Virtual Symposium: Final Presentation: 5 Key Takeaways

Hello Everyone!

This is an animated presentation of my 5 Key Takeaways from our Hyperlinked Libraries class.

Here is a PDF of the slides: INFO287_Final_Presentation_CGK_SLIDES

Here is a PDF of the transcript of my presentation: INFO 287 Hyperlinked Libraries Final presentation Transcript

I hope you all enjoyed this class as much as I did! Look forward to seeing your presentations this week. 


Inspiration Report: The Xwi7xwa Library’s Classification Scheme & The Mukurtu Platform

Xwi7xwa Library

The Xwi7xwa Library


Since the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in 2007, there has been a renaissance of focused advocacy and attention paid to the rights of Indigenous people all over the world. Though Indigenous Peoples and Nations have been fighting for their rights since the inception of colonization, UNDRIP coalesced and articulated these rights, giving them the international attention they deserve (United Nations, 2007). Part of the benefits from these efforts are the creation of Indigenous spaces such as cultural centers, health clinics, educational facilities, and of course, libraries. This inspiration report examines the burgeoning international landscape of Indigenous (or Native, or First Nations) libraries, and particularly how they organize information.


Welcome to Mukurtu

Executive Summary

As you may imagine, there are many Indigenous libraries around the globe. As librarians, it is interesting to know that many of them do not use settler or colonist-based organizational systems, such as Dewey or the Library of Congress. The reason an Indigenous library would create their own system of organization is the same reason a Fiction section in a public library might be organized by genre rather than the Dewey system: because it serves the library patrons and makes for a better user experience. This report will examine two Indigenous library innovations, the Mukurtu catalog platform, and the Xwi7xwa Library’s classification scheme, to get a better understanding of how these Indigenous library practices serve patrons.

Please see the full color report here: The Indigenous Library

And the PDF version here: INFO287_CGK_Inspiration_report

Library as classroom? Yes Please.

Since I am presently working as an elementary school librarian, the idea of the “library as a classroom” is really second nature. I have created a curriculum for my Kinder-5th grade students, with goals for each year outlined. In the library space, depending upon their age, my young patrons learn a love of literacy, how to find books, how to share space and resources, how to search our online catalog (beginning digital literacy), how to tell between fiction (stories) and nonfiction (data, or the beginning of information literacy), and self-efficacy. It is really difficult to teach self-efficacy, the appropriate conditions have to be present which allows students to make decisions for themselves. LA Public Library Children's sectionThe elementary school library is the perfect place for this. When students come into the library outside of their class time, they choose how to engage; Search for books? Sit and read? Make art? Volunteer? “[S]tudents are creators rather than consumers”: They just need the space and place to create in a safe (or appropriately scaffolded?) environment (Stephens, 2016). There are few spaces in our modern world where children get to choose to go, take themselves, and make all the activity decisions while they are there. This is part of why elementary school libraries are vital.

Additionally, the Elements of the Creative Classroom Research Model is a great resource to me as an elementary school librarian, and probably anyone doing programming. In this model, all the aspects of successful programming are clearly explained; infrastructure, content, assessment, learning and teaching practices, etc. (EDUCAUSE, 2014). It’s a good tool to review when creating and assessing programs.

It was interesting to read (again!) about the many innovative things happening in public libraries; from scavenger hunts, to family tech sessions, a kids’ maker space, all the outdoor learning and story reading, the curating of stories in many forms (i.e. the Story Bar), and the dinner with a librarian club (Bookey, 2015, & Stephens, 2017). When you look at a library as a place for knowledge (instead of books), then the possibilities for which information to share and how to share become endless. We are limited, really, only by focusing on the needs and priorities in our own communities. Yesterday I had the good fortune to interview for an internship at the Los Angeles Public Library.

LA Public Library Main Branch exterior

LA Public Library Main Branch exterior

At the end of the interview she asked if I had any questions. I asked her what is the most important change she had seen in the LAPL system (in her 35+) years working there? She responded to me that the present director of the library system had given library workers broad discretion in creating programs, events, and services for their patrons. Needless to say, I’m really excited for the possibility of interning at LAPL next semester!

LA Public Library Main Branch exterior, vintage

LA Public Library Main Branch exterior, vintage

Finally, a word about the decline of reference desk usage (Kenney, 2015). I think this is an opportunity. Let’s redesign the reference desk. I really like the idea of curated, topic-based “info sheets” (or bibliography?) that allows a patron to engage in the topic through the media they prefer. How about having a yearly “recommendation period” where a library asks patrons what they want to know about, do some voting, and then creating new info sheets once a year? Libraries can share these info sheets between them as well. I also like the idea of asking a patron approaching the reference desk, not just what they want to know about, but how they prefer to get that knowledge. Is it a podcast? Book? Website? It may take more time, but it will ultimately mean better service. LA Public Library vans

If you’d like a good laugh, please watch my newly created library welcome video:


Bookey, J. L. (2015, Apr. 29). 8 Awesome ways libraries are making learning fun. The Blog, Huffington Post. Retrieved from:

EDUCAUSE. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. New Media Consortia. Retrieved from:

Kenney, B. (2015). Where Reference Fits in the Modern Library. Publishers Weekly, 262(37), 18–.

Stephens. (2016). The heart of librarianship: attentive, positive, and purposeful change. ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Using Tablets in the Jackson Library: The Search is ON!

I am the Library Coordinator at the Jackson STEAM Dual Language Magnet Academy Elementary School Library.

Jackson serves over 600 students and their families. It has collections in Spanish and English, and a particularly large nonfiction section because it is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Magnet. The library has approximately 12,000 books and serves preschool-5th grade school-age patrons.

Presently, the library has no in-house computers, so students are unable to search the online catalog without their Chromebooks. Students frequently come into the library during recess and after lunch, but are not allowed to carry their Chromebooks around at that time. The library needs a way to allow students to search the catalog. In order to satisfy this need, the library would like to purchase four hand-held tablet computers. The tablets should have a case that allows a child to hold it with one hand, type with the other hand, and walk around the library. These tablets would have the online catalog loaded, allowing students to search for resources and refer to the tablet while looking at spine labels for the books of their choice.

As mentioned above, Jackson Elementary is a STEAM magnet, with a full-time science teacher. So having access to age-appropriate technology (and learning how to use it) is part of the school’s teaching and learning focus. Teaching students how to use technology, especially the skill of searching for information, is essential in our world today. Every student at Jackson has a Chromebook, and they can search the online library catalog via their Chromebooks. Since they don’t always have their Chromebooks in the library, it is important to have the ability to search the catalog while in the library. Additionally, in learning how to search the Jackson library’s online catalog, students will be able to walk into any public library and be familiar with it because we use the Dewey Decimal System, just like they do. Access to this technology thrusts our small school library into the 21st century. With this update, our library becomes an automated library with digital searching that is more readily accessible to students at all times (Buckland, 1992). It also allows students to engage with library resources in another, in a new and exciting way.

Take a look at the slideshow and action brief that go along with this blog post and idea:



The slideshow will be used to convince Jackson’s School Site Council that the library needs tablets. The paper explains the rationale behind it all.

Critiques and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

All the Stories: The Oral History Association Conference 2022

The timing of this week’s module topic, The Power of Stories, could not be better. This week I attended the Oral History Association’s (OHA) Annual Meeting (which is really just what they call their conference). It was an easy lift to get there because it came to Los Angeles, near where I live. Over this past summer semester I took an Oral Histories course because it was always something I was interested in. Our professor, Juliana Nykolaiszyn, encouraged students to apply for a scholarship to attend the OHA conference, which I was so grateful to have received.

At the conference I saw many examples of oral history projects and programs. Some included videos, some story maps, and others included photographic documentation. Some projects are documenting a disappearing community or language, other projects are making sense of historic events, such as the aftermath of 9/11 on New York Cities’ Muslim communities (Center for Brooklyn History, 2022), or the impact of gentrification on a diverse Latinx neighborhood (Tobar, 2022). Many, if not all, the oral history projects featured in the conference panels and workshops were the results of academic or archival research. One thing I heard over and over again in throughout the conference was the idea that oral history is the “democratization of history”, allowing for a broad range of voices to be present in the historic record.

Cover of the Oral History Association Annual Meeting Program

Walking Through the Fire: OHA Annual Meeting 2022

Whatever the topic, at the center of every oral history project are the narrators telling their stories in their own words. Oral history projects can be big undertakings. There are a lot of steps involved, including planning, finding equipment, storage, and legal forms to create.  While I believe that oral history projects are worthy endeavors, and should be done at every public library, it also takes a lot of time and effort. If you have good partnerships, however, any program is possible!

This leads me to (finally) our class readings. Narrative inquiry is an excellent form of oral history (oral history lite?) that essentially takes the story directly to whomever needs to hear it. Narrative inquiry can be a way of collecting feedback from our patrons, through asking seemingly unrelated questions, such as, “What would you like to learn about?” or, “What would you like to experience?” (Stephens, 2020). Another way to use narrative inquiry is the way the  Human Library does, by having a person offer to talk to another person about a topic within their own scope of knowledge or life experience. Erin Wentz’s article about this form of narrative inquiry makes a great case for why public libraries should be conducting these programs (Wentz, 2013). Wentz says, “Most public libraries… define themselves in part as places for people to find information and as places where people learn. The human library provides a place for people, both readers and books, to frankly explore ideas through one-on-one dialogues.” (Wentz, 2013).

Oral history projects and Human Library projects certainly have a lot of overlap; both are based in the quest for knowledge, and centered around the compassion of human connection. A Human Library project could lead to creating an oral history project. Public libraries could also feature links on their websites to oral history projects which relate to their own communities’ histories. Regardless of how stories are created, used, and shared, public libraries should be using them to expand their own knowledge offerings, which in the end better serves our communities.


Center for Brooklyn History (2022). Muslims in Brooklyn. Retrieved from:

Stephens, M. (2020). Office hours: Narrative inquiry. Tame the Web. Retrieved from:

Tobar, C. (n.d.) ¿Donde puedo ir? Searching for home. Retrieved from:

Wentz, E. (2013). The human library: Sharing the community with itself. Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from:

Literacy: Am I there yet? + Anythink

Circling back to my first blog post, I began with Dr. Stephen’s metaphor for learning: Awareness → Competency → Literacy → Mastery + Creation. Where am I in this cycle? Perhaps I have attained some competency, at least in the flow of the readings and the tenor of the ideas we are swimming in. If competency and literacy were on a spectrum, I’d say I’m probably flowing back and forth between them.

At any rate, the possibilities presented this module, called “New Models” are seemingly endless. I completely geeked out on the idea of librarians having their own playing cards, and being assigned to populations (schools or departments) of students at a university (Sullivan, Sclippa, & Riley, 2016). What a fantastic idea: Having a consistent person at a university library to consult with–and making it fun by handing out “playing” cards with their information on them. Another idea I loved is the bike library, from the UK (Clarke, 2015). Gathering unused bicycles, keeping them in good condition and allowing them to be checked out. As a person who cycles to work several times a week, this was very appealing.

Anythink library logoBut the biggest takeaway for me in this module has to be the entire concept of the Anythink Library. It’s really inspiring, to say the least. The vision statement in the strategic plan is simple, stating, “Anythink is the catalyst for innovation in our community.” (Anythink Library, 2018).

Hanging public art piece with white tissue paper as flowers at the end of sticks.

Collaborative public art piece at an Anythink library.

A library that thinks of itself as a “town square” (Anythink, 2018) gives you an idea that it is a central place, a place for any type of person, and that it is open to whatever is happening. Some day I would love to visit Colorado again, just to see all the branches of this library.


One thing I wonder about (a lot) is: Are  innovative libraries (such as Anythink) as great a place for employees as they are for patrons? A couple of pieces of evidence on the website point to YES in this case. The Anythink Library Staff Manifesto (um, they HAVE A MANIFESTO!) really explains the culture and attitude of the library, “You are not just an employee, volunteer or board member… You are the gateway into the mind of the idea people who come to our facilities to find or fuel a spark… Part wizard, part genius, part explorer.” (Anythink Library, n.d.). The second piece of information which is evidence that Anythink is as dynamic an employer as it is patron-provider, is the job description for Guide. The job description says, “You create amazing experiences for our library customers. You are the person who connects the customer with information they seek. You develop and implement outstanding experience zone programs. You are a trainer and program coordinator at the branch. You are a natural leader, knowledgeable on all library operations…” (Anythink, 2013) It really can’t get better than that, at least for me.

library closure warning from website

I’m so there!


Anythink Library (n.d.). Anythink staff manifesto.

Anythink Library (2013). Anythink Guide job description.

Anythink Library (2018). Anythink strategic plan 2018-2022.

Clarke, S. (2015). Bike Library scheme looks to extend across Yorkshire

Sullivan, B., Sclippa, E. & Riley, T. (2016). Librarians, The Gathering


Libraries as Social Infrastructure: A book review & commentary

As explained by Eric Klinenberg in Palaces for the People: How to build a more equal & united society

What is social infrastructure? A definition:

Klinenberg explains the concept of social infrastructure as the public spaces where people can gather, regardless of whether they have purchased something. This can include businesses, parks, organizations, libraries, and even sidewalks. Klinenberg’s expansive idea of social infrastructure is rooted in sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s “third spaces” concept (Klinenberg, 2018).

Palaces for the people is a book about the dire need for social infrastructure in the United States. The book gives examples of neighborhoods who have suffered after a major disaster, or economic downturn, and how they rebounded with non-traditional methods of capacity building; keeping empty lots clean, creating community gardens, investing in creative library programming, de-criminalizing drug use and offering medical support instead. Each of the case studies is different in their approach towards addressing community need. There are even more ideas in the book. All are compelling. I found the interviews with people who were deeply impacted by library spaces and programs particularly salient.

This book’s message, though written during the Trump-era presidency, is even more critical today. Life after the pandemic of 2020 has communities even more fractured and disconnected. The fracturing that began as a political fissure in the United States has illuminated chasms of all kinds; socio-economic, racial, and even generational.

Klinenberg’s book is a kind of roadmap to rebuilding the connective tissue that is vital to every neighborhood. This connective tissue allows residents to thrive, and communities to develop resiliency. The bonds and mutual interdependence built through allowing spaces for community interaction are what make residents able to care for themselves (and each other) better. Klinenberg wrote this book after researching a public health crisis in Chicago which was brought on by a heatwave. He examined why some Chicago neighborhoods had lower death rates during the disaster. The underlying factor? Community connection allowed residents to help prevent deaths (Klinenberg, 2018). It really was that simple.

The importance of libraries is a topic frequently discussed in the book, mainly because libraries are often central to a community’s connective tissue. Libraries offer meeting spaces, places and time for spontaneous community interaction, community support through programming, and even shelter from inclement weather (Dixon, 2017).

For this book Klinenberg interviewed many people, and some particularly about their experiences with libraries. He states that the interviewees discussed, “Discovering an interest that they’d never have found without librarians, open stacks, or a video collection. Feeling liberated, responsible, intelligent. Forging a new relationship, deepening an old one. Sensing, in some cases for the first time, that they belong.” (Klinenberg, 2018).

One of the interviews that made this book so compelling, was with Jelani Cobb. Cobb is one of my favorite authors, a professor, and a staff writer for the New Yorker. In the interview he talks about the importance of the library to his upbringing. The library was a place of learning and exploration for him, and he frequented his local library in Queens, New York with his mom. In the library he stretched his intellect and the books there inspired many a valuable conversation with his mother. When Cobb’s mother passed, he donated a computer to the public library of his youth in her name.

This book gave me a great understanding about how libraries are an important part of the social fabric and infrastructure in our country. It illustrates very well Laurersen’s idea and definition of “social inclusion” (2018). I highly recommend this book not only because of the plentiful library-based examples within it, but for getting a a valuable picture of how social infrastructure is built: one relationship at a time.


NOTE: Please read this book review in its book report presentation: CGK-Libraries_as_Social_Infrastructure


Dixon, J. A. (2017, October 15). Convening community conversations. Library Journal, 142(17), 41+.

Klinenberg, E. (2018). Palaces for the People. Vintage Press.

Lauresen, C. (2018). Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond.

Tech is only a beginning.

Taking a quick pause to post another reaction on the blog. I just read Boyd’s Medium article, What world are we building? (2016). Boyd asks some terrific questions. For my Info Communities course I read a book called Race after technology: Abolitionist tools for the new Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin (2019).

Picture of Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin

Benjamin furthers this discussion and details some of the disastrous consequences of technology when it is designed by the few. I highly recommend this book, it is quite enlightening.

I am a hopeful person (a wizard?). I like to see tech as a beginning. A possibility. But tech is really only as good as those who are programming it.

In my Indigenous Librarianship class we are talking about ethics, and concerns about what happens to artifacts, remains, and traditional knowledge that resides in archives, museums, and libraries. This conversation is not unlike talking about who owns our own data–the information we create everyday online. Who “owns” this knowledge, or information? Even asking that question is really a minefield of rights, acknowledgement, and ethics. In the last few years, the United Nations and other organizations have stepped in with guideposts such as the

Picture of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (PNAAM).

Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

Protocols for Native American Archival Materials





Perhaps it is time for the United Nations to put together some similar guidelines on the use of big data and the rights of the individual? If we had such guidelines, there would be no excuse for companies, governments, and organizations to act unethically; they would have a framework with which to measure their actions.

Tech, when it is at its best, is a place where information (knowledge) is exchanged. It isn’t in itself a solution to anything, more a part of a process that allows us humans to interact more thoughtfully, and with care.

Food for thought.

Benjamin, R., (2019). Race After Technology: Abolitionist tools for the new Jim Code. Wiley.

Boyd, D., (2016). What World are we Building? Data Society.

Kohel, C. G., (2021). Race After Technology, Book Review. Medium.

United Nations, (2008). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Blog Post #3: The Transparent “No”

The idea of having open conversations–or transparency–is such a vital tenant to strive towards. I say strive because, well, in the US I think we struggle with transparency. Susan Scott’s TED talk on Radical Transparency does a great job of calling out the alethophobia, or the fear of telling the truth, which is endemic in the American workplace (Scott, 2011).

Thankfully, technology has pushed us towards transparency because so much information and knowledge are more readily available to us: We can check sources and find affinity groups. Through technology, we can see in real time that there are many others in our community experiencing similar things, or have similar ideas. In the library world, knowing what our patrons and communities want is really easier to track, not only through social media, but our very own website and blog comments.

Part of being transparent is figuring out why we say “no”. In a work place environment that has programming and serves patrons (such as libraries) it is especially important to understand why we would say no to a service or program that our community is saying it needs. Often, there are practical or monetary reasons for saying “no”. However, sometimes saying “no” is linked to our cultural identity–and yes libraries have cultural identities. If we are saying no because, “we’ve never done that before” or “that’s not how we do things” we are essentially saying no from our own perceived idea of what our library is/is not. We are ascribing an identity to our library. But does our identity include offering timely, appropriate and community-centered services? Are we finding ways to say “yes” and reflect our community’s changing needs? Saying no because of a notion of how things “should be” will stifle a library’s ability to be responsive to its community’s needs.

Let me give a concrete example. In the elementary school library where I work there are a lot of rules. Rules help young students learn important library behaviors like, “don’t leave books on the floor” or “use your inside voices”. However, I have changed some rules to meet student needs and incentivize student participation in the library. In other words, I have found ways to “Turn ‘No’ into ‘Yes'” (Casey, & Stephens, 2007). In our library, students turn in a permission slip from their parents allowing them to check out books. Now if there isn’t a permission slip on file, then I have to say “no, you can’t check those books”. However, last year I created a book hold system which holds the books for a student until they turn in their permission slip (or even late books). This way I don’t have to say no, and it in turn helps students remember to turn in their permission slip or late books. I know this program is working because this year I have quite a bit

Books on a shelf with hold slips sticking out.

Books await their patrons.

more students who have turned in permission slips and can check out books. At the elementary level, a library shouldn’t be about fines or shushing or shaming (well, libraries should never be about those things!). It should be about access to books, learning to share, and learning to make decisions for oneself. When thinking of making new library rules (or rewriting old ones), I always ask myself, “is this helping a student get access to books?”. If the answer is no, then I know I have to come up with something better.

Casey, M. & Stephens, M. (2007, May 1). Turning “No” into “Yes”. Tame the Web.

Scott, S. (2011, July). The Case for Radical Transparency [Video]. TED Conferences

Does Library = Books?

As I make my way through Module 4’s readings, I must pause a moment to respond to something. Brian Kenney is a library director in White Plains, NY. His article, Three Ways Publishers and Libraries can work better together (Publisher’s Weekly, 2016) talks about the importance of the relationship between publishers and libraries, particularly around the subscription to eBooks. This is an interesting discussion, and Kenney’s perspective is vital as he has worked in both publishing and libraries.

However, I must take exception to something else Kenney says in the article. He states, that “in survey after survey, the public still overwhelmingly views the library brand as books.” (Kenney, 2016). With surveys, devil is always in the details. I wonder, if the library’s brand is perhaps not books per se, but knowledge. Kenney bemoans the LIS faculty, panelists and conference speakers who proclaim that, “public libraries should be community centers, agents of innovation, knowledge creators, and makerspaces.” (Kenney, 2016). I suspect that LIS folks understand that Library = Knowledge, not Library = Knowledge Format, in this case, books. Kenney himself discusses this very notion in his article, The user is (still) not broken (2014). So perhaps the outreach and marketing we deliver should focus on the types and formats of knowledge we have to share, and the fact that there are many. What do you think?

Elementary School Library

Jackson Elementary School Library

And my parting thought, will be the same as Kenney’s in this same article. Kenney stated  how, “a stack of books in the corner of a classroom is not a library.” (Kenney, 2016). As an elementary school librarian, I completely agree. Please support libraries in every school, even at the elementary level.



Addendum: I have just read the Stuck in the past section in The Heart of Librarianship (Stephens, 2011)… and I feel so validated.

Brian K. (2014). The User Is (Still) Not Broken. Publishers Weekly, 261(4), 19–.

Brian K. (2016). Three Ways Publishers and Libraries Can Work Better Together. Publishers Weekly, 263(7), 19–.

Stephens, M. (2016). The Heart of Librarianship : Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change. ALA Editions.