens the most.

Libraries made up a large portion of my childhood, so much so that libraries invoke memories of making a trip to the local library on the weekend and filling up huge grocery bags full of books, which I promptly devoured within the afternoon. It had been a childhood dream of mine to become a librarian when I grew up, a dream which was rekindled when I began working as a library aide in 2008. Now, I’m a library clerk and I have the opportunity to assist the librarians with some of their storytime and outreach programs. Last year, I got to dress up as Llama Llama from Llama Llama Red Pajamas. This year, they called me in to dress up as the Rainbow Fish and Gerald from Elephant and Piggie! 

My hobbies include gaming and baking custards. When I’m not working or doing classwork, the bulk of my free time is spent gaming.  I really enjoy the fast-paced puzzle solving aspects and cooperative elements involved in hardcore raiding. As for baking custards, my specialty is crème brulee. Family and friends who have eaten my crème brulee always came back to me to complain about how I’ve ruined store and restaurant-bought versions for them.


Posted August 23, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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