Blog #4 – Mobile Apps for Libraries!

With the advancement of mobile phone technology and the penetration of smartphones in both advanced and emerging countries, institutions such as public libraries can use these devices to reach their users to enhance the user experience.  Something that caught my attention as I explored the readings for the Mobile Devices and Connections module, was the Library Journal article that discussed the beacon technology and its incorporation in two library apps.  I had never heard of such a technology being explored for library use and the possibilities in regard to marketing and enhancing the user experience seemed like a very meaningful use of the technology.  Although the article dates to 2014, similar technology is being used by business such as Starbucks, Disneyland, and other major retail stores for marketing purposes and to create an interactive user experience.

Earlier this month, my family and I decided to bite the bullet and take a trip to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland.  With the exorbitant single day ticket prices and our proximity to the park, we decided to purchase the annual passes to keep our sanity and not try and do the whole park in one day.  The ticket window attendant advised us to download the Disneyland App in order to make our visit a smoother experience by utilizing some of the tools the app had to offer.  Boy, were we glad we did. The application utilizes similar technology as the beacons except instead of using the Bluetooth radio on your smartphone, it utilizes the GPS radio.  The application allows you to check wait times for rides, it pushes notifications on upcoming showtimes, you can order food from different eateries through the app, provides a map of where you are in the park, and most importantly allows you to reserve fast pass tickets to avoid lines on some of the rides.  This last feature is one of the best features of the app as it helps you plan out your day and avoid waiting in lines of up to three hours for some of the more popular rides.  Disneyland has always been about the user experience and takes full advantage of emerging technologies to create a better one for its guests.

The Oceanside Public Library, which I work at, utilizes Innovative Interfaces’ app MyLibrary!, which integrates with our integrated library system (ILS).  The application can be utilized to initiate user requests such as search the catalog, place holds, renew books, and pay fines.  Along with these features the application also incorporates with the library’s social media in order to promote library services and share photos of library activities.  I think that future development of the app to incorporate location-based notifications can utilize the device’s GPS radio to push notifications to users as they enter the library similar to what the Disneyland app does.  Being able to engage the users as they enter the library by promoting all of the programs and services that are offered utilizing a mobile device, helps to create a meaningful user experience. 

MyLibrary! App

Blog #3: Hyperlinked Environments

The evolution of public libraries throughout the years has seen this important institution adapt and change to the needs of the communities it serves.  It’s ability to coexist with advancing technologies and provide its users with the necessary resources to help in their success, has kept public libraries relevant and maintained their importance in society.  For the Hyperlinked Environments Module, I decided to focus my exploration on public libraries to identify trends in the field that have caught on both nationally and internationally.

The one idea that stuck with me from my explorations was this idea of the “third place.”  This idea of making public libraries a place where families, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc., can meet to learn, play, and work should be the number one priority for public libraries.  Days of public libraries being repositories for expensive books, where you were told to keep it down if you so as much made a peep, are gone.  As I listened to the podcast St. Louis On The Air, it gave me a sense of satisfaction to know that the public library that I have been working at for the past 20 years, the Oceanside Public Library, has been following this model of creating a meaningful community space.  A space where teens have a place to hang out and feel safe, where students can reserve quiet study rooms, adults can use public computers to apply for jobs, the homeless community can find resources to help them get back on their feet, parents can borrow toys for their toddlers, and the list goes on.  A very important part of creating this meaningful community space is community involvement in the planning of new programs and services.  What does “the community” want?  That is the question we should be asking and by creating a participatory environment, who better to tell us than the community itself.  A great example of this is the Dokk1 Library in Aarhaus, Denmark in which Project Manager Marie Østergård explains how the community’s input was considered when planning the library.  She described it as the “living room of the city,” which is the perfect way to describe the community space they have created.  During a renovation of our library back in 2011, one of the main focus was eliminating a big percentage of the staff areas, which took up some prime real estate, and allocate it for the public.  By doing this we were able to create that dedicated Teen Zone, move in a computer lab that was offsite at the time, create three private study rooms for private use, and create an enclosed classroom-style room for instructional purposes.  Our remodel has been a big success in the community and much is owed to the years of planning and community input we received through surveys, community focus groups, and research on other libraries. 

It is imperative that public libraries continue to provide the necessary tools and resources to help communities thrive.  In order to be successful in this, community involvement in all phases of planning is of upmost importance and should be taken into consideration.  The community’s needs should be at the forefront of everything we do.   

Planning: Tecnología Para Triunfar (Technology to Succeed)

Introduction:

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and public libraries are in a good place to offer their communities the tools to be successful.  Libraries are now adopting new technologies to remain relevant in this digital age and are no longer just repositories for printed materials.  As Eric Klinenberg in his interview with Library Journal explains, libraries are a part of the “social infrastructure: places where people gather, bonds form, and communities are strengthened” (Peet, 2018).  Therefore, it is of utmost importance that public libraries not only offer the tools to be successful, but also help the users navigate those tools and also create an inclusive environment to facilitate community engagement for all.  

The Oceanside Public Library (OPL) has implemented new technologies for their customers such as a Makerspace, which includes 3d printers, a green screen, VR headsets, sewing machines, a computer lab, and other digital resources.  The library offers basic computer classes for adults and also drop in classes to learn how to use their portable devices with our eBook platform and digital streaming service Hoopla.  What the OPL is not currently doing is offering these classes in Spanish.  I have had the opportunity to work at the computer lab and have noticed the older generation Spanish speaking users have very limited computer skills making it extremely hard for them to complete important tasks such as job applications, registering their children for school, or communicating through email.  Although the digital divide for the Latino Community has narrowed according to the Pew Research Center (Lopez, Gonzalez-Barrera, and Patten, 2016), much of that has to do with smartphone adoption and the younger generations.  Broadband use at home is still low and that is where public libraries can play a big role for this community.    

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

My proposal would be to create a program called Tecnología Para Triunfar (Technology to Succeed), which would be classes in Spanish to help this community learn the necessary skills to use the resources they have at their disposal.  The series of technology classes would help the older generation Spanish speaking community in Oceanside learn basic computer skills such as web browsing, formulating an email, performing job searches, filling out online forms, navigating their mobile devices, and using technology offered by the library in order to help them be successful contributors in their community. 

  1. Provide a participatory learning experience for the Spanish speaking community where they can learn basic computer skills.
  2. Spark community engagement which will help the community participate in a meaningful learning environment with their peers. 
  3. Create an inclusive environment at the library by providing classes in Spanish.
  4.  Help promote the library’s resources to the community.
  5. Build a stronger relationship between the Latino Community and the Oceanside Public Library. 

Description of Community you wish to engage:

We would like to engage the older generation Spanish speaking community to participate in the classes in order to enrich their understanding of new technology.  Although the target audience is the older generation, we welcome all Spanish speaking customers that would like to learn how to use all of the digital resources available to them either at the library or in their home.  

Action Brief Statement:

For patrons:

Convince the Spanish speaking community that by attending our Spanish technology classes they will learn the necessary skills to be successful during present and future times. They will acquire an important understanding of new technologies that are crucial in the job market, education, and civic engagement.  

For staff:

Convince staff that by offering these much-needed classes we are creating an inclusive environment for a diverse population that is at a disadvantage in terms of technology.  These classes will encourage civic engagement helping build a stronger community.  

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Libraries that offer such classes:

San Francisco Public Library

New York Public Library

Denver Public Library

Houston Public Library

Other Evidence:

Tu Si Puedes – Beginner Computer Skills in Spanish

COX Digital Academy

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

The classes will adhere to all the policies set by the Oceanside Public Library including programming and use of any technology in the library.  We have an internet use policy that will be followed by both the instructors and the students participating in the classes in order to be in compliance with the policies of the library.  Any volunteers participating in the teaching of classes will go through the City of Oceanside’s procedures which include a vetting process that includes a medical examination and background check.  The programming falls in line with the Oceanside Public Library’s Mission which is to Engage, Connect, and Inspire the community of Oceanside.  Any additional policies will be presented to the Library Director in order to submit to the Library Board of Trustees for approval.

The

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Funding for the classes will be provided by the Library’s programming budget which has an allocation for computer classes.  A computer lab is available at the Civic Center Library for such classes with access to computers and other devices such as 3d printers and portable devices.  If further funding is necessary to acquire additional resources the Oceanside Public Library Foundation and Friend’s of the Oceanside Public Library could assist in providing one-time funds for the programming.  Federal and state grants can also be applied for in case of further funding needs.  

Action Steps & Timeline:

New programs at the Oceanside Public Library are evaluated by the Programming Team, which consists of the Division Manager for Adult and Youth Services along with the Principal Librarians and the Senior Librarians of the units.  The program, if approved by the Division Manager, gets forwarded to the Library Director and then the Library Board of Trustees for approval.  

Timeline for Tecnología Para Triunfar:

  1. Preparation of outline for programming series by the Principal Librarian of Adult Services to present to Programming Team. (1 week)
  2. Submit proposal for the program to the Programming Team. (1 week)
  3. Submit the program proposal to the Library Director for approval. (1 week)
  4. Library Director submits the proposal to the Library Board of Trustees (meeting occurs once a month) at their monthly meeting. (1 week).
  5. Once approved a request is submitted to recruit volunteers to assist the Adult Services Librarian in teaching the classes. (2 months)
  6. Create a curriculum for the courses with the volunteers and input from the community it will be serving. (1 month)
  7. Train the volunteers on the necessary resources that will be utilized. (2 weeks)
  8. Finalize the booking of the Foundation Room (computer lab) and set the days and times for the scheduled classes and their start date. (1week)
  9. Promote the classes in conjunction with the Community Outreach Coordinator. (1 month)

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

The program will be overseen by the Adult Service Librarian in charge of programming with volunteers teaching the classes.  Through a partnership with MiraCosta Community College, volunteers experienced in teaching at their adult learning center will be recruited to teach the courses. The Librarian will need to shift some of her hours initially to help with the creation of the curriculum and training of the volunteers, but once the program is up and running the volunteers will run the classes on their own. 

Ideally two volunteers would be recruited for the classes in order to help facilitate a large group of students should the need arise.  Also, with two volunteers knowing the curriculum it will help with flexibility and coverage should one volunteer be absent for unforeseen or scheduled absences.  

Training for this Technology or Service:

Training for the volunteers will include a new volunteer orientation program that is set by the City of Oceanside along with the volunteer training set forth by the Library.  Once the initial orientations are   completed the volunteers will go through a basic training program that includes the use of all the technology resources that will be utilized to teach the classes. 

The Information Analyst for the Library will provide training on the use of the projector utilized in the Foundation Room along with all of the student laptops and devices that will be used for the classes.  Further training on the Library’s resources will be provided by the Librarian overseeing the programming ensuring that all necessary tools at the disposal of the volunteers be covered.  

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

In conjunction with the Community Outreach Coordinator of the Oceansidepublic Library, the Programming Librarian will create marketing material to promote the classes.  Flyers will be created to hand out at local grocery stores where the Latino community frequently visit, sent to schools to send home with students, and also hand out during our Spanish story time for kids at both locations.  Our mobile libraries, which serve the Spanish speaking community, will also be heavily promoting the classes to the communities they serve through flyers helping spread the information throughout the city.  In addition to flyers the Library uses social media to promote library services along with the Library and City website.  

A press release will go out to utilize all the local media outlets and additionally the library will contact the local Spanish radio and television networks to advertise the program during prime time segments.  The Library has a marketing fund that can assist with the funding of the promotion of the project along with financial support from the Library Foundation and Friend’s of the Library support groups.

Evaluation:

It is important to continually evaluate programming in order to ensure that our programs are meeting the needs of the communities we are serving.  We will track the attendance of our programs to ensure that our promotion and marketing is reaching both users and non-users of the library for the purpose of maximizing our outreach efforts.  We will also provide a pre and post course assessment to help us tailor our program to ensure that we are meeting the educational goals of our curriculum.  This will also provide us with insight on the needs of the students prior to starting the course and see if we are meeting our outcome-based goals set forth in the planning.  

We will have the students participate in surveys and community focus groups which will help us to understand the needs of the students in order to help make improvements and changes to the programming.  This will also help us to engage with the community we are serving and create an inclusive and participatory environment which will help empower the students.  Our main goal of Tecnología Para Triunfar is to help the Spanish speaking community succeed in society and promote community engagement.  By listening to them and their needs we are positioning ourselves in a place to better serve them by facilitating access to the necessary resources we have to offer in an inclusive environment. 

References

Lauersen, C. (2018). 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/

Lopez, M. H., Gonzalez-Barrera, A., & Patten, E. (2016, February 23). Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2013/03/07/closing-the-digital-divide-latinos-and-technology-adoption/

Peet, L. (2018, October 3). Eric Klinenberg: Libraries and Social Infrastructure. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=181003-Eric-Klinenberg-QA .

Stephens, M. (2011). The hyperlinked library. Retrieved from http://mooc.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/StephensHyperlinkedLibrary2011.pdf

Blog #2: Hyperlinked Communities

This week’s module Hyperlinked Communities gave me an opportunity to reflect on how my institution, the Oceanside Public Library, is doing in respects to engaging the community and helping the citizens of our city thrive in our community.  Through the readings it is evident that we as information professionals in libraries play an important role and it is our responsibility to reach out to those communities and provide them with the necessary tools to be successful.  One of the biggest challenges we have faced is reaching the non-users in our city.  We have made great strides in serving the community with essential programming and offering services that are relevant to the needs of our users but there is a large population of our city that we are missing.  Although we have made some efforts to reach the non-users, from going out to the community to perform surveys to social media marketing, our efforts have not been fruitful.  The city of Oceanside serves a large population of Latinos and I feel that we are failing to serve that community to the best of our ability.  I believe one of the biggest challenges we face is creating an inclusive environment for the Latino Community being that we are a government institution.  Due to the current political climate and everything that has been happening regarding immigration, there is a definite fear and distrust in government which we must overcome.     

Christian Lauersen’s keynote speech at The UX in Libraries conference was a very interesting read as it pointed out how we as human beings are born with certain prejudices, and even though we say we want to create an inclusive environment, we all have hidden biases that affect us internally.  One of his main points that really resonated was that in order to create an inclusive community we must not just be good people; we must expose these hidden biases and provide the resources to help people work together regardless of any differences.  Public libraries should continue to serve as a community hub connecting people from diverse backgrounds with the tools and resources needed to thrive.

I have been fortunate enough living in San Diego County to take part in a bi-national conference, Seguimos Creando Enlaces, that brings librarians from the U.S. and Mexico together for two days to exchange ideas with the goal of serving the Spanish speaking communities in a more meaningful way.  I have attended since its inaugural year in 2012 and I have seen the conference grow in attendance demonstrating the interest of libraries to help support the Latino communities in their cities by providing them with much needed resources.  It is workshops like these that can help information professionals create a more inclusive environment and get past some of those biases that Christian Lauersen pointed out in his speech.  The exposure to some of the work that librarians are doing south of the border helps us to better understand what we can offer the Latino communities in our cities.   

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

In going through the list of books to explore further for this blog the title Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger, immediately caught my attention due to the nature of libraries and their need to stay relevant.  Finding a way to market the library and create an interest in something they offer that can “catch on” is important to keep libraries as an integral part of the community.  After further exploring the content of the book I realized that Jonah Berger’s message could easily be applied to libraries and was relevant to one of the primary goals of public libraries, to reach as many users as possible and provide them with needed programs and services.  What can we do as an organization to create a buzz that will keep libraries on the top of people’s minds?  Jonah Berger in this book lays out the ingredients to create this buzz and delves into the behavioral science associated with people, and what marketing tools are effective in making things go viral.  Effective marketing leads to success in any business and it can do the same for libraries.  Jonah Berger has a P.H.D. from Stanford and presently is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has written two bestselling books and has published various articles in some prestigious academic journals.  The reasoning behind him writing this book was because of the amount of students that could not get in to his class due to high popularity.  He wanted to offer those students an alternative and transmit the information from the course to them by other means.  

Jonah Berger in this book identifies six principles that are key to making something catch on and uses the acronym STEPPS to identify the six principles which are social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories.  He brings up an interesting fact that in order for something to go viral or be contagious word of mouth is the key driver behind it.  Jonah states “But word of mouth is not just frequent, it’s also important.  The things others tell us, e-mail us, and text us have a significant impact on what we think, read, buy, and do” (Berger, 2013).  Although libraries do a good job of using social media and new technologies to market their services, word of mouth can be even more beneficial since people’s words carry more weight amongst their close peers, co-workers, and family members.  This is especially important in getting the word out to non-users of libraries since they may not follow the library on social media or through the other means libraries use to spread their information.  Once people find out about programs and services that are being offered to the community through their trusted sources, they are more inclined to visit the library and see what the buzz is all about.  This is where Jonah’s principles can play a big part in creating an interest in what libraries are doing in the hopes of getting the programs to catch on in order to get information out to the community.  The following image illustrates John Berger’s Six Steps to Virality.

   Social currency speaks to how people will share information with their peers in order to make themselves look good.  If information is shared that is interesting or has a cool factor to it, the person sharing the information looks smart and it builds some sort of credibility.  In this step it is up to the organization such as the library to create a message that is going to empower the people to share the information to gain social currency and create that buzz that is much desired.  And why shouldn’t the library be one of the places to receive information and services from?  These types of encounters can be used to give a message that will carry a high value of social currency.  The second step in Berger’s principles involves the use of triggers, which help to remind people of the product or message that is being shared and it keeps it on people’s minds.  This in turn helps people to talk about the product or message because it is always on their mind.  One trigger that Jonah used to explain this principle was peanut butter.  Peanut butter serves as a trigger for jelly since we have come to associate those two.  The challenge is to create triggers and use them effectively to keep the product or message circulating.  Berger says, “Top of mind leads to tip of tongue” (Berger, 2013).  The third principle, and probably one of the most important one for the community, is emotion.  It boils down to the fact that people share something when there is a “high arousal” (Berger, 2013) of emotions. Getting the community emotionally charged over the positive things they are doing for them will ultimately get the community sharing all the good things about the services offered.  Just recently at the Oceanside Public Library we had our first set of graduates from our Career Online High School where students can earn their actual high school diploma.  The amount of exposure from students’ success, and all the support they received from the library, created a buzz for the program and we have had many prospective students inquiring about it. Berger goes on to explain that the six STEPPS can be viewed as ingredients to a recipe of success to make things go viral or catch on, but not all are required to guarantee it.  Of course, the more steps that can be covered, the better your chances are.  I see the great value in using people’s words to generate interest for the library among the community.  Like reviews in a participatory model, what people are saying about the library can help to encourage those non-users to reconsider visiting the library and making good use of the wonderful services and programming they offer.  Berger reminds us that we must not forget about our oldest form of communication as it can be effective in reaching a multitude of people when used correctly.

Berger, J. (2013). Contagious: Why things catch on. New York: Simon & Schuster

[KnowledgeAtWharton]. (2013, March 20). Why Things Catch On. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FejldMBgIs.

Blog #1: Evolving Libraries

Public libraries continue to be an integral part of communities throughout the world and they must continue to adapt to the changing needs of the people they serve.  In Library 2.0 by Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk (2007) they stress that change needs to be constant and purposeful in order to continue to provide its users with relevant services, but more importantly to reach non-users and provide them with services as well.  I found the reading to be of great importance and relevant to public libraries to this day even though it was written in 2007 and one of the most important ideas that resonated to me was that change needs to happen with a purpose and not just for the sake of change.  It is important to include the community we serve and the staff at all levels in order create change that will be meaningful and fruitful for that institution and the people it serves.

 The material made me start thinking deeply about how the Oceanside Public Library, the public library I have worked at for about 21 years, has followed the Library 2.0 method of change throughout my years of employment.  There are definitely some methods that we have adopted such as creating a participatory environment among the library staff and the customers we serve.  Through community focus groups that we have hosted and an online platform for feedback, we have created programming and services tailored to the diverse communities we serve.  One of our biggest challenges has been reaching the “Long Tail” of potential users being that our two branches and two mobile libraries are not equipped to serve the growing population of roughly 176,000 people.

Marketplace concept at the Oceanside Public Library Main Library. 5-10-2018

One of the biggest changes I have been a part of at the Oceanside Public Library has been a major renovation that took nearly half of the staff space of our main branch and converted it into public space in order to accommodate the growing user base we serve.  Major changes like these as well as automation have been received with mix feelings from staff, especially those employees that have been a part of the organization for many years.  Prior to the renovation decisions that affected the library were not openly discussed and were very conservative in nature. This time around the changes were well thought out and planned by getting both staff and community input through town hall meetings with stakeholders participating.  The renovation was a big success with both the community and the staff, and it gave the library new life that was missing prior to the major changes. Since the renovation which occurred roughly 8 years ago, our library administration has been more receptive of change as discussed by Casey and Savastinuk which creates a better atmosphere both with the community and the staff.  With the success of our changes it has made change easier for the staff and we as an organization feel valued when our input is taken into consideration by senior management. 

The blueprint of change that Casey and Savastinuk have laid out in Library 2.0, should be the standard for any decisions that are to be made by public libraries.  The idea of having three vertical teams (Investigative, Planning, and Review Team), which serve to include all levels of staff, is of great importance in order to get buy in from the organization.  And as the authors state, it helps staff be more receptive to change knowing their input is being valued.    

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.

This Is Me!

Hello all,

My name is Jorge García and this is my fifth semester in the program here at San Jose State. I was born and raised in Southern California in the coastal cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside with the latter being my current hometown.  I am on my 20th year of marriage to my beautiful wife that I met some 24 years ago and we have a 13 year old daughter that just started the eighth grade.  I enjoy watching and playing all sports but am especially fond of football, or what we here in the U.S. call soccer.  I’ve  coached soccer competitively for well over 16 years and up until about 5 years ago played the game.  I enjoy outdoor activities with the family and to be quite honest any time spent with family is definitely my preferred pastime.

The inspiration behind me returning to school and pursuing an MLIS is my passion for working in a public library and serving my community in a positive and impactful way.  I have been working in a public library setting since 1995 and have been at the Oceanside Public Library, my current employment, for close to 20 years.  I started as a library page in the children’s department and am now a Circulation Supervisor.  I think the most rewarding years of my library experience have been the nine years spent driving and working on our bookmobile just previous to me becoming the Circulation Supervisor.  It was extremely gratifying bringing the bookmobile to our underrepresented communities where most of the families don’t have the means to visit our two branches.  I have seen and been a part of some major changes in our library and I am excited for what the future holds for libraries.  We are striving to be one of the major focal points in our community in order to keep the community informed and engaged.

One of the other roles that I have at the Oceanside Public Library is that of assisting our principal librarian of adult services with collection development of our Spanish materials.  This has given me the opportunity to attend international book fairs both in Spain and in México in order to provide our Spanish speaking population with materials that help them feel at home in our community.  These experiences have helped me to get a better understanding of our community’s needs and to provide resources for our under served groups within our city.  One of the main reason why I would like to acquire my MLIS is to get more involved with programming for our Spanish speaking population be it with ESL classes, citizenship classes, or Spanish book clubs in an official capacity as a Librarian.  We see a definite need for this type of programming and we feel that we are the institution that should provide these resources.  I know this graduate program will give me the necessary tools to be successful in serving our community and I am exciting about starting this next chapter in my professional career.

I have grown up with libraries and have been a part of their exciting evolution to what they are today.  I feel strongly that libraries will continue to play an important role in communities and I would love to continue to be a part of the journey.

Thanks for reading!