Libraries Can Inspire a Love for Learning

From a young age, I was always drawn to reading and writing. In school, my best subject was English and I often found a quiet place to read rather than socialize at break and lunch. I never thought of myself as a good student. In fact, senior year when my English teacher asked me what career I might want to pursue, he laughed at my hesitant response of “Uh, I don’t know, a teacher?” For how much disdain I showed for homework and writing essays, he thought that it was a ridiculous notion that I would want to continue in academia. Despite this negative response, I went to college in pursuit of an English degree with the plan of becoming a teacher.

My partner of eight years, who had also been in my senior English class, encouraged me; He went on to get his own degrees and a teaching credential. He completed schooling quicker than I did, and so I was able to see his experience as he developed into the teacher he is today. When it finally neared the time of my undergraduate graduation, I started considering what my next step would be. I interned in a high school English class, extremely excited at observing the day in a life of a high school English teacher.

Unfortunately, it brought me back to the negative, oppressive feelings that I felt as a student in high school. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault. The teacher I observed was quirky and the students obviously loved her dearly. I kept waiting for the new and exciting parts of the teacher’s day to be revealed. Instead, day-by-day the teacher’s enthusiasm dampened; week-by-week the teacher’s exasperation, with the school standards and with the students, grew. I started realizing that perhaps teaching in a predetermined, state-mandated box was just as oppressive as learning in one.

I shifted focus. What I loved about teaching was helping people discover new things that would connect them with something that they never considered before. The moments that this happened for me were (1) when I would introduce people to new authors, books, or genres, and (2) when I would demonstrate the efficiency and gratification of a new technology. Where did I find myself in these teaching moments? The library.

This module, exploring the library as classroom, is my favorite module of the Hyperlinked Library. The aspect of the Bookey (2015) article that fascinated me the most was that the library provides opportunities for families to learn together. Adults, teens, and children can attend the same program and connect with it completely differently. The fairy hunt put on by the Sacramento Public Library allowed children to use their critical thinking skills to figure out the clues for the hunt, while the parents got to interact and learn about the small businesses in between the two branches of the library. The LIT room at the Richland County Library affords students and young adults to coordinate programming with a story time that peaks children’s imaginations. Children will get a kick out of their parents having just as much fun during a program that they believe is “just for kids.” The opportunities to learn together will establish a memory that the whole family can reminisce on.

I connected with the next two articles I read because I considered similar questions for my INFO 285 research proposal. Lippincott (2015) and Pewhairangi (2016) talk about the opportunities for library staff to learn in the library, and then take that learning to assist teaching faculty in incorporating opportunities to increase digital literacy in their lesson plans. Lippincott discusses concepts that are actually very close to the research questions I asked in my research proposal. I ask about the professional development opportunities on classroom technology and software that is provided by the institution’s library. My literature review would have definitely benefited from the inclusion of this article. With professional development opportunities provided by librarians, teaching faculty in higher education can establish relationships on campus that will help them and their students. Involving librarians in building a curriculum can result in collaborative efforts in the classroom and library setting. Pewhairangi’s discussion of the Creative Classrooms Research Model essentially asks organizations to apply the same learning model they hope to provide for patrons in the library to the development and learning of the library staff. Considering new learning models should also apply to the way that we as information professionals progress.

I am lucky to have found way to be a teacher that does not inhibit creative learning. In libraries there are so many options for teaching outside the box, on the computer, out on the town, individually, collaboratively, and the list goes on. The library has the ability to take learning and transform it so that people forget that they are even learning. They’re experiencing, experimenting, celebrating, and discovering in ways that they never would have imagined. When I think back on my senior English teacher guffawing at my interest in teaching, instead of seeing it as an insult, I’ll look at is as a foreshadowing. It wasn’t my destiny to teach in a traditional classroom; I was meant to be in the new wave of teachers whose dynamic classroom is in the library.

P.S. My senior English teacher from high school graduated from the SJSU MLIS program back in 2013. He must have got tired of teaching/learning inside the box, too.

Mobile Phones and Mobile Zones

When I started reading the material for the Mobile Information Environments, I reflected on my own phone usage. In fact, I listened to the lecture podcast while making an hour and a half car trip over the weekend, read most of the readings on my phone while I was waiting for a food order at a restaurant, and watched some ‘explore’ videos before I went to bed. As I thought more about it, I realized that I rarely use my cell phone for traditional communicative purposes. I definitely fit into the Deloitte (2016) demographic study on cell phone usage. However, that was for cell phone users in the United Kingdom. This prompted me to go to good ol’ Pew Research Center. I found an article from 2015 titled 6 facts about Americans and their smartphones. The data from this article show similar findings of my age group using their smartphones the most. I thought that it was interesting that the majority of smartphone users has used their phones for other important information needs; information on health, online banking, real estate, job searching and job applications, government services, and educational content.

Reading Stephens’ Serving the User When and Where They Are: Hyperlinked Libraries (2015) was a good way to introduce some of the mobile device, hyperlinked ideas. As an avid smartphone user, I am aware of the several amenities that are available on cell phones today. However, it is easy to overlook the possibilities of using those amenities to the advantage of the library. I guess even I still have some bad “judging a book by its cover” habits, but I also have yet to see positively reinforced cell phone usage in libraries just as Stephens suggests in Mobile at the Library (2013). Anyway, there were several cool ideas that I had not considered for libraries before such as geolocation, second screen sharing, and mobile gaming environments.

Another idea that captivated my interest was the “Beacon” technology that Ennis (2014) describes. I also have quite a few Bluetooth devices that I use frequently (smartphone, speakers, headphones), but I hardly use the Bluetooth capabilities for interactions with other people or locations. While I think this idea is fun, my immediate worry was being spammed by these beacons. Ennis iterates that the beacons would only work for the people who initially agree to be a part of it, which I think is very important. I have been irritated lately with how many advertisement texts I receive. There is really no way for me to tell what company has my phone number to send me these ads. Overall, I think that the beacon technology would be very helpful for in-the-library, patron-specific purposes like letting a person know when an event is starting or informing people when they still have a book checked out.

Finally, I think the aspect of mobile information environments that I love the most is the ease of navigating through several hyperlinks. I am definitely the type of person who reads an article (often pop culture related or celebrity gossip) and ends up following a train of links to some obscure story or informative article. Wikipedia is an app my boyfriend and I use often and make a game of who can find information the quickest (me). I end up finding out a lot of information that I did not even know that I wanted to know. Something sparks my interest and sets me down a path of webpages that I never would have found otherwise. I know that this is possible on a computer, but something about scrolling through a slim, vertical screen makes me feel like I’m reading and navigating much faster than I would looking at a laptop.

Emerging Technology Planning: Pinterest in School Libraries

Introduction

Pinterest is a digital curation tool that allows users to organize information, photos, and ideas called “pins” onto easy-to-view boards. The majority of these pins are actually links to other websites that contain fuller descriptions and services to the users. However, many users utilize Pinterest as a creative tool for inspiration and brainstorming rather than for practical use. In the article, Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015, Duggan notes that the Pew Research Center has found an increase in user engagement in daily social media usage. As much as 27% of Pinterest users use the service daily (Duggan, 2015). I propose an initiative that will establish a Pinterest page for the library that can supplement lesson plans for various Mendocino High School classes and support programming that will motivate MHS students to interact with the library.

Goals

The comprehensive goal of employing Pinterest in the library is to promote the library as a community space with collaborative resources that are relevant to high school students. Within this larger goal are short-term objectives that will require collaborative planning on their own. These objectives are to:

  • create a Pinterest account that is managed by the library staff that will interact with students and faculty;
  • incorporate Pinterest as a vision-boarding technique for guidance or life skills classes, such as the “Get Focused, Stay Focused” program;
  • promote crafting events in the library by allowing students to add ideas to the DIY suggestion board;
  • create shared boards with student artwork, photography, projects, and other school creations that can be accessed by the public;
  • and, establish collaboration boards for student clubs in order to plan major MHS events.

Community

The community that the library wishes to engage in this endeavor are the MHS students and faculty. Bringing in a tool that is well-known, but not traditionally associated with school will hopefully spark an interest in the library for all MHS students. Teaching faculty could also benefit from supplementing lessons with collaborative activities that utilize the library’s Pinterest page. This would be particularly useful for students creating their ten-year-plan for the “Get Focused, Stay Focused” program.

Action Brief Statement

Convince library staff and teaching faculty that by establishing and maintaining a Pinterest account they will create more interactive activities which will enhance MHS students’ learning experiences and strengthen the students’ relationship with the library because they will have a creative tool to collaborate with the school and each other.

Resources to Support Using Pinterest

Policies related to Pinterest

There are already policies in place regarding social media use on campus. These policies were created by school administrators and faculty. However, in the case that the policies need to be a rewritten, there is a document online that will assist in the rewriting process. This document can be found at:

http://dailygenius.com/editable-social-media-policy-for-schools/

Moving forward, however, explicit policies about using Pinterest on campus and for activities run by students is very important. Pinterest has their own policies that affect Pinterest use. That information can be found at:

https://policy.pinterest.com/en/community-guidelines

The Pinterest policies that should be in place on the MHS campus are:

  1. Inappropriate or profane material in the pins, descriptions, usernames, or messages is unacceptable; if any person interacting with the library Pinterest page is caught conducting this inappropriate behavior, they will be immediately deleted from the libraries collaboration list and reported to Pinterest, who may delete a personal Pinterest page at their own discretion.
  2. Cyberbullying or singling out a person by using pins, negative words, or the direct messaging feature is unacceptable and students will be held to the same disciplinary processes as in-person encounters.
  3. Using Pinterest in the classroom is at the sole discretion of the teacher. Outside of class time, which is during break, lunch, and after school, using Pinterest is acceptable as long as the students adhere to the policies presented above.

Funding Considerations for Pinterest

Pinterest is a free service. However, it will take staff hours to learn and maintain a consistent presence on the account. The library staff need to decide where that time will come in with their other duties in the library. If faculty is willing to collaborate with the library by creating lesson plans that incorporate this technology, time to plan will also need to be decided by the teacher and library staff.

Another funding consideration, is the events that can be inspired by Pinterest such as crafting, cooking, or gardening events. These events will require money for supplies. Money for these events can be generated through donations or student fund-raising.

Action Steps & Timeline

Because Pinterest is a free service, there is not really a way to prototype or test the service before implementing it. However, I propose a full academic year of interactive experience with Pinterest in the library before deciding whether it was successful or not. This initiative is reliant on the creation of a MHS library Pinterest account, and the affirmative from library staff that they are willing to take on the responsibility of maintaining the account.

Staffing Considerations for Using Pinterest

The school librarian has many roles. They are a leader, teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, information technologist, and so much more. Therefore, I believe that it is the responsibility of the school librarian(s) to head this project. This service is easy to learn and easy to manage. If the school librarian would like to delineate duties concerning the library Pinterest account to other library staff that is acceptable, but they should still stay updated on the activities taking place on the Pinterest page. There will be some concerns about what responsibilities will be affected by this additional duty. The great thing about this service is that it is so easy to do and takes up so little time. An hour a day, either continuously or broken up into parts throughout the day, is an adequate of time to give to this service. Of course, more time will be given to Pinterest if there are additional activities in classrooms or major MHS events that utilize that service.

Training for Pinterest

In the article, Flip This Library: School Libraries Need a Revolution, Loertscher (2008) talks about how school libraries need to be revolutionized. Both physical and virtual spaces need to be created in order to establish a learning commons. Librarians can manage these spaces with the help of teachers and other staff. Pinterest can be another facet of the virtual learning commons.

The librarian should be trained on how to use Pinterest. There are several social media professional development opportunities available to librarians. Once the librarian has been trained they can offer training to teachers and other library staff who are interested in utilizing the service. Training for Pinterest will not require a significant amount of time. Training can take place over the summer before the academic year begins, or during the school year after scheduled work hours.

Promotion & Marketing for Pinterest

Promoting the Pinterest library account should be continuous. Librarians and library staff should be creative in their marketing. Some ideas to consider when promoting within the school are to:

  • send promotional emails to teachers, parents, and community members advertising the MHS library account as a way to stay clued into events happening at the school;
  • place posters and flyers for the Pinterest account in the library and around campus;
  • request the teachers to make an announcement at the beginning of the year that details the resources in the library, including the library Pinterest account;
  • and, create a LibraryGame for students where they use Pinterest and other social media or websites to gain achievements (Green, 2012).

Some ideas to consider when promoting outside of the school are to:

  • share Pinterest boards on other social media sites that can be accessed by the public;
  • use Pinterest as a tool to begin fund-raising efforts within the community;
  • and, begin a similar project to the “Our Town Stories” in the Edinburgh Libraries, where the communities use the curation boards to create a timeline and history of the town (Green, 2012).

Evaluation

Within one academic school year, if student participation is severely lacking then it is reasonable to end the Pinterest account. As Casey and Stephens (2008) write, “Administrators must take a big picture approach to evaluating new services and tools.” Evaluation of student use should be conducted on a monthly basis. Student participation should be evaluated based on the number of students who express interest in being collaborators on the Pinterest boards by signing up on a list kept in the library and by the number of pins inputted by non-library staff. Additionally, Casey and Stephens suggest that it is important to include the staff and the patrons (in this case, the students) in the reviewing process. Every three months, library staff can hand out a survey to students in the library that assesses the students’ interactions with the library Pinterest account, whether it is as a collaborator or simply a viewer of the various boards available there. Student satisfaction is not the only aspect that should contribute the evaluation of success. Staff should also be surveyed to weigh the balance of staff-time put in and student participation. If staff feel that maintaining the Pinterest account is taking away from other more important duties then it might be in the best interest of the library to end the Pinterest account.

The library Pinterest account can become a new tradition during homecoming week. Clubs can plan and organize exciting events on campus that will influence students to participate in more school activities. I imagine a multitude of uses for the library and the teachers at MHS. The service can be expanded with departmental accounts that connect together. Teachers can benefit from relating to the students with a tool they love to use. Whether it is for creative or practical use, Pinterest is a great way to collaborate and bring students and educators together.

 

References

Casey, M., & Stephens, M. (2016, April 21). Measuring Progress. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from http://tametheweb.com/2008/04/15/measuring-progress/

Duggan, M. (2015, August 19). Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/mobile-messaging-and-social-media-2015/

Green, G. (2013, October 11). Feature #01: Innovative use of Technology in Libraries. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from https://uklibchat.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/feature-01-innovative-use-of-technology-in-libraries/

Loertscher, D. (2015, January 12). Flip This Library: School Libraries Need a Revolution. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from http://www.slj.com/2008/11/technology/flip-this-library-school-libraries-need-a-revolution/#_

 

 

 

 

Libraries Hyperlinking Together

This week when I was confronted with choosing my own adventure, I was at a loss. I live in a very small community in Mendocino County that has limited options for library work. There is a small branch of the county public library here. There are a few elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, but I do not have a cleared California teaching credential. And finally, there is an extension center here for the county community college. Ideally, I would work in a high school library. However, at this point in time, I do not have the time, money, or means to achieve a teaching credential.

Recently, I landed an interview for an assistant position at the public library. It isn’t until November so I have a few weeks to fret about it. I decided that following public librarianship for this module would be the most beneficial to me. However, as I began reading through the articles and watching the videos, so much of what I read and watched was about connectedness with the other institutions.

In the article 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries, the sixth fact reads “The public’s highest priorities for libraries center on kids and literacy.” Many Americans believe that partnering with local schools should be a priority for public libraries. Then in the YouTube video about the Hive @ Central, they discuss giving the young business entrepreneurs a place to gather, brainstorm, conduct meetings, and promote their businesses. While this does not directly mention academic libraries or college students, I believe that many students especially students working towards a business degree could benefit from library collaboration.

Then in the article titled Flip This Library: School Libraries Need a Revolution, Loertscher talks about creating physical and virtual spaces that make up a learning commons. A place where discussion, creativity, and networking are integral parts of the learning process. In every topic for this week, I read about how libraries don’t just need to change; they need to completely transform. Each library should serve the needs of its patrons, but libraries also need to rebrand! There needs to be a new continuity to our organizations. Public, school, and academic libraries need to work together to ensure we are achieving continuous progress. I like the way that Richardson puts it, “Everything we produce remains a work in progress, in ‘perpetual beta.’” If I end up getting the assistant job at the public library, I will make it my mission to work with my local school and academic libraries.

How Participatory Services Can Affect Global Change

As I read through the articles for this week, I was reminded of the book that I just finished for the context book review assignment, Consent of the Networked: The Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca Mackinnon. This title couldn’t be more relevant to the topics of participatory services and transparency.

I wanted to include Mackinnon’s last paragraph from the book. It reads:

Whether we are simply users of technology, investors in technology companies, employees or executives of Internet-related companies, elected officials, or mid-ranking government bureaucrats, we all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to prevent abuse of digital power, and avoid abusing it ourselves. We have a responsibility to hold the abusers of digital power to account, along with their facilitators and collaborators. If we do not, when we wake up one morning to discover that our freedoms have eroded beyond recognition, we will have only ourselves to blame. (Mackinnon, 2012)

As information professionals, I think that the responsibility of preventing “abuse of digital power” lies heavily on our shoulders. The library has long been a protector of the first amendment. Censorship is nothing new, however, it is easy for citizens of the United States to forget that other parts of the world do not have the same access or free expression as we do. Injustices in other countries could go unchecked.

Participatory services in libraries is a way to start building stronger communities, online and offline. In my research methods class, I am writing a research proposal to determine how public libraries are building relationships with information organizations in other countries. Creating substantial and interactive environments online allows patrons to stay informed of issues on the global scale. Internet freedom is not that big of a problem in the United States…yet. However, major internet companies often ignore social justice in order to gain access to every market and maximize their profits.

An overview titled Libraries & First Amendment by Paul McMasters, describes censorship in public libraries in the United States. McMasters writes, “Government restrictions on library materials are prompted by public complaints…directly, or indirectly, ordinary citizens are the driving force behind the challenges to unrestricted access to Internet content in public libraries.” Perhaps government censorship would not be that big of a concern for patrons if they felt they had more of a say in the programs, content, and services provided by their library.

Michael Casey urges toward a participatory model of library services. He writes, “The participatory library is open and transparent, and it communicates with its community through many mechanisms. The participatory library engages and queries its entire community and seeks to integrate them into the structure of change.” The part of this quote that sticks out to me is “integrate them into the structure of change.” This idea almost seems obvious to me, as libraries have endeavored to serve their specific communities since their inception. Ensuring the patrons’ voices will be heard will go farther in creating a participatory community.

In order for participatory models to work there needs to be transparency. In an article titled In Praise of Radical Transparency, the author discusses the “shift from secrecy to transparency” in major businesses. The rise of social media and blogging has incited a wave of radical transparency in businesses to the point where product development, management, and major business decisions are open to customer comment. This could be the same in our libraries with participatory services.

What does this have to do with Consent of the Networked? Well, if we are able to create participatory communities at the local level then those communities can continue to grow. Global communities who interact consistently online can help spread awareness about the goings-on of other countries. Injustices won’t be so easily brushed under the rug. Forced government transparency might lead to change.

 

Context Book Review: Globalization and Internet Freedom

This is a review of the book Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca Mackinnon

During the last semester in the Master’s of Library and Information Science program, I gave myself a secondary mission: to learn about how information professionals can contribute to global communities through international collaboration. When choosing a novel for the context book review assignment, Consent of the Networked stood out amongst the list of titles for two reasons. First, the title included the word “worldwide,” which indicated that it would definitely discuss issues at the international level. Secondly, I was intrigued by the idea that there could be a struggle for internet freedom even in the United States.

This book definitely did not disappoint! Mackinnon highlights the various ways that the internet and globalization have both positive and negative consequences on our political and social freedoms. Networks in countries including China, South Korea, Egypt, Tunisia, and India are just a few of the networks that are affected by government censorship. In fact, what if I told you that the networks in the United States are also largely controlled and monitored by our government? Would that worry you? Comfort you? How as information professionals does our continued connectedness via the internet inform the way we assist patron communities? Consent of the Networked allowed me to better answer these questions for myself.

Mackinnon organized the book into five parts. The first two parts consider the rise of the internet and the balance of power between the people and their governments. Parts three and four enumerate issues of censorship, privacy, corporate corruption, and technological inequality. Finally, part five describes how we approach internet freedom in order to combat these various issues. Rather than break down each part, in this review I will focus on the points that stood out for me as an information professional.

Librarians are definitely thwarted by the larger populations’ understanding of relevancy. Information resources are more readily available because of digitization and the amount of information out there is growing exponentially every day. In so many ways, the internet has become the ultimate tool for exercising freedom and meting out justice. However, as Mackinnon points out, the fast-paced progress of technology and the World Wide Web “lull” users into complacency. Mackinnon refers to Vaidhyanathan’s book The Googlization of Everything and the concept of “techno-fundamentalism.” Rampant use of Google services has made users blind to the manipulation of major corporations. Users believe that Google can answer any question they might have, and so, do not recognize the relevance of librarians as guides or mediators to information.

Everyone believes they can help themselves because of good ol’ trusty Google.

However, the answers Google provides might not always be the best or most accurate answer. Mackinnon refers to a book titled The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. Users, whether by choice or no, are easily manipulated by Google and other major corporations. Google influences the answers that show up at the top of the search result list. Information taken from their searches and their social networks are given to advertising companies. Unknowingly or knowingly, users consent to curated content. It has become the norm for people to avoid content that does not align with their political or social beliefs. Not only does this allow for isolationist ideology, but it distorts facts and causes discord.

Librarians and information professionals are trained to approach information unbiasedly. The skills we are learning in the MLIS program are in service of information seekers everywhere. Our role is to assist in creating global networks and communities that allow for reciprocal learning. Net neutrality may be a long way off, but the continued work of librarians and information professionals is critical to the struggle for internet freedom.

The internet plays a significant role in modern activism and government accountability. Unfortunately, TV media outlets that are widely ingested by millions of people are still a main source of information. The media, like major internet providers and searching services, are bought by corporations. They vie for the center stage, and have their own agendas to increase their audience and influence their viewers. More than ever before, the internet, more specifically social media, is the megaphone for organizations all over the world. People who are underrepresented or misrepresented in the media have the opportunity to speak up about the controversial issues directly affecting their lives on a platform that can reach as many, if not more, followers as major news media.

In less democratic countries, governments can often use the internet to their political advantage. Freedom of expression is not as highly valued; political and religious dissent is controlled with aggressive censoring of the internet and web searches. However, the same Mackinnon cites an example from 2004 during the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Information about unfair arrests and unimaginable torture conducted by Mubarak’s police force spread through the Egyptian blogger grapevine, a grapevine filled with intellectual, technologically-savvy writers who were passionate about ending Mubarak’s corruption. Evidence of their real-world protests and online writings were soon discovered by the police. Egyptian government attempted to shut down these sites and arrested many of the revolutionary bloggers. However, Mubarak underestimated the power and vastness of the bloggers’ reach. The bloggers who were not captured quickly spread news of the arrests, which were being covered up by Mubarak. Circulation of the government’s corruption incited more internet users to speak out. Facebook groups were created and protests were organized. Other injustices incurred which gave rise to more activist groups.

 

There is one hiccup in absolute freedom of expression. How do we approach vulgar, destructive, violent content on the internet? Anonymity allows people to speak more freely than ever before. The internet can expose children to terrible horrors that should not be so easily accessed. There needs to be a balance in place. Some censorship seems necessary, but how do we stop the government from overstepping.

If you give ‘em an inch, they take a mile!

The answer is to become more involved in the netizen commons. A “netizen,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as “a user of the Internet, especially a habitual or keen one.” Librarians should make netizenship a primary objective of their job. Becoming and creating a robust netizen community will better prepare us to create netizen-driven institutions. Issues concerning censorship, internet and website standards, and the future of the World Wide Web will be deliberated upon by groups, small and large, that will help us advance in the information tidal wave.

Each librarian and information professional, while trained to try to remain unbiased, has their own political beliefs and social expectations. However, it has long been the duty of librarians to be protectors of the First Amendment. Governments should not maintain control by inhibiting free expression or the dissemination of information. All data should be treated as equal. Networking with librarians will allow people to wade into the overabundant pool of resources and come out with what they were looking for. It is our job as the next generation of librarians to continue protecting the first amendment by teaching patrons how to be netizens and respecting their access to information.

In conclusion, Consent of the Networked is filled with startling examples of how the internet still has a long road to its fullest potential. Obstacles along the way and shifts in ideologies will influence its trajectory. The fight for internet freedom will be strengthened by the information professionals who are trained to build communities in the virtual, local, national, and global spheres.

Additional resource: Mackinnon also discusses one concept that I had never heard before: The Panopticon Effect. I was very interested in this concept and I found a YouTube video that describes it. Check it out!

The Power of Surprise

Before and after beginning my MLIS journey in the SJSU program, there were two questions that I was continually asked when I told people I was pursuing librarianship:

  • But what do librarians even do?
  • Isn’t that job going extinct?

–As I am starting this post, I feel like I am writing an intro that has been written by so many MLIS students before me. (I know I probably have already written a post for another class like this). I think most of us have experienced confusion and concern from family and friends (sometimes passing acquaintances) about our career path.

But bear with me because I had a somewhat exhausted epiphany today.

When people would ask me these questions, my answer was sometimes vague and rambling. Other times, I would have a direct answer that was short and concise. Recently, I had gotten into the habit of using the phrase “information mediator,” but this would require further explanation. I came to the realization that perhaps the reason that I had never had the same answer is because there wasn’t a clear direction. Current information professionals and aspiring librarians must start choosing one. The readings in this class have given me an idea of where I would like to see libraries expand.

As I was reading the material for the hyperlinked library model, I continually harkened back to the Mathews (2012) article, Think Like a Startup. First off, I just want to say that I loved the style of this article. The analogies were fantastic and helped me grasp an integral part of the library movement happening right now in the information profession. I particularly enjoyed the part about building a strategic culture in the profession by making adaptation inherent in the profession. Innovate and iterate is the mantra that I am taking away from Mathews.

The readings for the hyperlinked library model furthered these concepts, and ultimately led me to my epiphany, which is:

Libraries need surprise.

Much like the students at the beginning of the other Mathews (2010) article, Unquiet Library Has High-Schoolers Geeked, people need to be surprised and coaxed into recognizing the library. Using cell phone technology during learning activities allows students to interact with their classmates and the information they are learning. These surprising changes in the library can influence changes in the classroom.

Another way that libraries could use surprise is by surprising patrons with new, innovative library design. In the article titled DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts, five concepts about innovative libraries are enumerated. The author, Jasper Visser, describes previous experiences at a museum or a library as very quiet and hushed, but at DOK Delft the colorful design and the spacious, uncluttered environment encouraged the patrons to interact with each other. Before designing the space it is imperative to conduct user research in order to create spaces that will surprise patrons by fulfilling a need they would not associate with a library.

Finally, the article, Exploring Context: The User Experience, also encourages innovation in library design and programming. Just because an idea is unexpected or uncommon does not mean that the idea is illogical and should be completely disregarded. The example that the author, Schmidt, puts forward is the concept of a library providing showers to the public. As Schmidt explains, cultural and geographical context may provide a reason to include showers in the design of a library. While this is is unusual idea in our neck of the woods, this idea could be life-changing for patrons in a different part of the world. The heart of the article is insisting that all ideas are good ideas. Innovation occurs when creativity and practicality meet. By remaining open to all ideas, the library can continue to evolve.

Bottom line, surprise will get patrons in the door. What will keep them coming back? More surprises. More change. New and creative ways to learn and access information.

The “Val” in “LibVal”

Hello! My name is Valerie. I am the creator of this blog and writer of these posts. I usually have a lot to say, but never enough to write. That being said, I thought I would write up a little write-up of myself. I was born and raised in California, and I was able to move to my California dream destination at the age of 25. I’m incredibly lucky and honored to be a member of the best community in the best state in the best country in the world.  Now that I live where I want to live forever (fingers crossed that I live forever), I think it’s safe to say that I’m a Californian through and through. I grew up in a valley (I know, typical California valley girl), and I use vernacular such as “dude,” “stoked,” and “hella.” I do try to avoid slang in my writing, but it is definitely a part of who I am.

I went to college at Sacramento State University where I studied English and Anthropology. I decided to pursue librarianship because both of my majors continuously brought me back to the library. The library has always been a place that has brought me comfort. Then when I got into college it was the place where I could focus. In this program, I have found that libraries are more than I ever imagined. There is so much potential inherent/generated/foreseen in libraries. I cannot wait to step into the field and watch it evolve.

I have many interests, but most pertain to ingesting various media-TV, movies, YouTube videos, audiobooks, ebooks, books, graphic novels, board games, videogames, and magazines. I also like to cook and bake, but most of my creations are hit or miss. I enjoy singing and I infrequently attempt to play ukulele. I have a boyfriend and a dog, and they are, by far, the two most important men in my life; we have a lot of fun together. Anyway, that’s all I can really think to say about me today. I hope that you continue reading my blog, and you find my observations enjoyable? helpful? enlightening? You decide.

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