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September 9, 2009

Libraries and Innovation Journalists

One of the points I tried to emphasize in my talk about libraries and civic engagement (PDF) at last month’s Allen County Public Library’s Library Camp is that this isn’t a new role for us. The easy, soundbite way to explain this is to note that at the turn of the previous century, one of our major roles was to help immigrants assimilate into American society and learn how to be U.S. citizens. At the turn of the current century, there’s a similar need for us to do the same thing for digital immigrants, in no small part because there really isn’t anyone else to help those folks who are past high school age.

libraries teaching immigrants

I’ve been gravitating towards this topic lately because I see so much potential, for both libraries and society, and the following idea makes total sense to me.

From the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning site, New Civic Literacies:

“David Nordfors, who runs the innovation journalism program at Stanford, stays studens are moving towards a journalisatic method of learning – finding knowledge, assesing it, and then connecting the dots to build a story.”

Sadly, like the 2006 MacArthur report about participatory culture, the 2020 effort includes libraries in that future only as afterthoughts, no more than potential support resources, rather than central, driving figures. While I applaud efforts like MacArthur’s digital learning in education initiative and the 2020 Forecast, I remain convinced that as a society, we’ll have a much greater impact on civic life for a greater range of people by focusing on libraries as the primary change agent, not schools.

We’re already well-positioned in our communities to be the conveners for this type of activity, we have a library ecosystem for lifelong learning that includes adults (not just K-12 students), we have supporting resources (not just technology, but context), we teach how to navigate information, and we’re the last, safe, non-commercial space that’s open to anyone without any barriers. In fact, quite a few sections of the 2020 site scream “libraries” to me, and I encourage you to read through the various sections.

So while I’m intrigued by and fully support the idea of schools encouraging “innovation journalists,” those programs won’t reach their full potential – nor will the students – without libraries to support them. And when those students get out into the real world, libraries can facilitate their non-school efforts. And we can bring them together with the rest of the community to put those new civic literacies into practice for everyone.

And don’t get me started on the participatory divide….


5:57 am Comments (2)

July 12, 2009

Innovation at DOK

Shanachies Erik, Jaap, and Geert talk about the DOK Library

Jaap is the “head of innovation” at DOK – love that title

DOK = Library Concept Center

video of library manager Eppo touring DOK
– showed Bluetooth download station
– music pods
– video games (“The library can’t be without games.”)

it’s all about people – share the stories to tell and make the stories

DOK sits on one side of “culture square” – they named it that because they’re across from a movie and theater
there’s a lot of color in DOK because they believe this is important to lift people up, help motivate them to share their stories
the staff offices on the top floor are totally open – not just open source, but open access to staff 🙂
have a “reading cafe” with the magazines
they put the timely reading materials right near the food and coffee/cafe
the building is a converted supermarket – it’s concrete but made attractive

the bookshelves don’t have a top shelf, so they seem more open
not collecting dust
shelf along the bottom to display the books but can also use it to step up and reach the top shelf
Geert does the signage – it’s attractive and uses everyday language
the library has a very luxurious look but the bookcases are made of NDF (?)
spend the money on services, rather than bookcases
the children’s collection is on bookshelves that are on wheels, so movable; allows them to move the collection for programming
all of the children’s bookshelves are green so easy to identify
the kids can stand on the bookshelves and it’s okay
one sign in the adult collection uses an image from Psycho :-p

their electronic signage runs on Nintendo Wiis because it’s cheap! 🙂
cost about a quarter of the price, plus can use the Wiis for game tournaments

the floor has a rubber texture so playful

an area where people can learn languages
it’s a quiet area and an open study room

snoic chairs (music pods)
an enriching experience that goes beyond just lending out CDs
can sit in the chairs and listen to music that only you hear
the touchscreens are hooked up to the library’s network, so can watch movies

the “romance room” is completely red
kids like to come study in this room and use the library’s wifi

they dim the lights to make people look better (rather than harsh, bright lights)

people can take food and drink from the cafe anywhere in the building

offer an art collection for checkout, with paintings out for display
have a catalog online where residents can reserve paintings

projects they’re working on now:
started a new “science and innovation” department to look at different ways to bring people together around data

1. hacked a Microsoft Surface table
worked with Technical University in Delft
developed two applications for it, one of which is finished
second one, still working on, will be a news quiz – users will work together using the table
brings people together around topics of interest

first application uses special barcodes on the library card
put your card on the table and it reads your address, shows you historical images for your address
totally freaking cool video of how this works, narrated by the student who developed the software

can also use a map application to find images from any street
also includes video
can sort images

because the table can detect objects, it can detect shapes, so there’s a ring you can place on top that acts as a magnifier

2. DOK Agora “Storyboard of your life”
works with material from the Delft Archive
idea is to get people to share their stories
a collection of storytelling tools for people visiting the library
let you see, hear, and watch other peoples’ stories, as well as tell your own
includes maps, paintings, etc.
the library is a collection of stories and culture – how can we get the community’s stories into the library?

huge screen with small stories on it that you can make larger
national archive, local archive
they pick a story, scan their library pass, the story is linked to it, go down one level to the storytelling area
this is where anyone in the community can add a picture, audio, video, etc. to the archive
when the archive has grown, they have a launch party for it (for specific topics)


4:14 pm Comments (8)