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  • valarie907 11:52 pm on October 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: community, , indigenous, policy   

    rules of participation 

    Policies generally govern individual behavior for the benefit of a community, and I’m counting on that value.  I am currently developing a website for Alaska Native Issues Roundtable of the Alaska Library Association called iLAMS which stands for Indigenous Libraries, Archives and Museums.  Creating a User Policy for the iLAMs website takes special consideration because of its unique audience and purpose.  This site is similar to our class site since it is also built using WordPress and BuddyPress.  It is an open format that will consist of user generated content in the home page blog and user created groups for collaborating and networking on topics.  A great deal of research and planning has been done to figure out how to build an online community and creating a friendly user policy that promotes that sense of community requires a clear sense of purpose for the site.


    The mission of this website is to provide a gathering place for Indigenous LAM institutions and workers to meet; to share our knowledge, resources, and accomplishments; to learn from each other; and to collaborate across geographical distances and boundaries to better serve the needs of our people so that we may affirm, preserve and sustain our cultures and cultural values.  Together, we are stronger.


    • Community:  Content is user generated by members through posts, comments and other documents.  Members may create and join groups to focus on specific topics and connect within other members. 
    • Inclusive:  Indigenous persons working in a library, archive or museum are welcome.  Anyone working in a library, archive or museum which serves indigenous populations, including non-native individuals, professionals, paraprofessionals and people working without the benefit of formal training are welcome.
    • Transparent:  Genuine member profiles facilitate a sense of community as we get to know each other.  Profiles include as much information as desired and may be edited.  Unique profile images (avatars) are encouraged.
    • Share:  Everyone is encouraged to share resources, best practices, solutions, and ideas so that we may become better informed and improve our abilities.  This includes training and professional development opportunities.
    • Celebrate:  Sharing news and events from our institutions and Native communities is encouraged and valued so that we may learn from each other and celebrate our successes.
    • Affirm:  Many of these goals reflect our indigenous values and this community is an extension of those values.  It serves us well to affirm, preserve, and sustain our cultures and cultural values.  When this can be accomplished together for the benefit of all, then collectively, we grow stronger and our cultures more sustainable.


    A list of rules will not encourage sharing and participation.  While I believe a user policy is important to establish clear expectations and guide new users how to use a site, I am concerned that a lengthy and technical policy will dampen the enthusiasm of a new user; especially when user content is essential.  I understand the technical language is primarily to protect the site and its affiliates, but the most important function of this user policy will be to offer guidance for user behavior without discouraging participation.  The language should be inclusive and positive and it needs to be short enough for busy people to read, yet, defined enough to inform and reduce any anxiety about how to use the website.  The very short welcome on the home page of LISNPN (LIS New Professionals Network) encourages me that a site like this can be successful without an overwhelming user policy.

    By no means is the attached document a final user policy, but it’s a good start.  If you have any suggestions, please share them!  Thank you!

    iLAMs User Guide  [pdf]


    Besides the list of resources offered for this assignment, I also used the following sites:

    Education Week: Rural EducationUser Agreement (and see “Ground Rules for Posting” on this page)

    Evolve (see the footer)

    Library 2.0Terms of Service

    LISNPN – LIS New Professionals Network (see “Welcome!” toward the bottom)

    Seward City NewsComment Policy  & Terms of Use

    Town Square 49Comment Guide

  • valarie907 2:04 am on October 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: community, , diversity,   

    who is the library customer? – someone different 

    Another issue important to serving our library customers is a good understanding of diversity and cultural competency in the field of librarianship.  The following is taken from an extensive paper I wrote about indigenous libraries last fall and adapted and expanded to include new information.

    Diversity and Cultural Competence

    Inclusiveness of underserved populations requires cultural competency of non-minority library professionals and workers in areas of access, services, programing, environment, and relevant collection development to name a few (Gulati, 2010; Jaeger, Subramaniam, Jones, & Bertot, 2011; Overall, 2009).  Burke’s (2007) study of Native American use of public libraries in the U.S., show that socioeconomic and geographic variables have a great influence on library usage, often indicated by the use they make of library services, such as access to technology or task related behavior rather than for enjoyment and recreation.  Cultural competence takes into account the cultural frame of reference of the library users to enhance library service to best meet the information needs of the demographics represented in the service population.

    Awareness of different cultures, identities and abilities is essential in today’s world (Gulati, 2010; Jaeger et al., 2011; Kumasi & Hill, 2011; Overall, 2009).  Jaeger et al. (2011) states that “each population has its own information needs and cultural perspectives toward information that need to be accounted for.”  Diverse groups often feel unwelcome or do not use their local libraries (Burke, 2007; Overall, 2009).  Which is not surprising since the early purpose of libraries was to assimilate and not validate indigenous identity (Mohi, 2009) and the majority of library professionals do not represent the underserved (Gulati. 2010; Jaeger et al., 2011).

    Cultural competency is no longer optional; it is required in order to provide information access to diverse populations and demands continual education of the library worker (Balderrama, 2000; Jaeger et al., 2011) which needs to begin while LIS students are in school (Kumasi & Hill, 2011).  Overall (2009) defines cultural competency as “highly developed abilities, understanding and knowledge” (p. 183) to aide in providing “equitable access” and an “equitable environment” (p. 199).  Jaeger et al. (2011) suggests preparing the profession for changing trends in demographics because “without a better representation and understanding of all diverse and underrepresented populations in terms of information, LIS scholarship is at risk of irrelevance for the majority of the population.”  Services offered without cultural awareness results in services based on the externally perceived needs rather than successful and beneficial services (Overall, 2009).

    The Alaska State Library Association sponsored the formation of the Culturally Responsive Guidelines for Alaska Public Libraries adopted in 2001 (Ongley, 2001).  These guidelines were developed by a group of Alaskan library directors and sponsored by the Alaska State Library to help public librarians examine how they respond to the specific informational, educational and cultural needs of their Alaska Native users and communities (Alaska Library Association, n.d.).  The guidelines were generated to meet the needs of the Alaskan indigenous population served by public libraries as well as other cultural groups in the areas of the library environment, services and programs, collection development, and library staff (Alaska Library Association, n.d.).  The dialog these guidelines generate nationally is of great importance to the non-indigenous librarians understanding and awareness of the indigenous population(s) they may serve.

    ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee developed the Diversity Standards:  Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries to provide a framework for academic libraries to effectively and skillfully engage their diverse communities in hopes it will encourage local application of the standards (ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee, 2012).  Cultural competence is defined as:

    “A congruent set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable a person or group to work effectively in crosscultural situations; the process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each.”  (National Association of Social Workers, 2001)

    And, the eleven standards are:

    • Cultural awareness of self and others
    • Cross-cultural knowledge and skills
    • Organizational and professional values
    • Development of collections, programs, and services
    • Service delivery
    • Language diversity
    • Workforce diversity
    • Organizational dynamics
    • Cross-cultural leadership
    • Professional education and continuous learning

    The key concept in these discussions is inclusion to minimize marginalization and separation.  The development of these standards in a library specific context is significant towards practical application of best practices in librarianship.  Cultural competency standards can be adopted both internally and externally to transform the library culture in order to achieve the institutional mission and goals to the fullest extent for the benefit of the community it serves.



    ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee. (June 2012). 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries. College & Research Libraries News, 73(6), 311-320. Retrieved from http://crln.acrl.org/content/73/9/551.full.pdf+html

    Alaska Library Association. (n.d.). Culturally responsive guidelines for Alaska public libraries. Retrieved from http://www.akla.org/culturally-responsive.html

    Balderrama, S. R. (2000). This trend called diversity. Library Trends, 49(1), 194-214.

    Burke, S. (2007). The use of public libraries by Native Americans. The Library Quarterly, 77(4), pp. 429-461.

    Gulati, A. (2010). Diversity in librarianship: The United States perspective. IFLA Journal, 36(4), 288-293. doi:10.1177/0340035210388244

    Jaeger, P. T., Subramaniam, M. M., Jones, C. B., & Bertot, J. C. (2011). Diversity and LIS education: Inclusion and the age of information. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 52(3), 166-183.

    Joseph, G., Burns, K., Doyle, A., & Krebs, A. (2009). Indigenous librarianship. In Encyclopedia of library and information sciences, third edition (pp. 2330-2346) Taylor & Francis. doi:10.1081/E-ELIS3-120044735

    Kumasi, K., & Hill, R. F. (2011). Are we there yet? Results of a gap analysis to measure LIS students’ prior knowledge and actual learning of cultural competence concepts. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 52(4), 251-264.

    Mohi, J. H., & Roberts, W. D. (2009). Delivering a strategy for working with Maori, and developing responsiveness to an increasingly multicultural population: A perspective from the national library of New Zealand. IFLA Journal, 35(1), 48-58.

    National Association of Social Workers. (2001). Standards for cultural competence in social work practice. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers, 2001. http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWCulturalStandardsIndicators2006.pdf

    Ongley, D. (2001, November/December). Guidelines adopted for Alaska public libraries. Sharing Our Pathways, 6(5). Retrieved from http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/sop/SOPv6i5.html#adopted

    Overall, P. M. (2009). Cultural competence: A conceptual framework for library and information science professionals. The Library Quarterly, 79(2), 175-204.

    • michael 4:40 am on October 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      You highlight a very important area throughout this well-crafted post: inclusion transcends the challenges of diversity. Thanks for all the resources and citations!

      • Valarie 10:40 pm on December 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        So glad it was pleasing! I think inclusion will become more important as diversity becomes more visible…and, it is, don’t you think?

    • michael 4:17 pm on December 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      oh yes!

  • valarie907 12:06 am on October 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: community, , , marketing   

    who is the library customer? – marketing 

    Every library, no matter the type is concerned with serving their customers in the best way possible.  What concerns me is the homogeny that is the library customer.  I see it in the school library where I work…it is fairly easy to predict those who “go” to the library.  Yet, that homogeny simply is not representative of the demographic to which the library belongs.  This leads me to ask several questions:

    • Who is “going” to the library?
    • What are they “doing” in the library?
    • What do they “take away” from the library?
    • What sort of investment do they have in the library?
    • Who is missing and why are they missing?

    Hackley Public Library


    I am particularly fond of Kathy Dempsey’s The Cycle of True Marketing diagram because it begins with research.  Research is such an important step to understanding who our customers are as well as who we would like to be our customers.  A better understanding of our community will help us create a relevant program or service for our target group.  Here’s a shortlist of demographic variables, much of which can be answered quite easily, such as population or employment.  (Again, I’d appreciate it if you let me know if I overlooked a variable.)  Others are more challenging, to uncover unknown segments in our population, such as recreational activities or hobbies (ie. archery, belly dancing, or beer brewing clubs).

    • population
    • social structure
    • economy
    • education
    • employment (including largest employees)
    • geography and neighborhoods
    • local politics
    • groups, organizations and associations
    • recreational activities or hobbies
    • community events
    • local experts

    Our school library had a very successful morning event last week with over 80 people in attendance.  It was a pleasure to see parents, grandparents and guardians come in to read with their children over a morning snack.  Yet, I couldn’t help but notice that those who attended did so because of their high value of literacy.   What if we want to see the children who struggle to read or whose parents don’t typically show up attend our library events?  My questions took me back to seeking an understanding of the demographics of our small community and how we can use that understanding to create an event for those who we would like to see in the library.  So, it’s back to step “A” in the marketing cycle…it’s not a defeat…it’s a challenge.

    Chief of Staff of the Army Reads Seuss

    I came across this photo gallery of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, but something bothered me about it…later, I realized that people were missing from most of the photos.  It is symbolic that humanity should be absent in order to capture the beauty of their physical space; as if the presence of people would mar it.  While I appreciate the iconic beauty of these libraries, I much prefer to see libraries filled with people and activity.  If we want to encourage visiting the physical or virtual library space, images of welcomed activity speaks volumes.

    “To serve our community, we need to know our community.”

    Vancouver’s Library Square

  • valarie907 12:48 am on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: community, , ,   

    interviewing librarians at JCLC – part 1 

    Joint Librarians of Color Conference 2012 - Kansas City, MO

    Joint Librarians of Color Conference 2012 – Kansas City, MO

    I recently attended JCLC 2012 in Kansas City, MO armed with a flip camera and a badge that read “I’m a student and I would like to interview you.”  It allowed people to know that I was a student with questions and an opportunity to offer their time without cornering them into a conversation.  I was often asked whose idea the badge was, to which I freely admitted the crazy idea was my own.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any takers for a video interview, but many people were kind enough to stop a moment to allow me to interview them.  I explained that I was taking a class called the Hyperlinked Library with Michael Stephens and we were exploring services offered by libraries that invited their customers to participate and contribute in some way.

    I had two questions:

    • How does your library invite or allow customers to participate in the library?
    • In what ways does your library engage your community?

    This will be the first in a series of three blog posts to share with three participatory library services that left a significant impression upon me.


    The City Library

    The City Library - The back of Mr. Safiullah's business card

    The City Library – The back of Mr. Safiullah’s business card

    This first post is about my last interview.  I met Mr. Safi Safiullah outside the hotel while trying to figure out how I missed my airport shuttle reservation.  I recognized him from the conference, but never had an opportunity to meet him.  As it turned out, we both missed our shuttle.  Once we settled in to wait for the next shuttle, we chatted a bit and he asked what sort of library I might be interested in.  I won’t suffer you my answer, but I did find out that he is the Program Manager for The City Library of The Salt Lake City Public Library System.

    As our conversation continued Mr. Safiullah mentioned they have a mobile media center, which piqued my interest very much.  It turns out that it is an extension of their Technology Center which provides access to computers and various media equipment.  It appears that in the beginning the equipment was transported using private vehicles, but the library recently purchased an SUV and has the computers in protective briefcases for ease of transport to various places in the community.  The mobile media center visits Senior Centers and Community Centers where they provide the equipment to train people how to use technology, such as setting up an email account or whatever they want or need to learn on the computer.    The program has been around for several years, is library funded and now involves several people on their staff.

    I really appreciate that The City Library is stepping out of its physical location to provide important services like their mobile media center; it’s a wonderful example of a participatory service.  …I also noticed a phrase after Mr. Safiullah’s title on his card:  “Exploring New Ideas”  I don’t know if it’s on everyone’s card that works in this library system, but putting it out there kind of gives people permission to talk about it and offer up their own ideas.  Pretty awesome!

    Thank you, Mr. Safiullah!


    Library profile

    • Beth Morrill 10:27 am on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What great ideas, both the mobile media center and your name badge. Kind of participatory hi-tech and low-tech.

      • Valarie 9:17 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Beth! The idea of taking the technology to the people is wonderful…I’ll bet they are super supporters of this library system!

    • Katie McGaha 7:10 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Such a great way to take advantage of the opportunities the conference gave you, Valarie! I visited the City Library when seeing a friend in Utah a couple of years ago and it is a gorgeous site to see! We spent a good amount of time just walking around both the inside and outside of the library and there are so many spots that invite people to sit and relax. It’s also great to know that the library extends its services out into the community with the mobile media center, especially reaching users that can’t always make the trip to the library.

      • Valarie 9:27 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I’m jealous! The pics I saw online of it are amazing…I have another reason to visit Utah! I saw on Twitter that their website just received recognition for being simple and attractive…I agree. Check out the other notables:
        Top 10 Public Library Websites 2012

    • Pamela Hawks 12:10 pm on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Putting that on your shirt was a great idea, Valerie. You’re right that people feel more relaxed about talking to strangers if they themselves make the decision first. It reminds me of those great t-shirts the staff wore in those Colorado Anythink libraries.

      (And have I mentioned already that you are a great photographer??!)

      • Valarie 10:14 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Pam…its always a relief when one of my ideas work! I think it also made me more approachable, much like those shirts they wear at Anythink…I wonder if they sell them?

        You’re nice to say that about my photography…it was hard since I let the natural light of the day pass and had to take them under fluorescent light…ick. I did some color correcting using Photoshop…

    • Jade T.M. 8:28 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I love your idea! It really is a great way to, as Katie said above, take advantage of opportunities the conference gave you. Conferences and similar gatherings are such wonderful places to meet interesting people, and people with great stories and professional advice. To the few conferences I have had the chance to attend, I wish I was able to record encounters with people I met and chatted with. I admire you putting yourself out there with the badge and asking questions to strangers, just to see what kind of responses you get. I think there are many things than can be learned from encounters like that.

      • Valarie 10:19 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I wish I had taken more pics, but I’m kind of a live-in-the-moment kind of person. It would be interesting to do this a big conference, but JCLC was the perfect place to try it out. I met some fabulous people I normally would not have and learned a great deal. It would be awesome to see someone else do it…hint, hint… =)

    • Laura Galván-Estrada 9:13 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      With this attitude, you are going to go places! What a great idea! I’m pretty outgoing in my own turf but in a conference, I become Little Miss Shy. I’ve been doing this for twenty years — being a librarian and going to conferences, that is, but the socializing part, out of my comfort zone. But, at work, not so much.
      I’m looking forward to your next installment in the trilogy.

      • Valarie 10:40 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Laura! Here’s the strange thing; I am a very private and reserved person…honest. I’m not good at making conversation and am pretty content to sit back and observe when I do socialize. But, something happens when I’m around other people passionate about libraries and information services, and, well…I even shock myself. I always have a lot of questions and this field seem to welcome them, which helps a great deal to connect with strangers I might not have otherwise. …I hope I get to meet you at a conference one day!

    • michael 4:59 pm on October 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Very impressive! I appreciate the “in the moment” viewpoint. I think some of the best l;earning happens there. Thanks for sharing your unique approach for this conference.

      • Valarie 1:15 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Michael! It was a wonderful opportunity to ask questions…something I never seem to run out of. 🙂

    • Patty Miranda 3:25 pm on October 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Valerie,

      You are so lucky that you were able to make that trip and interview people. I can understand why they didn’t want to do the video…they were shy. I’m very shy when it comes to video interviews.

      I thought your idea was genius. The laptop service from the city library is similar to a program a high is doing to help community members learn how to use a computer. I’m glad to see that you had a great experience!

      • Valarie 1:21 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, Patty, I felt most fortunate that I was able to attend JCLC! It was made possible by the scholarship that AILA, the American Indian Library Association, awarded me. I think there were only two of us from Alaska, too. And, I know what you mean about being shy…I doubt I would have volunteered for a video interview, either. The few times it would have worked, I was too slow to realize it and I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the speaker. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot!

    • Mickel Paris 4:40 pm on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Now that’s taking the initiative! Fascinating work, and the badge idea is very effective! Sounds like you both learned new things and had fun while doing it!

      • Valarie 1:23 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        It was effective…and, it would be awesome if others did it too…hint, hint. 😉

  • valarie907 9:32 am on September 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: community, ,   

    what can libraries deliver? 

    I came across the answer before I came across the question, but these tweets caught my eye!




    I appreciate that we get to explore the next step of how we can do this in The Hyperlinked Library class with Dr. Micheal Stephens!

  • valarie907 11:17 pm on September 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , community, , ,   

    context book report – community 

    Community Context Book Report

     “Communities are human systems given form by conversation that build relatedness.” (p. 178)

    Peter Block did not write about libraries in Community: The Structure of Belonging.  Yet, the concepts explored lend very well to developing a culture of change in many contexts, including the library, by increasing accountability and responsibility of each member of a community through citizen-to-citizen engagement.  The purpose of this framework of community engagement is to re-frame our conception of community and how a sense of belonging can be deliberately and authentically constructed in order to facilitate the connectedness necessary to achieve real and intentional transformation in a small group.


     “…to belong is to be related to and a part of something.  To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community.” (p. xii)

    Membership can be sold and purchased, but the membership Block proposes is democratic and deep.  Belonging as a fundamental human need is central to Block’s philosophy and the language used reflects the variety of ways we talk about belonging: collective, connected, membership, linked, interdependence, involved, participated, associated, related, attached…  We have all experienced loss of a connection to some degree and the words associated with the loss often evoke a strong reaction:  marginalized, unattached, fragmentation, broken, detached, disconnected, isolated, loneliness, dividedness, separated, divorced, different…

    The Conversations

    “The power is in the asking, not in the answers.” Block (p. 184)

    Intentional transformation is made possible through conversation and Block emphasized that the right questions are essential to transformation.  In order to create or transform a community, Block suggests we trade problems for possibilities through carefully formulated questions.  The small group meetings are carefully planned and feature specific conversations centered on:

    • Invitation:  A call to create a new future and its possibilities.
    • Possibility:  Problem solving is about the past, possibility is about the future.
    • Ownership:  In contrast to blame, we decide on our value and meaning.
    • Dissent:  “No” responses are not closed doors; they are opportunities to begin a dialog.
    • Commitment:  Promise made with no expectation of a return; it’s a deal, not a bargain.
    • Gifts:  Focus and capitalize on gifts rather than deficiencies.


    “Invitation is the means through which hospitality is created.” (p. 113)

    The concept of hospitality is emphasized in the first step to transformation beginning with an invitation and is reinforced when preparing for the meeting and the meeting space.  The goal is to be sure those involved each know they are valued and welcomed to encourage participation in the conversation regardless of status.  Attention to details of the space center around equality and comfort.  Some libraries have prioritized hospitality as they strive to improve their spaces and service so their customers will look forward to returning to the library as well as enjoying their visit.


    “The essence of creating an alternative future comes from citizen-to-citizen engagement that constantly focuses on the well-being of the whole.” (p. 178)

    Application of this framework may be made on various levels within a library context.   A library interested in seeking meaningful change or enhancing their institutional culture should begin exploring the ideas proposed by Block internally before inviting their customers and broader community to the conversation.  The internal library culture can be empowered by applying Block’s community concepts to transform its organization, creating a flatter and more collaborative work environment when everyone is equally valued and given permission to ask questions.  Because this framework requires a personal investment, co-creation and co-ownership, the leadership needs to be invested and set an example to ensure success.  It will be by leadership’s example that the rest of the staff will build the trust necessary for them to enter into the conversation.  Once the institutional connections are realized the broader community may be invited to participate in the decision and change making process so that services can be improved with increased customer contribution and participation through an open and creative dialog.

    “All of this takes time, but we are choosing depth over speed.” (p. 148)

    Block emphasizes that language is powerful and illustrates how to use it throughout each chapter.  At times, the explanations of his ideas are rather abstract, but he offers practical ideas and encouragement, too.  Equipped with the framework offered in Community, a library can affect positive change on all levels while strengthening relationships.  The most powerful message is that of action.  The act of structuring an authentic experience of belonging suggests a deliberate and purposeful construction of that experience to facilitate a sense of accountability and responsibility to the community attained through ownership and co-creation.  It is an investment that might be costly in time and attention to begin with, but will deliver results worth the effort.


    Block, P. (2008). Community: The structure of belonging. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

  • valarie907 12:00 am on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , community, ,   

    reflecting on technology and the participatory library 

    Work with schools, Bronx Traveling Library : people using bo...

    cc New York Public Library Visual Materials

    The potential to improve the library’s usability and engage the patron though new technologies makes sense because people are already successfully using technology to access information through other means.  I, myself was frustrated with the inability of library technology to measure up to my experience as an online consumer.  As Lankes, Silverstein, Nicholson & Marshall (2007) suggest, I might be more interested in our community library’s OPAC if I were allowed to manipulate the interface and search results to my liking or take an interest in the collection should I be able to read other local reviews or submit my own.  But, the lack of engagement, the lack of potential, has left me indifferent, only visiting when I am checking to see if they have a title after perusing the reviews elsewhere.

    “We adapt to what we adopt.”  Buckland (1997)

    So, the idea for libraries to make use of emerging technologies is more than welcome.  Change is passing the reluctant library by and forward thinking is barely allowing libraries to maintain their momentum and cultural relevance.  I agree, there are many barriers and issues to overcome, and, no, we should not forsake our traditional library users, but, the opportunity is great for those who step out of their comfort zones to explore how they can better meet the information seeker’s needs and engage him/her in new ways.

    “The library and its leadership need to be shaping that future today by crafting services that people want now.”  Casey & Savastinuk (2007)

    Lankes, et al. (2007) proposed the conversation theory to help libraries/librarians understand how they might develop a relationship with their users and potential users in their communities to find out how to better serve them.  In both Casey & Silverstein (2007), and Lankes, et. al. (2007), the emphasis on feedback brought to mind the “askhole” (please pardon the crude imagery, but it will prove a point).  While I have seen many library friends share this meme, I’m afraid that librarians are capable of the same ingratitude.  If we solicit information from the library user regarding improvements to library service, are we not obligated to demonstrate a show of faith and attempt to meet those needs or at least explain when we can or why we are not able to?  Trust is established when conversation goes both ways and we demonstrate we are listening to and acting on those criticisms and requests.

    I see marketing as a continuum of that conversation as we play close attention to our user demographics, needs and how to inform them of our services.  Casey & Savastinuk (2007) briefly use the business words “competition,” “market” and “customer” before returning to the verbiage librarians seems more comfortable with.  This left me wondering why libraries are afraid of adopting ideas from the business world.  Kathy Dempsey encourages libraries to carefully examine how they could market their library services to their stakeholders and has a wonderful diagram for The Cycle of True Marketing (2012).  I came across a SlideShare by David Armano (2008) that capitalizes on micro interactions and direct engagements in the business world that I believe also fit the participatory model in libraries.

     “The best knowledge comes from an ‘optimal information environment’.”  Lankes, Silverstein, Nicholson & Marshall (2007)

    I value that the role of technology proposed in our course readings is as an enhancement, not an end unto its self.  The threat of becoming consumed by technology and losing sight of the mission of the library while attempting to integrate it into the library programs and services is real.  I also appreciate the emphasis that the participatory library model does not undermine the values and principles of librarianship or that the well thought out mission should guide decision-making.

    Yes, I’ve already bought into the participatory model of libraries and librarianship, but it isn’t without an ear for criticism.  It is important to listen to the whole conversation…not just to the part that shares the same viewpoint.


    Armano, D. (2008). Micro interactions + direct engagement in a 2.0 world.  [website] Retrieved from http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2008/04/micro-interacti.html

    *Buckland, M. K. (1997). Redesigning library services: A manifesto. Chicago: American Library Association.

    *Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today.

    Dempsey, K. (2012). The cycle of true marketing. [website] Retrieved from http://www.librariesareessential.com/library-marketing-resources/cycle-of-true-marketing/

    *Lankes, R. D., Silverstein, J., Nicholson, S., Marshall, T. (2007). Participatory networks: The library as conversation. Information Technology & Libraries, 26(4), 17-33.

    *The Hyperlinked Library foundational readings

    • Pamela Hawks 7:14 am on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent find on Armano. I have read about his ideas, but that PP is a good summation of exactly the type of thinking that will help broaden how we can listen to more voices than we think.

      btw- excellent photo and good example of how listening to the community does not necessarily mean an ipad for every patron.

    • Holly 5:37 pm on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      “Trust is established when conversation goes both ways and we demonstrate we are listening to and acting on those criticisms and requests.”

      A big THIS to this sentence! I know all too well from experience that some libraries welcome suggestions, but never do anything about it. Whether it’s suggestions from patrons, or my own ideas, it’s really frustrating to see it go down the askhole. At the very least, even if libraries don’t do anything about it, they should have a very very good reason for it.

      • Valarie 12:48 am on September 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Holly…and it is part of being transparent. Trust should be cultivated and guarded. Once lost, it is most difficult to regain. Even in the little school library where I work…

    • Laura 10:02 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That was one of my favorite quotes from Buckland too, “we adapt to what we adopt.”
      We have a suggestion box at our library. Upon some massive cleaning efforts at the reference desk, I found it was full of cards. Key was no where to be found! Yes….give us your feedback, fill out a card…!
      I am not convinced though…about the full-on feedback mode. Does the squeaky wheel get it all? What if there is a handful of very vociferous participants?
      Off I go to find out why it was decided that our library blog would not accept comments! Let’s be a little more open here.
      BTW. I heart your blog. You are inspiring me to get moving on mine.

      • Valarie 1:11 am on September 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Laura! I hope you have fun with your blog! And, yes, the quote is simple but true. When someone asks about a particular service or policy, and I realize we do it because we’ve always done it that way, that is my red flag to evaluate the situation to see if we can do something better. It’s exciting when we can.

        What a funny story…I’ll bet there are a lot of those kind of comment boxes around the world! I’ve been told to be cautious about asking what people want because I may put myself in a position to do what they request. At the same time, I try to be diligent in my observations and conversations with the students and staff in our school to be sure our library is providing the best service it can. I like to talk to those who are reluctant to read or visit the library to learn from them. Perhaps we need to find ways to have more of those conversations?

        I love reading comments on blogs…they are most revealing! I’m also for allowing anonymous comments so long as they are respectful…opinions about this, anyone?

    • Pamela Hawks 2:33 pm on September 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I am all for allowing anonymous comments on blogs. I think that preserving the anonymity of the web is important, especially as it gets more and more personalized every day. I am a proponent of what Cory Doctorow thinks about the growing social networks (such as FB): they “cash in the precious material of our social lives and trade it for pennies.” Plus, I think people will be more open if allowed to remain anonymous. You will always get some unhelpful comments, but its a small price to pay for true, helpful criticism.

      • Valarie 1:25 pm on September 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Pamela, I like the Doctorow quote! While looking for it I found this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAGjNe1YhMA Wow, he really sums up what it is that I am uncomfortable with regarding social media. I had been thinking in regards to honest communication when allowing for anonymity, but now this really helps me to expand further on the value of it…thank you!

        • Pamela Hawks 3:22 pm on September 16, 2012 Permalink

          @Valarie , Your welcome! Yes, that is a great video (I saw it in a class I recently took called Social Informatics). I think Cory is always a good person to turn to to get the honest perspective on emerging technologies!

    • carlie 9:49 am on September 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with your point on learning about business. I’m currently a TA, and am reviewing business video clips for a spring library course…very interesting and simple way of planning, getting approval,implementing projects, and marketing.

      • Valarie 1:47 pm on September 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        What a great task to learn more about all that! Is this for the Marketing class with Koontz? My curiosity about how a business model can be applied to libraries began with marketing and continues to increase. Yet, it also makes me nervous, because we have some significant values, such as intellectual freedom, that could potentially be threatened should it be taken too far.

  • valarie907 1:34 am on August 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: architecture, community, information society   

    would that we could 

    This video was found on the Information Professional Scoop.it.

    I was surprised to discover it is based on a thesis, which was also made available and is one of the most fascinating one’s I’ve ever come across. I thought it was very relevant to our context. The comments posted are interesting…is it idealistic? Yes. Should it prevent us from setting goals to work towards those ideals? I think it would be a shame if we did.

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