Director’s Briefs Topics

Hey all – I think it would be a good idea to hear from each of you about your Director’s Brief focus/topic. Please share below, send me an @michael update, a private message, or an email!

Just want to make sure everyone is on track.

The 4th option open learning will go up very soon! Message me if you have questions.

52 thoughts on “Director’s Briefs Topics

  1. Ruth Headley

    Hi @michael I very much appreciate you checking in on us. I admit this is the point of the semester I start to lose some steam so a check in is helpful for me. I’ve decided to focus my director’s brief on the Dokk1 Library in Denmark. This is for a few reasons: I find this innovative library to be fascinating and think my small-town library could draw a lot of inspiration from its example, my library’s director is from Scotland and would be very open to implementing new structures or programs inspired from outside the United States, and I need more evidence from comp. O. I feel good about this selection, but I need to narrow down the aspects of the Dokk1 Library that I would like to focus on. There’s just too much information out there to keep a director’s brief brief if I wanted to cover it all.

    1. Michael Stephens Post author

      @rheadley This is great. I think your reasons for choosing Dokk1 are spot on! You could focus on aspects of the library that really resonate with you – is it the participatory planning? The four spaces model? The inclusion of social services in the building? Ponder…and let me know.

      1. Ruth Headley

        @michael, I really do think it is both the four spaces model AND the inclusion of social services in the building. I think they really go hand-in-hand in a lot of ways! I think for me the largest appeal is the idea of being a community living room and the things that come together to make that true.

  2. Madison Malear

    Ultimately I want to work in archives, and the idea of hyperlinked archives is one that excites me. I want to focus on global trends (difficult to argue with more Comp O evidence for my portfolio next semester) with a review of work being done through Archivio Sonoro Franco Coggiola – Circolo Gianni Bosio in Italy. They are a Sounds Archives with focuses on folklore tradition and popular memory. As something of a branch to the archives, Circolo Gianni Bosio started as an activist collective in the 1960’s, and today is gathering memory, performing, and working on projects and research as a part of the archives. The website (with a strong nod to their activist roots) repeatedly presents ideas and quotes about the power of memory and what it can do for society; Circolo Gianni Bosio performs and creates a calendar of events to go along with Italy’s civil calendar, calling for community engagement on multiple levels. Building awareness of the lessons that archives hold (and the importance of understanding archival silences and allowing all voices to be represented) will be the focus of the brief, supporting community engagement and growth with creative work.

    Direct website:
    An overview:

    1. Arwen O'Reilly Griffith

      Madison, thank you for sharing!! What an incredible resource. (I sent it to my sister, who is a sound artist particularly interested in folk songs.) I am particularly impressed with the activist/community engagement aspects. It takes this beyond archive and into something like participatory service. What an amazing way to document the past AND forge the future you want!

    2. Marc Mazique

      I’m likewise interested in community/participatory archives work, so thanks for putting this project on my radar! I always love learning about new archives that do intentional work to disrupt archival silences through deep community engagement, and decentering of the archivist as expert. Thanks for this, and excited to see your brief once it’s completed!

  3. Fin Lee

    At our library, we have a FabLab (maker space), but it was mainly used for 3d printers, and since the start of the pandemic, patrons have not been able to use it. I see so much potential for it to be expanded and meet more needs in our community, so I will focus on “Tech & Trends.” I’m excited to go into depth about this for the Director’s Brief!

  4. Nick Gagnon

    @michael Hi Professor!
    I started taking notes on ideas to do my Director’s Brief early on but narrowed my results down now. I am interested in the Power of Storytelling option for an international sister library in sharing about the local library community and the impacts they have in their region. I will hypothesis how the local library I work in, Dover Public Library in New Hampshire may benefit from sharing and engaging with another library internationally about the cultures, environments, and visions of its community. I think this will bring together elements of the other options as well such as the technological aspects related to connecting and engaging, and the global trends which will influence and provide insight for both library teams.

  5. Shannon Rosenblat

    One of the libraries where I work is in the planning process of building of a new library, with construction expected to start early next year. The project consists of turning an old school into a library and community center. In the current plan, the community center will have meeting rooms, a gymnasium, a community kitchen, a multi-use classroom, a makerspace, an outdoor play area, picnic shelter, amphitheater with seating, a walking trail, etcetera. Many of the ideas for what the library and community center might offer came directly from community members. Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the plans and thinking about how exciting it is to work at a library that is embracing this new model of library as part of a “community hub.” While some recent project budget shortfalls have come to light that could result in a very toned down version of what I’ve described here, I am still feeling quite a bit of excitement about the project. With that said, one thing that I’ve noticed in the plans is that while the community center is leaving a lot of space for participatory learning and social connection, the plan for the library itself follows a fairly traditional model. For this project, I’m exploring global libraries that have created participatory spaces with design elements that encourage interaction, play, collaboration, and reduce the fear of talking too loudly in the library. I’m focusing on how we might build cohesion between the community center and the library building by bringing more participatory elements into the library building itself (e.g. a virtual reality/Xbox gaming area or even something as simple, and budget friendly, as a board game playing area). I am looking at global libraries that are embracing “the four spaces model” and considering how we might borrow their design thinking methods to more seamlessly blend the library and community center. I’m also considering how we will use the community center spaces for participatory library programs. Another area I’ve been exploring in my research, and, if space permits, would like to include in my brief, is how these global libraries are using the new design models to foster community building through such methods as building cozy meeting spaces or cafes; these spaces can then be used for programming involving community conversations and debates about varied topics from art to finance to politics to new tech trends to philosophy.

    Library/community center plans:

    Project budget issues:

  6. Trilby

    I am still mulling over the direction I want to go. So many great choices. I had an idea for something related to the Participatory Services Assignment that I decided to set aside for the Director’s Brief. I would like to explore a different information space from libraries, so thinking about doing something for a museum. Right now the conflict I am having is picking a lane. Tech & Trends, thinking of augmented reality in museums. But the power of stories, global trends, and infinite learning topics are also very interesting to me. I must be hung up in a CYOA cycle! The augmented reality tech trends is the topic I have the most refined at this point. I have a specific museum in mind that can use to freshen up their interactive exhibits with something like this. I am also very interested in ways linked data can open up stories and learning opportunities to a global community.

  7. Annie Papy

    @michael I’m also taking the global library trends option with the Forum Groningen in the Netherlands. The portions that particularly resonate with me are the Storyworld and their media lab, as well as the options for learning language (backtracking a little to my original idea for the participatory service assignment and services for multilingual/multicultural users).

  8. Joel Webb

    (Apologies for missing this post earlier in the week). My director’s brief is focused on “the Power of Stories” (something that is totally outside my comfort zone). My brief is about setting up a COVID storytelling project at the community college that I work, which is largely inspired by StoryCorp and some of the other storytelling projects. My COVID storytelling project hopes to encourage creative reflection and community building.

  9. Rose Holck

    Hi @michael — I’ve been obsessed with DOKK 1 in Aarhus ever since INFO 200. I had Dr. V and she used your lectures in that class and I’ll never forget when you were describing that library (and the Gong!). I was looking at their Vision and Values and I love that one of the values focuses on lifelong learning and community. So, that’s what I’d like for my DOKK 1 research to focus on. I am so interested in how they do it there.

  10. Arwen O'Reilly Griffith

    I keep circling back to the idea of cooking/gardening, which I touched on in one of my reflection blogging pieces. I’d like to cover the trend of offering cooking and/or gardening classes (possibly partnering with Master Gardener program, which has a similar mission), community kitchens, and kitchen item libraries. Is that too broad? It seems to fit together to me, but I can choose just one if so.

    I’m also really interested in the idea of the “debate library” as a way to combat misinformation and connect communities and open up discussions if that overlaps too much with what I’ve already covered in my blog post.

    1. Evelyn Ransom Kessler

      Hi Arwen,

      Your ideas are similar to those at the top of my life. Back in INFO 204, I wrote up a fictional community garden/kitchen for my local library and might expand on that idea for this assignment. I have also been mulling over ideas for addressing rampant misinformation and fostering civil debate. Can’t wait to see what you settle on.

  11. Mellisa Hannum

    @michael Just like Julie, I’m late to the party. I am working on an Infinite Learning model. I was just hired to be the branch librarian for a very small library on the California coast, and I thought this format would be so helpful for the isolated branch. I want to model it after Seattle Public Library’s Your Next Skill (, giving patrons control of what they are interested in/need to learn.

  12. Evelyn Ransom Kessler

    Hello everyone. I’m still cycling through possible topics for my Director’s Brief. I admit that I took a few days – okay – almost a week – off to bask in the glow of having my portfolio submitted and approved:) Today, I’m immersed in all things Hyperlinked and have tasked myself with selecting a topic by 5 pm (when my 20-year-old son arrives home from college for Thanksgiving Break!)

  13. Evelyn Ransom Kessler

    Okay – topic chosen. I kept trying to convince myself to step outside my comfort zone and learn more about new technologies like VR/AR, but I just can’t focus on it. It’s Thanksgiving week, food is on the table, and I am enamored of libraries with community kitchens and gardens. So, I’m choosing the participatory services category, kitchens and gardens. Best to you this holiday!

  14. Viri

    I’m still narrowing down my topic. I am currently looking at infinite learning, more specifically at PLE. I want to look at areas like mental health. Infopeople ( has online courses like “Self Care for Library Workers.” Demco offers an interesting course that’s geared toward meeting community needs during a pandemic I’ll be reading up a bit more on similar programs before making a final choice.

  15. Marc Mazique

    @michael After bouncing back and forth between a few different ideas, I have decided I’d like to examine the IFLA Ideas Store, growing out of the Global Vision discussion and Report. This initiative seems a powerful example of the possibilities for international connection, collaboration, and creativity by library professionals committed to crafting innovative, engaging services and programs for library users around the world. The potential for libraries of any size to both draw and contribute ideas from this network seems both exciting, and limitless. This feels in line with our assignment framework, but open to any comments. Thanks!

    IFLA Ideas Store – I
    IFLA Global Vision Report –

  16. Sarah Miller

    I’m really late to this (I got super behind on school these last couple weeks), but my plan for the Director’s Brief is to explore the Library of Things concept! I think this could fit under the Tech and Trends area, and it’s something that my public library system is just starting to dip their toes into. Currently, we circulate things like jigsaw puzzles, board games, and adult coloring books. I’d love to see this expand into more practical materials that could be useful to people in their daily lives (power tools, exercise equipment, tech hardware, kitchen appliances, etc.). So, I’d basically be suggesting enhancements/expansion of the Library of Things collections we already have in place! There’s seriously so much potential in this area of library collections 🙂

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