praxis and passports – Two very different talks in one long day

Now that I’ve stopped being webinar-resistant (I thank lots of meditation and more free time), I’ve been enjoying getting to give a lot of different types of presentations. Thanks to the oddness of scheduling, I did two very different talks on Wednesday. The first one was for NCompass Live who does great continuing ed stuff, all of it available online for free. I talked about the Passport to Vermont Libraries program (program website) in depth for about an hour and took questions. Small crowd, maybe 14 people. No live-tweeting. Fun. They put their recordings up on YouTube and you can watch mine here.

shot of the inside cover of 2015's passport

The second talk was for the SJSU-sponsored Library 2.016 Worldwide Virtual Conference. Michael Stephens was putting this one together and I was one of five people on a joint keynote thing, so I had about eight minutes. To me eight minutes means “One big idea” and so I decided to take a critlib angle and talk about how the library just IS a classroom and what it means to learn in a less-structured environment. There were maybe 400 people logged into a somewhat hectic Blackboard environment. You can listen to the recorded talks here, but I extracted mine into an eight minute (somewhat clunky-sounding) video if you just want to check that one out. As always, my notes and slides are available on my website. This was a particularly good looking set of slides if I do say so myself. This image is the catchphrase that seemed to scoot around the Twitters.

the library is the classroom where we learn to be human

As always, it was really fun to get to interact with listeners (in both situations) and get to see what other people are jazzed about and talking about.

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TILT: today in librarian tabs v. 2

image of book shelves from Chicago Public Library

I liked this so much I figured I’d do it again. Some of these are links emailed to me that I never did get around to writing a full post about.

  1. Every wanted something like Rotten Tomatoes that aggregated a bunch of reviews, only for books? The somewhat uninspiredly named Book Marks does that thing.
  2. We give people advice on how to find things, this meticulously detailed comparison between Apple Maps and Google maps can help us give people advice on how to find things.
  3. The Center for an Urban Future writes policy papers. This recent one about NYC libraries and their technology instruction is a very good read. NYC libraries provided tech training to more than 150,000 New Yorkers in 2015, up 81% from three years earlier.
  4. A story from the blogs: Sofya Onikienko and her rescuing of her books during the Patriotic War. Fascinating story at the Russian Landmarks blog. (thank you John)
  5. Wild Colorado is a library-created (and Kickstarter funded) app that helps people interact with and identify nature and is available to Coloradans statewide. (thanks Joseph)
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If I ran the zoo/world/library

st and Cab Vinton talk library stuff

I had a great time at the Hooksett (NH) Library talking with the Merri-Hill-Rock Coop about library stuff on Wednesday. Cab Vinton from the Plaistow Library asked me what I’d like to do. I decided to break out of my normal “Here are some slides, let me talk about them…” routine and do something a little different. So I spoke for maybe 25 minutes about some Big Ideas I had for library services and then Cab and I spoke together and took questions about actual practical ways library workers could maybe work towards some of those ideals.

It was a really constructive 90 minutes or so with a bunch of creative librarians who come from smaller libraries and are always doing more with less. We spoke specifically about trying to do things to make our buildings more available, lend and share more digital content, and getting outside our buildings somewhat. I stressed the point that sometimes you can’t change a thing immediately but you can advocate for that idea and support others who are able to make material changes. Having the library’s support for a thing is more useful and important than I think we sometimes appreciate. People trust us and care what we have to say.

Here are my slides (with apologies to Dr. Seuss).

slide from my If I Ran the Library talk

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TILT – today in librarian tabs

I need to close some tabs on my browser so they are here.

1. Are you someone from a “diverse” group who gets frequently asked for your opinions about how to help organizations “get diverse” enough so it seems like a part time job? Follow Diversity in Design’s lead and charge people for it. No shame in it. There is also Clarity.fm which doesn’t have a specific keyword for librarians but that didn’t stop me from signing up.
2. The Open Access Button “helps researchers, patients, students and the public get access to scholarly research and to report when they’re denied access.” Learn about it. Cool stuff.
3. Fair warning: the Department of Justice is starting to get serious about public entities having accessible websites and also “web content” What they mean about web content is not totally clear but libraries should pay attention. Good blog post by this law firm who has a good accessibility blog generally.
4. Live to Run Again is a not-for-profit public education campaign against drowsy driving for people who are traveling long distances to go to dog events. They sponsor ABLE an Audio Book and Library Exchange where volunteer librarians bring audiobook CDs to dog events so that people can listen to them and stay awake on the way home. Drop off the audiobook at the next library along the way. Great idea and they are always looking for donations if you are weeding CD audiobooks.
5. I don’t think I have mentioned this here but I am teaching a Tools for Community Advocacy class at the University of Hawaii, a short summer class with eleven really interesting students. I dislike course management software so I made my own website for the class from an available template. I am proud of it. You can view it here.

screen shot from my website

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What about those 15%?

I’ve been refining my library talks lately. The one I’ve given a few times over the past year has to do with the 15% of Americans who still don’t use the internet (no phone, no home internet, no work internet, nothing). How do we work on this issue? Part of the good news is that the new Lifeline Program guidelines from the FCC do include “digital inclusion” (that is, making sure people can use the tools not just have access to them) as part of what the program is supposed to accomplish. This is good. And people have access via their libraries. This is also good. But some of what needs doing is creating a safe place where people can learn technology without being harassed by messages of hazards and pitfalls and social gaffes, often perpetuated by people trying to sell you something. And this messaging starts with us, librarians and educators and people who see these 15% as part of our daily lives. Positive messaging is more important than we give it credit for. This talk goes into detail about ways to do that and important things to think about in our own speech.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 11.06.03

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