Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer and I am almost done with the program. I have two more semesters left (one more after this one, assuming everything goes well) which I’m very excited about. I live in California, a city called San Ramon which is in the East Bay. I work as a Library Associate at the Alameda Free Library, which is a public library in the city of Alameda. My aunt used to work there and my mom currently works there so I like to think that I am carrying on the family business. I stumbled upon the course while I was looking for a third elective to take. I saw the seminar class so I figured I should look to see if there were any sections covering topics of interest to me. I saw this class and I saw who was teaching it and I was reminded of my INFO 200 class. I had a different teacher but most of the lectures in the class were from Dr. Stephens. I thought his lectures were really interesting and this classes seems like it will be an extension of some of the concepts he discussed in those lectures. I like to think about the direction that libraries are going and I am excited to see what other people think about this topic. One topic that I have found that I like is the expanding role of libraries beyond checking out materials. I love learning about the programs and services that other libraries are doing to help the members of their community. I am still not 100% sure about what kind of library that I want to work in, but I think I am still interested in archives. I am excited to get to know everyone and I wish everyone a great semester.
For my symposium entry, I used Prezi video to make a 3-2-1 presentation describing a-ha moments, things I want to learn more about and something that I am going to do now. The first link is for just the slideshow, the second link is for the video presentation, and the third thing is the script for the video. I apologize for the weird ringing sound in the background of the video. I am not sure what happened with that.
My Director’s Brief is entitled A Global Perspective on Participatory Library Programs for Teens.
The Alameda Free Library can look at examples of teen programming from libraries in other countries to gain insight to inform their own teen programming for the future. The Finding MY Way program in Australia is aimed at teenagers at risk of dropping out of school to help them understand all of the options available to them. The librarians involved in the program can help the students find a better path while simultaneously showing them the resources the library can offer them. The YouthTalk initiative in Scotland was a community-wide project that was led by local teenagers aimed at improving city offerings for the teens. A local librarian played a crucial role in the project by leading the teens and guiding them through every step of the process. These programs illustrate that teens can greatly benefit from participatory programming because they want to feel that their voices are being heard.
I find the topic of reference services fascinating because it has changed so much over the years and it is interesting to think about what people expect from the reference desk. Last semester, I took a class about reference services (INFO 210) and we looked at the different types of reference and how it is changing. While completing the assignments for that class, I talked to librarians at my library to see what was happening with our reference service and collections. I was surprised to learn that the plan is to weed the reference collection and then designate most of the collection to circulating (as opposed to in-library use only). Some of the librarians told me that they hardly ever refer patrons to the reference collection, but it is interesting to see the reference collections disappearing.
In addition to the collection, I have seen what reference service looks at my library and I have experienced some of this myself at my job. I had to observe a “shift” at a reference desk and I was surprised to see that most of the questions patrons had were about reserving study rooms. For the few patrons that had “traditional” reference questions, the librarians turned mostly to Google first instead of the reference collection. In my experience, most of the questions I receive from patrons are technology related. Examples of questions I have gotten include accessing e-resources, sending emails, and using the library catalog. I do not work at a reference desk, but I often have to refer patrons there.
With these changes in reference services, I am hesitant about working at a reference desk. At my library, I may have the opportunity to work at the reference desk after I finish this program. The amount of things reference librarians need to know and the uncertainty of questions that may be asked seems very overwhelming. As Kenney (2015) explains, “The shifting boundaries, exposure to personal information, unclear expectations, and the need for instructional knowledge is creating anxiety among public service staff…” (What Patrons want, para. 4). Patrons’ expectations have shifted as they seem to expect more one-on-one attention from librarians and technology instruction sessions. At my library, librarians often refer patrons with technology questions to the computer lab because they can receive the individual help they need. With the current pandemic, there may be even more changes that we can’t yet predict.
Kenney, B. (2015, September 11). Where reference fits in the modern library. Publishers Weekly. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/68019-for-future-reference.html
When it comes to things like Alexa and Google Home, I am honestly undecided about how I feel about them. I have a Google Home mini but it is still in the box because I haven’t decided if I should set it up or not. I can appreciate the convenience that items like that can provide. It could be nice to simply ask what the weather is or to set a timer. It can be beneficial for seniors or those with disabilities. My cousin had bought a Google Home for my aunt, who had severe mobility issues among other health issues. She thought my aunt could use it to call people or play music. My aunt was very skeptical of it, but my cousin’s kids had tons of fun asking Google to tell them jokes. I’m not sure if my aunt ever came around.
On the other hand, I am also skeptical of relying on Alexa or Google Home for things that I could do myself. I could look up the weather on my phone or set a timer. I don’t even use the virtual assistant on my phone (on an android, it’s Bixby). Having an assistant like Alexa plugged in all the time makes me feel like it’s monitoring you constantly, waiting for you to ask it something. I do think it’s interesting that people often say “please” or “thank you” when speaking to it. I would probably do that too, but it’s weird to me because even with a “human” name like Alexa, I still see it as a machine. Artificial intelligence is a concept that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. When it comes to libraries, I am hesitant about how it can be used.
Teenagers are an important part of any community, but it can be difficult to plan library programs and services for them. Most teenagers are very busy, trying to manage schoolwork, planning for their future, and maintaining a social life. With popular culture changing all the time, it is hard to keep up with what teens are interested in. I work at the Alameda Free Library (AFL), a small library system located in the Bay Area. The Main Branch has a seperate teen center upstairs. This plan is centered around if it is decided that the teen center needs to be redesigned to better accommodate teens’ needs.
Goals/Objective for Service:
Libraries have become a more dynamic environment, where librarians are not authoritative deciding what types of services/programs are best for the patrons. They want to hear from the people they serve to determine if they are successfully meeting patrons’ needs. Expanding on the idea of teen advisory boards/groups that can help to plan programs and services, teens helping to design the teen space helps ensure that it can meet their needs. Participating in the design process can ensure that teens’ voices are heard by administration. This type of engagement can also help teens learn leadership and communication skills, which can come in handy in their future endeavors, whether that may be going to college or something else. As Casey and Savastinuk (2007) explain, “Allowing customers to personalize their spaces encourages them to become regular users of your service” (p. 63).
The Mix at San Francisco Public Library designed with help from teens (Photo credit: SFPL)
Description of Community to Engage:
I wish to engage the teenage patrons who utilize the main branch of the Alameda Free Library.
Action Brief Statements:
For Teenage Patrons:
Convince teenage patrons that by helping to design the teen space in the library they will see that the library is taking an active role in identifying and addressing their needs which will increase their trust in and use of the library because the library wants to empower teens to utilize library services to improve their well-being.
Convince staff that by working with teens to design the teen space they will help build teens’ confidence in the library which will encourage staff to continue to work with the teens to further develop programs and services for them because the library wants to tailor its offerings to meet patrons’ needs.
Evidence and Resources to Support Service:
Agosto, D. E., Bell, J. P., Bernier, A., & Kuhlmann, M. (2015). “This is our library, and it’s a pretty cool place”: A user-centered study of public library YA spaces. Public Library Quarterly, 34(1), 23–43. doi:10.1080/01616846.2015.1000777
Brisson, S.-A. (2014). Teens at the Brossard Public Library: A necessary adaptation of space and services. Feliciter, 60(6), 23–25. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=100262026&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Chant, I. (2016). User-designed libraries – Design4Impact. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=user-designed-libraries-design4impact
Glusker, A. (2015). Thematic analysis of videos suggests that YA space design should be user-driven, user-centered, and flexible enough to enable multiple uses. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 10(4), 230–232. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=112044532&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Kuhlmann, L. M., Agosto, D., Pacheco Bell, J., & Bernier, A. (2014). Learning from librarians and teens about YA library spaces. Public Libraries, 53(3), 24–28. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=96736816&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Rottmund, K., & Morgan, K. (2018). Teenspace: A space to be. Young Adult Library Services, 17(1), 25–29. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=135603259&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Velásquez, J. (2016). Lessons learned from a new teen space. Young Adult Library Services, 15(1), 31–33. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=118843607&site=ehost-live&scope=site
YouMedia, (2015). In San Francisco, teens design a living room for high-tech learning at the Public Library. Retrieved from https://youmedia.org/news/in-san-francisco-teens-design-a-living-room-for-high-tech-learning-at-the-public-library/
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to this Service
To implement this service, the librarians will consult with the administration as often as necessary. While this service is for the teens in the group and their peers, it will impact teens in the future. One of the goals of the AFL’s strategic plan is that “Alameda teens will have space to socialize, to share thoughts and ideas, and to attend programs relevant to them” (Alameda Free Library, 2013, Sect. Goal 3). Teens are recognized as an important portion of the patron population who have their own, unique needs that the library can fill. Allowing teens to participate in the design of their space creates a dialogue that can benefit the library. The AFL wants to increase circulation of teen materials and one way to do this is to have a teen space that teens want to spend time in. Incorporating their feedback into the design of the space is the best way to create a sense of inclusivity.
Funding Considerations for this Service
The primary source of funding for the AFL is through the city government, so the money for redesigning the teen space would ultimately come from there. The Library Director and the Library Board would determine how much could be spent on this project. If the library budget was cut, projects like these would be some of the earliest cuts because they would be deemed lower priority. Assuming the funding remains, it would be very important for the project to stick to the budget. As a public library, the AFL has limited resources so there would not be extra money available if the project went over budget. The group should consider any cost-saving measures if possible, which could also be a teaching moment for teens about the importance of budgets.
Action Steps and Timeline
The first step would be to get approval on redesigning the teen room from the Library Director and the Board. This may take a little time because city bureaucracy can take some time to make decisions. After getting the approval, a budget needs to be established for the project so the librarians know how much money they are working with. Once the details of the project are set up, the librarians should make sure they understand what is possible and if there are any limitations to this project. This way, they can outline the parameters of this project at the first meeting with the teens.
Once all the logistical aspects are set up, the librarians can begin recruiting teens. This will probably take a few weeks, so the librarians will need to take into account what time of year it is (if school is still in session, that may be a factor in how many teens sign up). When the recruitment period is over, they can begin the meetings. There should be one introductory meeting, so that the librarians can go over the details of the project and everyone involved can get to know each other a little. During the rest of the meetings, the group can discuss what they would like to see in the new teen center. These discussions will likely take a few months so that everyone can contribute and then the group can make decisions about the design.
When the group has their design finalized, the Library Director will need to review it so she can decide if it will work. It is possible that she could sign off on it after she reviews it or it will need to be edited before she agrees to it. After this potential editing time, if she signs off on it, the proposal may have to go through the city so they can set up a schedule for when the work will begin. The construction time depends on how substantial the remodel is, and the time estimate may change once construction begins. The planning process would likely take at least six months and the construction time would likely be at least a few months.
Staffing Considerations for this Service
The two teen librarians would be in charge of managing the teen group and guiding them through the design process. Depending on if the number of teens participating is limited or not, more staff may have to help if there are more teens. In addition to librarians, the Library Director would be involved in making the official decisions. She may even want to sit in on meetings to provide feedback on the ideas being discussed. The teen group can brainstorm what they would want in the teen space, but the Library Director ultimately has to sign off on the design before it can be implemented. Whenever a design is finalized, the work would most likely be carried out by City of Alameda construction and design employees.
Training for this Service
Fortunately, staff do not need much training to provide this service. The teen librarians can work with the teens in groups to discuss the elements that the teens would want in the redesigned teen center. It is an expansion of the Teen Advisory Board (TAB), so the teen librarians are already familiar with this process. It may be helpful for the teen librarians to receive an overview of the design process, including a timeline for decision-making, a discussion of budget, and any official guidelines from administration regarding the design. If any of the teen librarians are absent, another librarian could cover the meeting.
Promotion & Marketing for this Service
It is critical to reach out to teens so they can participate in the design process. The teen librarians can design flyers to post in the elevator, throughout the current teen section, and on the library website. The teen librarians can also discuss this with the TAB to see if any of those teens would want to participate or if they could recruit other teens. Considering that there are only two teen librarians, there should be a limit on how many teens can participate. If there are too many teens, the librarians won’t be able to facilitate an effective discussion about the design. The number of teens participating could be limited to 15 maximum, that number could be adjusted if the librarians need to. This service could also be advertised on the library’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Social media can be a very effective tool to reach teens. The teen librarians would have to contact the reference librarian that runs the library’s social media and give them a copy of the flyer, but posting it should not be a problem.
The evaluation process for this service lies in the hands of the teen group since this service is for them. The librarians could hold a final group meeting, styled like a focus group. They could meet with the teens and discuss what they thought of the project and what they have learned by participating. Another option is to create a survey for the teens to fill out. Some may be more comfortable with the survey because the results are anonymous so they may feel they can be more honest. If there was a focus group meeting, the librarians could also encourage teens that may not be part of the TAB to consider joining. They can continue building those leadership skills that are great for college applications or helpful in the job market.
Alameda Free Library. (2013). Strategic Plan. Retrieved from https://www.alamedafree.org/files/sharedassets/library/strategic-plan-update-2014-2019-final.pdf
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today. Retrieved from https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Library2.0Text.pdf
I have always loved going to art and history museums. The Bay Area has some great ones, including the Legion of Honor and the de Young. Seeing artifacts or interesting pieces of art is always fascinating to me. My mom, sister, and I used to go to museums together and make a day out of it. Watching Nina Simon’s TED talk about participatory museums made me reevaluate what a museum could be. Most of the museums I have visited are designed for visitors to look and admire the pieces. Sometimes, there is a suggestion box for visitors to leave comments, but otherwise, there is nowhere for visitors to interact with anything or other people.
Nina Simon’s TED talk was interesting because I never thought of museums as being a place where people can connect with the exhibits or other people. One thing that she said that really stuck with me was that she wants to “make museums opportunities for conservations” (not an exact quote but she said something along these lines). That really made me think about what museums are designed to do and who they are trying to reach. Museums typically are seen as “high culture”, rigid institutions full of rules. It is an interesting idea that museums could be focusing instead on encouraging visitor participation to enhance not only the museum itself but to facilitate the forming of connections between people. As I was writing this post, I actually thought of an example of a museum near me that fits more into a participatory museum.
The Oakland Museum of California is a museum focused on California and the Bay Area covering many areas including art and history. Growing up, I had visited the museum many times on school field trips. The museum was interesting, but a fairly standard museum. About 5 or 6 years ago, I went back to visit (I don’t remember what exhibit I was going for). I was shocked when I went to the history galleries because it was nothing like I remembered. They had completely renovated the space and transformed it into a more interactive space. It still covered California history from the native peoples to modern day but they added many interactive elements so visitors can touch and play instead of just looking and reading. My favorite is from the section on the 1950s, where there is a jukebox that you can play songs from that era and a diner scene with a table you can sit at. In the modern day section, there are current issues featured such as immigration and technology and visitors can share their thoughts or experiences on these topics. Participatory museums illustrate how these rigid institutions can be transformed from static to adaptive by encouraging visitors to engage with their community and surroundings.
As I have seen others mention, Module 5 on Hyperlinked Communities is reminiscent of INFO 200 Information Communities. Rather than focus on one specific community, I think of hyperlinked communities as bringing people from different communities together. A giant melting pot of information communities, you could say. I am so excited to be at the end of this program because I can’t wait to become a library professional (I work in a library now, but the degree will make it “official”). One of the articles that spoke to me the most in this module was Baute (2013) about how a library in Ghana is helping new mothers.
This article describes services that a library in Ghana offers to new mothers, including text messages with advice and encouragement. This program has had many positive impacts on the community including “…help[ing] break down cultural taboos associated with talking about maternal health and childbirth…” (Baute, 2013, para. 15). This article reminded me of another assignment I did for INFO 232 last semester where we explored how public libraries around the world were helping at-risk communities. One awesome program that I read about was a library bus in Singapore that traveled around to provide books and services to children with disabilities, seniors, and those living in shelters and orphanages. Another one that I really liked was in Thailand where they turned empty train cars into libraries/classrooms to serve the thousands of homeless children. Volunteers can help with programs like these to bring valuable library services to communities that could greatly benefit from them. I think we are living in a wonderful time for libraries and I am excited to see what lies ahead.
Baute, N. (2013). How a modern library keeps mothers healthy in rural Ghana. Retrieved from https://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2013/11/How-a-Modern-Library-Keeps-Mothers-Healthy-in-Rural-Ghana
The Internet has transformed the way people access and search for information, but it is both a blessing and a curse. While there is more information available, there are more creators (publishers may be a better word) of information than ever before. This changes the meaning of knowledge because everyone disagrees on everything, and the authoritative voices are usually drowned out by the self-proclaimed experts. The Internet is a positive influence also, because it facilitates collaboration between people to solve problems. This change impacts how libraries serve their patrons because many are adjusting their service models to accommodate desires for creation and working together.
In his book Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now that the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room, David Weinberger explores how the Internet has changed the creation and consumption of knowledge. Weinberger argues that “…in a networked world, knowledge lives not in books or in heads but in the network itself” (p. 45). He explains that the real power of the Internet is to bring people together because working collectively, people can accomplish more. He provides many examples of crowdfunding efforts and teams of people working together on an international scale to fix something. Weinberger has a positive outlook on how the Internet has impacted society and despite the fact that this book is nine years old, it remains very relevant.
The Internet these days is full of “fake news”, ads masquerading as news, and real news hidden among everything else. Weinberger’s book is especially relevant in today’s world because with all of this available content, it can be difficult to determine what is trustworthy. This directly connects to information literacy, which is something that staff at different types of libraries can help teach their patrons. While there is not one clear definition of information literacy, it concerns the searching for and evaluation of information. In a time where many people use primarily online resources, librarians can help to teach the public how to identify the reliable sources and avoid the problematic ones. With the development of models like the Hyperlinked Library, interpersonal connections are becoming the new heart of libraries.
The topic of knowledge and how people acquire it is important for libraries and their staff because knowledge is an important part of their endeavors. As Buckland explains, “Librarians must concern themselves with how individuals use information (books, journals, etc.) and also with how they become informed and knowledgeable” (p. 11). Information professionals should understand the ways that people are utilizing the Internet to connect with their patrons to be able to help them. Libraries facilitate and provide access to information so an understanding of where people get their information from is critical.
Increased access to information creates opportunities for innovation and libraries can help make these types of changes possible. One example of a library model that can help to accomplish this is Library 2.0 which “…empowers library users through participatory, user-driven services” (p. 5). Libraries, which used to be a solo activity, are now focusing on group dynamics by emphasizing collaboration and connection. Libraries are focusing on better meeting the needs of users instead of managing the materials in the building. Weinberger’s book is important because the Internet’s impact reaches around the world and it represents a fundamental shift in the creation and consumption of information. There is much debate about if this is a positive or negative change, no one can refute that a change in people’s perception of knowledge.
Buckland, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: A manifesto. Chicago: American Library Association.
Casey, M., & Savastinuk, L. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford: Information Today.
Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York: Basic Books.
The foundational readings were really interesting because I like reading about how libraries are changing and what libraries will become in the future. Even looking back at the last 20 years, libraries and the materials/services that they offer have changed drastically. I was just talking to a friend yesterday about the changes in libraries and I told him that even small libraries are impacted by change. I work for a small library system (three branches) in the city of Alameda and I never thought about how much has changed there even though I had been a patron there since I was a kid. Since I have been in this program, I have begun to reexamine what libraries are offering and paying attention when I visit other libraries to compare what they’re doing to my library.
In the Buckland reading, one segment that caught my attention was when the author brings up the question of whether the rise of the Electronic Library revolutionary or evolutionary. I agree that it seems more evolutionary because as technology continues to develop, it is becoming integrated into more aspects of our daily lives, whether we like it or not. Libraries are just another organization taking advantage of new technologies and systems and adapting them to fit patrons’ needs. I think this is a positive thing because in order to maintain their relevance, libraries need to continue to adapt to community and societal changes.