Posted by: Christine Barone | October 28, 2019

Reflection post #4 – New Models

An Anythink Library Reading Room

I fell in love with the Anythink Libraries. They are visionary, revolutionary, and an inspiration. There are many wonderful qualities that I could mention about Anythink, but I put together a short list of some of what I find most refreshing about their libraries, in no particular order:

  1. The Staff Manifesto in which staff are described as part wizard, part genius, and part explorer.
  2. The set of core competencies describing what Anythink is looking for in staff members, and elaborating what it takes to be on staff with the library.
  3. The non-traditional job titles: Wrangler, Concierge and Guide.
  4. Their mission statement: “We open doors for curious minds.”   
  5. The fireplaces. Anythink libraries have fireplaces at all their branches to create coziness or the indefinable hygge.
  6. The non-traditional shelving system. Anythink libraries shelve their materials according to a WordThink Grid instead of Dewey Decimal.

In essence, Anythink is fun, creative, edgy, and out of the box when it comes to being a library. Frankly, I didn’t think I could find more to admire about them – and then I listened to the Stacie Ledden interview. Learning about the libraries’ struggles with funding and support; about how they reinvented themselves by starting with their “why”, was both inspiring and energizing.

In his Library Journal interview, Eric Klinenberg makes the argument that libraries should not be seen as luxuries, but as indispensable to our social infrastructure. He goes on to note that the public remains largely unaware of how much funding libraries truly need in order to live up to the demands placed upon them. This tension between insufficient funding and the mission of the library is hardly new. Even now Anythink Libraries are facing a vote on a new ballot measure in November that seeks to get more capital for collections, services, and programs. What is exciting about Anythink Libraries is how visionary they remain despite the challenges. And, the Libraries are not resting on their laurels either. Library staff continue to engage with the community to assess needs, and to learn what is most important to their constituents.

Andrew Carnegie once described libraries as palaces for the people where folks can gather, socialize, and improve their lives (Peet, 2018). Anythink Libraries truly are palaces for the people, in every sense of the word.

References

Peet, L. (2018, October 3). Eric Klinenberg: Libraries and social infrastructure.


Stephens, M. (2019). Stacie Ledden chat

Group3Planners (2009). Library fireplace reading [photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/group3planners/5136613365/in/photolist-9urLf3-8PUw4i-8QvkuY-LHhhug-9urLiJ-8QCmJb-8QzfRF-8PUrvk-8Qw9cS-8QvZkm-9urLto-8QCmKs-8QvZmW-8QCmGw-8QvZmj-8QCmHY-8QvZoq-8PXyqE-9DBikr-9uoJTF-8PXCZ5-8QsTsP-8PXoJQ-8PUucp-8QvZnq-9DEbfo-8Qvknw-ny2ASk-9DEbuW-ny1MPd-nQdnwZ-nShZm6-Mxi94g-ny22LJ

Posted by: Christine Barone | October 24, 2019

Emerging Technology Planning: Storytime for Grownups

Introduction:

Since the dawn of time, humans have been engaged in various forms of storytelling. Whether stories have been communicated through images on cave walls, oral traditions, or the written word, people have always loved a good narrative. Which is why  I fell in love with Tea Tree Gully’s “Library Up Late: Grown up Story Time.” I was both captivated and inspired by the notion of a storytime just for adults. Afterall, stories teach us, they heal us, they entertain us, and they transport us by capturing our imaginations. A recent Pew research study (2019) found that one-in-five Americans listen to audiobooks, indicating that there is a growing appetite for hearing stories read aloud. Besides, why should kids have all the fun?

My idea for an emerging technology or service is to create an adult storytime program at the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL). Unlike other library events that are held strictly at the various library branches, I would like to ask the library to come out to the community instead by sending a librarian to do a monthly reading at the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood. I think that this branch of LAPL would be a good candidate for sponsoring these events because North Hollywood, or NoHo as it is known locally, is home to many theaters and art galleries, as well as lots of trendy cafes and shops. I believe that the NoHo community would be open to the idea of an adult storytime making this a good place to run a pilot program and test the waters. If the pilot goes well, other branches may wish to have a storytime program for adults as well. Storytimes would be monthly from 7:00-8:00 pm on a day that was mutually agreed upon by the Iliad and the North Hollywood branch of LAPL.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

  • Identify individuals and/or groups that are not served by current library programming.
  • Potentially reach new users by bringing the library to businesses they already frequent while simultaneously supporting those local establishments.
  • Identify partner organizations within the community that have similar goals and objectives.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with community members.
  • Expose people to new authors and the library’s collections.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

The age group I envision for this program is adults 18 and over, but the program could include teens. By hosting these events at a local bookstore, the library may be able to reach potential new users, as well as current patrons. If successful, the library could consider other methods of outreach for adult storytimes such as seniors in assisted living.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince staff, administrators, and stakeholders that by having a grownup storytime they will entice users and non-users to discover the library as a place to socialize and have fun as well as partner with local businesses to host these events which will attract new users and build community.

Convince the Iliad bookshop that by hosting a grownup storytime at their establishment they will be providing a community service which will attract new and returning customers to their business because they are enriching the community.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

  1. Cruz, R. (2015, November 3). Storytime: It’s not just for kids!
  2. Duff, D. (2015, October 28). Storytime (for adults).
  3. Einbinder, N. (2016, March 3). Seattle library offers suspenseful story time just for grown-ups.
  4. Johnson County Library (2019). Adult storytime ideas.
  5. Wright, D. (2017, March 14). Librarians of the 21st century: Worst storytime ever? (Or best?).

Examples at other libraries:

La Crosse Public Library
Seattle Public Library
Torrance Public Library
Whitman County Library 



Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

An adult storytime program would support the goals and mission of LAPL as described in their strategic plan for 2015-2020. Of the six stated goals, the fifth goal is to “stimulate the imagination” (p. 16). Regardless of the age of the listener, hearing stories read aloud is wonderful for stirring the imagination.

LAPL’s sixth goal addresses strengthening community (p.18). While goal number six discusses how the library’s free meeting spaces are used for numerous local events, the storytime that I am proposing is asking the library to go out into the community. Storytime for adults would represent a new opportunity to strengthen community by meeting constituents where they are. Also, City Librarian, John Szabo (n.d.) specifically calls out partnering with community organizations and businesses as a way of providing greater access to the library and serving the community. Having a storytime for grownups event at a local business would directly support this goal.

Lastly, any program would need to adhere to the internal guidelines and policies set forth by LAPL. For a new program such as the grownup storytime, new guidelines may need to be written. One approach to creating those guidelines would be to interview librarians that have led similar storytimes and asking what guidelines they use for their program. An interview would also provide an opportunity to gather useful information about next steps and discover lessons learned from their experiences.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

This would be a free event held at the Iliad, a local used bookstore in North Hollywood, during the store’s normal business hours. Stories would be read by LAPL librarians during their regularly scheduled shift. Since some of the advertising needs would include paper flyers, there may be a small cost for colored paper or colored ink, but this might be absorbed under normal operating expenses. It would also be nice to have some refreshments on hand like coffee, tea, and water. I think these could be paid for by Friends of the Library donations.

Action Steps & Timeline: 

 To gauge community interest, I would submit a proposal to library administrators for a short pilot as proof of concept. The pilot would flow over six months with two months for planning and initial advertising followed by four-one-hour monthly events. If approved, a planning team would need to be organized with membership from across the library. The planning team would be responsible for generating ideas for which short stories to read and appointing at least one librarian or volunteer to present them. The team would also interview three to five librarians who have successfully led a similar program to discover what has worked well, what has worked less well, marketing strategies they used, and important lessons learned.

Timeline and action steps:

If the program is approved but the bookshop does not wish to participate, plan B is to hold the event in the community room at the North Hollywood branch of LAPL.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

Staffing for the monthly event would include one or possibly two librarians to perform the reading. Events would be scheduled during the librarian’s normal work time. Managers would need to include the travel time to get to and from the bookstore as part of work time. This might mean that other staff would have to cover additional areas while the librarian is away from the library or that schedules would need to be reworked for that one day each month to ensure that the library has the coverage it needs.

Training for this Technology or Service:  

The only proposed training would be to practice, practice, practice reading aloud. If the program were to be adopted, the library administrators could consider sending interested librarians to voice training. Another option could be to reach out to theater majors at Cal State Northridge or UCLA, or local theater groups, for theatrical volunteers.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

Storytime for Grownups would be advertised using in-house flyers at both the library and the bookstore. Both organizations would advertise the events on their website and on social media. The storytimes would be marketed as entertainment and an opportunity to socialize and have fun.

Evaluation

The program will be measured by asking participants to fill out a brief anonymous feedback form after each reading, collecting anecdotal evidence such as verbal feedback and comments, and by counting the number of participants that attend the events.

References:

Casey, M. & Stephens, M. (2005, April 15). Measuring progress [Blog post].  Retrieved from https://tametheweb.com/2008/04/15/measuring-progress/

Cruz, R. (2015, November 3). Storytime: It’s not just for kids! Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2015/11/storytime-its-not-just-for-kids/

Duff, D. (2015, October 28). Storytime (for adults). City Arts. Retrieved from https://www.cityartsmagazine.com/storytime-adults/

Einbinder, N. (2016, March 3). Seattle library offers suspenseful story time just for grown-ups. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/books/seattle-library-offers-suspenseful-story-time-just-for-grown-ups/

Johnson County Library. (2019). General recommendations: Adult storytime ideas. Retrieved from https://jocolibrary.bibliocommons.com/list/share/69389133/756020947

Los Angeles Public Library. (2015). Los Angeles Public Library strategic plan 2015-2020: Creating opportunity, building community, inspiring innovation [PDF]. Retrieved from https://www.lapl.org/sites/default/files/media/pdf/about/LAPL_Strategic_Plan_2015-2020.pdf

Perrin, A. (2019, September 25). One-in-five Americans now listen to audiobooks. In Fact Tank News in the Numbers. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/09/25/one-in-five-americans-now-listen-to-audiobooks/

Ricklibrarian. (2010, March 27). Thrilling tales and selected shorts: An adult story time for your library [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://ricklibrarian.blogspot.com/2010/03/thrilling-tales-and-selected-shorts.html

Stephens, M. (2017, October 18). Telling stories. Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=telling-stories-office-hours Wright, D. (2017, March 14). Librarians of the 21st Century: Worst story time ever? (or best?). Literary Hub. Retrieved from https://lithub.com/librarians-of-the-21st-century-worst-story-time-ever-or-best/

Images:

Fig. 1 Rhodes, Steve (2010). Dave Eggers introducing Bill Cotter at City Lights, [photograph]. Retrieved on October 20, 2019 from Flickr commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/ari/4371370218/in/photolist-7Ehq53-5edEmH-j4ZjqA-dCuWiS-QmM2jX-qBipNA-RUxnSi-TwJ3mQ-hEPgMX-oJQoiS-7Edz2k-6NRVKk-eynuZX-yPUsV-q1LFuR-CW2RT-8FEePh-24KqVnv-oUF4RX-eaNoDx-gTqiub-eaTXNW-nSRAPy-eaU29S-eaTYjf-eaTZxQ-ca5ZF-4aNwFi-eaNohr-MifpgX-iE5FM7-23tr1Cp-r2YSc6-7yA4z6-SCjSks-7s3MUW-pJfC6z-T9Apgm-2e8qoFh-7EhpAm-2e5Zk6F-dQvDGo-4XbwhY-7hHVC-28eQK6W-dfgo1B-TEzM8B-nKePs2-im2ehB-gTwTyS

Fig. 2 byronv2 (2019). John Connolly event at the Eric Liddell Center 02, [photograph]. Retrieved on October 20, 2019 from Flickr commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/woolamaloo_gazette/33821892688/in/photolist-RUxnSi-TwJ3mQ-hEPgMX-oJQoiS-7Edz2k-6NRVKk-eynuZX-yPUsV-q1LFuR-CW2RT-8FEePh-24KqVnv-oUF4RX-eaNoDx-gTqiub-eaTXNW-nSRAPy-eaU29S-eaTYjf-eaTZxQ-ca5ZF-4aNwFi-eaNohr-MifpgX-iE5FM7-23tr1Cp-r2YSc6-7yA4z6-SCjSks-7s3MUW-pJfC6z-T9Apgm-2e8qoFh-7EhpAm-2e5Zk6F-dQvDGo-4XbwhY-7hHVC-28eQK6W-dfgo1B-TEzM8B-nKePs2-im2ehB-gTwTyS-gTsdu-BDppTf-gTxE5A-Z6ZkvA-efvkGa-twoRU5/

Posted by: Christine Barone | October 7, 2019

BIG DATA, little privacy?

For my adventure, I decided to explore the hyperlinked academic library. One of the articles I read that really got me thinking was Barbara Fister’s (2017) The Boundaries of ‘Information’ in Information Literacy. In her piece, Fister reminds us that there is a dark underbelly to the information landscape. Specifically, she discusses how internet tracking and surveillance, aggregated data, and big data are the dominant business models of the internet. And, she reminds us that these default settings are quietly eroding our privacy. In her article, Fister notes that these are not topics that academic libraries normally address when they teach information literacy. She asks the reader to consider whether they should be.

I will admit for my own part that although I have been somewhat aware of these issues, I do not tend to think about them as much as I should. My desire to use the internet, free apps, Wi-Fi, Google, Facebook, etc., makes me an complicit in a way. I’m sure others find themselves in that situation too.

However, as Fister points out, surveillance may be the default setting but there are actions we can take. In addition to the libguide at Gustavus Adolphus College, Wayne State also has a good libguide on the subject, and ALA has an interesting blog with lots of articles on this subject.

The point is not to become afraid but to become informed, then make the right decisions for you.

Fister, B. (2017). Boundaries of ‘information’ in information literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/boundaries-information-information-literacy

Posted by: Christine Barone | September 23, 2019

The Power of Stories to Connect Us

Something that has been on my mind recently is the power of stories to connect us. Stories have the ability to make us laugh and cry; they remind us of what it is to be human. Stories can give voice to the marginalized and bring communities together by fostering understanding and inclusion. Sharing and telling our stories helps us create a kinder, more just world and libraries can play a huge role in that. In fact, many libraries already are. For instance, Stephens (2017) shares how one library in South Australia has added a “grown up” story time hosted by librarians where adults can come and enjoy mulled wine or hot buttered rum “in a social atmosphere to listen to and reflect on narratives.” Other examples are the live storytelling events put on by the Mill Valley Public Library in California and the University of Colorado Kraemer Family Library’s Intergenerational Storytelling Contest. However, on the subject of stories as a means of  connection, I was particularly inspired by Christian Lauersen’s speech delivered at the UX in Libraries Conference in 2018.

In his address, Lauersen (2018) discusses the importance of breaking down the biases and stories that we make up about cultures and peoples that we aren’t familiar with; those that we consider “other”. He shares the story of how he used to hide his wages in his sock every payday for fear of being robbed in the poor, ethnic neighborhood where he lived. What’s powerful about this story is that Lauersen acknowledges that he had never been given reason from personal experience to fear the immigrants in his neighborhood, but his biases about them were there nonetheless. We all have these biases. We inherit them from family, friends, and the media. In his remarks, Lauersen argues that it is the responsibility of libraries “to provide open and inclusive spaces and systems.”  He invites to examine our own prejudices and to do the work to rid ourselves of those preconceptions as much as possible. Lauersen admonishes libraries to make diversity and inclusion a priority and he invites them to involve and empower the diverse voices in their communities.

One pathway to empowering community voices that Lauersen mentions is the Human Library. The Human Library is made up of human books that can be loaned out to readers. The human books in a given library could be former drug addicts, ex-cons, those who are gender fluid, or former sex workers; people who have been marginalized or discriminated against. Although the founders of the Human Library movement were not librarians, many libraries worldwide, both academic and public, have hosted these human book events. The mission of the Human Library is to change people’s preconceptions and breakdown prejudices “one conversation at a time (humanlibrary.org, 2019).” The promise that events like the Human Library present are what I believe the hyperlinked library is all about: connection, understanding, compassion, and heart.

Reference

Stephens, M. (2017, October 18). Telling stories. Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=telling-stories-office-hours

Lauersen, C. (2018, June 7) Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond. Retrieved from https://christianlauersen.net/2018/06/07/inclusion-and-belonging-in-libraries-and-beyond/

Posted by: Christine Barone | September 16, 2019

Quiet, an introvert’s tale

In a world where an outgoing disposition is a prized virtue, it was impactful to read Susan Cain’s (2012) book on the power of introverts. I have spent decades believing there was something inherently wrong with me. “Why can’t I think on my feet?” “Why am I so terrible at small talk?” “Why don’t I just speak up?” “Why can’t I be more of a “take charge” kind of person?” It turns out there is one answer to all the whys:  I am 100% an introvert. It’s not that I didn’t know I was an introvert, but before reading this book, I just thought it meant I was shy. What I never realized was that everything I thought was wrong with me was part and parcel of being an introvert. I thought all those “whys” amounted to bugs in my software. Turns out everything I thought was a bug was really a feature. However, it’s no wonder that I thought I had a problem. According to Cain, in the Western world the extrovert is the ideal. By default then, everything else is less than ideal.

If you ever wanted proof that the world favors extroverts, look no further than a thesaurus. Here are some of the synonyms for “introvert”: hermit, recluse, loner, withdrawn, and shrinking violet. Synonyms for “extrovert” on the other hand, are words like gregarious, friendly, social, livewire, and outgoing. Just based on the words alone, who would want to be in the introvert camp? Well, I would.

Cain (2012) provides a great deal of research indicating that introversion and extroversion are really just “preferences for certain levels of stimulation” (p.124). Unsurprisingly, extroverts prefer more stimulation than introverts. Extroverts function best when engaged in activities like team-building exercises or chairing meetings. Conversely, introverts would rather close the door to their office and work in solitude. Quiet intellectual activity is an optimal level of stimulation for them (p.122).

As libraries continue to shift and evolve adding cafes, makerspaces, game labs, and whatnot, will there still be a place for the introverts? In her article “Library as Infrastructure”, Shannon Mattern (2014) notes that libraries are “ designing for, rather than designing out — activities that make noise and can occasionally be a bit messy.”  She does acknowledge however, that with all these activities comes the need for library spaces to incorporate lighting, furniture, and acoustical designs to “accommodate multiple sensory registers, modes of working, postures and more.” In his article “Unquiet Library has High-Schoolers Geeked”, Brian Matthews (2010) notes the vibrant Creekview High School library has created quieter zones where students can reflect, lounge, or just talk. Meanwhile, places such as Delft’s public library, DOK appear to be all about activity and interaction. While DOK sounds like such an amazing place, even to an introvert like me, I can’t help but wonder if I would hang out there. I think as we examine participation in libraries, we as librarians need to stay aware that participation may mean different things to different people. We must ask ourselves how we will meet those needs.

References

Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. New York, NY: Crown Publishers

Matthews, B. (2010). Unquiet library has high-schoolers geeked. American Libraries. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2010/06/21/unquiet-library-has-high-schoolers-geeked/

Mattern, S. (2014). Library as infrastructure. Places Journal. Retrieved from https://placesjournal.org/article/library-as-infrastructure/?cn-reloaded=1

Visser, J. (2011, January 22). DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts. Retrieved from http://themuseumofthefuture.com/2011/01/22/dok-delft-inspirational-library-concepts/

Posted by: Christine Barone | September 9, 2019

Don’t get rid of the paper just yet!

The need for libraries to change has certainly been the clarion call of the past 30 years, and probably long before that. But I believe that libraries are changing. Steering that change however, can be more like turning the Titanic: slow, deliberate, and requiring a wide turning radius. Nonetheless, despite what some might perceive as glacial speed, change is happening. Which is why this week as I was reading, I was struck by how much the call to change is still prevalent in the literature. I’m in no way trying to argue for old school approaches or for what used to be versus what could be. What I am arguing for is to be mindful as we make changes not to not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Here’s what I mean. This summer I wanted to make a dent in my Goodreads list. I borrowed each of the books I wanted to read from my public library and not one of them was an e-book. Why? Because the waiting list for the electronic version was L-O-N-G. How long? I took a screenshot of the availability of the popular title Where the Crawdads Sing today (September 8, 2019).

As you can see, the waiting list for the e-book is a whopping 990 patrons deep and there are 471 e-copies available! I opted instead to borrow the paper copy. Frankly, if I must choose between waiting a long time or going to pick up the physical book, I choose the latter. Since I went to the library in person, I was able to browse the shelves which led me to finding a book I hadn’t planned on reading (serendipity). On another occasion I met a fellow browser who recommended a book to me that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would have missed these unexpected connections if I had waited for the e-book or just purchased it from Amazon.

I guess my point is that there is something to be said for technology and change, but there is also something to be said for more traditional methods. I believe it’s important to strike a balance somehow between the two. As libraries strive to address the needs of their constituents, a “one size fits all” approach will not work. Changes need to make sense to the mission of the library and to its community. This tenet lies at the heart of Library 2.0.

References

Los Angeles Public Library. (n.d.). Where the crawdads sing (2018) by Delia Owens [Screen capture]. Retrieved on September 8, 2019 from https://ls2pac.lapl.org/?section=search&term=ti:%22where%20the%20crawdads%20sing%22

Posted by: Christine Barone | August 24, 2019

Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Christine. I live in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA. I’m the mother of 3 (mostly) grown children who are either working or in college. Two still live at home, but the oldest lives in Savannah, Georgia. This is my next to last semester at SJSU, which I can hardly believe because it feels like I started on this path just yesterday.

For the past 19 years I have worked at a high density storage facility library on the UCLA campus. For those who may not know what that is, a high density storage facility is where low circulating materials go to live when they are weeded from the general collection. Academics don’t like to throw things away and frankly, part of the academic library’s mission is to preserve material for future generations of students and scholars. Despite having spent my entire library career in a remote storage facility where we don’t see a tremendous number of patrons, I am very interested in community, connection, participation and team-based approaches. I also love the idea of the library as playful.

Some fun stuff about me is that I enjoy British crime dramas. My current favorite is Shetland, but really there are so many. I love quirky shows like Grace and Frankie on Netflix and the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime. I also like to go wine tasting. When classes ended in May, my husband and I took a short trip to Cambria to do some wine tasting and to relax. Below is a photo from that trip of an art installation at Ragged Point called “Portal to Big Sur.”


I look forward to connecting with all of you!

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