This is my contribution to the Virtual Symposium for SJSU’s INFO 287: The Hyperlinked Library. Encouraged by Michael Stephens’ sentiment that “Hyperlinks are people too,” and from his work The Heart of Librarianship, this presentation reflects upon how hyperlinks are tools for compassion.
The following link is the presentation above with the script provided in the notes:
Stephens (2010) recently asked: “As technology continues to evolve so quickly, TLs are faced with many challenges: providing resources, supporting the curriculum and guiding access. What can we do to ensure we are best meeting the needs of our students and their learning in times of change and challenge?” Less than 30% of public libraries and schools collaborate to share digital resources, including eBook collections. This director’s brief argues that collaboration between public libraries and schools is essential in order to consider fiscal and holistic solutions to address literacy challenges and hyperlinked community building. Research shows that hyperlinked consortiums of public libraries and schools increase literacy rates and nearly triple circulation numbers. In the end, students stand to reap the benefits of collaborative services that meet their literacy needs that will both align with Common Core standards and spark curiosity in readership.
Now that children are in “home school” because of the pandemic, it seems like learning is some new thing that parents must instill. We (caretakers) are commonly so nervous that our kids won’t learn enough, or learn as much as the others, or that we are not teaching it “right”. (I won’t even breach the topic of the challenge that teachers face in suddenly transferring classroom learning to virtual learning, with higher expectations now and pressure from parents who don’t know what to do! That is another discussion altogether for which I have great compassion and admiration for teachers. As I have great compassion and admiration for parents who are facing double-duty.) I think a big strain on families right now is that we suddenly need to teach and hold onto our careers simultaneously, or literally be on the phone with unemployment all day. Thus, we have no time to figure out how to teach in the midst of the struggle to make a living.
This scenario has caused me to review where learning comes from, or at least consider the values of everyday experiences as learning opportunities. I can’t recreate my 5-year-old daughter’s classroom exactly, although we do have a handmade alphabet and number line hanging in our family room.
I have come to accept that my daughter is learning much outside of the structure of school that I try to provide, despite that I cannot replace her classmates and all the experiences that it provides socially. For example, speaking of infinite learning, everyday on our walks or bike rides, we pass by Caroline, our elder neighbor whom my daughter and I love. We learn so much just from our interaction: we practice social distancing, a lesson in math (what is six feet?), paired with a new understanding regarding germs (science). Verbal communication with Caroline always involves many questions for my five-year old to answer loudly and articulately. She practices being social with new language skills. The weather is always a topic of discussion, another daily pre-K classroom exercise we get in a new way. My daughter also gets to experience respecting elders in this interaction. We make sure Caroline has enough food, she feels well, and we always offer any help she might need. Sadie always asks about her two walking sticks, so we discuss balance (physics and anatomy) and the importance of exercise (P.E.) to keep moving for your own health. In many ways, reconsidering what learning is and the value of these pandemic experiences is a new type of schooling. It helps me to consider placing less pressure on myself to be the school that she doesn’t have right now. There is learning everywhere.
I focused my reading this Module on Learning Everywhere and Professional Learning Experiences. It is an interesting juxtaposition. With a background in teaching (and the new teacher-mother for now of my curious five-year old), I feel that learning is everywhere. I have particular compassion for library staff and part-timers who need skill building opportunities. I am very much a supporter of learning access to all; it is probably why I chose the teaching profession. Like Stephens expresses in his articles about Professional Learning, the opportunity to make in-person connections is vital to our professional development and learning.
A few years ago, I led a workshop with a mentor of mine about simply discussing the compassion and transformation that is built when teaching oral history. Oral history educators, and us as facilitators, took time in a circle with a few fun exercises to talk about how the experience that our students endure when finally practicing oral history interviewing creates compassion. It was so refreshing to share stories of transformation. We also were able to share stories of struggle and challenge in the midst of interviews, and how to troubleshoot issues that arise in these intimate scenarios. More than ever, even at conferences like the Oral History Association Annual Conference, did we need to sit and discuss the real-life heart of our practices, beyond the academic and theoretical needs we all have as practitioners.
I love Stephens’ concept of “heart” in librarianship, and I think it can be applied to many professions. It reminds us of why we do what we do, and it gives practitioners a chance to learn from each other, share stories, and build community. It is the perfect way to develop professionally. I think these learning experiences don’t have to occur at conferences, at great cost, or even with great time restraints. We can set aside short time periods for workshopping – read: sharing—our thoughts and exchanging our heartfelt ideas. In the context of this pandemic, I am finding it so helpful to exchange often humorous stories with other caretakers on how we are living and teaching our children, and how they are teaching us. It is an amazing lesson in tolerance, patience, creativity, comedy, and resilience, to name a few non-standardized objectives!
The other day I told my Google Home device to go to the next song, and my 5-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, you were kind of mean to Google just now.” It is so confusing to explain that the “Google Lady” is not a person. To model social graces, I might just have to be more polite and patient with this tiny little, ever listening speaker that sits in my kitchen. I only use it for listening to the news or music when I cook. I quabble with my daughter who tries to out-shout me to get the Google Lady to do what she wants, “Hey Google!” she yells after I have told it to play the news, “Hey Google, play Elsa music!” At which point, the Google lady begins the Frozen station obediently. I feel doomed and should really take Elsa’s advice to let it go, but I am hesitant. Kelly (2018) explains “some research indicates children understand …Google Home is a piece of technology, but they also see these gadgets in psychological terms — as having emotions, as being capable of thought and friendship, and deserving of moral treatment, Severson added.” I suppose I can feel good about the fact my daughter understands how to care for other’s emotions through tone of voice, but still…
I unplug it often. I don’t rule out that Google is listening. I suppose the convenience of it makes me bend my leniency. One time, I was laughing with a room full of people, and my Google Home started laughing too—unprompted. It was so creepy. I turned it off for months.
I know I am going to have to embrace this little thing (as a symbolic gesture of accepting IoT), despite the confusion it brings to my daughter and I trying to navigate our playlists and manners. You should have heard the last time we had a play date: two five-year-old’s became aware that Google Home was on. The shouting match of requests that followed was unbearable. I almost felt bad for the Google Lady.
Looking down the pathway to libraries as my new workspace, I know that IoT will need to be utilized, and we need to anticipate how to use them to our communal and civic advantage. As Stephens (2018) suggests: “Of course, the more interesting functionality will come when we can ask our virtual assistants to look up books at our local libraries, place holds, and even read the books to us.” I can see how even the Google lady can help us meet new trends in user connection.
I remain concerned about privacy issues, especially regarding library accounts. Griffey (2019) highlights an important aspect of indulging smart and smarter machines: “As more libraries and library vendors move into developing AI and machine learning systems, we should be sensitive to the privacy implications of collecting and storing the data that’s needed to train and update those systems.” From my own experiences, although embarrassing to admit, I think I often sacrifice a concern for privacy over the intrigue and convenience of new technology. One example of this is engaging with the ads that come up in all of our internet usage. The incessant running shoes that I looked at last week keep popping up in my emails and searches, and damned if it doesn’t remind me of my running aspirations. It is important for librarians to work for people to combat complacency and convenience of our patrons so that their privacy is ultimately protected.
Finally, I do admire the sentiment noted in the OCLC (2014) report: “Several librarians indicated that libraries should wait until the technology is more widely adopted and available until investing time, effort and money into developing IoT services” (p. 5). Librarians can model slowing down, protecting privacy, and strategizing about the best technology implementation as they face changes.
Stop-Motion Animation Library Lab for
Youth in Rural California Communities
The Stop-Motion Animation Library Lab (SMALL) is a
program targeted towards young library patrons. Implementation of a SMALL will
benefit youth of all backgrounds; however, it will especially be fruitful for
youth who are from agricultural, rural communities in California, who face
inequalities in educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering,
art, and mathematics (STEAM).
Many youths from such communities like Salinas,
Watsonville, and the Central Valley are English Language Learners, from first-
and second-generation immigrant families, and/or steeped in historical
inequities, and often enrolled in schools with low test scores and free school
lunch programs. Young people who fall into such unique types of demographics, face
complex challenges in their informational needs, especially in regards to
access to science education (Shea,
M., & Sandoval, J., 2020). In short, this
SMALL program would work well to target youth who do not have ready access to
high technology makerspaces and quality school programs in STEAM because of
systemic inequities in the California school system and beyond.
(As an educator in these unique communities, I have
personally witnessed the gaps in access and education that many students face.
I strongly feel that libraries can provide significant supplemental educational
programs, like SMALLs, to help ameliorate the inequities that exist for young
people, especially in regards to STEAM education.)
It is important to note that this program can run in any
library, and anyone can use it. It will enhance a library’s STEAM initiatives
and engage participatory services using emerging technology trends. For the
purposes of this project, however, special focus will be on this special
information community in need of STEAM experiences to bridge the digital
divide, so-to-speak and build cultural competence for libraries in rural
communities. It would best be placed in a youth area of a library, if
Objectives for SMALL:
To introduce HiLo
approaches to integrate technology trends into libraries with limited resources
based on the premise that “cost shouldn’t be a barrier for meaningfully
including technology in … creative pursuits” (Shea and Escude, 2019). HiLo is a
term which represents the idea that high technology with low cost digital tools
can engage patrons “in high-complexity thinking and creating” (Shea and Escude,
To integrate HiLo
digital tools to foster STEAM learning in the library, especially for young
afterschool users who are underserved in their communities.
To support STEAM
experiential learning opportunities, especially for young patrons who do not
have access to a makerspaces or robust STEAM programing.
Users: Convince youth library users that by participating
in the SMALL they will have fun with storytelling and technology, which will
enhance their engagement with STEAM because they deserve to learn high
technology skills and produce narrative products for their community that
express their creativity.
Library Organization: Convince youth librarians that a
SMALL is a HiLo way to engage students in STEAM applications with a low-barrier
entry level for youth and facilitators.
Useful Resources and Guides
Paley, V. (2004). The classroom as Narrative. Schools:
Studies in Education,1(2), 63-74. doi:10.1086/589211
Gabrielson, C. (2008). Stomp Rockets,
Catapults, and Kaleidoscopes: 30+ Amazing Science Projects You Can Build for
Less than 1$. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
Shelley. (2018). What is STEM and STEAM? A guide for parents and educators.
To engage the diverse community of young patrons in the
creation and dissemination of information through trends in emerging technology
which foster STEAM skills. To provide inviting spaces, where innovation will be
sparked and curiosity ignited. To consider participatory programming
opportunities that inspire young people to share creativity and build community.
Life-Long Skill-Building and STEAM benefits of SMALL:
Implementing a SMALL into a library space will foster
inquiry based learning, or what Booth (2011) correlates with “Discovery
Learning”: “…a problem-based or inquiry-based learning, takes place when
students form knowledge by way of inquiry and direct experience” (p. 53). This
type of learning is ripe for a library that aims to honor Library 2.0
approaches, as emerging trends engage communities of discovery and
A SMALL can provide the emerging technology trend that
will create participatory experiences of discovery STEAM principles that include
“innovation, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving” (Shelley,
Shea and Escude (2019) contend that “The magic of
stop-motion is in how inanimate objects come alive through the manipulation of
time, sequence, visual perception and creative storytelling.”
While the library staff and
administration would be involved in setting and facilitating the policies, the
following recommendations are encouraged:
expression and creativity:
Because this project naturally
encourages young people to express stories through imagery, there may be causes
for concern regarding content expressed. For example, graphic imagery (like
violence or pornography) may be of concern. However, Shea and Escude (2019) suggest, for
example, that “Using violence in storytelling can also help kids make sense of
violence they may have seen, felt or experienced in their own lives and
surroundings.” So, be advised that to sensor the expression of this content can
close doors to the topics and themes that young people are navigating. Stories
with graphic content can lend insight into the information needs of the unique
information community of your library users. It is recommended, therefore, that
when “disturbing” stories are produced and shared, that librarians and staff
see this as an opportunity for discussion, questions, and insight into services
that might support young people in their learning development and life-long
information needs. Building rapport and collaboration with schools and
counseling departments can help to discover ways to address the content that
might be of concern. Additionally, if a young person is sharing such content
with the wider public, there are many learning opportunities that exist in
discussing information literacy.
with participatory programming in mind:
It is important to reflect upon the
best practices in how and where students submit their stories to the wider
community. There might be an option for students to keep the videos private,
but also an option to submit the videos into a dropbox-like collection, which
can then be viewed by librarian staff/administrators, to then be used in
multimedia facets: videos can play on screens or media displays in a loop in
the library or on the library website, videos can be posted to Instagram hashtags,
film festival events virtually or physically could help build community, awards
can be granted for videos submitted through crowd sourcing, inspiring a
creative and competitive edge and the community participates.
Lab set-up, maintenance, and recommendations:
This project is very flexible regarding materials and
energy output of staff. The main efforts will involve setting up the lab workspace
and stop-motion stations. I.T. might be involved in the initial technology set-up
that the library has to provide. However, technology set up could only be a matter
of downloading a free app and making sure camera/phone is attached and
functional to a tablet or computer set-up. Since it is simplistic in nature, it
is reasonable that staff and/or volunteers can participate in the initial
It is entirely possible to set-up the workspace in a
manner that no staff are needed to facilitate this service after set-up. The
first few days/weeks might require some technology or in-person support, but
after some time, it is expected that users will help each other. The long-term
benefits are valuable in this regard.
For the day-to-day maintenance, staff might want to reinforce
the “clean up after yourselves” motto, or they can take a few minutes
throughout the day to clean up if necessary. Depending on the age-range aim,
middle school students and older are very capable of creating this project on
their own (and cleaning up) with just the tools available at the workplace
station. Also, young people and caretakers can collaborate in such a project
together, and reinforce the clean-up philosophy.
It is possible that users will have questions and want to
troubleshoot. This will have to be discussed based on the availability of staff
and librarians. An excellent instructional guide from the app itself is very
helpful, not to mention the thousands of resources easily found on YouTube and
simple Google searches. The troubleshooting can be seen as an information
literacy learning opportunity in the making. Many students who are highly
engaged often refer to such online support to make their movies more complex,
like adding audio, or to fine-tune their editing.
There are plenty of videos also for educators to teach
stop motion, which can even be used to convince your staff and administrators
about the value of SMALL experiences, like this well polished and sponsored
video, focusing on the value of stop-motion in arts education in particular:
When the program starts, it is suggested that a volunteer
or a “regular” user sit at the station and make stop-motion and engage with
onlookers or young people interested, to encourage getting started. Peer
support and collaboration works naturally for this project and is highly
encouraged. Participatory service aligns strongly with the SMALL. That being
said, there may grow to be “regulars” at the station, or young people who can
be determined as “experts,” who could be role models and supporters for other
users. Service-learning hours could be fulfilled if such a program were popular
afterschool and on weekends. The SMALL provides the perfect opportunity for
community building and service learning.
A laminated one sheet list of instructions (see appendix)
could be utilized and/or a Libguide, or instructional video could be set up on
the computers that will be set up at the stations. In fact, there doesn’t need
to be any computers at the stations, given the capability of many students who
have mobile devices. However, it is suggested that presuming all young people
have access to a cell phone and an app store, especially in the rural,
underserved target communities, even though the app is free, might not be
practicing cultural competence. Therefore, it is suggested that several
computers/laptops, or smart tablets are set up with recording camera
capabilities, so that people can access the technology if they don’t choose to
or do not own smart phones or tablets.
It is recommended that no new technology needs to be
bought. The “stop motion” app is completely free to download and use. If the
library so chooses to upgrade the app, after some time in seeing successful
creation and depending on patron engagement, staff and administrators might
decide to invest in the upgrade, which is $4.99 per computer. It is an
inexpensive upgrade: Less then $20 if it were to be upgraded on 4 computers at
Materials and Tools:
The materials to make the videos can be upcycled, reused,
and acquired by a donation drive, or thrift store purchases. It can be a fun
challenge to meet a zero-dollar goal as far as materials are concerned. The
possibilities are endless, and a simple inventory of what the library already
has material-wise can get it started. Young people can bring in their own
materials as the program takes off. Some suggestions include:
construction paper or recycled paper from the library
paper fasteners (if desired) to allow students to make
joints for character movements. See image.
pre-cut characters (can be re-used and shared and/or
created with craft cutter)
More complex materials:
*craft cutter (vinyl and paper) and computer: if already
available a craft cutter at the station can be a great way for students to
produce images for motion stop. The cutter saves time in cutting and allows
students to access this emerging technology tool. It also might be considered,
that if the program gains momentum and is in high demand that a craft/vinyl
cutter be purchased (they are around $150 and exemplify the HiLo approach).
Animation stages/rigs (see Instructables for further resources) can be prebuilt, like this one:
But a phone or tablet can be wedged between library books
to keep the camera still while setting up the images.
The Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop Coordinator, Darren Gertler, came up with the following HiLo Rig:
Movies can be captured in dynamic ways which allow for no cost or little cost: with a rig where the phone or camera faces down. On a table top where the camera from a computer can be adjusted downwards, with a camera facing a stage backdrop. It is suggested that different set ups are at the table, and encouraged that young users get creative with how they want to shoot. It is part of the learning process and takes STEAM thinking to set up and produce.
Planning and Time
The SMALL can be prototyped as a station with both
physical and technological restraints. Because of its flexibility, it can be
set up on a table, with limited resources. As you can see, there are several
inexpensive rig prototypes that can be used and reused. A library can commit to
the HiLo approach and only use what they have to create prototypes (books, soda
bottles, and cardboard—all items a library might have on hand) to prop a phone
up or build prototypes for the long term.
It is suggested to pilot the program with basics, keep in
mind the philosophy behind HiLo. Similarly, Booth (2011) suggests for teaching
technology: “There are plenty of costs associated with developing and
customizing emerging technologies in an organizational and educational setting,
and Free (Libre) Open Source Software (FLOSS) alternatives to fee-based
services regularly present themselves as useful alternatives” (p. 65). Booth’s
(2011) suggestions also counters Stephen’s (2004) “technolust” obstacles in
technology use in libraries. Bottom line: Use the free app and free stuff for
initial set-up, until users might want more options and based on evolving information
Furthermore, if the library community wants to practice
the HiLo lifestyle, the set-up of a program can be fairly immediate. The
library can use what they have, download the app on computers/tablets with
cameras, and set up a table and it can get started in a matter of days, even
hours. The background decisions and outreach with staff and administrators might
take longer. A pilot could ensure a quick set up, and then a re-visitation with
staff and administrators might mean further planning and time. Depending on the
culture of the library, perhaps, a “do-first, then ask for forgiveness-second”
approach is preferable to such a low-risk program.
Staffing and In-Person Program Support
A volunteer/staff member/librarian/administrator might
set up the pilot of the program. This might take part of a day’s work for set
up. The maintenance of the station can be low, if the station is set up with foresight.
A young person who loves the project is a good target to
use as a peer mentor at the station. If young people take to it, leadership and
community building skills can be fostered if a young person is asked to be a
mentor, especially with a schedule. Furthermore, as previously recommended, service-learning
hours can be fulfilled as a station facilitator and stop motion “expert”
Volunteers from any walk of life can help with the
station. Even if the volunteer has no training in stop-motion, the troubleshooting
and problem solving with users at the table can create a quick experience of
Parents/guardians can help younger children.
Technology troubleshooting is likely the most time costly
in-person investment upfront, but once the SMALL is implemented at the library,
it is only a matter of time that the users will grow accustomed to the program
and can likely help any newcomers as the program gains momentum. Thus, there
are upfront hours to be invested that will likely subside.
It does not take a degree or special training to
facilitate the projects, so any level of staff can commit some time to
facilitation. Ideally, the less facilitation by staff the better, because these
projects without staff support encourage STEAM skills, problem solving,
critical thinking, independent dedication, and confidence building. This is a
low stakes entry level kind of skill that can easily be mastered without the
in-person help of staff, especially if the technology is well running (the computers
work and the cameras work and the app is functional).
can be playing to provide a context for the project. It also makes the creation accessible because most young people are familiar with animation. A matter of simple explanation can be deduced or explicitly told: animation is a series of pictures taken that trick the eyes into thinking that the objects are moving. About 6 pictures per second make animation.
Because the stop-motion animation videos are products to
market themselves as the program runs, the videos submitted to the library can
be used for promotions.
Participatory programming offer marketing opportunities,
like film festival, or contest, or Instagram and social media sharing opportunities.
Signage, website advertisements, and word-of-mouth are
great proponents for encouraging users to use the SMALL. Also, placing the
station in the middle of a youth space is ideal, or wherever foot traffic is.
Any censoring of the videos could take some time. Posting rules about posting obscene imagery to help users self-censor their submissions is strongly not recommended. Allow students to create their narratives and use the products as signals to any further support needed as earlier suggested. If there is a trend of “disturbing” videos, then librarians and staff can work with schools or social workers with how to move forward. Given the understanding that some themes that young people will create will be reflective of the culture we live in, as Shea and Escude suggest (2019).
The videos themselves serve as evidence of
Quality and quaintly can help provide metrics.
Community judging of videos can help to self-evaluate.
Users can provide verbal or survey feedback of
how it is working for them and what their needs are going forward.
The video collection can become an archive, or a
means to evaluation. It can be run on social media and evaluated by the
community as such. Librarians do not need to be the judges.
(Laminated One Page Instructions for SMALL
Simple Instructions for Stop Motion (Can be in various languages spoken in community)
Stop Motion: a series of pictures
that are combined to create animation.
Download Stop motion on your phone or open on library computer. “?” button will guide the editing and design process.
Design set backdrop/background
Arrange action figures/shapes/dolls/playdoh, etc.
Slightly move objects to create the animation
Take picture and repeat.
Consider include credits page as one image before or after movie (your name/s title of movie, etc.)
View movie and edit as needed.
Add sound and design filters if desired.
Identify the title of the video (include your name/avatar if desired) and export video to the library Dropbox (or Instagram, etc.)
Avoid using dialogue or words
Camera needs to be still and in the same place.
Typical movies are 6 frames per second. For example, if you want a 10 second clip you need 60 pictures.
Instructional manual is within the app for questions, troubleshooting or more complex design options.
Collectively, many of the articles concerning academic
libraries reflect upon the radical changes that some universities have
implemented and will need to continually revise, and what some academic libraries
lack (need to change) in their positioning in the digital age. Much of the focus
involves changes that are evident inside and outside the walls of the library. Also,
the user and their needs have changed, as has the information.
To use one of MIT’s library approaches, I collected an Idea Bank of examples
to share for this blog as I research Academic libraries. The following themes
are what I focused on:
Libraries are not what they used to be (research happens outside the library)
Libraries are designed spaces that support creation and innovation, and build community.
Information literacy looks different today.
Collection management and budget should be focused on the public domain with social understanding about privacy and ethics central to sharing information
I collect passages and quotes for my learning process, and I thought I would share some of the most impressive passages that Stephens curated for this Choose Your Own Adventure Module about Hyperlinked Environments. The resources are linked from the author’s name if you’d like to explore further.
Libraries are not
what they used to be.
Libraries are designed spaces that support creation and innovation, and build community.
Some universities have embraced these truisms. The physical library and/or the inherent approach of the mission and values align with the digital age and the Library 2.0 landscape. Some Academic libraries serve as strong examples of change in their approach and renovation based on the truisms above.
Eventually working with Academic Affairs, and the campus chaplain, Carroll University started a food and supplies pantry in the high traffic area of the library, which grew to various locations on campus to address food and economic insecurity that students face:
Our Philosophy To stock it, we first asked staff for donations of
non-perishable items. One of our librarians, Meghan, came up with our guiding
philosophy of “take what you need, give when
you can.” This means that if you’re in need, take something–no
questions asked. When you want to “pay it forward” then drop off a donation.
That’s why we refer to it as a “food share” on our campus. We
also strongly felt that the food pantry should be unmediated. With sensitive
issues such as food insecurity, people may feel embarrassed to ask for help.
The food pantry is self-service. We promote it as judgment-free zone. It
doesn’t matter if you’re out of money for meals or you’ve had back-to-back
classes and you just need something quick from the pantry to nourish yourself.
It’s there for you.
The library has been renovated since this article, but the
leading philosophy and vision for the renovation was well inspired and reflected
a Library 2.0 model:
renovated building will ditch the traditional single entrance in favor of
multiple points of access and egress and feature some food options to take
advantage of its central location on campus…
O’Donnell [who lead the renovation]
explains: I want a building that is a showplace (a sign of ASU’s academic
and achievement) and a showcase (a place to make people aware of library
treasures and resources and of the achievements of student and faculty
partners) and a showroom (a place for users to go to find out about and road
test and learn how to use information resources for best contribution to
academic work and ambition).
partnership with Digital Science. The connection between a university
library and a technology company may not be immediately obvious, but we are
both committed to helping the research community conduct their work in a
smarter way in order to fuel discovery.
Webster reflects on the trends that CMU follows which serve
as illuminating examples for academic libraries envisioning how to embrace change:
At CMU we’ve seen the number of visits double
in the past decade. Meanwhile, for most disciplines, the researcher finds her
information needs met entirely outside the library. Put crudely, the success of
our online services has driven the researcher away…The key point is that we
are operating in a hybrid environment, both in the use of information resources
and in the use of library spaces: we must meet information needs from both
print and digital sources; and we need to provide spaces that serve those who
need a quiet space alongside those who need collaborative facilities.
Example 1: I loved the refining of the definition by Fister:
Here’s the old
definition of information literacy:
Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively theneeded information.
Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflectivevalued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.
emphasis on information as something that is socially negotiated, that is
complex, that isn’t merely something you find and use but is created by people
– including our students. We need to think about this as we design our
collections and services.
Oregon State University librarians worked with Freshmen Writing Seminar faculty to support the learning behind research for research papers. They found that collaborating with teachers was integral in supporting students’ needs and sparking curiosity (not “passion”) in the research process. As a former teacher of Freshmen Writing Seminars, I felt this was a strong example of how librarians and faculty need deeper collaboration to support student information literacy challenges. OSU librarians explain that:
As librarians, we need to advocate for our students to get the help they need from the very start. By shifting the discourse to focus on curiosity within the classroom, providingactivities grounded in low-stakes exploration, and encouraging self-reflectivebehaviors focused on curiosity, we can provide opportunities for more studentsto create their own new knowledge.
management and budget should be focused on the public domain with social
understanding about privacy and ethics central to sharing information
Example 1: Research in the Commodity Age
an academic librarian, Fister explains that librarians try to eliminate the
stress from the very consumeristic attitude that researchers (faculty and
students) have by hiding the costs of burden that libraries take on to meet the
expectations of researchers. They want researchers to use the library for their
information needs. However, she proposes a new way of understanding research/information
that involves new public domain and sharing practices, shifting away from the commodity/consumer
So many of our decisions as librarians in the past decade
have reinforced the information-as-a-commodity, research-as-consumerism model
that Google and Amazon have made a part of everyday life…
we don’t want to stand in the way of research by exposing the ugly underbelly
of the system or adding any friction… So we make the costs as invisible
as possible, the acquisition of stuff as easy as we can.
If we think
about information as something communities create in conversation within a
social and economic context rather than as a consumer good, we may put less
emphasis on being local franchises for big information conglomerates and put
more time, resources, and creativity into supporting local creativity and
discovery. We may begin to do better at working across boundaries to support
and fund open access to research rather than focusing most of our efforts on
paying the rent and maintaining the security of our walled gardens.
Example 2: In the quest for supporting information literacy, are academic libraries doing enough in the following instances? The overwhelming issues of privacy and security need further focus:
Surveillance has become the dominant business model of the internet and, by extension, news media. This has huge implications for intellectual freedom and for society at large.
Privacy is more important than ever, but surveillance is the default setting. There are things we can do, but most people don’t know about them. (If they did, it could threaten the business model of the internet and news media.)
Aggregated data, much of it gathered through companies that build wealth through surveillance, is being used to determine who gets jobs, who gets arrested, who gets mortgages, and who gets elected – or at least what highly-tailored messages we see that nudge us to vote for one candidate over another. Our lives are increasingly governed by big data locked in big black boxes, combined and sold in the dark.
Big Data has the capacity to do many wonderful things, but we need some social agreement on how it can be used ethically.
The systems we rely on are increasingly important but extraordinarily vulnerable because so many of them depend on networked software that isn’t secure. It doesn’t take much to take out internet service in large parts of the world, to set off a city’s warning sirens, or to take over computers in businesses and hospitals worldwide. It doesn’t help that governments are more interested in exploiting software vulnerabilities than in securing us from attack.
I am so grateful I got to attend Michael Casey’s meet up
with our class. I found it very helpful to hear his advice to future applicants.
Enthusiasm is a significant factor in doing well in interviews. In essence, I
remember him saying that though experience is important, it can be superseded by
an applicant’s energy to be visionary and advocate for change towards Library
2.0 services and strategies.
I am eager to keep learning about the 2.0 world and how I can be an advocate. As I plunge towards Casey’s advice in the MLIS program, I find it interesting to observe people in conversation with me when I tell them what I am studying. As so many articles note, most people I talk to believe libraries=books. Kennedy (2014) concurs: “According to a 2010 OCLC report, Perception of Libraries, 75% of Americans primarily associate libraries with books.” Subsequently, some people I talk to recognize that internet access is now why libraries are important. So, libraries=wifi? These conversations sometimes come to a dead end at this point because I can get tongue tied when I have so much that I want to say.
I struggle with the oversimplification of libraries while having these conversations. I am overwhelmed with where to start in response to invite the person to indulge in what libraries can and are doing. I usually tell stories about cool programming, like the one about the library that hosted a local butcher to butcher a pig in the library. Suffice it to say, I need to practice my pitch. To do so, I created an artifact that offers illustrations that libraries=people, and I focused on our two modules Participatory Service and Hyperlinked Communities. I am hoping that collecting brief reviews like this slide show will help to keep me (and anyone interested) agile when we talk libraries with friends and strangers. Inspired by the storytelling avenue, I compiled concepts from our readings these last two weeks, and some of my own interests since I live in California.
Consider it a cheat sheet. Maybe someday it will be helpful to review before an interview to get fired up. I was inspired by Kennedy (2014) as he reflected on Schneider’s “The user is the Sun” mantra: “If libraries remain focused on channeling their resources toward helping people solve their problems and meet their needs, then we are providing a service so unique in this world that it will be hard to readily dismiss us.” Shine on.
Sheninger and Murray ’s (2017) Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools Today is a useful resource for librarians, especially in the Library 2.0 trajectory. Sheninger and Murray (2017) focus on how schools can implement learning beyond the classroom walls, create a creative and connected culture of learning, and enrich schools with new and hyperlinked 21st Century approaches to learning and engagement. As such, librarians can benefit from this book by gaining insight into the challenges that schools face (which are similar to library challenges), so that they can better support schools. Librarians and administrators can also consider similar strategies towards resolution and innovation for the future. Consequently, replacing the concept of “school” with “library” when reading this book makes for a fascinating and relatable read. The “8 Keys” that Sheninger and Murray (2017) present can be aligned with where libraries are heading, especially concerning youth and the mission of Library 2.0’s life-long learning.
Before jumping into the 8 keys, it is essential to lay the purpose for such radical change in education (and libraries as support systems in the educational world of K-12 education). Sheninger and Murray (2017) claim that learning needs transformation because of the “American Education Crisis” (p. 1). While dismal to read, framing education in “crisis” really illuminates the need for revolutionary approaches. Librarians can find a plethora of similar scholarly work regarding the crises of libraries (Just look at Matthew’s (2012) inscription on his “Think Like a Startup” article: “Facing the Future: We don’t just need change, we need breakthrough, paradigm-shifting, transformative, disruptive ideas”). Clearly, analyzing why we need change is essential for both educators and librarians.
Some of the failures relate to a
decrease in student interest and engagement. One of the most discouraging
insights Sheninger and Murray (2017) find is that “…the longer that students
are in the K-12 educational system, the less they feel interested in what they
learn, the less fun they have, and the less they feel they get to tap into
their own skills and abilities” (p. 10). Current focus of many schools in their study
focuses on getting students “’…across the stage with a diploma in hand as
opposed to getting them the knowledge and skills they need to set them up for
success’” (qtd. in Sheninger and Murray, 2017, p. 11). Pair this with the idea
that Casey and Savastinuk (2007) admit that librarians “…have
done better with some age groups and demographics than others. Teens,
especially, seem to be our weak point” (p. 62). It is vital that we regroup to
focus on the needs of young adults, and the foundational learning for children,
so that high school graduation is a successful launch point into what Sheninger
and Murray (2017) call “Industry 4.0: The Next Industrial Revolution” (p. 13), which indicates we are
currently preparing students for jobs that will exist in the future because of
advances in technology.
Change must be made because Sheninger and Murray (2017) explain: “This isn’t simply and educational issue to debate but an economic issue that will have lasting impact on generations to come” (p. 24). Educators and librarians should also be concerned about establishing creative innovation and life-long learning into the lives of young people. Weinberger’s (2001) manifesto claims that hyperlinking is a means to longevity in our constantly changing organizations, and the “economy of voice” will help fund our civic success as a connected, community of learners (p. 25). Finally, low-income, students of color, and underserved students suffer the worst at the hands of systemic inequality and lack of cultural competency in our education and library systems. Sheninger and Murray (2017) highlight sweeping statistics regarding lower rates of graduation, test scores, budget restrictions, attendance, performance, infrastructure, presence in AP testing, STEM programs, and digital access, yet higher rates of suspension, expulsion, and drop-outs. To be culturally competent, any transformation needs to prioritize all students, and focus on needs especially to be implemented for those who are historically and presently underserved, or not served at all, for that matter.
#1: Leadership and school [library] culture lay the foundation (Sheninger and Murray, 2017)
Flattening leadership and focusing on building community through collaboration is the key to transformation in schools and libraries alike. Sheninger and Murray assert that “True leaders know that their success is intimately tied to the work of the collective” (p. 29), which aligns with Weinberger’s (2001) manifesto to “subvert hierarchy” (p. 6), and Casey and Savastinuk’s (2007) suggestion to implement “vertical teams” in order to “… flatten the organization, reinforce the sense of worth of staff from all levels of the library, and instill a sense of responsibility that everyone feels toward everyone else” (p. 45). If schools are to follow this approach to collective leadership, then librarians can and should be involved with supporting students and patrons in hyperlinked ways. Likewise, libraries can and should also invigorate their leadership by including the collective community in order to implement powerful learning transformation.
#2: The learning experience must be redesigned and made personal (Sheninger and Murray, 2017)
order to address the decline in student engagement as they reach adulthood. Sheninger
and Murray (2017) claim that:
Intentionally designed schools
develop and implement various adaptive and dynamic interventions to meet
individual needs and see student agency (voice, choice, advocacy) as a valuable
component of the instructional process” (p. 55).
Where schools and libraries get this wrong is when technology implementation is used as a crutch, so to speak, to increase engagement. It is important to acknowledge that research in schools has shown that technology investment alone does not increase engagement without good teaching. Teachers must be supported in pedagogical approaches in using technology as a means to foster “student agency.” Librarians need to focus on teaching pedagogy as they help engage their communities and are essential in supporting the teaching methodology needs of teachers. Sheninger and Murray concur: “The teacher, not the technology, is the key variable to this equation” (p. 63).
#3: Decisions must be grounded in evidence and drive by a Return on Instruction
(ROI) (Sheninger and
on the Return on Instruction helps schools iteratively align with the mission of
education. The same can be said for the effectiveness of librarians, in which focusing
on goals should help us to drive the returns the community is gaining. Ensuring that students are engaged, and
technology is a tool for good pedagogy, Sheninger and Murray (2017) offer 10
strategies for school leaders to identify what that return looks like, keeping
the following mission in mind:
A primary goal of education should
be to have students empowered to own their learning, create artifacts and
demonstrate conceptual mastery, use their voice, be responsible in online
spaces, and connect with the world in meaningful and authentic ways (p. 86).
This illumination of the goal of education aligns
with Library 2.0 objectives, especially involving information literacy. Library
leaders can also create strategies to “leverage a true Return on Instruction [librarian
effectiveness],” as Sheninger and Murray explore like improving feedback,
modeling, and co-observing to name a few (p. 97).
#4: Learning spaces must become learner-centered (Sheninger and Murray, 2017)
away from 20th century notions of “cells and bells” models of educational
spaces, students can become better engaged and learn when schools are designed with
innovation in mind (Sheninger et al., 2017, p. 104). This extremely important key
includes suggestions that even concern noise, temperature, wall design, and furniture.
Sheninger and Murray (2017) reason that “If we desire creativity, collaboration,
ingenuity, authenticity, and multifaceted approaches to learning, then the
spaces in which these experiences occur must be relative” (p. 111). With a similar
approach, Mattern (2014) challenges library infrastructure in order to consider
the library as “platform.” Mattern (2014) asks essential questions to focus on
the learner-centered approach; for
example: “What programs and services are consistent with an institution
dedicated to lifelong learning? Should libraries be reconceived as hubs for
civic engagement, where communities can discuss local issues, create media, and
archive community history?” Considering these questions, design of space
matters in all learning environments, from making sure rooms are meeting human
needs (i.e. heating and cooling), to putting a reference desk on wheels for
#5: Professional learning must be relevant, engaging, ongoing, and made
and Murray, 2017)
Refraining from using the term “professional development,” “professional learning” implies that educators are always learning to teach students more effectively (Sheninger and Murray, 2017, p. 140). According to Sheninger and Murray (2017): Professional learning ensures that “When teachers feel as if they are a vital part of the professional learning cycle, then increased ownership for learning occurs—creating a culture shift in responsibility and passion” (156). Clearly, this reasoning can be applied to librarians and their professional learning pathways. In order to spur engagement in “professional development and learning,” for librarians, Stephens (2016) suggests tapping into “curiosity and creativity” to embrace change (p. 34). The idea being that school and libraries can develop a “personalized” and “empowering” “culture of learning” (to use terminology that Stephen’s (2016) and Sheninger and Murray (2017) often use). The days of pyramid leaders forcing training are over, if we want librarians and teachers to as Stephen’s suggest “embrace constant change” (p. 17). Additionally, if we believe in Weinberger’s (2001) “Bottom Up” approach to hyperlinked organizations, then Sheninger and Murray’s guide to professional learning is vital.
#6: Technology must be leveraged and used as an accelerant for student learning
(Sheninger and Murray,
Diving deeper into Key #2, Sheninger and Murray (2017) focus on strategies to create connected (hyperlinked), safe, and effective learning. Though Sheninger and Murray (2017) reiterate that “pedagogy should determine learning,” technology is a “great delivery vehicle” (p. 173). Connectivity is so vital that Sheninger and Murray (2017) imply that every student deserves as a human right access to technology as a means to learning and engagement, which will therefore level the playing field for student achievement. Libraries surely have this going for them, since connectivity to the internet is a major reason that many walk in the door, but priority on life-long learning is foundational. Furthermore, Sheninger and Murray (2017) provide advice on privacy, efficiency security, viability, and sustainability to implement technology in honor of learning.
#7: Community collaboration and engagement must be woven into the fabric of a
school’s [library’s] culture
(Sheninger and Murray, 2017)
To conclude, Sheninger and Murray (2017) make a case for the need for all stakeholders to work together collectively in order to support student learning. This sentiment is expressed across the board in our course readings, that our revolutionary focus today is to embrace communal, collaborative approaches to flattening educational organizations for the sake of life-long learning. Librarians and administrators can see this book as a strong resource to create a hyperlinked library for the people, and one that supports K-12 education and educators. I recommend taking a look, especially for the sake of our youth.
Casey, M. E. and Laura, C. S. (2007)
Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N. J.: Information
I’ll admit it. I am a recent Library 2.0 convert. I woke up
last night at the magical insomniac hour of 3am, spinning my wheels about the Clue
Train Manifesto and all the change inevitable in my future LIS profession. I
think I experienced my first bout of what Stephen’s (2016) calls “librarian
insomnia” (p. 17). Teacher insomnia has long kept me awake at night, so it is
familiar to similarly ponder the existential desire to instill Stephen’s (2016)
sense of “relevance” in what I choose to do in my life’s work in the service of
others (p. 17).
Any indoctrination about professionalism, from my mom reinforcing the importance of wearing nylons to an interview, to the proper etiquette of an email which I over-formalize, to the trained respect that I have shown to a Board of Director’s and their lofty decisions made in a vacuum, have taken a blow. It’s about time.
I am sometimes a quiet radical, walking the line of authenticity to respect authority. I have often made allegiance to my administrators because part of me feels I need to respect the system, trusting that wisdom and experience will lead to ultimate success. Sometimes it has been a good call; I have been lucky to have worked with some amazing mentors. In contrast, when I read chapter 5 of the Manifesto, paired with the other foundational readings these past two weeks, I feel validated in my past radical inclinations that I just haven’t had time to reflect upon or admit to until now. Time to break the silence. For this blog, I decided to explore these discoveries in a list:
Org Charts: As a teacher, I can’t tell you how many
times I have sat to analyze an org chart in faculty/staff meetings. Weinberger’s
(2001) cynical outlook on org charts is certainly a radical shift for me. Weinberger
(2001) asserts what I wouldn’t dare to admit: An “org chart is an expression of
a power structure. It is red tape. It is a map of whom to avoid” (p. 2). I have
long lived under the auspices of org charts and horizontal team playing as
Casey and Savastinuk (2007) criticize. I had a job since I was 15 years old, and
it is quite groundbreaking to me to think about toppling all of my employee-centered
understandings of organizational authority. The org charts represent the institutionalized
hierarchy and authority, that in my experience, have long caused snags in the fabric
of the organizations with which I have worked.
Vertical Team Playing: Casey et al.’s (2007) suggestions for vertical teams feel like a natural approach: “Vertical teams, like vertical communications, serve to flatten the organization, reinforce the sense of worth of staff from all levels of the library, and instill a sense of responsibility that everyone feels toward everyone else” (45). I admit that though I strongly believe in this type of collaboration, I haven’t truly experienced the ideal. When I have been a part of a vertical team, some times the façade of a vertical team was all a show, and the top org chart leaders made odd decisions despite the vertical teams’ recommendations.
I have been, however, able to create some vertical teamwork experiences in the classroom. The hyperlinked reality is also a great manifesto for being a good teacher. My best teaching moments were when I told stories and asked students to do the same. Roundtables, open discussions, creative classroom teaching helped “reinforce the sense of worth” students deserved. This vertical approach especially became important when I taught difficult subjects about human behaviors including racism, violence, and prejudice. Although Weinberg’s (2001) note of Fernando Flores’s sense of hyperlinked conversations applies to the web, it also applies to face-to-face instruction: “’To have a conversation you have to be comfortable being human—acknowledging you don’t have all the answers, being eager to learn from someone else and to build ideas together’” (p. 5). I challenged student expectations of teacher authority when I admitted that I didn’t have the answers. This sentiment is the reason that I love oral history education so much and being an educator overall. One of my most central manifestos as an educator was to follow what a Holocaust survivor wrote to educators (I suggest reading the letter in full and checking out Facing History and Ourselves):
I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness:…So,
I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your students become human.”
Dare I say vertical
teamwork and the hyperlinked library can help us to become more human?
Hyperlinked Library: I have a new understanding of “The hyperlinked library”. It is a concept I knew had more meaning that I would continue to understand. As such, I love Weinberg’s (2001) explanation: “Hyperlinks are the connections made by real individuals based on what they care about and what they know, the paths that emerge because that’s where the feet are walking, as opposed to the highways bulldozed into existence according to a centralized plan” (p. 4). The goal then is to create a user-centered, human focused library that exists based on the people and their needs and trajectories. After reading Library 2.0, I can see that such a radical shift in thinking about libraries deserves a revolution as Casey et. al (2007) captures: “Also fundamental to the Web 2.0 idea is the importance of the conversation” (p. 75). In this conversation, likewise, I really loved Mattern’s (2014) reflections on “Library as Infrastructure” to help us to ask the right questions in the “conversation” and to stay vertical: “What ideas, values and social responsibilities can we scaffold within the library’s material systems — its walls and wires, shelves and servers?” The examples and reflections that Mattern (2014) provides with the images suggest infinite answers that are personal to each community. I really appreciate Mattern’s article.
Third Places: Decades ago, I used to work at Starbucks and their motto was that their stores were the “third place,” which I find fascinating in relation to Leferink’s (2018) suggestion that: “Third Places provide opportunities for a community to develop and retain a sense of cohesion and identity. They are about sociability, not isolation.” At Starbucks, they build their business model on the third place, wherein the décor, experience, and staff training all contribute to the sense that no matter where a customer is in the world, they can find the comfort of the third place in Starbucks. By contrast, a library as third place can be localized, not monetized, and each community can create their own authentic identity and place-based connections.
Imperfect Humanity: The Manifesto is a reminder that we can find the imperfections of our humanity somehow in the Web. Weinberger (2001) claims that the Web “…throws everyone into immediate connection with everyone else without the safety net of defined roles and authorities, but it also sets the expectation that you’ll make human-size mistakes rather frequently” (p. 5). How comforting to hear! Truth be told, entering this program, after hunkering down for 5 years as a new mother has been nerve racking. I fell out of date, out of the loop into the outskirts of tech and education. Even though I taught for 15 years, everything has changed so rapidly that I feel left in the dust, but I am ready to learn from mistakes.
Conclusively, reading Library 2.0 (especially) and these recent readings has already helped me to dust off the old boots and start marching forward in community.
Casey, M., & Savastinuk, L.
(2007). Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service. Medford,
N.J.: Information Today.
I am moved by the story of the giant bell (the gong) ringing in the Dakk1 library in Denmark each time a baby is born. Dr. Stephens told us Information Community students about hearing the ringing when he visited the library. My daughter is about to turn 5, but it never phases me how the moment of her birth slowed down time, and all the pain and the chaos surrounding birthing in a hospital melted immediately: I woke up to life. It was as if a bell rang in that very moment, and I love the idea of a community that rings those reminders of new life.
The idea of a global community of librarians sharing information and creativity motivated me to take this class. I taught English and Social Justice subjects for college and high school levels for about 15 years prior to being a mother. I have decided to shift my career focus after the bell woke me up, so to speak. I always admired the librarians with whom I have collaborated for my classes both as a student and a teacher. Really, earning this masters has been a long time coming. I have a masters in English Literature from Fresno State, so my love of writing and literature seem to be a solid foundation into the LIS filed.
Despite my enthusiasm to be a librarian, I am challenged by the fast moving technology of libraries today. Dusty books and the sound of card catalogues opening fill my dreams of librarianship, yet these are so far away. Admittedly, I have trouble at times embracing the new culture of creation and design because I worry about the knowledge and information that can be lost to the creators and designers. This might seem far fetched, but my interest lies in the balanced trajectory of new library users and history. I want to find ways to connect with and share new and old. How can today’s community honor and learn from memory, and create?
Lending insight into my interest of this trajectory, I have worked as a teacher and practitioner in the world of oral history for many years. I have found that students of all ages who learn how to conduct, produce, and study oral history are transformed into more compassionate humans. I think technology can amplify unheard narratives and voices that have been marginalized in important ways for information communities to thrive in conscientious and caring ways of knowing and doing. (Here is a guide that I helped to create if you are interested in working with oral history.) I also find that in the overwhelming political and environmental information we face today, stories are one way to respond or advocate for more sustainable pathways forward. Hopefully, I can fold these interests into the hyperlinked library that we share in this course and beyond.