computers in libraries 2017 upping our game: taking libraries to new heights with technology
There are many excellent libraries as well as a myriad of innovative and engaging services in the information world these days. What strategies, learning, training, partnering, out-of- the-box thinking and borrowing from other industries will enable all libraries to be excellent in their communities? Whether it’s building creative spaces with learning commons and makerspaces; engaging audiences in different ways with community managers and embedded librarians; advocating for learning and literacy in new and exciting ways; using new technologies to provide engaging services and apps; partnering with museums or chambers of commerce; Computers in Libraries 2017 is all about Upping Our Game: Taking Libraries to New Heights with Technology
Today, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google, Inc. are launching the “Libraries Ready to Code” project to investigate the current nature of coding activities in public and school libraries for youth and broaden the reach and scope of this work.
"Libraries today are less about what we have on our shelves and more about what we do for and with people in our schools, campuses and communities,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “Learning for children and youth today is more flexible, more self-directed, and with greater opportunities to not just use content, but to create and collaborate digitally. Library professionals are committed to facilitating both individual opportunity for all and advancing community progress. This new project with Google sits squarely in our modern public mission."
One library in Staffordshire offered free fruit to children for West Midlands health information week. “One of my first memories, when I was four, was being taken to join the library in Newcastle upon Tyne,” says Linda Fenwick. Whenever she has moved since, one of the first things she has done is join the local library. “It’s just unthinkable to not have a library,” she says.
When her local library at Barton-under-Needwood needed volunteers, Fenwick stepped forward to help run it. On 25 April it became the first in Staffordshire to be run by volunteers, and one of eight that has an unusual partner: South Staffordshire and Shropshire healthcare NHS foundation trust.
The trust’s decision to add library management to mental health, learning disability and specialist children’s services will be discussed on Wednesday 13 July at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals’ annual conference in Brighton.
The Purpose-Based Library Finding your path to survival, success, and growth By John J. Huber and Steven V. Potter | July 20, 2016
This is an excerpt from The Purpose-Based Library: Finding Your Path to Survival, Success, and Growth by John J. Huber and Steven V. Potter (ALA Editions, 2015). “The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competitors, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” —Bill Gates
Bill Gates’s quote should have you, as a member of the library profession, doing backflips. Librarians are specifically trained to gather, manage, and use information. If we take Gates’s words at face value, libraries should be the most competitive organizations on the planet.
Some of you would argue that your library is a nonprofit organization and is not competing with anyone. We beg to differ. Every customer has a choice and chooses whether to go to the library website or Google’s search bar, to either engage the library or order materials from Amazon. Amazon would much rather have its customers buy a book than borrow, and Google would much rather have information seekers search its website than seek out a reference or research librarian. There is no question that libraries compete head-to-head with these for-profit businesses.
Libraries are competing against the most successful businesses this planet has ever seen, and considering this competition, libraries have responded admirably. Embracing self-service technology, adopting one-field, deep-web database search engines, expanding ebook offerings, creating staffless libraries, and streamlining service-delivery chains are a few examples. However, libraries must face the reality that they have an uphill battle competing with these impressive and highly profit-driven companies. Google has for the most part won the “surface web” battle, as the role of the reference librarian has become a shell of itself. Amazon is winning the battle for ebooks, primarily because of its effective user interface, wealth of offerings, and easy-to-use digital delivery platform. Libraries are hanging in there and competing effectively, but for how long? They are surviving, but survival is not enough—success and growth have to be a part of libraries’ survival strategies or they will eventually lose their relevance.
To successfully compete, libraries must embrace the words of Bill Gates. Libraries must gather, use, and manage information in a way that large for-profit companies cannot. So the question is: What competitive advantages do libraries have that these organizations do not? Let us count the ways:
Libraries have more locations across the country than any other organization. Libraries have a personal presence in every community in the country. Library staff interact with their customers face-to-face. Library staff are trained and skilled to gather, archive, and manage information. Library staff are well educated and motivated to make a difference. And most important, libraries and their staff have a powerful, game-changing common purpose. To go beyond survival, to succeed and grow, libraries must embrace and leverage these competitive advantages.
In March and May this year, EIFL convened meetings of over 20 leading Croatian public librarians and library advocates to develop a vision for public libraries in the context of Croatia’s national development strategies and priorities.
The ebb and flow of disruptive innovation often changes the way we do our specific jobs and careers. Melanie Sibley touches on the how and why these changes have been necessary in her line of work.
Melanie Sibley is the Library Media Specialist at Liberty Elementary School. She happily devotes her days to students, books, and technology. Outside of school, Ms. Sibley seeks adventure and knowledge through travel, reading, and trivia/games. No matter the activity, she is always learning.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
Information Technology Association (LITA) for its Top Tech Trends predictions. The panelists were Blake Carver, LYRASIS; Lauren Comito, Queens (N.Y.) Library; Laura Costello, Stony Brook (N.Y.) University; Carolyn Coulter, PrairieCat Library Consortium; and Nick Grove, Meridian (Idaho) Library District.
Here are some of the questions:
What is the next top tech trend?
Comito: Teaching underlying concepts, not specific devices. Costello: Real-time library data: What are patrons’ favorite chairs? Is the library busy now? Grove: Virtual reality and how it will play out in libraries. Coulter: Balancing access and privacy. Carver: Super-fast, super-easy app development; huge, cross-platform software that anyone can design and implement.
What is on the horizon in IT privacy and security?
Carver: Terror. Ransomware, because there is big money behind that. The slow but welcome disappearance of Flash and Java. Coulter: Every public library I’ve worked in has common logins at all their branches. It will be painful to get rid of these file-shares. We must educate our administrators as well as our patrons. Grove: Confusing lingo that makes file backup sound horrendously intimidating when it is not. Simpler communications from IT. Costello: Telling vendors that some of their features put our patrons at risk.
When the recession hit pause on the plans Kansas’s Wichita Public Library (WPL) had to replace its aging central building, library leaders used the opportunity to tap into community feedback. As a result, the replacement will offer features and services tailored to patrons’ needs and will support the city as it moves into the future by fostering civic growth and engagement.
In a city known for innovation, tolerance, and liberal social policies, homelessness has proven to be an intractable problem. Two out of three of San Francisco’s homeless residents are not living in shelters but on the street, according to federal statistics. That trend, says Hall, has manifested itself inside the library. “There certainly weren’t as many homeless patrons when I began,” Hall said. “But there also weren’t the housing shortages and the income disparities and the issues with injectable drugs. The city really has changed a lot.” And so has being a librarian at the Main Branch. To thrive here, Hall said, one must come to terms with the fact that it is not a sleepy suburban branch nor a cloistered university research library. “We make it very clear to our applicants that this isn’t always a quiet, peaceful place,” Hall said. “People who work here must embrace that urban reality.”
Trudy Raymakers's insight:
People who work in the library must embrace the new (urban) reality. It means that part of the time you are a social worker.
We spend a lot of time talking about new and emerging literacies in our field. Conceptualizing how information is created, shared, and understood becomes especially intriguing when we add a new language to the mix, a language that many citizens globally understand. Consider this: 92 percent of all people online use emoji as a means to convey information and emotion. A recent piece in Wired by Clive Thompson, “The Emoji Is the Birth of a New Type of Language ( No Joke),” exploring this phenomenon got me thinking about what it might mean for communication, sharing, and interaction with others and with libraries. Thompson shares some striking research insights by way of linguist Tyler Schnoebelen, chief data scientist for Idibon: people often use the skull emoji when they talk about their problems with their phones, Instagram posts include emoji nearly 50 percent of the time, and emoji have quelled the use of “netspeak.” Remember netspeak? I used to teach that lingo in public Internet classes in the 1990s. Today, LOL has yielded to any number of smiling ideograms as a means to convey laughter or happiness.
If some reckless reader has put a book back in the wrong spot, it's a daunting task for librarians to search the entire building for it. Researchers are now designing robots that can navigate through libraries at night, scanning spines and shelves to report back on missing or out-of-place books.
But, please note, I do not have any kind of personal professional development plan of the type that Alisa and Sam have shared this #blogjune. I’m pretty much in awe of this kind of organisation and professionalism… so do have a look at what they have to say about what they are doing to future proof themselves.
Skill 1 – Know your library stuff inside out – from first principles Really, to continue to be useful in a library you must, must, must have an idea of basic principles of selection, organisation, preservation, provision, access and social life of information. Full Stop.
Not only that, if you have a good grasp of the WHY we do what we do how we do it, then you can critique what we do, improve on it and understand how to extend it into the future.
Reading something like Matthew Battles’ Library an Unquiet History should make sure you have an idea about the WHY from which all our HOW flows.
Skill 2 – Turn up, do things you say you will on time, wash, be kind and pleasant, don’t piss off your coworkers, boss or clients
Library spaces are changing, and so are the responsibilities of the average librarian. Libraries all over the world are re imagining library spaces to enable collaborative work, teaching and learning, and even socializing. The Cambridge University Library’s Protolib project is just one example of how universities are extending library environments to include a wide range of work and study spaces.
The screenwriter's writing haven has arrived—and it's awesome. Imagine the most perfect place to write. Does it include a library full of tens of thousands of scripts, comfy seating, and free Wi-Fi? If so, you should definitely check out the Writers Guild of America Library, which has all of that and more.
Located in Los Angeles, the Billy Wilder Reading Room inside the WGA Library aims to "preserve and promote the craft, history, and voices of screen storytelling," and does so by making a treasure trove of scripts, taped programs, writers' biographies, and books available to those who come through its doors. It has amenities that would impress almost any screenwriter, like free Wi-Fi and quiet, comfortable places to write.
The New York Public Library (NYPL) on July 12 announced the launch of SimplyE, a new app for tablets and smartphones that employs a single interface for browsing, borrowing, and reading ebooks from multiple different vendors, as well as public domain ebooks. Enabling patrons to discover and start reading library ebooks with as few as three clicks, this initial version of the app is the fulfillment of a goal set two and a half years ago by the NYPL-led Library Simplified project.
The inclusion of libraries and access to information in national and regional development plans will contribute to meeting the global United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In support of this goal, IFLA has today published a booklet of examples and recommendations for policymakers demonstrating the contribution of libraries to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is also a supporting two-page handout.
The booklet includes stories from all types of libraries in from many countries around the world. IFLA thanks all IFLA members and partners that contributed their stories for the booklet. Additional stories will be made available online, and you can re-print the booklet and handout at any time. Print copies will also be mailed to all IFLA members and additional copies can be ordered from IFLA Headquarters.
Mark Ray is changing the conversation from "shh..." to "How can I help your with technology?" Mark has helped to overhaul libraries in Vancouver Public Schools in Washington state. For more information on this TED talk go to www.TEDElCajon.com.
Mark Ray is Chief Digital Officer for Vancouver (Washington) Public Schools. Named a National School Boards Association "20 to Watch" in 2015, he has helped develop and lead 1:1 device programs, professional development, digital learning and redefining teacher librarian practices. For 20 years, we was a teacher librarian and instructional technology facilitator and was the 2012 Washington State Teacher of the Year.
You mention the words “public library” to most teens and they cringe at the thought of going. After spending long hours of structured time in the classroom, it is understandable that some teens do not want to go to a traditional gatekeeping public library and sit in complete silence. However, those times are changing for many libraries. The Institute of Museum and Library Services totally gets that teens want to learn, but they want to feel carefree and have fun doing it. So, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has been giving some public libraries grants to reinvent and develop programs to get teens engaged and having fun doing it.
As of today, these community libraries in various states have already started their big plans. Nashville Public Library received $1.2 million in a grant to make the necessary changes. The plan for these libraries have been to create an area where teens can be loud, hangout, play games, do homework, participate in activities and other programs.
There are still epic tales of migration, inspiring stories of people overcoming hardship, and chronicles of religious or racial persecution. But in some places, there aren't any books -- instead, it's humans that are on loan. "A Human Library is just like a real library but instead of paperbacks and hard covers, we have real people on our bookshelves," said Ronni Abergel, cofounder of the Human Library Organization. "You can borrow the bipolar or the Muslim or the transgender or the homeless, and in this way you get a chance to talk to this person and you may just realize what you have in common." Literary origins Abergel cofounded the Human Library 16 years ago in Copenhagen, on the back of a one-off event designed to prevent physical violence. A group of 50 human volunteers posed as titles for people to borrow over four days -- readers could ask the volunteers anything they liked about their life and experiences.
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