Librarian Advocacy

Image from page 321 of "St. Nicholas [serial]" (1873) This week I attended an event called “Librarianship in the age of Trump”. I am super glad that I went, but I walked away a little discouraged and a lot frustrated.

I think it is important to reflect on professional values (one of the reasons why I blog) and also keep up what is happening in the world.

The meeting was very well attended for the time and location with 15 people, and I was pleasantly surprised by the people attending from different areas of the profession.

In two hours what I think was really achieved was feeling out the edges of the questions, and learning from each other what a group looking at direct action for librarians(*) might look like.

Two streams of ideas sparked my interest:

  • Really working on library as place: specifically safe space for hard discussions
  • Using our “brand” to support media literacy, fact-checking, and information work.

I also loved some of the example ideas around using art, social media, and video to spread messages. Not something you usually hear from library folk.

What I found difficult:

  • The idea that only MLIS carrying librarians have a role in this sort of movement. Because while I feel that with a MLIS comes an obligation for reflective practice and community engagement there are many out there who don’t hold an MLIS who are equally engaged and passionate. They should not be barred from participation.
  • That people weren’t really sure what is currently being done in the larger librar* community around these issues.

Anyway, I plan to continue participating, because I do feel like I have something to add to discussions like this, and want to be able to make a positive impact on my community with my skills.

Core Values of my provincial library association

  • Access and Inclusion
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Diversity
  • Literacy and Lifelong Learning
  • Accountability

More here: https://bclaconnect.ca/about/bcla-values-statement/

Raganathan’s 5 Laws of Library Science

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his / her book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.

And the variants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_laws_of_library_science#Variants

Relevant Resources:

There are more that I wasn’t able to track down.

( many thanks to Kevin, Tami and Phil for organizing the meeting, and Myron for answering some think-y tweets of mine)

#CIL Day 3

Last day of the conference! And I am a bit sad that flight times mean that I’ll miss the last 2 sessions.

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Keynote: Technology & Libraries: Now & Into the Future

Mary Augusta Thomas, the Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Institute Libraries gave this talk. She notes that people are a bit afraid of the future of libraries. There is an increasing amount of information and discovery available to us, and we are needed to help store, parse, and connect. You need to have the history of the institution to use as a tool for planning and it is a key to your community. We should keep our publications. Profiles of staff help make connections to build knowledge, and will help us learn more about ourselves. Our systems should support our goals. Our mission will not change, but the way that that we accomplish our mission will change. We are partners in processes, more than tech and books. Future librarians will highly developed skills to collaborate and cooperate. We need these skills because we need to learn who our users are and what they need. Act of discovery is not tied to local collections. Have descriptions that contain lots of entry points to an object in order to make connections. Reference interview skills are vital. Where we locate ourselves as staff is different because our community is changing how it looks for works. We should want to be better than we are now, to use our skills and technologies to better serve our communities.

They found whale bones on top of a mountain, used 3D scanners to digitize the sites, researchers can now look at the bone scans and even replicate the bones for research.

Designing Spaces for Staff: Innovation & Integrated Services

Sharon Bostick and Bryan Irwin, University libraries. We are a change environment, which needs space change as well. There are lots of challenges. They have a rolling re-org. Staffing and space. Flexible adaptable spaces and people. Need to collaborate. In a lot of places where staff spaces are rigid and tucked away. Are your staff roles relevant? They their space needs change as well as their roles. Staff wanted to be together, with alone space and collaborative space. 3 general categories of spaces, concentration, collaboration/creation, and conversation. These spaces should be fluid and user-centric. What do your service desks say about you? Barrier? Friendly concierge? Don’t forget that patrons need help and don’t care about titles or departments. Have staff embedded in the public staff, have consultative spaces not transactional spaces. Try ideas, but don’t commit to any idea, which can lead to issues. be concerned about the first impressions that you give to patrons. There are solutions where you can re-arrange desks as needed (raised floors for power solutions). The corporate would is a place to look for learning about how people work best, and how space works with that. Change your modes throughout the day, and change those spaces. Create a large plan with an implementation plan. Make incremental progress on that plan. Allows to self-correct and test ideas.Think about library mission not about library staff personalities.

Liz McGettigan , UK Library Design. Need to create mind-shifts and makeovers for changing existing spaces. Make your interior match the changes outside the walls. We have a modesty problem, also publicity and leadership issues. Think about self-service, and mobile accessibility. Pull out the front desks and have staff at open desks. Idea: touchscreen walls for quick transactions and way-finding. Linger, learn, and have neat tech. Have meeting spaces that are both open and private. Have the youth design their own spaces. SOLUS have small spaces that are modern and pre-made. Make sure you are training on technology for the people who don’t otherwise have access to education. Use your imagination and you will succeed.

Transforming Tech Training Services

From NYPL’s TechConnect crew.”One Team, One Goal.” Brandy McNeil and Steven Deolus are the speakers. (won a prize). Glass technology study, 8/10 people need technology skills in their everyday lives. Need to have a blended lerning model. Everyone, everywhere needs some sort of training. Focus on everyday skills, and have a standardized curriculum and management. Also advertise. Started by branding. They have 100 different types of classes. Have virtual training (self-help via google hangouts), one-on-one, online tutorials, series based classes, and use seasoned instructions. 3 minute snippets on YouTube. Created of an advisory council of older staff and audited offerings and successes as well as what didn’t work. Key: get buy-in!! Meet often with key stakeholders, know what is going on with them, and let them know what you are doing. Maintain relationships. Staff need to know various things, all types of tech, a/v expertise, and prefer bi-lingual staff. Have regional managers, have field trainers and lab trainers, and lab assistants (open lab time). Open lab time has to be productive. OpenTank: the department purchase and play with technology, figure out how to use and what it can be used for in training. Monthly train the training sessions. Keep instructors and training up to date on their skills. Award staff for performance. Have quarterly tech meetings for all branches, learn something and work together. Have focus groups for staff and patron groups. Create project teams. Moved away from cubicles, have shared spaces. See your brand in your work-spaces to inspire staff. Have a website just for the program. See what paid organizations look like. Provide skills testing. Focused on adults first, and only now are working with kids and teens. Work with IT in order to tell them why software is important. Offer both Photoshop and Gimp classes. Arrange class to allow for eyes on the computers at all times, and use laptops for bigger classes and collaboration. For equipment, keep it state-of-the-art and includes charging stations. Website includes handouts and tutorials, and survey forms. They do also partner with organizations to offer programs. They have interactive testing. Includes “Are you ready for the next level?” (Yes yes yes!). “What’s your tech profile?” after the test they know what classes would be most useful for them (curious, job seeker). (used Articulate Storyline 2 to make the quiz). Created a workbook for the coding program. Students of the project code program create websites for local small businesses. For marketing did ads on transit and ATM toppers, and TV ads, radio, newspapers, and promotional materials.

 

I had a great time at #CILDC and am thankful that the conference had such a great line-up.

#CILDC Night Panel on Tech

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First a spin through ’80s technology. Lots of nostalgia. Amazing how little some things haven’t changed. But how much better library work is.

Sharing of favourite tools and technologies. More nostalgia.

Sharing of least favourite tools and technologies. Some disagreement.

Then the panel.

Meg B.  From Anchorage. About how we were promised jet packs. A disappointment in what we have achieved. Or possibly a disappointment in our culture.

Jason Griffey, entrepreneur. Disappointment in that libraries don’t create what we use. Moore’s law.

Jan Holmquist,  global librarian. When we talk about technology we should talk about how we got here by making mistakes. Local,  community efforts,  wisdom of the crowd. Tracking things,  and when we are online all the time we need to be offline. Have places to be quiet. We now create together and make things together.

Darlene Fitcher, government librarian. Interactive demo.

#CILDC Day 2

Opening Keynote: Creating a New Nostalgia

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Talk given by David S. Ferriero, AOTUS, and John Palfrey, author, on the future. “Do we still need libraries?” Yes! Even though there are more ways to get information and knowledge we need them more than ever. John is not a librarian, but has worked in libraries. The argument in BiblioTECH, the book, is aimed at regular citizens. There is a sense for some people that the purpose that libraries once served is no longer necessary, but that is not true. Dealing with format proliferation but no additional resources. With more investment, we can increase relevance. Don’t rely on the nostalgia factor going forward, but create new experiences, especially for young people. Combine the physical and the digital. Take the time to ask patrons what they need, ask hard questions. Relate back to yesterday’s talk ‘human-centered design’. The digital divide s now also about a digital literacy gap. Very key. There is a need for social space, quiet space – where information is consumed and content is created. Speak to your funder’s needs, like job creation. Co-creation space, social, study, create all together. Kids creating knowledge. Recommend going the way of an education centres not community centres. Plug for DPLA. How do you sell ‘delight’ to funders? Plug for Knight Foundation. People remember being delighted, helping create nostalgia. Libraries as open, neutral space, and can serve as a keystone of democracy. School libraries and public libraries don’t have a history of collaboration. Need to wok together to offer digital literacy training to teachers. There is a need for copyright and contract law reform. There is a need for professional development to build the skills needed. The people with the skills exist, but might be 1 in 100 in the profession. But have all libraries working together, in order to make a huge impact.

Introduction to Customer Development

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M. J. D’Elia, University of Guelph spoke about customer development frameworks.  There is a lot of jargon in this topic. Examples “customer” and “development”. A four step framework, from idea to execution. The process for testing assumptions, and validating your learning with facts. Speak with customers throughout the entire process. Start by speaking with people. It is about applying entrepreneurial thinking.

Book Rec: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Identify when you are solving a customer need, don’t build things that patrons don’t want. This will help us acquire new customers, as well as help with scaling the resources needed to expand/contract. Use this when you are building something new. “Fall in love with solving a problem, not with a solution.” Challenge assumptions, and when you want and need feedback from the community.

His example is Guelph’s Virtual Learning Commons (working name). There is a need, and need to get real feedback to ensure success.

Framework:

  • Customer Discovery- Find a product that solves that solves a problem for an identified group of users (problem-solution fit). Talking to people, finding out what the current work-arounds are: testing assumptions, do interviews, build prototypes. Key term: Minimum Viable Product – High or Low Fidelity. This product is aimed at early adopters. This is a difference from current practice. Be hungry for feedback and willing to accept change.
  • Customer Validation: identify the ‘market’.  Is there a big enough need for this? Have a target market, a project plan, and a business plan. How will you grow a user base?
  • Company Creation: Find the audience and use, and start expanding the service. This is the ‘sales’ stage. Also where you devote more resources to this successful product.
  • Company Building: This is the step where you have the successful business – create processes and expansion, and when the product is mature.

There is also the ‘Pivot’ – this is when the customer base doesn’t like the product. What you do when the solution doesn’t work. You have to be able to recognize that sometimes assumptions are wrong and we need to change strategy.

BiblioCommons working Lunch

Full disclosure I love, love, love BiblioCommons and will be talking briefly at this lunch. Their product is awesome, and they constantly improve. Plus their staff are friendly, patient and amazing.

What’s new from Erica Reynolds (who is wonderful):

  • working on the user interface this year
  • shared code and shared investments
  • BiblioCMS is a WordPress based website structure [Chicago/Calgary] a card-based system.
  • VPL uses the events module! Includes real facets
  • One-book-one-community platform (serialized reading adventure) see Chicago. Uses BiblioDigital
  • Summer Sites and Online Badging. Mozilla Open Badge Compliant, and is mobile-responsive. Can feature badges on profile. Looking to expand Summer sites to use year-round programs, such as read local (Johnson County). Looking for beta-sites.
  • New in the Core: Profiles (which are fun and amazing), List Liking, Feature in Catalogue (easy and also fun), featuring staff content, better display of series and awards, new list types, FRBR, permalinks for community activity – like sharing reviews or videos. Improvements to reporting bad stuff.
  • Plug for the Partner Portal (very useful)
  • Coming soon: responsive design (2-column), and list improvements (faceting, sorting, more items, featured image), While you wait. Changes to feature in catalogue. Real read-a-like lists.
  • Lists can help drive up popularity of older titles. (Deliah’s lists, JoCo)

St. Joseph County Public Library spoke about launching BiblioCommons.

Social Media & Community Engagement

All about the tips.

See more: #CILSM #CILDC

  • Use Meetup to reach out about programs. Very useful.
  • Pay for ads
  • Know who the central nodes are in the community and foster connections with them.
  • Post comments on more popular pages
  • Cross-posting Instagram to Facebook leads to more hits

Building Community Partnerships

2015-04-28 14.50.06Melissa from Chesapeake Public Library, head of Reference. Works with workforce development. Job help at your library, resume assistance and creation, job searching, and job applications. Also, computer classes, notary services, and proctoring services. Use video conference equipment, and use to help with partners. Some classes aren’t great for staff to offer, but use partners instead. Have mock-interviews for teens, worked with a youth centre to offer these. Leverage Starbucks who need to do community service. Partner with Community College to offer a certificate program at the library. Be where the people are. Library supplies the space for the partners, the partners do classes. Knoow your capabilities, create a “Memorandum of Understanding” it is important. Share your experiences and say “Thank You”. And you will get more opportunities from this.

Nancy, from Baldwinsville, Outreach librarian. She reaches out to the community to engage. Slightly smaller than our library. All librarians have to do outreach abilities. Near everything. Have a history of outreach. Mix PR with outreach.  They count going to care homes as outreach, and have rotating collections. Find groups to donate titles to. And these organizations can then create new opportunities for the library. Help out Friends Group with Social Media. Takes time to build an audience. Have an audiobook club for dementia patients. Get booklists  from local movers and shakers.

Makerspace: Community, Partners & Impact

2015-04-28 16.01.21Sue Considine, Executive Director, Fayetteville Free Library.  Building on the themes of making, and assessment. She also brought handouts! Fablab, makerspace, and digital creation lab. It is about building community not the technology. Started with maker open houses. Have tools to capture conversations, and a volunteer applications (great idea!). These volunteers have replaced their program budget, and ensuring relevant topics. Share skills: 1-on-1 appointments, monthly clubs, weekly clubs, and more. This a community-centred approach to making. Learning from one another. Put out a call for volunteers, and then got supplies and teachers that way. They collect stats and stories. Sewing club also makes things for local charities. Hold an interest meeting first. Great approaches to reporting. Before and after Geek Girl camp asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” There was an impact. Have a certification programs for all tools. Collect video stories of big successes. Found that they were helping local businesses, and helping kids learn skills. Have no departments, just have 4 topical meetings per month for all staff. Programs, collections, outreach, etc. Director then looks at proposals that are created and then approved. They only charge for materials for 3D printers. They are about accessibility, free and open access. Libraries are about discovery and initial inspiration.

See more: www.fflib.org

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Video, Why Bother?

I’ve been having an interesting discussion at work lately. And by lately, I mean the last 2 years. Whenever the topic of marketing comes up, I suggest videos. And the response from almost everyone is:

“No one watches video.”

At which point the conversation is essentially over, because if you believe that no one is watching video, then, all my facts and figures about how video is the most popular format on the web aren’t going to have any effect.

Infographic of "Why Video is the Best form of Engagement" frm visual.ly
From: http://visual.ly/why-video-best-form-engagement

What I think is happening when people are saying “no one watches video” what they are actually saying is:

“I don’t watch video, and don’t see the value of information shared this way.”

That is a discussion I need to start because video is fun! With video, tutorials become a lot more transparent, with video we can give library staff a voice and possibly face when they are communicating.

There are a lot of ways that video can help us add value to our community.

  • Storytimes
  • Puppet shows
  • Technology Tutorials
  • Book talks
  • Interviews with authors
  • Personal Histories
  • Highlighting Collections

This small set of ideas would mean that kids and their parents could re-visit their favourite programs, or watch one that they had  missed, or someone troubleshooting an ebook issue at home would be able to get help even when the library is closed. We could be adding to the historical record of our community by creating and sharing personal histories. And by putting faces and names to our staff, we are creating connections with the community without every leaving the building! (But we should do that as well). Video can act as an archival activity, creating a record for future staff and the community.

So, video is valuable. It is also not that hard. At least once you get over the embarrassment of hearing your own voice.

There are lots of different tools to create and edit video (I’m really fond of Camtasia at the moment), but really all you need is a script (words!) and patience (a real useful skill for library work). Building videos really fits with library work – providing information, attention to detail, sharing…

And because I might as well put myself in as a guinea pig, here is one of my most recent videos.

Blog Recommendation: Letters to a Young Librarian

As I’ve mentioned before, part of my job is keeping up to date. Which involves a lot of technology blogs, but I also like to keep up to date on blogs around working in libraries, project management, change management, and sometimes managing libraries (I have dreams).

This is a quick hit, but you should be reading Letters to a Young Librarian. It is an absolutely fantastic blog about working as a new librarian. There are lots of fantastic topics covered that are funny and full of good advice. The tone of the articles are welcoming and the guest posters are covering a lot of great topics right now.

Add this blog to your professional reading list.