One Last Thought

I just finished my e-portfolio for INFO 289 and am riding pretty high. So, I will use this space to reflect on how I am currently feeling about where I am at.
After sifting through various course resources for this class, I have come to the conclusion that libraries aren’t going anywhere. Not that I though they were, but specifically to those who doubt us and what we do. Libraries fill all of the various gaps society needs filled because that is what we do. They give us all somewhere safe to go to be able to find whatever it is we are looking for. Doctrow (2013) talks about his experience meandering through a public library during his early teens. I can relate. I have often wandered through the stacks, even before I called them that, in search of anything, something and/or nothing at all. It’s where I discovered Alfred E. Neuman, Noam Chomsky, Rene Descartes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Howard Zinn and Harvey Pekar. A library is where I meticulously examined the career statistics of Pie Traynor, Honus Wagner, Willie Stargell, Jay Bell, Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat and so many others. It’s where, as a young teenager (maybe even a little younger), me and a couple of my friends began a fruitless quest to locate the libraries collection of Playboys. I was basically on exploring the analog version of the internet. As Doctrow (2013) points out, “It was clunkier before the Web went digital, but it was every bit as exciting.” (para. 5) I never really could pin down what led me here pursuing this, but remembering the productive and futile journeys at the library, the camaraderie nurtured within its walls and the curiosity piqued wandering its labyrinthine space, have convinced me that I have made the right choice.

Doctrow, C. (2013). Libraries and makerspaces: A match made in heaven. Boing Boing. Retrieved from https://boingboing.net/2013/02/25/libraries-and-makerspaces-a-m.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Technology and Other Stuff

Access right in the palm of our hands. Knowledge at our fingertips. Everything you want and need without ever having to wait. People are now used to instantaneously having everything they want and need. We don’t have to go anywhere to get everything we want. We can have groceries or food delivered to us in less time than it takes to cook or go out. We do not have to go to the store to shop for clothes, shoes or anything else. We can even get it shipped for free. We now live in a world where people never really have to do very many things that they do not want to do. This is our reality. How do libraries adjust to this new, ever evolving reality? What is it that they can offer people that they can’t already have?
It is obvious to us who work in libraries. We are a safe space. We cultivate community in ways other entities cannot. We offer free access to accurate, reliable and true information. We support early childhood literacy and lifelong learning opportunities. We do fun things where people can interact face to face in real life. We are everything that technology is not. Sometimes you have to wait. You have to get up and leave the house to come visit us, although not always with virtual reference. Libraries do offer many new cutting edge services, but we are so much more than that. We can offer people those cutting edge services and the opportunity to slow down and experience life, community and everything in between. And fines still suck.

The Plan

Introduction

My interest was piqued by all of the different things libraries were doing to redefine what a library is and does. The Anythink Library in Colorado is working to perpetually redefine the public library, the Camden County Library System is promoting a new type of literacy, food literacy, through the services it offers, the New York Public Library is reimagining classic novels through the Insta Novels on its Instagram account and the Maarifa Centres, or Knowledge Centres, in Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana that are hubs for the allocation and distribution of information in areas traditionally lacking in resources. The article that most intrigued me was about the NYPL and its plan to remove physical stacks from the library and open up space for services and people.
This transformation of traditional storage space inspired me to turn a portion of the youth services area at the Monrovia Public Library into a makerspace. The library already has a couple of components that can contribute to the makerspace and we will be adding more to round out the space. The MPL has three 3D printers, Legos, some robotics kits, different hands on circuit learning sets, art supplies and a couple of sewing machines. In addition to these components, I would like to add some space for the laptop computers and tools we already have to round out the space.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

Must be free for the public to take part in
Clear out some of the stacks in the youth services area to open up the space
Create an open, welcoming space for people of all ages to explore, experiment, share, create, etc.
Install more storage, movable furnishings, professional equipment in the new makerspace area
Increase the usage of the technology/equipment in the makerspace from intermittent to consistent
Partner with various community stakeholders to invest in the future of the people in the community by donating to the makerspace
Encourage interest in STEAM in the community, especially in school-age children and adult learners
Stimulate overall community interest in all library programs, services and space

Description of Community you wish to engage:

I wish to engage the youth of Monrovia to take up and interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math to better prepare them for their futures. I also would like to assist adults seeking to expand their skill sets with beneficial learning opportunities through hands-on experience and expert guidance.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince the community of Monrovia that by creating a dedicated makerspace in the Monrovia Public Library they will have more opportunities to create lifelong learning opportunities for all people in the community which will benefit the community and everyone in it because we will help to enhance the quality of life, expertise and life skills for the community as a whole.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service: (URLS, articles to help guide you)

https://slate.com/human-interest/2014/04/the-future-of-the-library-how-theyll-evolve-for-the-digital-age.html

https://www.urbanlibraries.org/member-resources/makerspaces-in-libraries

http://publiclibrariesonline.org/tag/makerspaces/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740818818302913

https://californiastatelibrary.submittable.com/submit/86f5fbe6-07bd-4a70-ae7b-36644930ae33/maximizing-learning-spaces-furnishings-opportunity

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service: (Who might be involved in setting policies? Where might you look for example policies? What do you want to include in guidelines for use?)

A committee will be formed to handle some of the planning for the new makerspace area at the MPL. All departments will be represented in the committee and all decisions will need to be approved by various community stakeholders, including, the Library Director, Library Board, City Attorney, City Manager and City Council. We will look to the policies set by other public libraries when they set up their makerspaces to guide us in the drafting of our guidelines.
The mission of the makerspace will align with four of the six areas of enhancement from the MPL’s Strategic Plan. Those areas include, enhance experiences, enhance access, enhance partnerships and enhance technology. (This is important for buy-in from the community stakeholders and maintaining a consistency in the library’s messaging.) The MPL wishes to enhance community access and experiences with technology through its new makerspace, thanks to partnerships formed within the community.
The guidelines and policy will be set, specifically, by the library director and supervisors of the various library departments. The committee will have input, but the final policy and guidelines will be set by the director and supervisors. When preparing the guidelines and policy, safety must be of paramount importance. The library is a public entity and the city will be held responsible/liable for any accidents or mishaps. We will need to consult with the city attorney to ensure there are no issues with liability.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: (Some projects may require staff time, in-kind contributions, pro-bono contracts. Others may require promised funding or cash. Grants? Donations? Fund-Raising?)

We will need some money to convert a portion of the youth services area to a makerspace. We already have some of the equipment needed to populate the space, but furniture, shelving and
some equipment will need to be purchased. We will depend on fund-raising and grants for funding the new makerspace. We can apply for a grant, like the Maximizing Learning Spaces – Furnishings Opportunity grant through the California State Library, to cover the cost of furniture for the project. The rest of the funding we can ask the Friends of the MPL, Library Foundation and/or Monrovia Reads nonprofit to cover the other costs of the project. Staff will need to be trained to work in the new makerspace. We can also rely on a group of well-trained and/or experienced volunteers to assist with the space. The city will have to have Public Works do some of the construction for the project, but some can be completed by other contractors.

Action Steps & Timeline: (Can your target Technology or Service be prototyped? What’s a reasonable timeline for this project? What are the project flow dependencies? Who has to say “yes?” What are the planned alternatives if there is a “no.”)

When considering a timeline for the project we must be realistic and take into consideration all of the different entities, groups and organizations that are a part of this process. Taking all of this into consideration, I think, roughly, 12 to 16 months is a realistic timeline.
Pitch idea to appropriate stakeholders to get okay to beginning planning process. (Library Director, Library Board, City Council) (2-3 weeks)
Form committee and begin to plan out the project and work out a design for the area (8-10 weeks)
Marketing and fundraising push for the makerspace, including forming partnerships and raising money (10-12 weeks)
Decide on the final design for the space (4-6 weeks)
Youth services area redesign and staff and volunteer training (24-35 weeks)
Draft final mission statement, policy and guidelines for the new makerspace. (4-6 weeks)

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: (Is this a new service that requires staff? Where will staff (or other) hours come from? Brainstorm some creative, outside-the-box ideas for generating hours.)

This is a new service that requires some staffing, but it does not need to be always be staffed because it will not always be open to the public. (The initial rollout will we limited in the amount of time it is open.) We will have a dedicated group of volunteers that we can roll out in coordination with the opening of the makerspace. There will be plenty of time to find them, certify them through the city (all volunteers must go through this process), and have them trained to work in the space. Staff will also be trained to work in the makerspace. Staff hours will come from the time we already spend working the STEAM programs the library currently offers, at least one per week plus planning and implementation, and through reassessment of how we staff the library. This should be sufficient to handle the increase in demand from the makerspace. If not, we can consider turning one of our three full-time librarians into the technology, or makerspace, librarian, taking one of the 5 library assistants and having them help to manage the area, have each of the pages and clerks help out in the area for a couple of hours each week or some combination of these suggestions to generate hours. We are really relying on the relationship between staff and volunteers and the responsibility/engagement of the community to properly manage the space.

Training for this Technology or Service: (Who gets trained? Who designs the training? When can training be effectively scheduled?)

Staff and volunteers will all be trained. The training will be designed by the makerspace committee, who will reach out to experts in the community to design the trainings. There should be one general training and a number of different specific trainings that deal an area of expertise, e.g., sewing, coding, robotics, circuitry, etc. This should allow the schedule to effectively be made using the trained staff and volunteers and allow for people to be able to choose what areas they would like to learn more about or exert their expertise.
Training can be effectively scheduled during the time the physical space is being transformed and built. This will allow ample time for people to become familiar with the area of expertise they are focusing on. Refresher, new staff or volunteer courses can be scheduled quarterly to train new hires and strengthen the skills of current staff and volunteers. This will allow current staff and volunteers the opportunity to fortify their training and the option of taking on a different area of specialty.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: (How can the new technology or service be promoted? Brainstorm some ideas to promote within your organization. Brainstorm more ideas to promote outside your organization.)

We will create all kinds of promotional materials and take advantage of all marketing avenues to promote the new makerspace at the MPL to those outside of the organization. We have the regular channels and modes of marketing and promotion we will take advantage of, regarding this new service, including, local government circulars, social media, physical promo materials (flyers, posters, banners, etc.) and email lists. We will also team with the school district to promote the space. On our daily trips to the local elementary schools and monthly trips to the local preschool, middle school and high schools, we can bring our 3D printers and Legos on the mobile library van to promote the library’s resources and the new makerspace. We can do demos, challenges, contests and other things to maximize engagement.
Another way we can promote the makerspace is to partner with different businesses in the area or other city departments. We can also rely on our existing relationships and use those to form new partnerships in the community. We can also partner with adult and trade schools and local community colleges to let adults know about the services we offer. This could involve flyers, outreach, or some other approach to marketing our services and resources. We also have an existing relationship with the management at a large shopping center where we could demo the 3D printers and some other resource we want to showcase. (Robotics kits, circuits, Legos, sewing, etc.)

Evaluation: (What benchmarks and performance metrics will you use to evaluate the technology or service. What stories are you envisioning telling about it? How might you expand the service in the future?)

Initially, we will use the same data and statistical analysis we always use to analyze our other programs. This involves headcounts every hour on the half hour and attendance at each unique program. This will also involve having people fill out short surveys to figure out levels of satisfaction and the areas we can improve. We will also have a feedback box to allow people to give us suggestions and critiques. This will allow us to measure both quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the work we are doing and services we are providing to the community. We will also slowly roll out the service at the beginning. This will allow us to better serve the community by figuring out what they want, how we can offer the services and allow us to gauge which services they enjoy the most. As Wickner (2015) points out it will give us an opportunity to learn from our mistakes.
We could expand the service in the future by transforming a portion, or all, of our mobile literacy van into a makerspace. This could actually be accomplished at a small percentage of the cost of the conversion of the physical library location. It would also allow us the opportunity to potentially impact a larger portion of the community’s population, especially the underserved portions of the community that need these services the most.

ALIN. (n. d.) Maarifa centres. Retrieved from https://alin.net/Introduction

Anythink Libraries. (n. d.) About. Retrieved from https://www.anythinklibraries.org/about

City of Monrovia. (n. d.). Monrovia Public Library strategic plan 2017-2022. Retrieved from https://www.cityofmonrovia.org/home/showdocument?id=8883

Ewen, Lara. (2018). A movable feast: Libraries use mobile kitchens to teach food literacy. American Libraries. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/09/04/movable-feast-library-mobile-kitchens/ https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/09/04/movable-feast-library-mobile-kitchens/

New York Public Library. (2018). Insta Novels: Bringing classic literature to Instagram stories. Retrieved from https://www.nypl.org/blog/2018/08/22/instanovels

Wickner, A. (2015) Designing library spaces. HLS. Retrieved from https://hacklibraryschool.com/2015/01/21/designing-library-spaces/

The Future

The future is exciting. The future is vaguely recognizable. Make way for progress. Buy in or get out of the way. Change can be positive and negative. After reading some of the articles related to this module I began to think about how much libraries have changed both over my lifetime and during the five plus years I have been working in them. They have evolved in an incredible manner in just a short amount of time.

I remember when I was younger the public libraries in my town resemble nothing they became when I later worked at them, all three of them. The public libraries in my town were brooding, quiet repositories of physical information. My family, and the other children my mom watched, went there when one of us needed a book for a report or when my mom wanted to take us somewhere free that could keep us all entertained. The in no way resemble what they have become with maker spaces, 3D printers, green screens, recording studios, robotics and coding classes, RFID tags on everything and WiFi everywhere. I could never have imagined what it is my public library has become. I never could or would have thought it would become what it has become. This causes me to be enthusiastic about the future and where we, libraries, are headed. 5G networks, AI, AR/VR, and all of the other two lettered advancements we have ahead of us. Who knows maybe some of the future developments and progress will encompass? We can only wait and see.

That’s Fine

Inclusiveness and equity are words we often hear bandied about in today’s library world. Libraries, especially public libraries, seem to be obsessed with ensuring everyone has a fair shot or is, at least, afforded the assistance they desire or need. At the very fabric of what we do, or will do, as information professionals is service. That is true of any type of library, academic, public, special, etc. The people we serve, the patrons, customers, students or whatever we call them are entitled to fair treatment and inclusion. This all sounds great, but what does it really mean? What is fair and equitable? If I provide a level of assistance for a young single mother that goes beyond what I would normally provide a patron, is this just? As a human being am I not allowed to let my actions be influenced by circumstance? If I handpick books for her and distract her child while she works on her resume at a nearby computer is this what others would deem to be right?

Many of the different places I have worked would have said no. This was not equitable treatment in their opinion. (Which i thought was wrong, but you do not want to stick out for the wrong reasons at some places of employment.) You were wrong to be empathetic and give the person in need different service than other people. It was such nonsense. The private sector was not for me. I am, luckily, working at an organization that values humanity and compassion over the appearance for fairness and inclusion. I enjoyed reading about the positive things being done to create true equity and inclusiveness at libraries all over. Like how some academic libraries allow student parents to bring their children when the need to do research or study or the Ghanian library that was the heart of the community it served. It is really exciting to see the users setting the tone for what a library should be. Oh yeah, fines suck.

Why Libraries Should Poke the Box

Libraries are headed somewhere. Where exactly somewhere is can vary depending on who you are talking to and when you talk to them. The old model of a static repository of physical information is archaic, outmoded. New, unfamiliar is what they are moving towards. Booth (2013) writes that, “We need to embrace the inevitability of constant change, new ideas and new ways for us to do our business.” (p. 7) Dynamism, transformation and reorganization are our new reality. This point is reiterated by Matthews, Metko and Tomlin (2018) who emphasize the importance of fluidity, participation and innovation to the modern library. We cannot escape it. This is the world we now live in.
Ideas are everywhere in today’s library world. People are unafraid to express themselves and share the ideas they have, but taking an idea and turning it into something concrete is much rarer. It can be scary to take a risk and risk can be viewed, by some, as a bad thing. Seth Godin in his book, Poke the Box, addresses risk and whether, in his estimation, it should be regarded in a negative or positive manner. On risk Godin (2015) writes, “Risk, to some, is a bad thing, because risk brings with it the possibility of failure…So, for some, risk comes to equal failure…Risk is avoided because we’ve been trained to avoid failure.” (p.14) It can seem daunting to take a risk, especially on an idea that is new, different and goes against decades of precedent. No one wants to fail, but we have to be willing to fail to ensure libraries remain relevant and essential to a functioning society.


Mattern (2014) intricately details the various forms libraries have taken and voids they have filled due to various influences, varying needs and forward thinking pioneers. The various areas public libraries have permeated and occupied due to necessity and gaps in services often is due to shrinking public budgets. This unfortunate situation has allowed librarians to innovate and step in to fill community needs that would otherwise remain unfulfilled. Mattern describes how the Seattle Public Library, Salt Lake City Public Library and the New York Public Library have all successfully sought out community partnerships to maximize the scope of their influence and effectiveness. (2014) This relates to Godin’s idea that to succeed people must be uncomfortable, seek out new ideas and partnerships and be willing to be curious and follow that spirit of inquiry. (2015) This leads to innovation and progress.
What can a librarian glean from a book like Godin’s Poke the Box? While it is full of truisms and phrases that might be considered, at the very least, borderline platitudes, it can teach librarians a couple of things. First, it is short and to the point. Presently, people love concise summations of a broader philosophy or idea. As a whole, our attention span is somewhere between 280 characters and 60 second video stories. Godin keeps his thoughts short and to the point. No “chapter” is longer than a couple pages and some are even less than ten words long. Librarians could benefit from remembering that people want something that is splashy yet succinct. Secondly, he repeatedly makes the point that people need to just go, to just try or to just go and try. Librarians could improve their community by going or trying. Change begins with that first step. Lastly, the title of the book, Poke the Box, means that people should not worry about fitting in or doing what is right. Conformity should be the last thing librarians are concerned with. There is no longer a formal blueprint for what a library is and this should scare, excite and inspire librarians. So, instead of saying that is how it is done, librarians should take Godin’s advice and go, wherever that might lead them.

References
Booth, M. (2013). People and UTS Library.

Godin, S. (2015). Poke the box: when was the last time you did something for the first time? NY, NY: Portfolio / Penguin.

Mattern, S. (2014, June 1). Library as Infrastructure. Places Journal. Accessed 10 Sep 2019. https://doi.org/10.22269/140609

Matthews, B., Metko, S., & Tomlin, P. (2018, March 7). Empowerment, experimentation, engagement: Embracing partnership models in libraries. E-CONTENT [All Things Digital]. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/5/empowerment-experimentation-engagement-embracing-partnership-models-in-libraries

n/a. (n.d.). Adelie penguin jumping between two ice floes. photograph. Retrieved from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/adelie-penguin-jumping-between-two-ice-403341514

Time to Face the World

Be the change you want to see in the world. Things change. Change is the only constant in life. Change, why is it so important? People are obsessed with it. I accept the value of change, but I also believe there is merit, worth and usefulness in continuity. Change for change’s sake is not beneficial, usually this type of change will lack in fundamental strength and will not be effective. There must be a reason and thought behind worthwhile change. Right? Dragging one’s feet and being change averse is also not helpful. You must be able to find a balance. People are complicated. They often want things that are not in their best interest while only pursuing what they believe is in their best interest. They can be swept up in a fervorous push for change while holding onto antiquated procedures or “traditions” that are well overdue for reform. This can make the work of a public servant difficult, but also meaningful and significant. It is confusing and contradictory, as Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.” We contain depth and want it all. 

Libraries are so much more than a static repository of books and other physical materials. I know we people who work in libraries like to think that we have moved past this, but my experience has informed me that much of the public believe otherwise. A flip cannot be switched that magically changes public perception. Libraries are doing wonderful, cutting edge work all over the world while continue to provide an array of invaluable services to the communities they serve, but we will continue to be inextricably tied to books and a physical place until we are no longer. Until that point, we will continue to work to dig ourselves out of that hole and avoid getting trapped in a different one.

Hello!

Hello everybody, my name is Josh Tuszynski. I live in the Los Angeles area and am in my last semester of SJSU’s MLIS program. I work at a public library as a children’s librarian. I have worked in public libraries for roughly five and a half years now and continue to enjoy the work. I chose this class on the recommendation of a friend and once I looked at the description of the class I thought it would be relevant to the work I do and will do in the future.

I am married and my wife just had our first child about six weeks ago. It has been kind of hectic adjusting to our new reality, but I am beginning to turn a corner. (A corner that my wife turned quite a while ago, she has been tremendous.)  

I enjoy playing video games, cooking and reading. I also enjoy going on long, mandering walks with my dog, but we have not been able to do this much lately because I have been pretty busy and we have a bobcat and coyotes prowling the neighborhood we live in. (The summer heat brings them down looking for food and water.) We take shorter walks and enjoy them, but both look forward to picking up our old routine in the near future. That’s it. I look forward to working with you this semester. 

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