Listening Stations (Director’s Brief)

Often when I am looking for a project I want the ‘perfect’ project that satisfies my BIG THREE. Specifically, it has to engage my target audience, offer a valuable learning opportunity, and needs only a low level of investment in both time and money. I do this in every part of my life. For instance, I don’t decorate cupcakes. Cupcakes will engage the audience on their own, eating extra sugar is not an activity I want to encourage, and working with frosting is messy and takes forever to achieve a good result. Kids will eat cupcakes anyway so decorating them is not worth my time. Now making vegetables more attractive is something I can get behind. Veggies eating is good for my people, offering a good veggie experience will teach that veggies are pleasant to eat, and chopping does not take a lot of time.

Searching for a project to present for this Director’s Brief reminded me of my BIG THREE because I had a hard time finding something that worked. I finally settled on The Listening Project a physical kit and app that makes gathering oral histories easy. The Listening Project engages children by offering them the unique experience to record their perspective in a professional way. Children learn interview skills, storytelling, audio and video production skills, post processing skills, and are given an outlet for working through the feelings surrounding the pandemic. There is also little investment in time or money since the kit can be shared and used for years to come on this and other projects.

I hope you are inspired by the Listening Project as I was!

Digital Literacy is not so simple (Reflective Blogging #5)

I was asked the other day about digital literacy and what we should be teaching our children. As always I was struck speechless as I was overwhelmed trying to think of digital literacy as one singular topic. There are just so many pieces to it. Seeing this digital literacy graphic validated my feeling of overwhelm – eight major categories with three subtopics each for a grand total of 24!

Without a real thought out plan we cannot hope to teach the digital literacy skills necessary to navigate our new reality. Seeing these types of charts reinforce the complexity of this new landscape and force librarians to face the challenge of teaching digital literacy head on.

What I love is that these skills enumerated are more than just an introduction to different technologies and tools, but encompass what it means to live a full digital life. Information and digital literacy is more than just being able to post a photo on Facebook. Real literacy is thinking should I post this photo in the first place? Does this photo put me at risk from predators? Will this photo endanger my future someday? Should someone else get credited for this photo? Will this photo hurt others? These are the real digital literacy skills necessary to be a responsible digital citizen and they apply to all. This graphic could be used to guide the planning of instruction for our senior citizens who often are overwhelmed by the digital landscape and for educating our children.

Planning Assignment: Bookfest

Introduction

The library at our local K-5 school, Guadalupe Elementary, has been a small part of the overall learning experience. Due to budget cuts over a number of years the library has languished and has receded into the background of campus life. I just now have become the Media Tech and Librarian and want to start to rebrand the library into the learning commons space as outlined in the inspiring Liiiites Model website (Loertscher, D., & Kompar, F., 2018). The library should be seen as a unifying space for the entire school campus and move books and literacy into the foreground of the elementary school experience. As Dr. Dallas Dance states in the article about school libraries as a part of the Future Ready Schools website, school libraries have “their place at the heart of student learning” (Glick, 2017). This will unltimatley be a multiyear process but I was looking for one event that would represent some of the Liiiites Model ideas while still working within the framework of the current pandemic – a tall order to be sure.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruptions in all of the students’ lives at Guadalupe Elementary. The entire student body of 700 students have been distance learning from home since the March 13, 2019 school closure. The students are exhibiting a high level of stress and feel disconnected from their peers, their teachers, and their school community. Under normal circumstances the school uses whole school events to bring students and families together on campus and build community bonds. 

In the past, our school put on an event called Winterfest where the community gathered on campus and dined on donated soup together before dispersing to the many classrooms where teachers were reading their favorite picture books aloud. As the new Media Tech and Librarian at Guadalupe I was searching for a way to increase the visibility of the library on campus but am severely limited by the local social distancing restrictions of our county. I was inspired by an article I read (Beckerman, 2020) that told how many people are turning to books to survive the isolation of the quarantine. Reading is normally a solitary activity but by making it into a community event, a reading challenge, reading can be the perfect vehicle for a socially distanced event for the entire school community. 

By leveraging the Winterfest event already scheduled for December 2nd I am proposing to expand this event to include a month long reading competition and rebrand the Winterfest event as a capstone celebration. Bookfest will run the entire month of November and the entire school community will read as many books as they can to reach a school wide goal of 2,000 books read. Bookfest ends with the Winterfest virtual celebration at the end of the month which will include links to recordings of teachers reading aloud favorite books, a virtual book fair, and a special live event with the principle. In the past, Guadalupe’s principal has often dressed up as a funny character on big school event days. Another key component of the Bookfest contest will be that every book read will be a vote for which funny character the Principal should dress up as. The Bookfest event will satisfy three requirements of this unique time by offering one event for the entire school, promote the pure joy of reading, bring literacy to the leading edge of school events, and allow the school to offer an event that students can participate in that also meets the county’s socially distancing guidelines.

The Bookfest event is also an illustration of moving from the library being reactive and purely a content provider to offering a participatory service. The Winterfest event as it was executed before was fully realized and created by volunteers and teachers. Bookfest invites the students to participate in the event and shape the final outcome by reading books to achieve a goal, voting on the principal’s final costume, and offering book suggestions to their fellow students.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

1. Build community by offering one goal the entire school community, students, caregivers, teachers, and staff work together to achieve 

2. Satisfy all the socially distancing regulations of the county.

3. Encourage adults to model reading by including caregivers and staff in the event.

4. Honor the intrinsic joy of reading by not requiring a specific type of book or number of pages read requirement. Students at all reading levels choose books they are personally interested in and able to read. 

5. Move literacy into the forefront of the school wide events.  

6. Build a reading culture by encouraging students to make recommendations to other students.

Description of Community you wish to engage

-Elementary students enrolled at Guadalupe Elementary School and their caregivers

-Teachers and staff of the Guadalupe Elementary

Action Brief Statement

Convince students and caregivers that by reading books they will have fun and build community which will make them feel connected to the school and each other because reading is an enjoyable activity that will bring you closer to your community (and promotes better literacy). 

Convince teachers and staff at Guadalupe Elementary School that by participating in and promoting the Bookfest event they will see their students read more books to help achieve the whole school goal which will give the students a sense of working together and build community because students need to feel more connected to their school and have more fun. 

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Learning Commons Vision:

Beckerman, G. (May 20, 2020). This is no time to read alone. New York Times.

Loertscher, D., & Kompar, F. (2018). Liiiites Model. https://sites.google.com/view/liiiitesmodel/home?authuser=0

Luster, S. (July 29, 2018). Reinvented school libraries unleash student creativity. NEA.org. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/reinvented-school-libraries-unleash-student-creativity

School read-a-thon research:

Cooze, A. (2018). A Critical Exploration of a Professional Learning Community as a Mechanism for Developing Whole-School Approaches to Literacy in Wales. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Dembowski, S. (2005). Read-a-thons: A New Fundraising Opportunity. Library Media Connection, 24(3), 33.

der Gucht, F. V. (2013). The challenge: A reader-centered programme for young adults in vocational colleges. Bookbird, 51(4), 68-73. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/docview/1445461398?accountid=10361

Hall, M. (2009). Reading Incentive Programs with Pizzazz. Library Media Connection, 28(3), 28–29.

Nonte, Sonja, Hartwich, Lea, & Willems, Ariane S. (2018). Promoting reading attitudes of girls and boys: a new challenge for educational policy? Multi-group analyses across four European countries. Large-Scale Assessments in Education, 6(1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40536-018-0057-y

Small, R. V., Angelastro, E., Bang, S., Bainbridge, S., Brindamour, C., Clarke, J., Cordova, C., Dittmar, B., Hubbard, E., McHugh, D., Lauth, T., Lee, K., Mauldin, K., Pannell, B., Panshin, N., Sarro, M., Stasak, M., Sullivan, J., & Yannarelli, A. (2009). Reading Incentives that Work: No-Cost Strategies to Motivate Kids to Read and Love It! School Library Media Activities Monthly, 25(9), 27–31.

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service

The media tech will be the main lead for this project with a committee of parent volunteers. The principal and a teacher representative will offer support on how to integrate the Bookfest concept into the school curriculum and help with promotion of the event. A representative from the Home and School Club will also be involved in the planning to ensure the entire community has bought into the event.

The event will also need to adhere to district guidelines for school events and all guidelines from Santa Clara County for events.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service

At a very basic level the program requires very little funding. The contest information will be housed on a webpage that has already been paid for by the Home and School Club. Free resources like Google Forms and WordPress plugins will be used to save resources. No specific book is required to participate so all students can use any book they already own or get from the public library (the Guadalupe library is closed per Union District guidelines). The Home and School Club has offered $200 that will be used for $5 book fair cash as incentive prizes for the students to write book recommendations. All communication will be done electronically via email but some promotional materials may need to be printed off so teachers can “show” their classes in their daily Zoom meetings.

Action Steps & Timeline: 

September (two months before contest month)

-Meet with a core planning team which includes the Library Tech, representative from Home and School Club, and other parent volunteers.

-Interface with the Principle to ensure leadership buy in and gather leadership feedback. If there is not a positive response from the Principal or teachers then the event will be scaled back to the initial Winterfest celebration which includes just one night of virtual teacher read alouds and a virtual book fair. (Winterfest is the original name of the event.)

October (month before contest month)

-Introduce event in the October Newsletter distributed in the first week of October

-Create website, create newsletter templates, initiate teacher interactions

-Create advertising talking points for all the teachers for their daily slides/meetings, the principal for his weekly video, and the parent newsletter

-Announce the contest officially the last week of October

November (official month of contest)

-Update the daily books read totals on the website

-Gather all the teacher read aloud videos for the final celebration

-Create celebration webpage with a link to the virtual book fair, links to the teacher read alouds, and a link to the actual celebration video and event

-Tally votes for principal costume 

December 2nd Bookfest Celebration

-Announce final books read totals, create celebration video, monitor event webpage for issues

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

Library tech staff time will be needed to lead the volunteer team organizing the event. Volunteers need to be found to set up the event webpage, create the weekly newsletters, create promotional advertising to present the challenge, and for the final live event with the Principal. Library Tech staff time will be needed to review all newsletters directed to caregivers and add in any helpful literacy information like links to the local public library. The time spent creating these deliverables is an investment in future events as most will just need a quick update year to year. 

The amount of direct teacher involvement has been kept to the absolute minimum because of the added stress distance learning has placed on teachers. Teachers are asked to provide a book recommendation via a template Google slide, to verbally advertise the Bookfest in their daily class meetings, and to record a 5 minute read aloud for the final celebration event at the end of the month.  

The Principal is asked to include the Bookfest announcement in his weekly emails and videos to the school community. The Principal is also asked to be the “prize” at the end of the contest and dress up in whatever costume the students vote on, and his time will be required for the final prize video.

Training for this Technology or Service: 

There is no training foreseen at this time. The teachers are already recording videos of themselves due to distance learning requirements. 

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

Promotion is key for this book reading challenge. Due to the pandemic the avenues for advertising are very limited. Weekly emails to caregivers will include reading recommendations from teachers, students, and staff. Weekly updates will be sent to all the teachers and promotional materials will be provided so that it is easy for teachers to consistently talk with their classes.

In order to encourage student involvement students are asked to send in recommendations for their favorite books to be included on the weekly newsletters out to caregivers. Students are also incentivised to send in recommendations by being entered into a drawing for $5 to spend at the virtual book fair at the end of the month of November.

A social media hashtag will also be promoted so that teachers, principals, and parents can use this hashtag and participate in the event. This will be one way to encourage the use of digital tools to connect community members. Gweneth Jonas, author of the Daring Librarian blog encourages school librarians to embrace current social media technologies by saying, “schools should be reinforcing positive ways of using social media” (Luster, 2018). The social media hashtag will be one way students and their caregivers can embrace social media positively.

Evaluation: 

The main benchmark of this event will be how many students and community members participate and if the goal of 2,000 books read is met. Another benchmark will be the number of participants in the final virtual event on December 2nd. It is unrealistic during this time of extra stress to ask the teachers to perform any kind of survey to see if students’ reading habits increased or their view of reading changed. The goal of this program is to introduce an event focused on literacy that capitalizes on the virtual nature of the current environment.

References:

Loertscher, D., & Kompar, F. (2018). Liiiites Model. https://sites.google.com/view/liiiitesmodel/home?authuser=0

Luster, S. (July 29, 2018). Reinvented school libraries unleash student creativity. NEA.org. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/reinvented-school-libraries-unleash-student-creativity

Beckerman, G. (May 20, 2020). This is no time to read alone. New York Times.

Social Media for the WIN! (Reflective Blogging #3)

I was immediately inspired when I saw the Invercargill Library of New Zealand’s meme titled “Keeping Up with the Librarian’s”. Invercargill Library has succeeded in exploiting social media to bring patrons to the library social media site. I love the idea of leaning into social media in this way and using pop culture to relate to patrons and for outreach. I looked at the Invercargill’s presentation on how to set up a true social media strategy and I really wanted to be sitting in the audience hearing how this library harnessed social media. The Invercargill Library embraced social media, used data to drive future decisions, and developed a whole range of media skills that opens up new relevant programming opportunities.

Embrace change in a way that makes sense for the library. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, peardeck, google classroom – the list of new technologies can be frankly overwhelming and it is easy to feel pressure to learn all of these new technologies. But, what is so important is to take a step back and identify where new technologies can be used to further the library’s mission. 

Start with strategy. Libraries are just like any other business in that the library should have clear business goals and be working strategically to meet those goals. The Invercargill presentation showed how they used creative postings along with the metrics from those postings to drive their decisions. The librarians were not just throwing things out into the dark of social media but instead used the data on how many patrons their post had reached to alter their choices over time.

A side benefit I envision the Invercargill Library achieved was that in actively using social media, encountering problems, and working to find solutions the staff learned a whole new set of media related skills. These are skills that the patrons of the library would find super relevant and the staff now have an entirely new programming opportunity. 

All images from the Invercargill Library presentation.

Libraries are invisible on the internet? (Reflective Blogging #2)

Reading the “Making Libraries Visible On The Web” article created a massive “ah ha” moment for me this week.The library is basically cut off from internet search tools. I knew this I guess, but I had never really thought about how counter to library culture this was. Every day, I start my search at a Google (or other) search box. But, in order to search the public library catalog one must first go to the local public library website, then click to get into the catalog to search, and only then can one access the vast amount of information the library has accumulated. As Jeff Penka, one of those working to make library data accessible, correctly states, “Collections are one of the library’s largest assets, but also one of the most invisible on the web” (Enis, 2016).

Since the library catalog is completely separate from the internet, any bit of the amazing information librarians add will mostly be unseen by patrons. I went to my own local public library website where there are many great booklists available. But, since the booklists are housed within the LIS software and therefore opaque to any search engine, even if I search for the exact title of the booklist it does not come up in my Google search. This is librarian work done for the community that is not available to the patrons easily. 

I know that an easy answer would be to tell the patrons to go into the library website, but this ignores the most simple of customer service principles, to make things simple for the user. The user does not go to the library website to search, they go to Google, so thus the library data must be available for Google. 

A quick search for Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi reveals the top hits to be amazon.com, goodreads.com, and a review by the New York Times.  The facts box on the right includes reviews by GoodReads.com and B&N.com. Under the “Get the Book” section you see options to buy the book from Google Play Books, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble, all for-profit companies. Under the “Borrow” section we see three entries: one for the San Jose Library, the Santa Clara County library system, and the North California Digital Library. I was initially excited to see any libraries listed, but these links are actually only references to the ebook or audiobook. One might assume the physical book is not available.  The only reason that these links even exist is because Overdrive, a for-profit company which charges libraries a lot of money for their content, has integrated their catalog with the internet. Overdrive recognized the benefit to being a part of the search results.

So why has the library, the place whose motto is information for all, been shut out from the internet search? 

Quite simply, libraries are still using MARC records and thus the tools are all built for MARC records and the internet search engines do not crawl the MARC records. Thus, the library is shut off from the most pervasive and influential information system ever created – the internet. This is the most serious and disturbing issue and there is not enough of a ruckus created about it. This is not just the death of the card catalog, which was a system used pretty exclusively by librarians in library buildings. The whole world is moving on and the change to the new BIBFRAME records is not happening fast enough – it should have happened years ago! I tried to find out what I could about BIBFRAME with a quick search and although it looks like the Library of Congress is still actively working on BIBFRAME it is not close to being ready to roll out. If there was ever an example where libraries are NOT following the startup example of “fail fast” this is it.  

That the Google results Knowledge Card includes a Borrow section indicates that even the for-profit company knows the library needs to be a part of the answer. Now how long will it take libraries to deliver a BIBFRAME solution.  

References

Fons, T. (2016). Making libraries visible on the web: to ensure that library content is conveniently accessed, libraries must give search engines what they want. Library Journal (1976), 141(13), 44. 

https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=making-libraries-visible-on-the-web-the-digital-shift

Enis, M. (2016). Library.Link builds web visibility: platform enables search engines to highlight catalogs. Library Journal (1976), 141(13), 18.

https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=library-link-builds-open-web-visibility-for-library-catalogs-events

BiblioTech Context Book Review

If you listen in on any conversation among friends you are sure to hear one of the following phrases: “Just google it”, “Look it up online”, “Alexia what is…?”, “Hey Siri …”

Well, maybe not the last one.

Even young children know that they can find the answer to any possible question with a quick internet search. But with so much information available at the touch of a button how are libraries relevant anymore? The book BiblioTech by John Palfrey directly addresses this question. Palfey argues that libraries are more essential than ever. Although it would be impossible to recount the entirety of Palfrey’s argument and evidence three main themes emerged that intersected with our readings. Libraries provide access to information to the general public without cost, provide critical programming to their communities, and are uniquely positioned with historical values to address many new issues. 

Palfrey opens his book by introducing the Boston Library which opened in 1852 as the first public library open to the public for free. Libraries today still maintain this mission; they provide access to information at no cost. Although it may seem like Google and the internet have replaced this valuable service. But one must have the means to buy both internet access and a device to use the internet. Thus, information is not really accessible for free at all. A pay wall has been erected between some of the most basic services and citizens. More and more information and services required to function in society are only available behind this paywall as job applications, banking, and vital government services like unemployment are being pushed to be done online (Pinsky & Steinhauser, 2018). By providing access to the internet Palfrey (2015, p. 9) states that libraries “function as essential equalizing institutions in our society”. Libraries providing computer access are needed even more in a time where the population is being stratified into two major subclasses, those that have and those that have not. The wealth in the United States has increasingly been concentrated within a smaller segment of the population (Horowitz, Igielnik, & Kochhar, 2020). Thus, information is freely available on the internet but only for those that can both pay for the device and internet service. Libraries will help bridge the divide between these two groups by ensuring “access to our shared culture is not dictated by however much money they have” (Palfrey, 2015, p. 9).

One place Palfrey (2015, p. 134) strongly feels libraries can innovate is in working more like a network of individual node libraries. By focusing on sharing instead of competing with each other libraries can collaborate on solving the burdensome repetitive tasks and instead share ideas and focus on community needs. Palfrey (2015, p. 115) envisions a future where librarians “will be dramatically more networked and interconnected across institutions”. By sharing the work of collection selection, cataloging, and bibliographic duties librarians would shift their focus to “serving people at various stages of their lives” (Palfrey, 2015, p.115). The leadership of the O.C.L.C. is a wonderful example of how libraries are already working toward this type of collaboration (Palfrey, 2015, p. 125). 

Working with other libraries to better serve one’s own library community is one of the tenets of the Library 2.0 idea outlined by Casey and Savastinuk. Although they did not envision libraries working together in a vast network like Palfrey suggests, the renewed focus on a library’s community needs and looking to other libraries for ideas was key to the Library 2.0 vision. Casey and Savastinuk (2007, p. 24) stated that libraries needed to “look at what other libraries are doing when thinking about ways to better serve our own library users”. The participatory library model asks libraries to really understand their users by crafting a thoughtful mission statement and using surveys and other devices to gather feedback from patrons (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 23-25). Stephen Denning (2015), in his Forbes article about the future of libraries, also feels that the best path forward for libraries starts with the question “How can we delight our users and customers?”. The need for libraries to work together and focus on patron needs instead of the cataloging and organizing of objects is clear.

 Librarians are uniquely positioned with historical values of free access to information, privacy, and information integrity to help answer many questions in the digital age. We need libraries to be working on innovative solutions and not cede this to for-profit companies; they do not hold the same free access to information values. One obstacle Palfrey is absolutely correct about is that there is not enough money for serious innovation in libraries. For-profit companies pay to have the best minds tackle these problems with money, time, and the freedom to try new solutions and to fail. Libraries are not given that luxury. But it is imperative that information access cannot be controlled by for-profit companies because these companies are profit driven (Palfrey, 2015, p. 104). Google search result return links filtered through Google’s lens of advertising profit. How many of the search results are low quality? We will never know because we cannot examine the algorithm, but we do know that as a publicly traded company, Google is motivated by profit. In her book, “Weapons of Math Destruction”, Cathy O’Neil (2016) argues that all algorithms have bias built in implicitly. Although it was not mentioned in Palfrey’s book specifically it would be interesting for libraries to band together to create a search engine free of this bias. Libraries are also now working as the middleman between eBook distributors and patrons. The issue is that these companies might not have the same privacy values that libraries have championed for years (Palfrey, p. 203). Palfrey also is adamant that libraries work to resolve the standoff with eBook publishers to find an equitable solution for all parties. 

Yes, information is available online but libraries are more essential than ever in our society. Libraries are important because they provide access to information free to all patrons, serve their communities with patron responsive programming, and are uniquely positioned with historical values that serve more than profit when solving modern problems. 

References

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

Denning, S. (April 28, 2015). Do we really need Libraries? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/04/28/do-we-need-libraries/?utm_campaign=ForbesTech&utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_channel=Technology&linkId=13831539#3401ef2c6cd7

Horowitz, J. M., Igielnik, R., Kochhar, R. (January 9, 2020). Most Americans Say There Is Too Much Economic Inequality in the U.S., but Fewer Than Half Call It a Top Priority. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/

O’Neil, C. (2016). Weapons of math destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy (First edition.). Crown.

Palfrey, J. G. (2015). BiblioTech: why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google. Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group.

Pinsky, O. & Steinhauser, R. (July 16, 2018). Online government services could change your life. But only if you have access to the internet. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/government-digital-equal-access-internet-mobile/

Participatory Culture – The dream looks different in reality (Reflective Blogging #1)

Casey and Savastinuk (2007, p. 59) paint a very rosy picture of participatory services. In the early days of blogs, user comments, and user reviews one saw how common people were able to participate and provide real value to each other. Casey and Savastinuk looks to prepare libraries to take advantage of all these fabulous benefits of technology connecting individuals by focusing on how to initiate change and how to shepherd that change to fruition. But, as the participatory culture system matured, a dark side has emerged. Reviews are bought, comments are filled with vitriol, and many blogs have converted to insincere marketing tools that do not offer the same service that they did in 2007. We are now entering Web 3.0.  As a society we must correct the issues exposed as the participatory culture matured. As Libraries entering Libraries 3.0, our charge is two fold. We need to try and capture some of the wonderful opportunities exposed in the early days of participatory culture and also respond to patrons reeling from new issues around information integrity and decision fatigue.

The idea that public discourse had reached rock bottom with the introduction of the television sound bite has proven false (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 60). The web article would not promote deeper conversation by offering direct links to content within content. The soundbite has been replaced with clickbait. The advertising business model which drives FB, Twitter, and Instagram incentivised clicks which further eroded deeper nuanced conversation. Even facts are now subject to personal interpretation. Far from making it impossible to lie (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 60), participatory media has put conspiracy theories on the same footing as real factual information, thus conflating the two in the user’s mind. This has put all the onerous on the user to evaluate truth. But, a user must be highly invested to undertake this onerous process. Most users either do not take the time or have the skill to execute due diligence on every comment, article, and review.  How do libraries respond to patrons overwhelmed by truth seeking?

Business 2.0 has brought overwhelm as well. If every product in the world is an option then the consumer must now weed through multiple options (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 61). In the past, the store owner did much of this type of preliminary work, narrowing the field of any overtly unsuitable products and offering just a set number. Participatory culture asks the consumer/user to participate in everything which contributes to decision fatigue for patrons. Even if it is now possible to ask for endless feedback from our patrons, should we constantly demand that the patron respond to our questions? Is it necessary for the patrons to tag books with a folksomony representing local interests when Librarians could do it? What do we owe our patrons who are looking for our expertise?

There is greater responsibility than just connecting users with information. The questions we as citizens and as librarians face is what that responsibility is and how to execute it within the framework libraries hold dear like free speech, copyright, and censorship. 

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

Hi! I’m Sarah

Hi my name is Sarah.  I live in San Jose, CA and have been home with my 4 children for the last 15 years. My undergrad degree is in Mathematics and I spent a few years programming in Java before moving overseas to France and having a bunch of babies.

I started studying for my MLIS in 2018. I have been taking just one or two classes a semester and will finish up next fall. I started the program with a very fuzzy plan of using my technology skills and love of structure to work in information architecture but my goals have changed as I have taken more classes. Last spring I had an internship at a local public library and realized that I really loved public libraries.  I have always loved to read and am passionate about teaching my own children to love reading too. I work hard to cultivate a culture of reading in our household by reading aloud to the children, reading for pleasure everyday, and stocking our home with reading material. I would love to be a children’s librarian and help introduce the absolute joy of reading to all children. 

I choose this class to explore where libraries are headed. There is no better time to think critically about how libraries fit into our society than during a time of massive upheaval like this pandemic has brought. Libraries need to be ready to embrace the change that is necessary in the aftermath of the pandemic. During my internship this last spring I saw that as our physical building shut down the only way to connect with our patrons was using technology. There is this tension in libraries, and in life, between physical books and technology that I would like to investigate. I hope to explore which technologies Libraries choose to incorporate into their services. I use technology everyday but I usually take a very critical stance. My views are shaped by my role as a parent to young children and teenagers growing up in Silicon Valley, where many of these companies make their home. Currently my four children are all participating in distance learning and will probably continue for the entirety of the school year. Technology made distance learning possible, but I am also seeing firsthand the limitations.

Currently, my life is greatly shaped by my children and their needs. I workout everyday, read everyday, and love to watch a movie with a huge bowl of popcorn every weekend. Hopefully, we will be able to let the children out of the house someday. Until then, I am running a home library, home school, and take out cafe all at once. (And now there are wild fires….)