Participatory Services & Emerging Technology Planning: Preloaded eReaders & Patron Learning

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service: TheCOVID-19 pandemic has encouraged many libraries to change the ways that they offer services to their patrons. Many libraries (mine included) decreased their budget for physical items and increased the budget for eBooks and eAudiobooks. This helped many patrons continue to have access to library items while the physical library building was closed. It also highlighted the number of patrons in our community without eReaders or the knowledge to use them. This initiative aims to add preloaded eReaders to the library catalog with serval themes to service different patron groups as well as monthly classes to teach patrons how to use eReaders as well as digital library apps like Libby. As technology advances and becomes more and more prevalent in the daily lives of patrons, libraries are presented with the opportunity to enable patrons to engage with these new technologies. While eReaders are not a new technology and preloaded eReaders not a new service offered by libraries, it is important to serve the community you are in and fill in the gaps as you discover them. The Pandemic taught my colleagues and I that though many might consider this initiative outdated or overdue that our patrons, and our technological support of them, are behind in this situation and that needs to be rectified. We should all be reminded that the user is the sun and that we are seeking to serve their needs (Schneider).

Description of Community you wish to engage: The patrons of the Newberg public library in Newberg, Oregon. Newberg is a rural community in wine country with almost 25,000 residents.  

Action Brief Statement: (Fill in the blanks):

Convince the patrons of the Newberg Public Library that by utilizing and learning about the library’s preloaded eReaders they will gain valuable knowledge and skills which will enable them to read books they are seeking in different formats and broaden their relationship with technology because a good relationship with technology helps keep minds sharp and creates opportunities to engage with life in a variety of ways as technology changes throughout the years.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service: 

  • Tracy Tees (2010) Ereaders in academic libraries – a literature review, The Australian Library Journal, 59:4, 180-186, DOI: 10.1080/00049670.2010.10736023
  • https://www.newbergoregon.gov/library/page/library-mission-and-strategic-plan

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service: 
This service seeks to be in line with the hyperlinked model of library services “which is a model emphasizing an open, participatory institution that welcomes user input and creativity. It is built on human connections and conversations. (Stephens)” Because this services was inspired by communication with patrons and their need to learn how to utilize our digital offerings better we will be paying special attention to the hyperlinked model as we begin the creation process. In order to implement this service and set policies and guidelines for its structure the library will create a taskforce with a staff member from every department: Circulation, Children’s, Teen, and Adult services as well as the library director. Because this service will be available to all ages of patrons and the preloaded eReaders loaded with titles at all reading levels it will be important for all departments to have a say in how this program is run. This taskforce will contact other libraries who already have preloaded eReaders in their collection to share their policies with us to help us reformat our existing policy for our Library of Things to incorporate this new technology. This taskforce would also create guidelines for the use of the eReaders that fit the needs of the library and the patrons.
This would include the answers to questions like: 

  • How longs can eReaders be checked out for? 
  • Are they renewable? 
  • How often should we offer eReader seminars? We will say once per month for the purposes of this assignment.
  • Is there an age requirement? 

My goal is to make this service as accessible as possible to all patrons of the library while involving all departments of the library to have a unified front.

Briefly outline how your technology or service’s grant, allocated funding, budget, available free-space, etc. will be distributed: The main consideration of the budget for this project will be the eReaders themselves. Once those are purchased there will be a periodic fee to purchase the eAudio and eBooks for the devices. If, for instance, the library chose to have an OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books: a competition throughout the school year that chooses different books each year to be quizzed on against other teams. Mostly popular with Middle school students) those digital titles would need to be updated once a year. If the library chooses to do an eReader with genre themes (Romance, Fantasy, Christian Fiction, Mystery, etc.) those titles would need to be updated every six months or so to keep the titles relevant. 

Staffing should also be a consideration in this budget. Luckily, no extra hours of staff time would be needed, but a reallocation of staff time would need to be negotiated. 

Action Steps & Timeline:

  • First step is library director approval of this proposal. If proposal is not approved, then proposal will be re-worked to address whatever concerns the library director voiced.
  • After approval each department will have 1 week to choose a staff member to be on the taskforce
  • Once that week has expired the first taskforce meeting will be scheduled.
  • During that meeting 2 staff members will be tasked with researching eReaders and deciding which one is the best model for our library – this task will be given 2 weeks from research to purchase of eReaders.
  • During the meeting 2 other staff members will be assigned the task of planning the first eReader seminar to coincide with the arrival of the eReaders.
  • Once the eReaders are on their way publicity for this service may begin, this will be overseen by the remaining member of the task force.
  • I estimated 5 weeks from when the eReaders are purchased to their arrival, and our cataloger’s ability to add them to our catalog. 
  • Conservatively, this makes it seven weeks between the first taskforce meeting to the first eReader seminar and the launch of preloaded eReaders. 

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
With monthly eReader training seminars for the public, this is a service that will require staff hours. However, instead of assigning more hours we will reallocate already existing staff hours to cover this program with the goal of training volunteers to run the seminar eventually. In thinking of a participatory way of conducting new programs the hope is to involve patrons in the training as they learn. The first 3 months will be run by staff members, but it is the hope that once enough patrons have learned new skills, that they will be willing to help teach others those same skills.

Training for this Technology or Service: 

Most librarians on our staff already have a great understanding of how use eReaders and how to use our library apps like Libby that involve checking out digital materials with a library card. However, there are helpful webinars such as this one from TechSoup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p_LJ_lm0eM to help supplement that knowledge. The main training goal for this service is to train patrons how to use these technologies and help them to train other patrons. This may require one-on-one appointments between librarians and potential volunteers during librarian appointment hours.

First stage of an eReader services flyer

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: Our library’s typical approach is to promote through social media, but because this service is aimed towards patrons who may have trouble with using technology we will also be making paper flyers to share the details of the new service to hand out to patrons at our checkout desks, our shelf-check machines and at serval local businesses including the local bookstore. We will also be reaching out to the local schools, including the university, and serval local nursing retirement homes to advertise the new technology and service.

Evaluation:

There will be several ways to evaluate this service. After the first 6 months of the service, we will check how many times the eReaders have been checked out. We will also keep track of how many attendants the seminars have. We will also ask for feedback from seminar attendants to track what things they have been learning and what they are still struggling with. If the service is doing well, we hope to expand it by offering hotspots for check out and taking our seminars to different retirement homes to reach patrons where they are at. This service is meant to help patrons learn a helpful technology and enable them to help others around them. Hopefully, those goals will expand beyond just eReaders and reach wider than we anticipate.

References:

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

K.G.Schneider: http://freerangelibrarian.com/2006/06/03/the-user-is-not-broken-a-meme-masquerading-as-a-manifesto/

Stephens, M. (2021). The hyperlinked library: Exploring the model. INFO 287. Retrieved from https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/module-3-the-hyperlinked-library-model/

Choose Your Own Adventure: Global Edition

First check out what Insider deems the 15 best libraries in the world:


For the past week I have been exploring the global library community all over the world. It can be hard to measure the impact of libraries because the amount of use they get does not always equal impact, how do you measure the impact of a place that builds a community hub and a welcoming space for their patrons? In many of the articles I read a community living room or hub in a library building is what was being written about. Although these different libraries are spread across countries and languages many of them are working on similar projects: making their patrons feels welcomed and like owners of the library space. I love the idea that I can walk into a library in the Netherlands and get a similar feeling of welcoming that I feel walking into my little library here in Newberg, Oregon. It is amazing to me the way that libraries are wildly different all over the world, but somehow, also the same. So many libraries have moved toward being a community center with patrons having ownership over what the space is used for. The world is a big place but with the rise of technology and social media the world can also be quite small if we want it to be.

Not only are libraries worldwide trying to make their patrons feel welcomed, but they also strive to make their communities learn and grow through the programs they offer. In Germany, many libraries welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms, not only with a space to rest and read, but programs to educate and integrate into the community. Germany was not the only country that welcomed Syrian refugees through their libraries. France, Britain, and Norway all made efforts to welcome and serve this population. This is an amazing example of the global community of libraries coming together to make the world a better and more loving place. Check out this article to learn more about the Syrian refugees and how libraries came together to help them: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2015/11/refugees-supported-by-public-libraries-in-europe/

Here are some articles that especially inspired my blog post this week:
https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=rolf-hapel-toward-global-instruction-practice#_

https://finland.fi/life-society/helsinki-invests-in-its-people-with-a-library-that-reinvents-the-genre/?fbclid=IwAR02YiMMaUOXanedOfFbDrzhou_4s1_oHQInvzYDk3bPJeu9Vx3D_ItX5Zs

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/library-design-moving-beyond-third-place/

http://designinglibraries.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1686

My Whole Heart

Throughout this week as I’ve read, watched, and explored hyperlinked communities I was struck by the amount of emotion in the materials. I was especially struck by Loida Garcia-Febo’s article, Serving with Love. She writes of librarians embracing the spirit of diversity, inclusiveness, and relationship-building in a world that seems to reward hatred and division. She references our own Michael Stephens when she writes “I agree with Michael Stephens, associate professor in the School of Information at San José (Calif.) State University, who has long advocated for connecting one’s work to one’s heart. Stephens says we should bring our hearts to work, and qualities such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and reflective action are all part of this process.” For many, librarianship and other library jobs are a passion in addition to a career. One we put our entire heart into as we build relationships with our patrons and build collections that reflect the diversity of humanity. 

This passion and working with your whole heart is true for me. When I was a child and you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would answer, “a librarian!”. I spent so many hours of my childhood browsing the selves to find a new adventure and learned so much from my favorite librarian during programs and book clubs. She treated all of us kids and teens with respect and made me feel seen. As I grew older and visited other libraries and learned more about what it means to be a librarian, I continued to want to be a librarian. I wanted to be around books and serve people, but most of all I wanted to make kids and teens feel seen the same why my librarian made me feel growing up. 7 years ago, on my 23rd birthday, a week after I graduated from college, I started working 5 hours a week on-call at the library I grew up in. I was hired by my childhood librarian. Over the years my job has grown and now I’m the Teen Services librarian and I get to see Teens for who they are, I get to plan programs and buy books that open minds and reflect identities to my wonderful teens, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

And yet… when you put your passion and heart into something, it is exhausting. Working in a public library for the past (almost) 2 years has been hard. I’m tired and I’m anxious and I miss what my job was like before. My building has been open and closed and open and closed several times with mask mandates being lifted and enforced at different points. My coworkers and I have all felt the intensity of providing services when the building is closed and while I am grateful that we have found new and creative ways to serve our community, I’ve never felt more burnt out in my life. I love libraries with my entire heart and I often feel like the more I love them the more tired I am. I’ve spent the last several months on a journey to figure out how to leave work at work while still putting my whole heart and actually caring about my job. For me it was easy to fall into a way of thinking that because I cared so deeply and had so much fun at and was so passionate about my job that I could just keep giving of myself and my passion would never run out! But during the pandemic some of the regular ways that I practiced selfcare were put on pause and I felt the effects of overworking without rest. Luckily, I’ve been able to find new selfcare routines and feel more supported than ever from my library. 

How has the pandemic changed the way you relate to your job? Are you practicing selfcare in different ways than you were 2 years ago? 

References

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/11/01/serving-with-love/

Shhh…Quiet in the Library

Quote from page 28 of eBook edition of Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain sheds light on the challenges of being an introvert in a world built for extraverts. Society in the USA and many other places in the world largely favor extraverts and the traits they exhibit such as being outgoing and outspoken, seeking out the spotlight and being at ease speaking in and to large groups. While these are good traits to have, not everyone can do these things easily. Many people identify as introverts and have other helpful traits that contribute to society in different ways than extraverts. The world needs both intro and extraverts to function well, yet introverts are still often looked down upon as shy and closed off without much to contribute to the common good (Cain, 2012). Quiet looks at how we can enable introverts to be leaders and innovators in their own ways, not forcing them to change to fit the mold of how society thinks they should be. Introverts and extraverts are all served by libraries and we must make sure to offer services that caters to both categories.

Quote from page 300 of eBook edition of Quiet by Susan Cain

Need a little more insight on what it means to be an introvert in a world tailored to extraverts? Check out this animated video from the BBC.

The stereotype of a library is a place of sacred silence, not a sound to be heard and no one will interrupt your quiet. If you have been in a public library lately you will know that this stereotype does not align with reality. Many libraries have become community hubs as they start moving towards a more participatory model of service. This means more engagement with our communities. While that is a wonderful opportunity Quiet reminds us that the type of participation we offer is important. As librarians plan events it is tempting to gear towards events that draw a crowd to the library, and often the amount of people present is how many librarians deem whether a program was successful or not. These large events can involve playing games or discussing books in a large group. While there is nothing wrong with large groups or patrons that enjoy interacting with a large group, this situation would make most introverts anxious and might cause them to stay away from future library events. As Schneider reminds us, the user is the sun and the user is not broken (Schneider, 2006). If we keep introverted patrons in mind as we design programs and services introverted patrons will be served by the results. Librarians must remember that our end goal is to enable patrons to use their libraries in ways that work for them and their needs & wants. For many introverted patrons that includes ways to get involved that do not require being in a large group and that give them time and space to process information.

Quote from page 309 of eBook edition of Quiet by Susan Cain

An important part of program planning to make sure that you are involving the user group you want to serve in your planning process. If you are not an introvert, make sure to touch base with them about what programs they would like to see at the library. Make sure to offer ways that patrons can let their thoughts be known that do not include speaking with staff face-to-face. Perhaps having paper or online surveys is a good option to support introverts.

Working as a participatory library does not have to mean catering to extroverts exclusively. There are many opportunities to foster participation that give introverts the space they need to think and process. Social media post interactions and passive programs, such as voting on what main character would eat bubble gum flavored ice cream are great ways to invite introverts to feel at home and included in the library. Does your library offer self-check machines or apps to allow those that would prefer less human interaction to make that choice? If we trust our users to utilize the library in the healthiest way for themselves, we must give them options to make choices outside of what we think is the norm.

Refences
Automatic for the People
https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/09/03/automatic-people-self-service-libraries/

Free Range Librarian
http://freerangelibrarian.com/2006/06/03/the-user-is-not-broken-a-meme-masquerading-as-a-manifesto/

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking 
Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Crown   Publishers/Random House. All quote graphics were created with Canva and all quotes taken from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

The Hyperlinked Library Model

Librarians are often a curious bunch. I became a librarian because I love learning, books, and people (especially teenagers). The hyperlinked library model combines these loves in a wonderful way. The hyperlinked library model boils down to communication and curiosity. How can your library change to better serve your community? If we are open to change and to listen, we will often find that what unfolds not only will strengthen your library but can feel natural given time.                               

I couldn’t help but think of my own library while going through this module. When I started working in my public library seven years ago, I was the youngest staff member by decades. There was a mentality of “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” among the older staff members. For years, I stared at a “No Cell Phones in the Library” sign in our entrance. I was frustrated that instead of utilizing the tiny computer almost everyone carries in their pockets, we were demonizing it. In the last two years my library has been met with a lot of growing pains, our director of 27 years retired as did 4 other staff members. We hired a new director less than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. All these things combined to create a perfect time to look at the structure of our library and begin to move into the future.

It is not controversial to say that I wish this pandemic never happened. Our library has been open and closed several times and is in a period of closure now. But the pandemic has forced my library and many others to look at how we serve our community and to create new ways to serve without patrons accessing the building. We have cultivated a library of things with items including bubble machines, telescopes, and hotspots. We have created tutorials to help our patrons lean how to utilize eBooks and eAudiobooks. We started using a shelf check app. I watched my new director tear down that “No Cell Phone” sign and I am delighted to see my library move towards a hyperlinked model with open minds and ears.

Intro – Well, Hello There!

Hello All! My name is Ruth and I’m almost 4 years deep into my time at SJSU. I’m taking my sweet time, only doing one class at a time. This helps me keep my balance while also working my job at a mid-sized public library.

I’ve been at my library for almost 7 years now. I started one week after I graduated college, on my birthday, in December of 2014 as a 5 hour per-week on-call circulation worker and now I’m the Teen Services Librarian and absolutely adore it. The city my library serves recently made national news for the school board banning the display of BLM and Pride flags in the classroom, so now more than ever I strive to make my teen area a safe and welcoming space for teens who don’t feel like they belong.

Being a librarian during COVID has been hard. Right now, my library has closed its doors for several weeks due to a COVID event. We’ve all had to find new and innovative ways to connect and serve our communities. This is one reason why this class intrigues me. I look forward to learning along side you all this semester.

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