As I sit here writing my last blog entry for this course, I
am both saddened and excited. Saddened,
because it marks the end to all the meaningful lectures, work, and discussions
I have been a part of in this course.
And excited to take all the meaningful and useful information and put it
into practice in my everyday life as an information professional. With over 20 years of public library
experience one may come to a point where they think there is nothing else to
learn, or that they’ve seen and done it all.
But this class has completely changed my view on this. As it was mentioned in the Reflective
Practice model, we must keep curiosity alive in order to continue learning and then
applying all that newfound knowledge to what we do in our institutions. Community needs are dynamic and never static;
therefore, libraries should remain dynamic as well. Constantly changing to provide meaningful programs
and services to the communities they serve.
The Reflective Practice lecture was the perfect culmination to
all the content in the course and what we have learned throughout the semester. We sometimes get so caught up in what we do
day in and day out that we forget to take time for ourselves to reflect on what
we are doing and how we are doing it. I
have been guilty in my years of working in a public library of getting into a
rut and basically just going through the motions at work. Taking a moment to step back and reflect
allows us to refocus our thinking and get our mind back on track on what is
important as we serve the public. Something
that really caught my attention during the lecture for this module was the sign
Michael mentions which is at the Salt Lake City Library hanging in one of their
workrooms. “We work together to make
lives better. We are: Inclusive, Open, Curious, Playful, Kind.” What better way to end this semester than we
these valuable words that should be hanging at all libraries?
For my Virtual Symposium I chose to do a 3-2-1 Report which really allowed me to reflect on some of the topics throughout the semester that really resonated with me and my role in a public library. Please enjoy!
The purpose of this Director’s Brief is to provide the Oceanside Public Library (OPL) director with a detailed analysis of the digital streaming service Hoopla Digital by Midwest Tape. This brief will provide the director with the necessary information as to why the digital streaming platform will help provide the OPL users with a resource that will bring resource equity and provide services to them whenever and wherever they are. With the high penetration of smartphones in the world it is important for public libraries to take advantage of this tool to reach both its users and non-users.
After going through the module on Infinite Learning: Learning Everywhere, I was reminded of the eight plus years that I spent driving one of the Bookmobile for the Oceanside Public Library. The city of Oceanside has a population of roughly 176,000 people and the two libraries that serve this ever-growing population are not sufficient. The library is fortunate two have two Bookmobiles in operation that serve various underserved communities throughout the city by bringing library services to them. Bookmobiles are a perfect example of what libraries can utilize to bring services to the communities and provide them with the necessary resources to fulfill their informational needs. The Bookmobiles have a small collection of both Spanish and English materials including books, magazines, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs. In addition, there are computers with printing capabilities for the public, WiFi provided through a hotspot on board, and iPads loaded with early literacy applications for the children. Back in early 2000, when I had the pleasure of bringing the Bookmobile out to the different communities, we would collaborate with different city-run community centers to provide programming to children and adults such as storytimes and book clubs. With the unfortunate closure of most of the centers, the library has stepped up its efforts and continued programming for the varying Bookmobile stops.
The Oceanside Public Library, with the help of funding from the Oceanside Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Oceanside Public LIbrary, have acquired a mobile outreach quit which enables our youth services department to take makerspace programming on the road. The Bookmobiles have been able to provide programming to its users such as 3D printing, VR demonstrations, video game programming, and other emerging technologies that they otherwise would not have the ability to experience. The programs have been well attended and the requests for our Bookmobiles to attend various special events throughout the city has increased in recent years. Having the Bookmobiles has allowed us to take our programming on the road with the hopes of providing equal access to as many citizens in Oceanside as possible and removing any barriers that may exist. My years spent driving the Bookmobile have been by far some of the best years due to the connections I built with the communities, and knowing that our presence in those underserved communities is making a difference.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Provide a participatory learning experience for the Spanish speaking community where they can learn basic computer skills.
Spark community engagement which will help the community participate in a meaningful learning environment with their peers.
Create an inclusive environment at the library by providing classes in Spanish.
Help promote the library’s resources to the community.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
for Tecnología Para Triunfar:
Preparation of outline for programming
series by the Principal Librarian of Adult Services to present to
Programming Team. (1 week)
Submit proposal for the program to the
Programming Team. (1 week)
Submit the program proposal to the
Library Director for approval. (1 week)
Library Director submits the proposal
to the Library Board of Trustees (meeting occurs once a month) at their
monthly meeting. (1 week).
Once approved a request is submitted
to recruit volunteers to assist the Adult Services Librarian in teaching
the classes. (2 months)
Create a curriculum for the courses
with the volunteers and input from the community it will be serving. (1
Train the volunteers on the necessary
resources that will be utilized. (2 weeks)
Finalize the booking of the Foundation
Room (computer lab) and set the days and times for the scheduled classes
and their start date. (1week)
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.