How are your students learning?

Today, I saw Dr. Wesch’s new offering about students in a couple different places. I have to say that the man is a genius. This should be required watching for anyone who teaches. It is funny because watching the video made me think of all the lecture halls I sat in while attending college. I can honestly say, I have retained little to nothing from those classes and college was not that long ago for me.

The ones I do remember were small and the teacher did know my name. We usually sat around a single table and conversed.

I am teaching an online course to a group of school librarians from New York. It has been an adventure so far, but one of the students posted another great video to her blog today. It is a little long, but reiterates some great points about using technology to teach.

–Jane, is wishing she could re-plan her class tomorrow

David Lee King Keynote at LITA Forum

The Future is Not Out of Reach: Change, Library 2.0, and Emerging Trends

Change affects each of us in different ways. Sometimes libraries change like turtles. We are the lucky ones. LITA, the techno geeks.

Social networking has been taking off in the last 2 years. Our patrons are using things like YouTube, but not all of us are.

Comments allow people to hold conversations on the web. It is like having an open meeting on the web.

Friending on the web is different then what it means in person. You can be friends for life. The web allows you to keep track of people much easier then before the web. Friends lists are a trusted list of people.

Content: Before the web it was books on a shelf and electronic resources. Someone else’s content arranged on a shelf. Now there are RSS feeds, original staff content, and patron generated content.

Web as Platform: The PC is no longer the platform. Old models, patrons visit the library to do stuff at the library. New Model, people go to the library to do stuff outside of the library, on the web. We are the launch pad not the destination itself.

Why do we need to participate?
To be relevant to the next generation. All our younger people are using IM, why aren’t libraries using that?

What are YOU doing at your libraries?
Gaming, SecondLife, podcasts, interactive art galleries, flickr photos

What are we teaching the current generation?
Information literacy is no longer just about reading. Information Literacy is also about teaching grandma to use flickr to look at her grandkids pictures.

How to make time for new stuff?
The problem is not finding time; it is changing your focus and priorities. Sometimes we have to do something scary to stay relevant.

One thing David can promise is that there will be change.

–Jane, great presentation

Geek Librarian on Parade

Today started a string of travel for me. I am in Denver until Sunday to attend LITA Forum. I will be giving two talks:
David and Goliath take on Social Tools and Learning 2.0 on a Dime.

Monday, I leave Denver for Virginia Beach to talk to the public library there about Web 2.0 and how it can help them engage customers. I created an outline and entitled it Making Your Patrons More Than the Audience. I got an email back from Nancy, who has been working with me for the trip, saying that they refer to their patrons as customers. I gladly changed the wording of my presentation. It is nice that the mentality of patrons as customers is already in place in Virginia Beach.

I have long thought it short sighted of libraries not to admit that we are competing for people’s attention and that makes us like a business. If you follow that logic, our patrons are indeed customers. If we really planned things this way, would we offer different services?

I think that we would move a lot faster and keep up with demand better. In the real world, companies that do not keep up, go bankrupt and fail. In the library world, this does not happen, but you do become obsolete in your community. I think the ability of libraries to survive despite a lack of innovation has hurt our culture. I believe that is beginning to change because we are competing for people’s attention and money, but oh, the change is so very slow.

We need to start thinking like businesses and get over our hang-ups about that.

–Jane, well that post went off on a tangent!

We Got 2.0 Librarians, Not 2.0 Libraries

I am a bit behind on my reading for an assortment of reasons, but I just read a post today from The Other Librarian, Ryan Deschamps, entitled We Asked for 2.0 Libraries and We Got 2.0 Librarians. It is a good post, about what Library 2.0 is and why it is still important. However, when I saw the title, I thought it was going to be about something else. I thought the post was going to be about how we have produced a larger number of 2.0 Librarians, but sadly, very few 2.0 Libraries.

Here, for my ranty enjoyment, is that post.

First, a fun disclaimer: Yes, there are 2.0 libraries. Yes, there are libraries trying to move forward, but this post is not about the minority. This post is about the majority as Jane sees it.

Library 2.0 has succeeded in nothing as well as creating a group of frustrated 2.0 Librarians. L2 has done a wonderful job of educating, enlightening, and invigorating librarians to be better, to do better, and to involve our patrons. We are reaching a critical mass of librarians who are excited about what is possible. The problem is that many of those librarians are stuck in 1.0 libraries.

I know that being 2.0 in a 1.0 environment can proceed great change and innovation in YPOW. I have seen this happen. I have seen it happen slowly at MPOW. I also know, both from personal and anecdotal experience, that being 2.0 in a 1.0 library means extreme frustration with the glacial pace of change, immovable people and policies, or any other number of things that make you wonder why you bother. Sometimes it means banging your head against a wall that will never move. Being 2.0 in a 1.0 environment can foster independence, confidence, and innovative thinking. (Getting around the rules is an art form.) It can be a positive thing, a testing of your wits. Eventually though, the challenge can wear you down.

2.0 Librarians usually end up leaving for somewhere better, more innovative. This is a great option if you are mobile and able to move. Not everyone can. This “brain drain” has resulted in a hand full of libraries doing really great stuff, a few more libraries sticking toes in the water, and the majority of libraries looking around in befuddlement. I would not be afraid to guess that in many 1.0 libraries, there are 2.0 librarians working behind the scenes and those librarians are tired.

The day I am waiting for is when there are more 2.0 librarians then 1.0 librarians or at least when there are more 2.0 librarians as PTB (Powers That Be). I think then the brain drain will lessen. Then I will not rant about this particular thing any longer. There will, however, probably be a 4.0 librarian griping about the slow, dim-witted 2.0 down the hall.

On a less ranty note: 2.0 librarians do support each other well. I think for many of us, for me, there are days when the community keeps us smiling and looking for new ways to change our libraries.

–Jane, hopes she never becomes the librarian that change forgot

School Libraries Doing Cool Web 2.0 Stuff

I am working on a big project for some school librarians. It is a learning program, like Five Weeks, that will go through a set of Web 2.0 tools and concepts. I want to, as much as possible, use school library examples in the program. I have a few, but I would love some more.

If you know of a school library doing some fun, useful, or different things with Web/Library 2.0, please leave a comment.

One of the reasons I am so excited about this program, more on the program later, is that I think school librarians often get left out of the technology loop. Many of the reasons for this have nothing to do with the librarian and everything to do with the type of environment in which they operate. We ask that these wonderful people teach our students about good information literacy in an environment in which most of the information a student would normally have access to (in the real world) is blocked and filtered. How can our students make good choices when they are given nothing from which to choose between?

It makes information literacy a whole different concept in this kind of environment.

So, please, if you have some good examples, share them with us so we can celebrate school librarians swimming against the stream.

–Jane, thinking about information literacy in the real world v. the reality of our schools and public libraries (with filters)

BarCamp is People!

BarCamp Houston

In less than twenty-four hours, geeks from all over the region will descend upon Houston to learn and share all the great stuff they know about technology. All the cool kids will be at BarCamp. Do you want to join us? It is not too late. Just come willing to share tomorrow at 9am at the Houston Technology Center.

I will be blogging and taking ridiculous amounts of pictures during the event so keep your eyes turned this way and please excuse me if I geek out.

–Jane, ready with powercord, laptop, and camera in hand

Out of Context or Being a Hypocrite

Either way, you look like an ass hat.

On Being a Hypocrite

Two things recently popped up that make my want to wash my hands of the constant hand wringing and “I am better then the common man” librarianship that seems to be the common backlash against innovation and free thought. One involves me personally.

I believe Michael Gorman was sad that we were not talking about him anymore and thus wrote the most ridiculous thing he could imagine. Jason Griffey firmly slams many of Gorman’s arguments. I would only add two things.

There is this sentence:

The task before us is to extend into the digital world the virtues of authenticity, expertise, and scholarly apparatus that have evolved over the 500 years of print, virtues often absent in the manuscript age that preceded print.

It made me wonder if Mr. Gorman ever studied coterie writing and if he found that too to be lacking. I wonder if all of the minority scholars, many of them unable to publish for years because of their gender or race, are less valuable because they were not readily accepted into the Authority of Print.

Secondly, Mr. Gorman managed to insult my belief structure as well as lambaste a form of communication which he himself used to publish this ridiculous tripe. Good Job.

On Taking Things Out of Context to Make a Scholarly Point and Thus Making Yourself Look Less Than Scholarly

This bothers me more because I was used as an example of why blogs are bad at the most recent NASIG conference. In a presentation at NASIG, the speaker was bashing blogs because of our trivial writing and cited, of all things, this post I wrote after CiL.

Updated: Here is the link to the presentation summary from NASIG. And another. (thanks to kgs and Kathryn).

I find it amusing that the speaker would use me as an example at all. There are more trivial blogs out there. My blog is semi-professional to begin with and I never claim to have any authority except over myself. But for a scholar, to use that post, instead of this one, or this, or this, in a presentation at a national conference to say that all librarian bloggers are trivial is harmful and wrong. A lie one might say.

Taking things out of context and making them more important than they truly are does nothing to prove your point. That CiL post was trivial. I wrote it that way and I do not claim to have any authority because of it. What it does prove is that you are afraid.

You are afraid that I have been given a voice. You are afraid that people actually read what I have to say. You are afraid because I am young and do not buy into your pedagogy of librarianship. You are afraid that I am stealing some power you believe you hold. You are afraid of change and the turning of the seasons. You are made of fear and you think that your fear can hurt me.

I am not afraid. You can not take away my ability to write what I choose and give it voice in a place where people can read it and respond. Your fear is what gives me authority.

–Jane, “I will not be moved.”

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Session


Originally uploaded by griffey

Jason and Karen have already posted their thoughts on why we, BIGWIG leadership, chose to plan a program for ALA Annual outside of the normal operating procedure. It all started over pizza and beer the last night of ALA Midwinter.

Program planning that requires a topic set a year in advance automatically ensures that the technology presented will be old news. It is impossible to present on any cutting edge topic, technology related or not, with this structure. There is no way to plan a session that can be responsive to the needs of engaged professionals if you have to plan it a year in advance.

In order to get around this, BIGWIG reserved a “Discussion Time” at Annual, which only requires that your organization promise to use the room for something. I know that there are many groups that do this in order to create a program with less red tape. Discussion times exist outside of the realm of the normal program planning committee structure.

We wanted to create something that was engaging and allowed participation from “off site.” We decided that we should have an online conference and made a list of people we thought would enjoy participating in something off the radar, people who loved technology, and people we trusted to be creative. We gave our presenters free reign to talk about almost anything they wanted in regards to technology. We asked them to talk about something totally new or a novel way to use something “old.”

We also told the speakers their “presentation” could look however they wished. In a couple of emails, I told them they could make a screencast, record an MP3, make a collage, write a poem, draw a picture, or sing a song. We trusted our presenters to do something fun and convey whatever information they deemed important. It is all about trust.

The timeline we have is very short. I am not sure, even at this time, exactly what topic all of the presenters have chosen. I am not sure what kind of formats we are going to receive from them. We did not ask for their final content until June 11th, a mere 8 working days until ALA. We want them to have time to change their minds at the last minute should they so choose. They are adults, who are smart, creative, and fun and we trust them as such.

A lot of this project is about trust. Who we trust and who we do not. We do not trust ALA to provide official channels that can be responsive to our needs, so we created our own. We, BIGWIG, trust each other to pull this together. BIGWIG trusts the people we have asked to contribute to give us thought provoking work.

I trust that you, dear readers (if you are an ALA member or not), will find this content delivery enticing and exciting. I am trusting that at least some of you will come and talk to our presenters in person on Saturday, June 23rd from 1:30-2:30 in the Renaissance Mayflower Cabinet Room or on the Social Software Showcase wiki in the talk pages.

Come help us try something new in ALA.

–Jane, a brave new world