Karah's #hyperlinkedlibrary Blog

Some takeaways from Hyperlinked Environments….

Posted in Uncategorized by on March 13, 2019
I bought Keva Planks for the school library in January, and I’ve been happy to see the students using them regularly.

I first perused the materials for the Hyperlinked School Library with a guiding question in mind:  How can I bring activities and programming to my school library that are useful and valuable to my users?  How do I bring in and promote content that is useful and valuable and builds upon our school’s shared vision?  It’s complicated because what might be valuable to the users may not hold value for the administration, which brings me to the reality of advocacy (the part of my librarianship I struggle with the most). And public education is not known for its clarity of vision. But I think the short answer, at least, is to adopt the building mission–the principal’s vision–and link my efforts to those values:

The Bloomfield Public School district, a culturally diverse system, is committed through cooperative efforts within an educational community to provide an equal opportunity for all learners to achieve individual success and to be prepared to meet the needs of an evolving society.”

I am fortunate because my principal is supportive and is interested in the idea of bringing a maker space to the library.  I have been intrigued but overwhelmed by this prospect, but I think it would be great because it would be useful and valuable as well as provide great opportunity for advocacy.  I post pictures and stories on social media to share what goes on in the library already; images from the makerspace would be great PR. In one of the module articles “The New Black & Veatch MakeSpace at the Johnson County Library”, two librarians who operate a makerspace at the Johnson County library in Kansas give their advice for getting started.  One librarian said he could boil it down to six steps:

1) Track need and interest from the community, 2) Find an internal champion, 3) Make a plan – use the data you collected to articulate your goals, 4) Get funding, 5) Buy Equipment/Software, 6) Launch limited activities and usage.”

I love a simple checklist, but his colleague said she didn’t get up and running the same way and offered this advice:

I tell librarians to start with small programs and get people excited. From excitement and interest, the patrons will lead the way on what kinds of things they’re interested in. It’s all downhill from there. If you are successful, funding will be easy to get and justify. No one cares what people say on paper. They care about how many people show up. Stop talking endlessly about how, and just start doing stuff.”

I make note of both pieces of advice and plan to revisit both as I work towards my own makerspace, but I am particularly struck by that last bit: “Stop talking endlessly about how, and just start doing stuff.”  It’s like she’s speaking directly to me–this is me.  I need to stop talking and thinking and researching and just do it.  I am proud of the use the Keva Planks I purchased are getting, and it makes me very optimistic about the use a makerspace would get, but I just need to take the leap.  I know I get bogged down with that original question about how to make it valuable… I worry it will not look “academic” enough or something.  

Some additional takeaways:  

  • I had the pleasure of taking a class with Dr. Loertscher last spring, and I am super excited to see his work on the LIIIITES Model on this website. There is a wealth of information on the school library here, and I’ve already explored a bit as I’ve been exploring building a website for my school library.  I found an excellent example in the Wilton High School Library Learning Commons and have bookmarked it to use as a guide.  
  • That same high school maintains a Digital Learning website I’d like to explore as well and possibly emulate; unfortunately, as it stands now, it would be miraculous if our school could agree upon and then consolidate resources in a similar way, but it’s worth looking into, at least.

11 Responses

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  1. Amanda Carey said, on March 13, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    I LOVE the photos of your students using the Keva Planks! They look so engaged! 🙂

    We do a solo cup stack challenge a couple of times a year and get a great response. (We put out 100 solo cups and challenge students to use them all in 1 tower/structure) I bet the kids would have a great time upgrading to Keva Planks. It’s so fun to see kids trying to outdo each other and find innovative ways to build the best tower.

    • Karah Iansito said, on March 15, 2019 at 10:22 am

      Thanks for the feedback, @arcarey! I love the idea of creating an organized challenge, thanks so much for the idea 🙂

  2. Michael Stephens said, on March 14, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    The Keva Plank activities look AMAZING!

    I am glad the Johnson Co. video inspired you. Both librarians gave good advice. I think the the “stop talking” bit is the best! 🙂

    • Karah Iansito said, on March 15, 2019 at 11:50 am

      Thank you, @michael! That is the bit I need to keep at the forefront; I think I read elsewhere in the module a similar sentiment… think of everything as beta, always evolving and changing, and this idea helps me keep the fear of failing in perspective.

  3. Lisa Semenza said, on March 15, 2019 at 6:45 am

    It’s great to see what kids will do when you just leave stuff out to interact with. We have a lot of games/activities that are always available but most of the time they don’t seek them out unless it is story hour time. If I leave something out and started on the table, everyone, including the adults will interact with it in some way when they pass by.

    • Karah Iansito said, on March 16, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      I noticed that, too. The Keva Planks website does have some lego-like instructions, and when I left those out, students interacted with them more, and then if they left their structures up, that invited more use… very cool. Thanks for the comment @lisasemenza 🙂

  4. Liz Olson said, on March 17, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    I loved the photos of the kids in your library! I also thank you for the Solo cup idea! I work at an elementary school library and that is the exact type of project I am going to do! I’m so excited!

  5. Heather Canfield said, on March 17, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I love how you have the Keva Planks in a high school library. I feel like so many of these things are seen as the realm of only an elementary or middle school library even though, as your post clearly shows, the older students can get just as much out of them. The pictures are really great.

  6. Karah Iansito said, on March 21, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for reading, @karen!

  7. Karah Iansito said, on March 21, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Thanks @hcanfield! I was apprehensive about that perception, too, but the librarian has them at our middle school library and she said they get good use, and they have them at Duke University’s library, too. I used this as my pitch to administration, and I was so happy that he was into it.

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