In August 2015, I invited Evan Silva, fantasy football author/podcaster/expert, to speak to an audience at the Skokie (IL) Public Library (SPL). Silva, though well known in the fantasy football world, had never spoken at a library or similar educational institution and wasn’t sure why I would contact him. To me, the connection was obvious. Librarians help and teach our patrons to find the best information possible in order to make the best decisions possible.
The Wired Library
Failure hurts. It really, really hurts. But painful failure can be a great teacher if you have the right mindset and work in an enlightened organization. Your mindset can make the difference between making positive changes and repeating old mistakes.
As learning is the point of libraries, it is time to consider the best ways to serve our communities. That means we need to do more to learn how people learn. There is an incredible amount of well-researched, well-documented learning theories. Two theories that we are currently drawn to are experiential learning and connected learning.
THE WIRED LIBRARY | How to Keep Your Library’s Facebook Page from Getting Hacked: A PLA Podcast Transcript
Editor’s note: Our regular columnist, Dilnavaz Mirza Sharma, will be back in the next issue with a new The Wired Library column. For this issue, we chose to share a partial transcript of a podcast we recorded live at the PLA 2016 conference. Visit http://publiclibrariesonline.org/category/media to listen to this podcast in its entirety. Thank you […]
The Wired Library explores tech topics relevant to public librarians.
Zetta Elliott is working with the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School to produce an anthology of middle-grade student writing. Maybe the anthology will be picked up by a mainstream publisher, maybe it won’t. It doesn’t really matter to Elliott. For her, the solution to the lack of diversity in children’s books is simple: Stop begging at the doors of traditional publishers and publish diverse books yourself. It sounds lofty, but thanks to the explosion of digital publishing tools, it’s now possible for just about anyone to publish a professional-looking book—simply and affordably, online or in print.
Simply put, a Geographic Information System (GIS) is a tool for organizing data so that it can be displayed and analyzed based on its geospatial characteristics. Using GIS allows users to combine multiple data sets in order to suss out connections in the subject matter that might not necessarily have been fully apparent without the added element of geographic references.
The pendulum, it swings. Eight years ago, my charge as a technology librarian was to herd the cats — to introduce new technology and ways of serving the digital patron to an organization that was largely skeptical of change. Cut to now, and I’m … still herding cats. Only, this time, it’s the folks at all levels of the organization who want to incorporate tech into every service they can think of. Sunrise, sunset.
Does that mean we’ve had a complete polar shift in the way technology operates in libraries? Yes, but also no. Maybe we’ll even throw a “maybe” in there for good measure. The pendulum will keep swinging, meaning we’ve got to be ready for shifts in either direction. Sound confusing? Of course it is. There’s a tremendous tension between the wish to provide stability and the urge to forge new ground. In our quest to provide quality service and access to all, it’s no wonder we feel pulled in all directions at once.
The web always has its eye on the future, but online culture is not immune to nostalgia. The last few months have seen several attempts to revive a fascination for the dial-up age. A pair of French artists launched windows93.net, a tongue-in-cheek homage to early browsers filtered through a seriously absurdist sense of humor. Writer Paul Ford launched tilde.club, an ASCII-laden throwback to spaces like GeoCities and the communal webring culture that eventually became the blogging world we know today. Sprinkle in a generous dose of animated GIFs, and it’s like we’re on AOL all over again.
The web always has its eye on the future, but online culture is not immune to nostalgia. The last few months have seen several attempts to revive a fascination for the dial-up age. A pair of French artists launched windows93.net, a tongue-in-cheek homage to early browsers filtered through a seriously absurdist sense of humor. Writer Paul Ford launched tilde.club, an ASCII-laden throwback to spalces like GeoCities and the communal webring culture that eventually became the blogging world we know today. Sprinkle in a generous dose of animated GIFs, and it’s like we’re on AOL all over again.
Customer service is an ongoing balance between quantitative and qualitative elements. On one hand, our profession’s “killer app” is its ability to identify an individual’s needs through a combination of probing questions and intuition, done with courtesy and without judgment. On the other hand, the steady flow of patrons and the need to keep statistics counts up means that many aspects of the user interaction have to stay uniform. It’s this balance between uniformity and personalization that makes every act of customer service something new. Throughout the days, weeks, and years of a library’s life, each of these transactions start to run together.
“A library is a collection of possible futures.”—John Barth, Browsing1
The future of libraries is a lot like my office clock. It has your standard 1-12 numbering around the outside edge of the device, along with an inner ring that marks off the minutes in five-minute increments. Each hand ends in a circle, and you can read the clock by checking to see which numbers are inside each circle. In order to do so, you’ve got to realize that the hour hand is the bigger of the two—countering more than 1,000 years of conditioning telling us which clock hand is which
The changing nature of libraries stresses a shift to deliberate action on the part of the library, and the sense of “turning outward” espoused by the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Libraries Transforming Communities” advocacy campaign. Documenting these connections serves to recast the library experience in a new light.
If you had the word “iterate” on your PLA conference bingo card, this was your year. Concepts such as rapid prototyping, failing quickly, and agile development made their way into many of the program presentations, and all the featured speakers addressed issues related to embracing constant change. With that in mind, I’d like to take a second pass at a topic I covered in this column a year ago: how can libraries make better sense of the opportunities afforded by the open data movement?
Innovation, you say? Ha, I respond. Being an innovator is easy. All you need is a brilliant idea that no one has ever come up with before. It also helps if you have the resources and team to make the idea a reality. And you should probably also have the ability to knock out these […]