Reflective Practice

The lecture for this topic was short but there was a lot of content packed into it. What stuck with me about reflective practice was owning your actions and considering in hindsight how you could have done something better. I think we all do this in some way or other whether in life or at work, even if it is just thinking of a good comeback in the middle of the night, 8 hours after the conversation happened.

I love the concept of taking care discussed in the reflective practice lecture and how libraries are taking the responsibility of providing ways to improve lives not just with knowledge, but also focusing on mental health. I also enjoyed Professor Stephens’ Wholehearted Librarian. As an animal lover, I really connected with it and found it both inspiring and heartbreaking. I admire his bravery in caring for an animal towards the end of its life. I have always thought I would rescue a dog when I was in the right place in my life. However, a couple of years ago I lived with a woman who had a rescue dog who suddenly turned on her, and she was very badly hurt, both physically and mentally. I won’t go into details- her injuries have healed now. However, since then I changed my tune about getting one myself because I am admittedly afraid- but I fully commend and applaud everyone who takes the step to make a homeless dog’s life better.

On a lighter note of the same topic of compassion, today marked the day our puppy was fully vaccinated and able to go outside! The pure joy I saw in her little body makes my heart happy.

Olive approves of the outdoors

My favorite part of the Hyperlinked Library course has been the concept of playful learning. I believe this is incredibly important not just for children, but for adults. I can attest to the fact that if you learn something in a playful way, it just sticks with you longer and you get more out of it. On this subject of participatory service, all of my favorite library examples were participatory services. I love that the Hyperlinked Library is all about embracing creativity and giving space to grow and learn and thrive.

Overall, I loved this course. The content has been interesting, and even the assignments have been fun and useful. The most fascinating part I think for me has been all the examples of what other resourceful librarians have been doing. I was regularly blown away by what people come up with when they have small budgets and time constraints. The sheer resourcefulness within the library community is inspiring.

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Virtual Symposium

For my virtual symposium assignment, I elected to create a 5 minute presentation on my director’s brief, which is about a library garden for Folsom Public Library.

I have attached the script below.

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Director’s Brief: Library Garden

For this director’s brief, I proposed a library garden for the Folsom Public Library in Sacramento County. It discusses the benefits for libraries as well as participants and all the partnership, outreach and marketing opportunities a library garden would provide.

https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/sparednoexpense/wp-content/uploads/sites/87/2020/05/LinebackS-DirectorsBrief-287-3.pdf

The objective of the project is as follows:

Develop a community garden program through the Folsom Public Library to nurture a participatory learning environment, provide nutritious fresh foods for under-served members of the community, and unite the community.

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Reflection on Learning Everywhere

My favorite thing about this class is seeing all the creative and interesting things libraries around the world are doing. This week I was intrigued by the articles about the Idea Box and the sensory space. I like the Idea Box because it is a blank slate that allows for so many different activities and displays and can constantly be changed and updated if it is unsuccessful or a new technology or idea emerges. I admire the sensory space as well and think it would be nice if all libraries could afford such a space! Providing spaces that are inclusive from a young age has the potential to impact both children and parents.

The lecture on learning everywhere reminded me of how much we all take advantage and for granted our easy access to information online. With the world looking a little different with COVID-19 having forced us to stay in our homes, I decided that I wanted to finally plant a garden now that I live somewhere with a yard (stemming from wanting to be more self-sufficient and hone skills so I can later have a mini homestead operation).

I began by locating a blog that had instructions for how to make cheap garden beds. Once we acquired the supplies, we used their instructions to create garden beds on the cheap.

Garden beds
Bush Beans!

We did research on plants that can be planted and when, planted all our seeds, and then discovered that the neighborhood cats were digging up our newly planted seeds. This led us to another search for how to block the cats out-which resulted in pvc pipe arches and bird netting. This is an example of how we expect to find all the information we need easily and quickly online, and then transforming that into a learning experience outside, from building the beds with only a loose idea of what we were doing, learning from mistakes with planting locations, proximity to certain plants, etc. This is also an example of learner’s experience. Seeing seedlings pop up has been exceedingly satisfying and fun and it has inspired a whole host of ideas for more planting ideas like vertical gardening, homemade herb pots made from fence post scraps and the like.

Bonus photo: Olive is now 4 months old
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Reflection on New Models: Playful Learning, Makerspaces, and “Making It”

As a side note in relation to the New Horizons lecture about smart homes, does anyone else remember the old Disney movie Smart House? I remember being completely blown away by it as a kid. I thought it was the coolest and craziest concept.

On to the actual topic- what I most enjoyed in the New Models module was Pam Sandlian’s TED Talk. I loved her story about the little boy creating his own puppet show in the library. It made me both happy and sad at the same time and I thought it was a great way to explain how libraries can help people. Programming and providing access to information is great, but sometimes simply providing a safe space for people to create is equally impactful.

What stood out most to me in Sandlian’s TED Talk, however, was this sentence: “You can learn anything if you make it playful.” This phrase stood out to me because to me it seems to capture a lot of what hyperlinked libraries and Library 2.0 are all about: engaging patrons and encouraging them to create. Many libraries have offered play areas for children to engage and encourage learning. However, Makerspaces are one of the major things in libraries that I believe do this as well by teaching new skills. Makerspaces are great because they provide a place to not only learn how to create something and enjoy themselves, but in many cases, create skills that can help them in life and in their careers.

I liked the sound of Park Ridge Public Library’s new Makerspace and its emphasis on crafting. It may not be a STEM-focused Makerspace, but it is something that allows for creativity and connection within the community- which is one of the core goals of modern libraries. Along these same lines, a few months back I binged both seasons of Making It. If you haven’t seen it, it is hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman and is the most positive competition show I have ever seen. The whole point of the show is to meet other makers and go out of your comfort zone to create things you wouldn’t have otherwise, or use challenging materials you’ve never used before. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of Amy and Nick and enjoy crafting puns and Pinterest-worthy creations.

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Emerging Technologies Action Plan: Trivia Night

Introduction

The idea for trivia at a local pub was created from experience and countless discussions of how difficult it is to make new friends outside of work and school, without a Young Professionals networking event or a friend-making app like Bumble. I liked the idea of a book club held in a bar like Professor Stephens mentioned, but the institution I am designing the program for already has a book club held at a Barnes and Noble Kitchen, which serves beer and wine. I knew I wanted something similar that would appeal to a wider range of the community to include people who wouldn’t consider themselves readers. Trivia night off-site is a participatory service that could allow participants to be in a setting to meet new people but would also create an opportunity for library staff to promote the library to non-users.

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

This new regularly held trivia night program could reap a lot of benefits by creating a stronger relationship with the community through a form of outreach. It would create goodwill between a local business and the library, which could facilitate opportunities to work with other local businesses. The program itself could be an excellent form of promotion for the library simply by being out in the public, as well as through any fliers at the venue and the website events page. It could raise awareness of the library as an organization that provides more than just books.

Trivia night could also promote a collaborative environment and provide a place for participants to meet new people, make connections, and be exposed to alternative points of view and cultures in an open and fun setting. “[Participatory Design] can bring in new voices and build new empathy” (Young, 2017). This program has the benefit of exposing both library users and non-library users to library programming outside of the traditional library environment.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

This service would engage 20-somethings and 30-somethings (ages 21-39) of all backgrounds who live in the Sacramento area.

About the Institution:

According to Library 2.0: “We must describe the current state of our library or department and identify what needs to be improved or accomplished to make the proposed changes work.” (Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L., 2007). The Folsom Public Library is suburban and hosts many families. Many of the services already in place are for the benefit of that large demographic within the community. However, there is also a population of 20-and-30-somethings in the area who are not being specifically targeted for programming, other than the Y.A. for Adults book club (It’s O.K. to Read Y.A.). It’s O.K. to Read Y.A. is led by the teen librarian and is intended for adults of any age 20+ who enjoy reading young adult materials. Other than this single monthly program, there are few programs or services created to benefit this demographic. This trivia program will hopefully begin to correct that and appeal to millennial-aged members of the community who may have less interest in books and more interest in making connections.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince 20-and-30-somethings that by participating in librarian-led trivia at a pub, they will make new connections, which will promote goodwill and new friendships within our community because the library is a tool which can help create new and positive relationships within the community.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Fort Bragg Library (2019, January 9). Brew pub book club. https://fortbragglibrary.org/brew-pub-book-club/

Glen Ellyn Public Library (2020, March). Trivia night at North Side Bar and Grill. https://gepl.org/event/trivia-night-at-north-side-bar-grill-3/

Hill, Cheryl (2017, November 30). Program model: Trivia night. https://programminglibrarian.org/programs/trivia-night

White, L. (2013, January 18). Letters to a Young Librarian. https://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-modern-book-club-meets-in-bar-by.html

Mission Hall Library (2020, March). https://mhl.org/adult-program/2020/pub-trivia-andolinis

Scott, Chey (2018, August 30). Test yo’self at Spokane Public Library’s new pub trivia night. https://www.inlander.com/spokane/test-yoself-at-spokane-public-librarys-new-pub-trivia-night/Content?oid=11973393

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

I connected briefly via I.M. chat with a librarian at Memorial Hall Library in Massachusetts who helps run their program Pub Trivia at Andolini’s. To implement my own program, I would speak to her and other librarians who have implemented a similar service in more detail about their policies, budgeting and problems they’ve run into. In our short conversation, I learned that Mission Hall’s program was initially intended for millennials, but mostly older people attend. Keeping this in mind, I selected the Fat Rabbit as my trivia location, which I believe is millennial friendly because the food is delicious and on the affordable end (for students with smaller budgets, new home owners, or just those being frugal), the atmosphere is low-key, and I already know it to be appealing to people of all ages. The seating is also arranged in a way that could easily accommodate teams, and parking is not an issue with a nearby parking structure.

The library director will be the ultimate person to approve the program and help create the program’s policies so that they align with the library’s current policies and mission.

The program will be monthly with a prize for the winning team, and hosted by two librarians, or one librarian and one paraprofessional library staff member. Teams participating can be between 1-6 people. Spokane Public Library gives out a bonus point to teams that bring their library cards to their library trivia night. This is a great way to encourage people to come to the library and get a library card, so I would also provide this incentive.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

This program would require a tiny budget. At most, it would require a donation from the Friends of the Library for the prize. The Memorial Hall Library in Massachusetts has a pub trivia program at a local bar and the prize is $50.00 donated by their Friends of the Library. I would collaborate with the Fat Rabbit to see if they would be willing to sponsor the winning team’s prize in exchange for bringing in customers. However, if they did not agree to this, I would request that the Friends of the Library donate prize money instead. The Friends of the Folsom Library funds all the library’s programming anyway, in addition to donating used books and providing money to purchase new books.

Action Steps & Timeline: 

This project’s timeline is mostly limited to the time it would take to acquire approval from the Library Director and possibly the City Manager, and to collaborate with the Fat Rabbit.

Primary action steps:

  1. Create Action Plan
  2. Acquire approval from Library Director/City Manager
  3. Contact the Fat Rabbit/ Iron out details for seating, dates/times, prizes, sound system, etc.
  4. Select primary staff members to facilitate
  5. Marketing/Promotion
  6. Selection of trivia questions/other prep

If the Library Director and/or the City Manager does not agree to this program, I would adjust it to accommodate their concerns. For example, if they did not want it to be held at a pub, I would suggest a restaurant instead, or if they wanted it open to all ages, I would prepare it to be for all ages.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Trivia night would require staff, but the Folsom Library already holds a monthly Y.A. for Adults book club held off-site at 6:30 at the local Barnes and Noble Kitchen. The lead librarian for the book club program works a later shift from 11:30am-8pm. Trivia would follow the same routine and the two hosting staff members work a later shift, so it would not require additional funding for staffing. The trivia would be hosted on a Tuesday or a Wednesday evening because those are the days the library is already open until 8pm and the staff members can complete their usual work on-site at the library and then leave to host the trivia. The two regular library staff members would be the go-to staff to organize and facilitate the program, but it would be prudent to give a third person all the information necessary to run the event if for whatever reason one of the others could not make it.

The only real time commitment to prepare would be to acquire trivia questions. Cheryl Hill of the West Linn Public Library (linked above in the Resource section) explains that this is a time-consuming task and suggests locating questions while on the Reference Desk. To start, we would follow her example to minimize the impact on staff time commitment.

Training for this Technology or Service:

This service would require no training other than sharing details about setup, locating questions, and marketing with other staff members.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

  • Create digital flyer for the TV mounted on the wall above the self-check
  • Create paper flyers or have bookmarks printed with the Trivia Night information to be placed on the Circulation and Adult Information desks
  • Post about the event on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  • Put the information on the website, especially on the main rotating banner
  • Post flyers throughout the community on public bulletin boards
  • See if the Fat Rabbit will post flyers and advertise it on their website

Evaluation:

If trivia night is considered useful-or simply fun-for the community, the program could be expanded by holding themed trivia nights (Harry Potter trivia, anyone?) and be held at other bars or pubs. If we had interest from a younger crowd, we could also host trivia for teens and children at the library or some other family-friendly location.

Attendance would be one way to evaluate the program, but I would create a survey to assess what people liked about it or thought could improve it. One of the core tenets of participatory service is providing opportunities for users to have input in the planning and evaluation of library services (Stephens, 2020). I would also talk directly to the attendees to get a feel for how the program is received and if it should be changed- do they want a different location, different time, different day of the week, different rules, or do they not want trivia at all? It is important to remember that libraries exist to serve their communities and meet their needs- information needs, but also entertainment and the underlying human necessity for connection.

References

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

Stephens, Michael (2020). Participatory Service & Transparency [Web Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=35b4e981-cd58-479a-96d3-aab3011b0f24

Young, S.W.H. (2017, September 13). Participatory Design in Action: The User Experience. Retrieved from Title of webpage/article. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=participatory-design-action-user-experience

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New Job, New Place, New Puppy- and Hyperlinked Environments

The last month has been crazy for me because I started a new job as a Library Technician, moved, and got a puppy all within a week. I had been on a wait-list for the puppy, and I maybe should have pushed off that particular time-consuming project when I found out about the new job. I’d met her a few times though, and couldn’t bring myself to do that.

This is Olive, looking deceptively calm and sweet- she is actually a ball of hyperactive energy who likes to chomp on your fingers and toes.

My new place has stuff everywhere and it’s almost complete chaos throughout because I haven’t had a puppy since I was a child and didn’t realize how much one-on-one time she would need (and that sleep deprivation is real). I have quite honestly been struggling to balance learning the new job (it is SO TIRING to learn new skills and work in a new environment with new people), getting settled in my new house (and living with a significant other, which is also new for me and an interesting adjustment- he also requires a lot of attention), keeping up with school, caring for the puppy and still trying to find time for friends, family and self-care. I feel that I have been a little checked-out when it comes to school and that I’ve been doing the bare minimum to get by. I am finally getting settled in the new job and the puppy is starting to sleep through most of the night, so that will change.

For the choose-your-own adventure module, I selected Museums, Galleries and Archives. In this class, I am loving all the readings and examples in the lectures about hyperlinked libraries and environments. I admire all the organizations that constantly work to think of new ideas to bring people in. I particularly enjoyed Nina Simon’s TED talk. The interactive museum is to me quite a unique and groundbreaking idea because it goes against the traditional museum goals. It is brilliant to create an environment in which visitors can do more than just stand in front of a sculpture, painting or other work of art and admire it. Creating activities around the art is a great way to help visitors feel more connected with the art. This I feel is similar to science museums that create spaces where kids can play and experiment and discover – only it can appeal to all ages.

Another article that stuck out to me was Tacoma’s Museums: Filled with Life, Not just Objects for the following quote: “Museums should want to bring people in with relevant content that still brims with life and emotion. And send them out with thought-provoking ideas that linger and leave them considering new perspectives. ” (Clark, n.d.). This I think gets to the heart of the intentions of the very creation of art. People create as a way to express themselves, their thoughts, emotions, struggles, and beliefs. Museums and archives that provide a space and a way to bridge the gap between the creator and the participant/viewer are providing a way to open people’s minds to understanding -or at least being open to receiving- new ideas, experiences, and perspectives.

Reference

Clark, K. (2020, March 7). Tacoma’s Museums: Filled with Life, Not just Objects. Retrieved from https://westmuse.org/articles/tacoma%E2%80%99s-museums-filled-life-not-just-objects

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Rapid Cognition: First Impressions and Running With Our Ideas

About the Book

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell discusses how we process information unconsciously. He explains the concept of “thin-slicing”, which Gladwell describes as “rapid cognition”, or “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience.” (Gladwell, p.23).  It is important to note that this process is entirely unconscious and something we all experience, such as making snap judgments of people when we first meet, quickly assessing a situation at work or on the street, and even dating.

Our abilities to thin-slice effectively and accurately are built around repeated practice of activities so that at any given moment, we are already preconditioned to recognize- in a blink- how to analyze and respond to a situation. The lesson Gladwell wants readers to take away from Blink is that we be more mindful of our rapid cognition and recognize that there are many “subtle influences that can alter or undermine or bias the products of our unconscious” (Gladwell, p. 152).

How Can Librarians Use This Information?

One of the core values of librarianship is to create an environment in which all are welcome and to provide a safe space in which library users can learn, read, watch, work, and create. While this is an important aspect of librarianship, many people make snap judgments automatically, even if they mean well- including librarians and other library staff.

Blink argues that since our first impressions of people are created by “our experiences and our environment… we can change our first impressions-we can alter the way we thin-slice- by changing the experiences that comprise those impressions.” (Gladwell, p. 97). Gladwell explains that in order to change the way you thin-slice when you meet new people, you must interact more often with those people you wish to view differently. This allows you to become comfortable with them, be primed to recognize their positive attributes, and be familiar with their culture. This is a situation in which a personal declaration to treat everyone equally is not enough-it requires a lifestyle change and a lot of practice. Library staff can learn to be more open and welcoming simply by helping library patrons and getting to know a little more about them.

“How good people’s decisions are under the fast-moving, high-stress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal.” (Gladwell, p. 114).  Gladwell explains that thin-slicing is more effective than a long, drawn out process of debating options. This falls in line with the article “Think Like a Startup” as well as The Heart of Librarianship. Early in the first chapter of The Heart of Librarianship, Stephens states: “The best librarians make good, rapid decisions based on evidence, experience, and a view of the big picture.” (Stephens, p.13). Brian Mathews states something similar, by emphasizing the importance of running with ideas that are “good enough” instead of honing an idea to perfection before trying to enact it. In the rapidly changing landscape of libraries, we must quickly assess the current and possible future trends and put our ideas into action immediately instead of debating whether it will be successful and thus missing our chance entirely. Some ideas will inevitably fail, but we must learn from our successes and figure out what does and doesn’t work. “Realizing when you may need to pivot your idea in a new direction is critical toward cultivating innovation.” (Mathews, p.5). Equally importantly, we must learn to adapt and change our ideas as we go along.

The rapidly shifting world of technology requires libraries to keep up and provide the latest in technology, programming and access to spaces in which patrons can create and explore new skills.

References

Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: the power of thinking without thinking. Little, Brown And Co.

Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup.

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive and purposeful change. ALA Editions.

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Storywalks and Vending Machines

So far I am enjoying all the examples of hyperlinked libraries. The creativity some people have blows me away and makes me want to be a part of the revolution of librarians providing more creative experiences, programming and services to the public.

The lecture did remind me of my own experience with the Storywalk. A few years ago, I was given the privilege of attending the CLA conference in Sacramento and came across a presentation of the Storywalk. I was so fascinated by it that I requested trying it out at the library I work at. I coordinated with the Children’s Librarian to create my own lower-budget version of a Storywalk. I have since done it three times, all put up for about a month in the summer during the summer reading program. Each year we pick two new books and I assemble it so that walking one way you can read one book and walking the other way you can read a different book. I enjoyed this experience (not just because I love using the laminator) primarily for the joy it brought all the patrons who used it. It was lovely to see people happy to have a reason to take a short walk outside and read to their kids.

The photo I had of one of the Storywalks was terrible quality, so I must confess I found this one on the library’s Facebook page from the one I did in 2017.

Along these same lines of hyperlinked libraries, I love the idea of bringing unconventional services to the public. A year or so ago, I read an article about a library that provided poetry vending machines. I thought this was such a cool idea because not only are writers able to put their work out there for the world to read, but the public is able to enjoy a quick creative work. I don’t think this is the same article I read, but here is an interesting one done by the New York Times.

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287 Intro Post

Hi everyone! My name is Stephany and I live in the Sacramento area. I received my B.A. in English from U.C. Irvine about 6 years ago. Once I graduated I was at a loss for what I wanted to do post-grad until I got a job as an on-call Library Assistant at a public library. I’ve been working at that same library full time for a little over 3 years and doing SJSU’s MLIS program part time. When I’m done with the degree, I’m not sure what I want to do but I’m interested in exploring academic or special libraries so that I can decide what I like best.

Outside of work and school, I read a copious amount of fiction and fantasy (both Y.A. and adult- Y.A. fantasy is highly underrated) and watch a lot of shows and movies. I also love hiking and jogging and being outdoors in general. Between my boyfriend and I, we have two cats, soon to be joined by a golden retriever puppy, which we are stoked about. I love plants and animals and the ultimate goal is to eventually have some land so that we can add chickens, goats and sheep (and possibly a llama? I don’t know anything about caring for llamas) into the mix.

I’m looking forward to the semester with all of you!

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