Thursday, April 30, 2015

LARC: Creating Sparks that Light Our Profession

Today (April 30) I gave the keynote address for the Library Association of Rockland County (NY) bi-annual conference in Suffern, NY.  Below is the description of my talk and my written text.  While I didn't give the talk exactly as written (in fact, I rearanged it!), I promised Tracy Allen (president of LARC) to post this, so she could share it with others.

Description:  That spark that lights our profession is innovation and, without it, our profession will become irrelevant.   With innovation, we will continue to meet the needs of our communities.  Our innovation needs to occur continuously, yet we know that constant change can be uncomfortable. During her keynote, Jill will discuss how we can create a culture of innovation without burning out our staff or our communities, and she will give us tips for being innovative.  (45 minutes)

LARC Bi-annual Conference

Text:  I want you to take a moment and look at your hands.  Hold them up in front of your face.  Look at the top and bottom.  As a child, these are hands that used to build dirt and mud structures.  These are the hands that piled up blocks and other materials to create something  new... and something that would not fall over.  These are the hands that have unclogged copiers and kept equipment running, when others failed.  These hands have worked magic in the  kitchen...and...with short and long-term hobby projects.  You have been innovative...your hands know it.  However, we often lose that spark as we focus more on what is possible and as we forget how to play.

I worked in a multimedia office in grad school, which had one of "the" copiers in the building.  The copier received a lot of use and would sometimes overheat.  We - the student workers - learned how to operate the copier with the doors open, so we could keep working AND keep the copier cool.  I keep that memory because it reminds me that innovation takes different forms and that we all can do it.

In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey suggest that we "Start with the end in mind."  He sees this as what we need to do to spark our imagination.  We must look at the result which we want to achieve, and then work to achieve it.  Our goals should stretch us and our organizations.  Our goals shouldn't be easy.  And they should spark us to be innovative.

In reality, we often see those big goals and decide early that they cannot be done.  For example:
  • We set a goal of exploring a new technology each week, knowing that we need to stay current.  Then we decide that we really don't have time for that. 
  • We might decide to go out into our communities and talk to perspective users of our services, but decide against it because the weather is too unpredictable.
  • We might decide to offer a cool new service for teenagers, and stop when we can't easily figure out how to attract them.
When we decide early that something isn't possible, we limit ourselves and what we're able to provide to our communities.  We fall back - in terms of goals - to what is safe and easy.  Safe and easy are akin to doing the same thing that we did yesterday and today.  Safe and easy limit our growth as individuals and institutions.  Safe and easy do not stretch our imagination or stretch what is available to our communities. 

Imagine if our profession has played it safe and easy, what would our libraries be like? Well...we wouldn't be doing computer training, circulating ebooks, offering database content, providing music downloads, giving our community access to the Internet, launching community gardens, circulating bake ware, or re-invigorating our bookmobile services...or in my library career...finding new ways of marketing the library's services and building a robust research service.  We don't play it safe and easy, but we also don't innovate as often as our communities want us to.

So let's spend the next 40 minutes talking about how to be "sparks" by creating a culture of innovation.

Let's first recognize that a culture is defined by its behaviors and beliefs.  

Beliefs are those opinions or convictions that we hold to be true.  We have our personal beliefs as well as the beliefs of our institutions.  By the way, I hope that your personal beliefs and those of your institution - your library - overlap, or you won't like going to work every day.  Our shared beliefs help to create our culture.  For example, libraries have a belief of serving all members of the communities.  That belief greatly defines our culture and permeates everything that we do.

A culture of innovation requires that we have beliefs - opinions or convictions - that support it.  

For example:
  • We must believe that innovation is important and necessary. 
  • We must believe that we - people who work in libraries - are called to be innovative.
  • We must also believe that our libraries are called to be innovative.
  • We must believe that innovation is something that we do everyday.  e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y.
Some of you may already believe in innovation. For those of you who don't, let me suggest that you make a conscious decision to believe in being innovative for the next 45 days or until Flag Day on June 14.  Until June 14, I'm not asking that you do anything except voice belief in being innovative.  Yes...I do mean that you need to say to yourself and others that you believe in being innovative.  You might set a goal of saying it once a day and saying it as if it is a heartfelt belief.

Okay...I know you have doubt that just saying that you believe in being innovative will do anything. Likely you've heard of doing affirmations.  When we go through rough spells in our lives, we often use affirmations to help change our mindset.  That is what I'm asking you to do.  Use  - I believe in being innovative - as an affirmation that will change your mindset.  

We also have heard rules about how long you need to do something before it becomes a part of you.  A colleague has suggested 45 days and, based on my own experiences,  I think he's correct.

I believe in being innovative.  We often don't talk about our real beliefs.  When we talk about beliefs, we are often talking about assumptions.  For example, I believe it will rain tomorrow.  When I say that I believe in being innovative, I'm talking about something I hold in my heart to be true.  Can you hold it in your heart as being true?

Besides beliefs, a culture is also defined by its behaviors.  Our behaviors are observable activities that we repeatedly do.  Some of our behaviors are conscious, meaning that we're aware of them. You might have the conscious behavior of wiping off the top of a soda can before opening it, or of always sitting so you are facing the entrance, or placing items on your desk in particular spots.  It is likely that you also have unconscious behaviors, such as how you hold your coffee cup, how you check to see if you've locked your front door, or how you cross your legs.

Innovation needs to be both a conscious and unconscious behavior.  We need to consciously have habits that support innovation.  For example, we need to learn and consciously use brainstorming rules and brainstorming techniques. We innovate, we frequently brainstorm.  I'm going to talk about two brainstorming techniques later.  For now, I want to explore the seven rules used by IDEO...and these are different than what you learned in school.  IDEO is a design and innovation consulting firm that has won awards for its work.  The seven rules that they use are: (From The Ten Faces of Innovation)

  1. Defer judgment 
  2. Encourage wild ideas 
  3. Build on the ideas of others 
  4. Stay focused on the topic 
  5. One conversation at a time 
  6. Be visual 
  7. Go for quantity
Knowing the rules is good. Using the rules is better.  Using the rules is a conscious decision.  We can't be innovative, for example, if we're judging ideas as soon as they are spoken. We can't be innovative if we adopt the first idea spoken, which likely is something that has been thought of and done before, and is perhaps not very innovative at all. We can't be innovative if we're not listening to our colleagues and to our communities.

Conscious habits become unconscious habits through repetition.  For example, asking colleagues to be a part of brainstorming activities becomes an unconscious habit if you consciously do it all the time.  And yes, we need our colleagues - our fellow staff members and our volunteers or interns - to be part of our brainstorming and idea generation activities.  We need their ideas. We also need their buy-in.  And it would it be wonderful if we asked our community to brainstorm with us.  Let's not just ask them to hear the ideas that we've generated; let's ask them to join us in our ideation.

Let's dig deeper into the beliefs and behaviors that we need to create sparks of innovation in our libraries.

Do you remember when you learned that some things aren't possible? Do you remember when you stopped day dreaming about living in the wild west or traveling across country in a van with your friends?  At some point, we began to limit our vision and limit what we believe is possible.  Those people, who dream up those wildly creative products and solutions, have not yet learned that some things aren't possible.  For them, everything is possible...although some things are easier to do then others!

We limit innovation when we immediately say "no" to something. can't do that. No...we did that once and... No...we don't have the money for that.

By the way...let me say that using a lack of funds as an excuse means that you're not willing to think innovatively.  For example, libraries have started lending tools and bake ware by asking community members to donate their spares. Yes, funding is important and the lack of funds might slow you down, but it should not stop you from being innovative.

When was the last time you asked someone for a solution to a problem, and tried whatever they said? Perhaps you asked how to get more youth into your library or how to better arrange a specific section?  Did you act on the answer that you were given or did you say "no, that won't work"?  

Being innovative means saying "yes."  It means recognizing that everything is possible...with some planning, ingenuity and time.  Yes, you must plan whatever it is that you want to do.  If it is developing a new service, then create a project plan for it. You need to figure out all of the details.  Once you have the details, then your ingenuity can work on how you can make it all happen within your budget and using the resources that you have on hand.  Time is important because awesome doesn't happen over night!  

I've talked about having a culture of innovation, which means we need both beliefs and behaviors.   I've talked about how we limit ourselves.  Now I'd like to give you two brainstorming techniques to go along with those seven rules of brainstorming.  The two techniques are mind storming and the long list. Why these two?  Well...mind storming is the basis for every other brainstorming technique. The long list is what we frequently try to do and frequently don't do well.  

We brainstorm with ourselves every day, whether it is generating ideas about what to eat for lunch, how to teach about mobile devices, or how to explain ourselves to someone who just doesn't get libraries.  When we brainstorm with ourselves that is mind storming.  

When it is important to  mind storm well, I want you to focus on the following techniques:
  1. Set a timer and give yourself several minutes - perhaps 10 minutes - to generate ideas.
  2. Challenge yourself to come with as many ideas as possible in that time.  In other words, don't just generate 1-2 ideas.  Instead generate dozens of ideas.  Dozens.
  3. Don't judge your ideas as you're generating them.  Instead, just write the idea down.  Once you have hit your time limit, THEN review the ideas and make judgments.  
  4. Don't eliminate an idea just because it seems hard to do.  Eliminate an idea because it does not do what's needed.
The long list is a similar activity that you do with other people. With those people, you want to aim to generate a long list of ideas and I think you should aim for 100.  
  1. Define - really define - what you're brainstorming on.
  2. Generate ideas quickly and without judging them.
  3. Number the ideas as you go, so you can keep track of how many you've generated.  This also will be helpful later when you're sorting through the ideas.
  4. Keep going until you reach 100!
With your culture of innovation in place and good practice around generating innovative ideas, the final piece is to say "yes" to the opportunities that develop.  I worked for a boss years ago who believed in saying "yes".
  • Yes...that is a great idea.  Now what do we need to do to implement it?
  • Yes, let's do that and let's start by doing this...
  • Yes and I can help you by...
Jill Hurst-Wahl and Tracy Allen
Jill Hurst-Wahl and Tracy Allen
Think is terms of "yes...and" not "yes...but".  "Yes...but" limits the idea.  It actually says that the idea wasn't really that good or do-able.  "Yes...and" expands on the idea.  it helps the idea become a reality.  If an idea changes along the way, that can be a good thing.  That can mean that a more do-able solution has been created.  If an idea dies along the way, recognize that everyone was changed in some way by hearing and working on the idea.  It could be that the idea's time has not yet come and that it will re-surface in the future, and be bolstered by the seeds that had already been sown.

In my life, I had ideas come to fruition from seeds that I didn't realize that had been planted.  I've witnessed innovations that seemed to have appeared from thin air, yet upon inspection, I can see their roots in the past.

My life has a been a series of saying "yes" to wild and innovative ideas, that I and others have generated. Those yeses have generated many sparks. May your culture of innovate generate the sparks that you need and the yeses to go with them.

LARC: Tech for Teens: After School Program Apps for Teens and Tween Librarians

Claire Moore from Darien (CT) Public Library 

They infused technology into their new building, for example in the children's area:
  • Mounted iPads
  • Early literacy iPads
  • iPad storytime integration including Spanish language storytime
In addition they circulate iPads.

Creation in the library for children and caregivers:
  • STEM
  • Art series
  • Book groups 
Collaboration with MoMA (Museum of Modern Art):
  • Museum passes
  • Art tablets for adults 
  • Artist space - artist in residence
  • Special programs
  • Art eBooks
Can they fuse Art and technology together to allow children to express themselves creatively?

What is creativity? The ability to make things or think of new ideas.

30 circle test - measures fluency and flexibility

"Three Creativity Challenges from IDEO’s Leaders", Http://

The creativity crisis: (Newsweek, July 2010)
  • Creativity scores had been rising until 1990.
  • CQ scores for kids in serious decline 
  • Creativity is not prompted in schools
  • When kids get overloaded creativity suffers

Another creativity test is the Alternative Uses Test.

Can technology foster creativity?

ALA, 2011-2012, 62% of users say they library is their primary place for accessing computers and the Internet.

Defining 21st century skills, info graph,

"Family time with apps - a guide to using apps with your child" - Joan Ganz Cooney Center,

Goals at Darien for using technology with their community:
  • Expose
  • Educate
  • Engage
They do a 21 things program every year online for parents.

[Because of the drive to get back to Syracuse, I left this session early.  I wish I could have stayed.  Good stuff!]

LARC: Digital Storytime: What will work for your patrons

Amanda Schiavulli from the Finger Lakes Library System is presenting at the Library Association of Rockland County (NY) Conference.

All Tablet Tales resources are available at Amanda's presentation will be on this website.

Family Literacy Grant, 2013-2016 - Summer Reading at NY Libraries through Public Library Sustems:
Year 1 - Unbound Media - used various Playaways
Year 2 - Tablet Tales - iPads 
Year 3 - Gaming

In year 2, FLLS hired a trainer and found other resources:
FLLS has created storytime kits that circulate to their member libraries, e.g., iPad storytime lab.
Member libraries can also borrow the Apple TV connection so that the sound and video are larger.

In the iPad settings, turn everything off, so that it doesn't connect to the Internet and kids/parents cannot make changes to them.  All of the iPads are setup the same way.

Her libraries have pushed back on this, so she has had to counteract it.

American College of Pediatrics is a resource that those, who don't believe in using digital devices can point to for support:
  • Discourage screen time
  • Less than 2 hours/day for children 2-8 years old
  • No screen time for children under 2
  • However, they also recognize that parents need to be aware of proper screen time for children.  Parents often are using screens as babysitters.  They need to learn good tech habits for themselves and their children.
Screen time and socioeconomic status are closely related.

Children learn through play on digital devices:
  • Question, predict, evaluate
  • For, and substantiate opinions
  • Extend the literature experience.  Get the child to create a story based on the activity.
Games also provide a chance for intergenerational play.

Resources for collection development related to gaming,

Libraries need to be reviewing games for use in libraries.  

Amanda believes in paying for games, so that you are not getting ads and are not getting random things popping into the game (e.g., adult content).  The apps are in the cloud and she syncs tall of the iPads to it.

Types of programs:
  • Storytime extension
  • Fleets - everyone using the iPads together
  • Tablet tales - doing storytime on the tablet 
App showcase:
  • Felt Board - she uses this in combination with the iPad's photo feature to create images to use in storytime.
  • Animal Sounds
  • Red in Bed
  • Peekaboo Vehicles
  • Hat Monkey
  • Big Green Monster
  • Good Night Moon
  • Endless Alphabet 
  • Tiny Airport
When you use a storybook app, it is recommended that you turn off the sound.  That allows you to tell the story, while using the interactivity of the app...but the app is not telling the story for you.

Even digital storytime teaches children to interact with others and wait their turn, along with learning words, colors, etc.

Other options:
  • Awe tablet - unhackable, more expensive
  • Launchpad - unhackable, made to circulate, cost effective , no camera and no Internet

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CILDC : National Digital Stewardship Residency Program

Kristopher Nelson and George Coulbourne
George Coulbourne - Library of Congress

Began planning the residency in 2013.  The NDSR pilot was had 10 residents,who have not been out of school for more than two years.  Began with a two week immersion program, then a nine months program,in cousin professional development and conference attendance.

The NDSR mission:
  • Create a community of professionals
  • Advance our capabilities
  • Make continuing accessible digital materials
84% of institutions has digital content that must remains accessible, but on 33% had dedicated staff for digital preservation.  

Why a residency program?
  • Digital projects have been lying dormant
  • Executive leadership nor prioritizing stewardship
  • Graduated are hungry for experience.  They have a gap between theory and practice.
  • Post graduate training has no standard model
  • Institutions need to collaborate through a professional network
They worked with 10 host institutions.  They wanted the projects to be challenging and deeply steeped in some part of the digital life cycle.  Projects needs to have impact on the external community.

Besides the normal applicants requirements, they also had to submit a 2-3 minute video talk about why they selected the projects that they did.

Dr. Howard Bresser did an independent evaluation of the program.

For the participants, being part of a cohort was very important.  Will this rank high for the virtual cohorts?

All of the residents landed jobs or fellowships by the end of the NDSR.

The institutions valued having the residents be new points of view.  

Challenges: (1) Frustrations with lack of resources, both advisory and administrative.  This was due to budget challenges at that time for the Library of Congress.  (2) The perception was that there was little or none digital preservation expertise in the host organizations.  This was due to that face that they weren't taken out to meet people outside of their mentors; this has been changed.  (3) Compensation during the pilot was too low.  (4) Expectations between residents and supervisors needs more definition.  (5) The two week immersion workshop needed to be shorter.

Kristopher Nelson - Library of Congress 

Program and challenges going forward.

There are similar programs in Boston and NYC, and there is a virtual program, all funded by IMLS.

The next class of residents has already been selected and they start in June.  The projects need to be completed in one year.

They had 18 project proposals this year.  They visited the top seven.

Info on 2016-2017 residencies will be posted at

Changes to the program:
  • Shorter residency
  • Revamped curriculum
  • Five enrichment sessions - residents will help to put these together
  • WebEx presentations
  • NDSR symposium
  • Increased host/mentor participation
  • Professionals development plan and activities
  • Resident direct benefits
  • Increased time of the residency from 9 to 12 months
  • Increased pay to $40000
  • 2 set of 5 residents 
Feedback from the residents and hosts has been very positive.

Lessons learned:
  • Be transparent
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Maintain consistency
  • Foster growth through collaboration

CILDC : Game-based Learning

M.J. D'Elia
MJ D'Elia - University of Guelph

  • He is not a gamer
  • He has read a few books on this topic
  • He doesn't like the word "gamification"
He is not arguing for games and learning
He is not going to make best practice recommendations
His ideas are highly speculative

Had taught and tried to be engaging.  He decided to learn more about engaged learning and read:
  • Reality is Broken
  • Play at Work
What is alternate reality gaming (ARG)? Immersive game, networked narrative, chaotic fiction....

An example....The Beast - the viral marketing campaign for the movie A.I.   This was a deliberate attempt to build a new type of immersive experience.  Solving the mystery required collective intelligence.  Game designers remained unknown while the game was active.  Information presented in a variety of formats.

Four terms:
  • The rabbit hole - the initial clue or artifact that players stumble upon.
  • Puppet master - the people who design and run the ARG. They stay hidden.
  • The curtain - players do not interact with the puppet masters directly.  They interact with the fictional characters.
  • This is not a game - refusal to admit that there is a game at all.
This ARG was a marketing technique, but it didn't produce more customers.  This fatal flaw is an opportunity for learning.

  • ARG is non-linear.  In a course, the content is linear.
  • In an ARG the narrative is essential for engagement.  In learning, it is typically about facts (disciplinary learning).
  • In an ARG there are no boundaries.  In elearning, it occurs in a constrained system.
  • ARGs require collective effort.  In elearning, individual effort is required. 
  • An ARG has ine big goal.  In elearning, there are many litle goals.
  • In an ARG, Information gets pushed to players at any time.  In our contained elearning systems, students pull information at themselves.  They must fit learning into their schedules.
  • ARGs are a dynamic experience in real time.  In elearning, the strategy is predetermined and static.  
  • In ARGs, the focus is on real world exchanges.  Fictional elements are incorporated in the real world.  In elearning, learning experiences are planned and controlled (laboratory like).
Spongelab created the "History of Biology" which is ARG-like.  

An ARG makes it the learner's journey.

The hero's journal:
  • The ordinary world
  • Call to adventure
  • Refusal of the call
  • Meeting with the mentor
  • Crossing the threshold
  • Tests, trials, etc.
Jill's commentary: Three of the sessions today (thus far) have gone well together and might cause me/us to do things a bit differently in terms of training.

CILDC : Mobile 23 Things

Bill Spence and Jan Holmquist
Jan Holmquist - Guldborgsund Public Library

Being from Denmark, Jan started off with a short fairy tale about mobile 23 things. 

Mobile 23 things began in his library and had spread around the world.  Holmquist noted that we have the same challenges in libraries globally.

The losers of the future are the people who cannot unlearn and relearn.  People need to be able to hack their own learning.  

Basic library skills: To be aware of and be able to adapt to changes in society surrounding the library.

They did "23 things" and then got questions about other (mobile) technologies.  Choosing just 23 was hard.  They were purposeful in how they selected the apps.  

"He who wants the world to remain as it is doesn't want it to remain at all." - unknown

The project had one blog. They used professional development money to buy iPad minis for staff.  The project was for all staff.  They used Twitter for communication and discussion.  They also hosted a "support cafe."

Findings - most important was that staff saw a need for applications on a table device as being a way to enhance library services.  Michael Stephens did a survey (to learn the findings) and had published the findings.

They are now working in a version of the Guldborgsund.

Global versions in USA, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Russia, Norway, and more.  Without the ability to control the mobile environment, people need a bit more skills before starting the program.  New versions build upon previous versions and so keep getting better. includes links to other versions.  Global project used one blog, used Twitter for support/communication/discussion, some hangouts for discussion topics, and a lot of emails.

Different from a MOOC:
Jan Holmquist
  • Less structured
  • Everyone can join
  • Self paced
  • You can pick and choose your things
  • There are no exams
  • Harder to belong to a study group
23 things allows people to face their fears and to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  It also helps people to connect across library systems.

A thing has an introduction, the a discovery task, a way to explore (learn more), and a time to reflect (thinking points).

Key learnings:
  • A way to sharpen our skills
  • Connect with librarians worldwide
  • Steal ideas from other libraries
  • Hope our communities get smarter


At the last minute, Sandy Hirsch (SJSU) was unable to be at the session and she was missed.

Wendy Newman
Jill Hurst-Wahl (track moderator) started the session with a background on MOOCs.  In other words, what is a MOOC? Each word has many definitions: massive, open, online, course.

Wendy Newman (Univ. of Tornoto) 
OCLC report "At a Tipping Point".  Yes, we're at a tipping point in massive learning experiences.

There are many schools doing MOOCs, but no directory to refer to.

Many considerations: 
  • Hope about reducing higher education costs
  • Concerns about models and roles in jeopardy
  • Optimism about global learning and sharing
  • Skepticism about authority and accreditation
One of the less important points about MOOCs are their low retention rates.
Is there is sustainable MOOC business model.

Why offer a MOOC:
  • Build/strengthen reputation
  • Provide professional development
  • Explore delivery and business models
  • Strengthen relationships and recruitment
  • Explore and evaluate pedagogy and open platforms
  • Contribute to innovation
Newman created the UT iSchool first online course.  

Why do people do MOOCs? The primary reason is professional development.  Secondary - curiosity, credentials (EDx honor code certificate), and credits. 

The sweet spot for a MOOC is 6-8 weeks with weekly "packages" of information.

Some MOOC systems offer a certificate for a fee.

UT has clear rules for creating a MOOC.  She had to create a new course with new learning outcomes.  It was not an exact copy of her online course.  She had to decide what the assessment were and how they were implemented.  Is the assessment self-assessment?  Peer assessment?

How do you facilitate the community within the course?  They created tribes and also had an open category.

It takes a long time to create MOOCs.  They believe that it took their three person team 300 hours to create their six-week MOOC.

They did outreach and promotion for the MOOC.  There was lots of lively discussion outside of the MOOC.

Weekly units:
  • Objectives
  • Short video lectures - 5-10 minutes
  • Readings - core and suggested (open)
  • Quizzes - some computer graded
  • Discussion questions (some graded)
  • Guest video interviews - 20 people
Impacts of MOOCs on LIS:
Need more assessment, however...
  • High professional demand and uptake
  • Sparking conversations
  • Integrating research into professional development
  • Faculty learning, too
  • Visibility of LIS schools in continuous professional development
  • Forthcoming book on MOOCs in LIS 
Impacts on participants:
  • Compelling qualitative data
  • Need more assessment data 
She would like to see research in confidence levels.

Now what?
  • Enable deeper dives that conferences, blogs
  • Help recruitment into the profession
  • Connect programs and practitioners
  • Mil roles of librarians in design and implementation
  • Investigate models for sustainability