Many public libraries today are expanding beyond a space to find and read books. Libraries are now becoming place where community members can come and interact with information in a new way and actually participate in a new experience (Hood, 2014). By incorporating technology and supporting interactive experiences, public libraries are providing opportunities for participatory learning experiences for many within the community. These kinds of unique interactions allow the library, community, and the world to connect through this integrated system of learning (Hamilton,2012). In my Director’s Brief, I propose the introduction of the Lookmobile, an interactive mobile library designed to activate outdoor spaces and increase hands-on learning opportunities, to the patrons and staff of the Yolo County Library system. Click on “Director’s Brief” below to view my assignment as a PDF.
At the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library, there is a unique type of learning space where Los Angeles’ diverse community members can create, explore, and learn at their new do-it-yourself maker space and audiovisual studio. This new unique maker space is 3,000 square feet of space for patrons to experience virtual reality (VR) systems, create 3D objects with the multiple 3D printers, or simply learn how to use a sewing machine. Use of all the items within the Octavia Lab are free to use and can be reserved for anyone. This space is truly an equitable space where patrons who may not have access to such technology can learn and grow as individuals.
As times are changing and technology is expanding at fast rates, it is important for public spaces such as the library to offer digital services such as these services. No longer is the library a place to simply find a quiet space and choose a book to read, it has become a space where patrons can create a video, develop an app using lines of code, or digitize old photographs and movies (Lippincott, 2015). The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) has taken note of these changes and have spent over three years developing the Octavia Lab and ensuring that it be built in a centralized area such as downtown Los Angeles, so that many diverse populations can easily access this space.
The Octavia lab offers course for certain age groups, such as afternoon classes for the elderly patrons to try out these new technologies and become more familiar with the digital technologies available. Children in the LA area are a prime target for the Octavia Lab and many library staff hope to inspire tomorrow’s engineers or scientists through these courses offered within the lab. Now more than ever, it is crucial for children today to take advantage of the digital technologies available to them so that they can learn about their digital intelligence. By utilizing digital intelligence, children will learn a vast set of social, emotional and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of digital life (Park, 2016). In the future, as libraries shift and adapt to the changes of the digital age, it is important to remain an equitable space where grown and curiosity are fostered and emphasized for everyone.
Lippincott, J. (2015). The future of Teaching and Learning. American Libraries Magazine. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2015/02/26/the-future-for-teaching-and-learning/
Park, Y. (2016). 8 digital skills we must teach our children. World Economic Forum. https://medium.com/world-economic-forum/8-digital-skills-we-must-teach-our-children-f37853d7221e#.789qtaw64
Storytelling has been a way of human communication and human connection since the beginning of time. Through storytelling, narratives have been passed along from generation to generation and classics and folktales have survived throughout time. Now in the 21st century, the arise of digital storytelling has now combined multimedia forms such as audio and visual elements along with people’s narratives.
Digital storytelling integrates reflection for deep learning, student engagement, technology integration, and project-based learning. By combining these ways of learning into digital storytelling, the process has now become a way for people to creatively tell their own stories with the use of technology. Libraries have recognized the power of digital storytelling and have even used digital storytelling within their own ALA, “Libraries Transform” Campaign (Boekesteijn, 2010).
Marginalized communities have also greatly benefited from the use of digital storytelling. Histories of underrepresented people have come to light and community involvement has been able to recognize the shortcomings such as social and racial inequities. For example, Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver partnered with community group Project VOYCE to facilitate youth engagement through digital storytelling. The high school students who participated created videos that reflect on their personal experience (Czarina, 2009).
In one example, a high school student shared her own digital storytelling experience by creating a multimedia video that shared her experiences of gentrification and community action. This impacting story fully represents the essence of digital storytelling and the potential it has to humanize social issues. It is through community engagement and the sharing of oral histories that these stories can be heard throughout the digital and global community.