What It Means to Have an Open Conversation

Five Weeks to a Social Library officially starts next week. We have preliminary meetings with our groups this week, to make sure everything is kosher and shiny. Today, I realized that we had forgot to mention the concept of “open conversation” and thus posted this to our blog space.

The last time I was involved in a group learning project, the open conversation was decidedly not. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned what it was like to be a user with an entity that was absolutely not interested in what I had to say. I want to make sure that 5 Weeks is exactly the opposite of not listening, not open.

We built this project so that we could all learn. I want to learn what goes wrong when you plan an online class from scratch. I want to know what people hate about it and what they love because next time I do something similar, I can make it better.

Our other goal is, hopefully, for other people to build their own learning projects, and they too will be able to learn from our triumphs and failures.

All of this means listening, reflecting, and fixing what it is possible to fix. It means engaging the conversation and being open to change, criticism, and praise. Sometimes, it means having tough skin. Other times, it means being humble, gracious, and able to see your failures. I am still working on it all.

–Jane, still a work in progress

or if you prefer

–Jane, beta

Welcome Five Weeks to a Social Library Participants

It was heart-wrenching, but we finally narrowed the field down to forty souls. They are a very interesting bunch, all over the map, lots of different kinds of libraries. They are eager as well; some of them have started posting their initial thoughts. It was such an awesome pool, I hope those not chosen choose to stick around, listen, and participate in the conversation, because they were all great.

And now, the feature presentation:

1. Bayer, Dell – Sr. Research Librarian – Sandia National Laboratories, NM
2. Bedwell, Linda – Reference and Instruction Librarian – Dalhousie University – Halifax, Nova Scotia
3. Bjork, Karen – Archivist – Montana Historical Society Research Center, MT
4. Bradley, Karen – Instruction Librarian – Colorado State University Libraries, CO
5. Breu, Reegan – Manager, Information Services, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), Winnipeg
6. Cameron, Tamara – Teacher-Librarian – York House School, Vancouver, BC
7. Deboo, Shireen – Librarian – South Seattle Community College, WA
8. Duncan, Cheri – Head of Serials/LMS Systems – James Madison University, VA
9. Edmunson-Morton, Tiah – Reference Archivist – Oregon State University Archives, OR
10. Ennen, Rita – Technical Services Librarian – Stoxen Library, Dickinson State University, ND
11. Erdman, Jacquelyn – Assistant University Librarian – Florida Atlantic University, FL
12. Erichetti, Jini – Library Media Specialist – Kingston Elementary School, NJ
13. Ferguson, Cristie – Librarian – M.P. Baker Library of Panola College, TX
14. Gervasio, Josalyn – – Adult Services Reference Librarian – Guilderland Public Library, NY
15. Gibson, Renata – Public Services Librarian – Northwest Vista College, TX
16. Grant, Robin – Reference Librarian – Macon State College, GA
17. Jahns, Fred – Librarian – Vine Middle School, TN
18. Jarboe, Janelle – Assistant Technology Consultant/Trainer – Southwest Kansas Library System – Dodge City, KS
19. Johnson, Samantha – Reference Librarian – Moore Memorial Public Library, TX
20. Kingcade, Rachel – Reference Librarian I – Beaufort County Library, SC
21. Krieg-Sigman, Kelly – Library Director – La Crosse Public Library, WI
22. Langlois, Jessica – Librarian – Mount St. Joseph Academy, VT
23. Markgraf, Jill S. – Distance Education & Reference Librarian – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, WI
24. Mangrum, Suzanne – Collection Assessment Librarian – Middle Tennessee State University, TN
25. Marsh, Beth – Automation/Technology Consultant – South Texas Library System, TX
26. McMullen, Lauren – Training specialist – Montana State Library, MT
27. Murphy, Carol – Young Adult Coordinator – West Deptford Free Public Library, NJ
28. Murrey, Matthew J. – Media Specialist – Urbana High School, IL
29. Pardue, Karen – Instructional Technology Librarian – Colorado State University – Pueblo, CO
30. Penner, Katharina – Acquisition and Serials Librarian – International Baptist Theological Seminary, Prague, CZ
31. Peppers, Maria – Head of Library Information Services – Occidental College Library, CA
32. Pineda Rodas, Luis – Reference Desk Supervisor and Bibliographer – Ludwig von Mises Library, Guatemala City, Guatemala
33. Ristau, Holly – Librarian, White Earth Tribal And Community College, MN
34. Smith, Nancy – Library Services Coordinator/Public Libraries – Prairie Area Library System, IL
35. Swanson, Eleanor – Cataloging/Reference Librarian – Elgin Community College, IL
36. Tumbleson, Beth – Library Director – Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy High School – Cincinnati, OH
37. Veldheer, Kris – Instruction Librarian – Graduate Theological Union, CA
38. Van Dusen, Missy – Reference and Research Services Librarian – New Mexico State University Library, NM
39. Watkins, Candice – Reference & Instruction Librarian – Clatsop Community College, OR
40. Wygant, Alisia – Reference Librarian – Colby College, ME

Welcome, brave souls. It is going to be a fantastic ride!

–Jane, very excited

Five Weeks: Progress and Questions

At the moment, most of my free time is going towards reading through the 110 applications Five Weeks to a Social Library has received for the 40 slots available in the course. Some of the stories are simply heartbreaking. It makes me very thankful for the travel funding I receive at MPOW.

We have been asked a couple times why we are limiting the participation in an online course to 40. Shouldn’t it be open to anyone since it is online? Yes and no. Yes, all of the content will be archived and freely accessible to anyone who wants to view it. However, participants are being split into discussion groups which will be monitored by myself or one of the other wonderful ladies on the planning committee. Each group will have weekly chat sessions to discuss the things learned or discovered during the week. There are also live components for which we wanted to limit participation: like webcasts and chats with presentors.

The other question I seem to be getting a lot is, “Are you guys going to do this again?” Oh, please do not ask. I think I can safely speak for the others when I say that right now we would like to get through this first round and see how it all goes.

The original intent was for other people to use some of the content we create, because it will all be archived for the world to see, or create their own content and use this as a model for other learning communities. I am not sure I want to do this every year, because I am hoping that other library systems, institutions, and committees take this idea and tailor it to the unique needs of their members.

–Jane, start the cluetrain @ your library

Five Weeks Due Date Imminent!

The deadline to apply to be a participant in the Five Weeks to a Social Library program is tomorrow, December 1st. You will find the application here. It is going to be awesome.

I believe in this project because it is important that continuing education and training be offered FREE online to librarians. It can be free. It will be free. We are setting it free.

–Jane, accept no substitutes

*title changed to be correct, wow am I ever a bad spellr!, thanks John.