Wrap – up Reflection – ‘Awesome free stuff – ask your library!’

Community of learning

I saw my role in the community this semester as a student, with a learning blog, expressing my interest in discrete aspects of the learning program. I wasn’t keen to critically analyse others’ comments, although I was happy for others to challenge my views, and to respond appropriately to those comments.

My nature is to be collaborative rather than radical and I tended to comment positively and supportively on peers’ posts. To be honest, I did not feel particularly opposed to any of the posts that I read. I sometimes added my opinion or shared a personal or professional experience or link on the posts as evidence-based understanding of the topic.

I noticed that there was a greater activity on posts at the assignment 1 checkpoint and again after the lecture in relation to CLA Toolkit.   The CLA toolkit connection did not happen for me as I understood from discussions during the Week 2 class that it was optional rather than optimal and have not resolved the login difficulty, and did not have a validated sign in until Week 13. On that note, I felt unable to fix the problem. This impacted negatively on my attitude toward engaging with the learning community.

Despite my lack of interaction using CLA Toolkit (which incidentally I was really interested in seeing how it worked once explained to me in the second session), I feel that my contributions would not have been differently positioned, but may have been greater in number and frequency.

The quality of information from my peers was amazing, presenting a plethora of perspectives on a broad spectrum of topics, especially in relation to GLAM, makerspaces and children’s programs.

Twitter and me

Twitter was a wonderful learning experience for me as I was not confident to use Twitter regularly at the start of the semester but feel much more confident about it now. I really enjoyed the challenge of Twitter Chats in organising the information before the chat and setting up with a twitter tool to enhance the experience.

I think that Twitter is a valuable social media tool for quick short shallow conversations with the advantage of linking out to more in-depth information, but I did not like it as a stand-alone learning tool. I found it too short, too sharp, too shallow to properly discuss the topics.

If Twitter chats were run in conjunction with a regular online class, I think I would have gained more from the chats. I really appreciated the links out to relevant information from Clare and other students, and the snapshot of interaction with other library professionals.

As a result of the Twitter Chat component of the course, I have been using Twitter more as a connection with library professionals and my peers. I like it because it is concise, succinct, and can be a very clever conversation tool.  Having experienced Twitter Chat as part of this unit, I am more likely to join industry specific twitter chats as part of ongoing learning.

I recently re-tweeted a twitter comment from a scientist who remarked that Twitter = workmates playground and Facebook = family and friends playground, because it aptly describes my use of twitter too (although I do sometimes use it for personal communications)

My take-away – ‘Awesome free stuff? – Ask your library’

My key take-away for the unit is that we should all be wearing badges that say ‘Awesome free stuff? – ask your library!’ because the diversity of programs available through libraries – public, private, institutional and academic – is awesome.

The Readers’ Advisory programs, Book Chat and the family oriented literacy programs like First 5 Forever and CoderDojo really struck a chord with me as great community connectors.

I like the training and education programs offered for all ages, from children and teens with coding classes, to career resume builders, and tech-savvy for seniors and others. Libraries are a hub for life long learning – this I think ties with my key take-away, that libraries offer awesome free stuff!

I enjoyed exploring the movement toward Makerspaces and amalgamation of GLAM organisations under the library banner, with the aim of presenting digital and physical resources to the public. Creativity and innovation are key to learning and discovery.

Personally, I realized that not all teaching styles align with all learning styles and that this unit challenged my ability to understand the course framework – what was required, and where to find the information. I felt really disconnected. I did not have a clear understanding of what it was that was required.

I know that I missed the lack of interaction through classes, and the opportunity to hear guest presenters share their knowledge and industry experience in relation to topics covered.

I focussed on extra-curricular learning, observing library programs, products and services while completing fieldwork placements, attending and participating in 23 Research Data Things, and attending other professional development events.

The quality of my work

I acknowledge that this unit has not been my finest work. I am not confident that I have understood the requirements and the parameters of the course.   I regret the misunderstanding about CLA Toolkit and the lack of interaction with that tool.

Blogging and commenting have not been my strong points. I was very concerned at the first check point, after receiving negative feedback. I sought help with these issues and feel that I have now better responded to the assessment criteria.  Blogging weekly is a call to action and meeting that obligation is compulsory practice which built my skills and my confidence.

In relation to the grant application assessment, I enjoyed the challenge and appreciate that these applications are an essential skill to support library programs. I feel that my choice of program (Get2thGames Hackathon) was difficult due to my inexperience in that field, and additionally, writing the project concurrently with weekly blogs was quite a workload.  Notwithstanding this, I enjoyed the learning curve.

Pop Culture in Libraries – Steampunk Festival in Rockhampton

 

Contemporary libraries are offering patrons more than information and recreational resources by extending their services to include cultural resources (Gross, 2013). This concept is designed to connect with and engage patrons in cultural activities that have previously been outside the library domain. It is designed to bring people together to open discussions that deliver education and learning opportunities through a different medium.

Black Opium / Fiona Foley / SLQ Installation Art
Black Opium / Fiona Foley / SLQ Installation Art

Whether it is a series of regular exhibits as in Samuel J. Wood Library,   or an art installation like Black Opium, or a collection of photographs from a local history group – the concept of pop culture within libraries extends the outreach to a more diverse community. Communication with the creators of thèse works is key to understanding more about community, with many libraries running a program for artists in résidence.

 

Creative Spaces Framework
Creative Spaces Framework

Creative Spaces Framework, developed by State Library of Queensland, seeks to define libraries as creative spaces to encourage cultural participation through formal and informal discussions, ‘Continuous learning and informal approaches to éducation’.

 

 

Rockhampton Regional Library’s Steampunk and Pop Culture Convention ‘CapriCon’ in April this year embraced the opportunity to host a mammoth event featuring Steampunk games, Cosplayers, Tabletop gaming, Costume panels, Jewellery making and a Steampunk High Tea.

 

Time Machine
Time Machine

Steampunk enthusiasts revel in the Victorian era, Science Fiction and the remodelling and re-inventing of 19th Century engineering artefacts. The convention platform provided a venue for hobbyists, tinkerers and professional artists to enjoy a creative experience. Table Top Gaming included Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a great example of a community project that stimulates conversation and engagement.

Popular programs for Queensland library patrons have included vintage movies, dance performances, concert workshops, and themed events.

As creative spaces within libraries is a relatively new concept for State Library of Queensland, to date there is little evidence-based knowledge of the impact of the program. However, the educational outcomes from these programs might be raising cultural awareness, exploring the history of the culture and in developing understanding and tolerance for diversity and the joy of recreational and interactive learning within a community space.  The possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

Program Review – Gold Coast University Hospital Health Library – JBI training

The GCUH Health Library operates from with Queensland Health’s Gold Coast Hospital Services at Southport and Robina.  The mission of the library is to facilitate access to high quality information and customer service .. in information discovery, retrieval and management … deliver(ing) responsive and innovation services and resources in support of patient care, research, management…” for GCUH Health Service health professionals and students.

Within this overarching mission, the library  has sought to understand its users’ needs and information seeking behaviours through qualitative and quantitative analysis, including a consultative process with users, non-users, industry professionals and other stakeholders.  This aligns with a model recommended by Joanna Ludbrooke.    The library offers a suite of  regular short lunch-time programs to GCUH staff and students [patrons] designed to develop their navigation skills facilitating access to relevant information from any of the databases available online at any time.   In particular, nursing staff regularly refer to the Joanna Briggs Institute [JBI] database  in the course of their duty.  Therefore, their ability to quickly access information is essential, as it is can be critical to patient care.

The Joanna Briggs Institute database provides information to nursing staff and is designed to guide nurses to identify the issue, test their diagnosis, administer appropriate interventions at the point of care.   The two publication types most used are firstly, the evidence summaries based on structured searches of litérature and evidence-based health care databases and secondly, évidence based recommended practices providing the best available évidence including an equipment list, a recommended practice, OHS provisions and an évidence summary where available.

The éducation program for patrons was designed to run for approximately 20 minutes at 12.10 and again at 1.10 to fit with patrons’ regular lunch breaks.  The format of the program was an overview of the system, the main features, the popular publication types and the expected results from the program.  The research librarians created a PowerPoint présentation using screen captures and call-outs to indicate the preferred méthod of navigation.  The dedicated area within the library was set up with comfortable seating, side tables for note-taking and a projection screen connecter to a laptop.

A pre-run of the présentation ensured there were no technical glitches.    From my perspective with no health industry expérience and limited health library experience, the présentation logically and simply explained the pathways within the program for the benefit of any new users.

However, despite the well-planned structure of the program which had content, context, relevance, currency and relativity – busy hospital staff and health professionals did not attend.  Short lunch breaks are not long enough to include a serving of professional development,  as well as a deserved meal break.

Perhaps the library could consider delivering the présentations to staff rooms closer to clinics or wards so that patrons could benefit from their sharing of knowledge and information.  They could also trial social media as a means of communication.  However I believe that the major barrier to the ongoing délivery of this excellent program is dépendent on commitment and support of the parent organisation to give patrons more time to  take advantage of the librarians’ expertise and willingness to co-ordinate instructive sessions.

A further initiative of the GCUHH Library program was the issue of a Quality Scale Survey, enabling them to measure the success of the program and inviting comments about future programs.   The survey focussed on outcomes for the user asking questions about content, basis and navigation of JBI, ability to access JBI, available reports, understanding of advanced searching and overall satisfaction with JBI.   Unfortunately with the lack of patronage all of this excellent planning did not déliver results at this time.

Little steps into literacy – library programs for babies children and teens

 

My fieldwork placements at Hervey Bay and Helensvale public libraries gave me the chance to see public libraries at work, creating a hub for young families and teens to explore and discover literacy through a supported community environment.  I gained a deeper understanding of the value of providing communities with a meeting place, welcoming all ages and facilitating access to print, digital and electronic resources that may otherwise be unavailable or unknown.

 

Queensland Pubic Libraries Association, ALIA and State Library of Queensland have been proactive in formulating programs, products and services to meet the needs of young families in Queensland, guides by organisational policies and vision statements.

 

The recent Queensland Government initiative First 5 Forever is a literacy program freely available at public libraries, for ‘children and their families from babyhood’. The program is scheduled in public libraries and is designed to introduce babies and their parents or caregivers to literacy, rhymes and interaction developing both social and language skills.

 

Hervey Bay and Helensvale libraries offered additional programs, inviting young mums, dads and caregivers to bring their babies and toddlers to ‘Rattle and Rhyme’ sessions in a dedicated space within the library. The sessions include favourite rhymes and activities to engage participants through music and literacy. Toddler Stomp and Story Time similarly engaged young toddlers, aged 2 – 6 years in more active participation in the program – bringing a story to life with movement and playful actions.

 

The catalyst for increased funding for early literacy was the release of 2012 Australian Early Development Census data which revealed that 26.2% of Queensland children are ‘developmentally vulnerable or at risk on one or more  developmental domains – including language and cognitive skills’.  Follow the link to see a compréhensive report on early learning literacy.

Activity and play elements within these programs increases children’s learning according to The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Playing increases ‘physical, emotional, personal, spitirual, creative, cognitive and linguistic aspects, which are ‘intricately interwoven and interrelated’.   Playing in a non-confrontational environment with carers and library educators working together, gives children confidence to be creative, develop new friendships and to make connections with new concepts.

The literacy program extends to children over 5 years with school holiday programs to introduce coding and computer programs. These programs allow children without internet connectivity access to wifi and experience with programs not otherwise available to them.

 

Straw Maze in cardboard
Straw Maze in cardboard

After school programs conducted at Helensvale involved play activities based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math [STEM] learning. By structuring the program on play and interaction with craft materials, children are guided through basic STEM activities interactively. Individual folders record the child’s participation with a token sticker of success. Using straws, pom poms, glue and cardboard, children constructed a maze board and blew the pom poms through the maze.

Paper Plate Marble Maze
Paper Plate Marble Maze

 

 

Another activity used marbles, paper plates and coloured paper to construct a rolling ball maze. Children learned about science (gravity and physics) and engineering (design of the maze).

 

 

Scratch programs also offered as an after-school activity are small group activities using a media room with eight children and instructor, following simple coding instructions to create an interactive computer game. Children can continue to navigate this program at home as it is an open access program freely available on the net.   The library facilitates that first step, giving the participants the confidence to try it.

 

Libraries in regional communities such as Fraser Coast, bridge the digital divide for children who may not have internet access at home. Coding programs are a major initiative of VISION 2017 to provide challenging learning experiences in digital literacy. The Kodu, Scratch and Python program was chosen by Fraser Coast Libraries as the preferred program for children based on consultation and collaboration with children, parents and educators. The critical first step in any program is to know what it is that your users want, when they want it and why they want it. Building a program around this foundation is key to connectedness and engagement.

 

Similarly, libraries and the library brand is still alive and well with children, teens and families. Summer Reading programs and  Reader’s Cup invite participation from older children and teens. Book series and themed collections offer a challenge to compete and to interact through discussion of the books, trivia quizzes, critical reviews.

ALIA’s primary guideline for providing services to young people is.. to assist in the development of early literacy and promote literacy.  A further guideline is to provide access to resources and materials identified as being needed by the community the library serves.

I think that the SLQ VISION 2017 framework is providing a realistic structure from which public libraries can develop literacy programs that relate to their communities.

 

 

 

 

 

Makerspaces – version 2

I do wonder what I was thinking when I opted to be twitter champion for the week of Makerspaces.  So much to say, so few characters – the dynamic medium of twitter communication with an intrinsic demand for being succinct did not fit well with the wide horizons of Makerspaces.

To makerspace or not to makerspace?  That is the question for many libraries that build a strategic plan based on community needs and expectations.   Continue reading “Makerspaces – version 2”

Makerspaces – empowering, engaging, making connections

Twitter Chats and Makerspaces

Twitter chats are short and sweet with a ton of content that is sometimes very hard to digest. This dynamic and challenging medium of communication demands preparation, concentration and the ability to be seriously succinct.

The introduction of  makerspaces to library environments is evolving so quickly and so diversely with so many platforms for exploration available that connecting makerspaces with the succinctness of twitter chat is in itself quite an oxymoron.

To makerspace or not to makerspace?

Rigorous discussion of reasons to establish or not establish a makerspace in libraries iterated the common theme of meeting user wants and needs within the community. Nura Firdawsi, Karen Parker, Kylie Burgess, Michele Smith and Katie Ferguson responded to Heidi Stevens’ early tweet questioning the notion of ‘trend based purchases seen out of scope’.

Competing arenas of STEM and GLAM also featured in discussions as to why libraries should provide spaces for these activities when previously community interest groups had filled this need. The discussion led to sharing experiences of learning within dedicated communities, where inexperienced people felt uncomfortable in that environment. Library programs are seen to provide a more encouraging and nurturing platform of learning supporting creativity and experiential learning.

The Edge – a masterpiece makerspace – styled by State Library of Queensland

The Edge is described as ‘a visionary space for ‘creating creatives’; a melting pot of ideas and innovation, capacity-building, experimentation and innovation’. The space provides a meeting place for creators to create and share ideas, using the space, tools, equipment and support network provided under the mandate of empowering Queenslanders to explore creativity across art science technology and enterprise’.

This aligns with [Lisa Hetherington’s] belief that libraries are a place to explore and learn and [Katie Ferguson’s] belief in meeting community needs and interests. It’s about accessing technology to enhance learning by bridging the technology gap that exists even in the middle of the city.

Events courses and programs described in the Edge E-News publication invite public participation in creative workshops and short courses; meet-ups to learn about calligraphy, book crafts, interactive technology, design and multimedia production; and an invitation to look at The Edge and all it has to offer.

Makerspaces are more than a haven for creativity – they’re about incubating new ideas – supporting creators with tools and equipment – building a platform for startups – giving innovators a place to design and prototype. Makerspaces empower people to have a go, without fear of failure, in a non-confronting space, with support, encouragement, tools and knowledge.  Makerspaces foster community engagement and peer-to-peer interactions that open conversations and share knowledge through the iterative processes of creativity.

Commercial Makerspaces

I listened to Chris Lau, general manager of Portland Oregon’s entrepreneurial makerspace Art Design “ADX” Portland, when he presented a forum hosted by The Edge, SLQ in May 2016.  This business has increased by an average of 61% annually over the past three years, due to what he describes as  American Makers of the Manufacturing Renaissance.  Essentially ADX is a warehouse space that provides small businesses with an opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge in their pursuit of a place in the market and product development.

The [Manufacturing] Renaissance is emerging where local economies become self-reliant and more robust.  Chris Lau proposed that ‘the politics of humanity eclipse the politics of globalisation’ – a great foundation statement for the maker movement where people are encouraged to work together, and work on what is available locally, coordinating these resources to work collectively to access the expertise within the ADX community.

Chris Lau spoke about the huge potential for partnerships between maker spaces and libraries especially where maker spaces are introduced into libraries to re-invigorate sharing spaces. While ADX  is a business model for social enterprise, makerspaces in public libraries create a plethora of opportunities for community engagement and connection among creators.  The focus for this informal and experiential learning is on upskilling rather than accreditation.

Driving interactive and collaborative learning through public space

Following this presentation, I toured the makerspace in the basement of The Edge, where an eclectic team whose skill levels are diverse,  offer support and services to makers. The Edge team shares a common commitment to supporting and encouraging ‘makers’ in a safe and secure environment, using a  professional standard of equipment that is properly maintained.

Libraries are evolving continually to accommodate the demands of  disruptive technology that sweeps away tradition paving the way for innovation and design.  Providing a makerspace is more than providing a 3D printer – it’s more about discovering what the 3D printer can do and why the library chooses to have it.  It is not about having the shiny new thing but about having the thing that is most needed and will be most used.

 

© <a href="http://sarabbit.openphoto.net/gallery/">Sarah Klockars-Clauser</a> for <a href="http://openphoto.net/gallery

Community of Inquiry

if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; if you teach him how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime

This is so within  a community of learning, for if we simply read and absorb the information presented by another, then that answers just that one query at that one time; but if we read the answer, then de-construct and analyse that information, investigate it further and add another facet then the answer creates a broader perspective and deeper understanding.

The concept of community of inquiry opens discussion, inviting analysis and investigation to improve understanding and increase knowledge.  Creating a culture of critical analysis offers opportunity to experiment and to think laterally to really make a difference.

We’re continually exposed to these opportunities through informal forums like think tanks and brain storming, and formal processes like investigation and research and analysis.   When I am in a Community of Inquity, I tend to try to fly under the radar, only venturing a strong opinion when I’m sure of supporting evidence.

This aligns with my ‘ideal’ personal profile of contributing to the online discussion with factual information that is in context with the discussion.  This doesn’t always work of course, but it is my ‘ideal’ profile.  I like to think that I am responsible and responsive to queries and genuinely seek information to share either online or offline.  I am respectful and courteous, non-discriminatory and compassionate with a commitment to practically and proactively supporting those within the community.

Having completed my first week of fieldwork placement at Helensvale Library this week my perspective of the services provided by public libraries was informed by the diverse programs and products run by the library.  The team of librarians, library technicians, library assistants, IT specialists and community organisations work together at Helensvale to provide the public with the information and services they need.  Community programs provided young families with an introduction to rhyme and literature through regular morning meetings with singing, dancing and a bubble machine.  School-age children were invited to undertake STEM experiments working individually and in teams to discover simple scientific and engineering concepts through craft-type play activities.  Older children were encouraged to experiment with Minecraft, Scratch and Digiworks programs run by librarians and other tech-savvy team members.  Adolescent and adult patrons were offered assistance in access to the internet, use of computers, operation of the printer/copier/scanner and basic access to resources including DVDs, music scores, CDs, audio books, books and magazines.

The library team was cohesive and collaborative in its delivery of information and literacy services, respecting the diverse levels of ability of its patrons and taking care to understand their needs and respond to their queries.  This kind of collaborative culture has been developed through an environment where experimentation and exploration is encouraged throughout the team.  It has evolved from observation and survey of users to asssess their needs and to meet their expecations.

Technology has changed the nature of library ‘business’.  Self check-out and check-in is accepted by an estimated 96% of the branch patrons, with patrons encouraged to manage their individual accounts online using their library membership card to access the catalogue, information about loans, holds and upcoming events at the library.

Access to computers, printing, copying and scanning services, together with free wi-fi access has brought a different vibe to the library with many arriving at the library at 9am with their laptops, phones and briefcases as if the library is their office.  Visitors to the area use library services to access free wifi to check emails.  New residents join the library so that they can use the products and services and become involved in programs of learning.   It’s a vibrant community of people who work together to engage in self-education, self-improvement, recreational learning and reading and discovery of new and not so new technology.

This sharing of knowledge and information and making available the tools and facilities needed to support self-education supports many within the community who may not otherwise have access to formal learning.  It also provides an open forum for sharing of knowledge, information and skills.   While Helensvale library does not currently have a formal Makerspace, programs and events provide activities that fit within the regulatory frameworks of health and safety.

As Liz McGettigan stated we need to ensure that the 21st Century library will continue to engage with community in the format and with the content that the users desire.

Who, how, what and why intro

I’m a life-long learner with a belief that education (and information) leads to greater tolerance and understanding across the world.  I confess I’m quirky, coming from a traditional conservative background, I’ve always pushed the boundaries a bit and have tried to follow my dreams and passions whenever I could.   My partner, three girls, two boys and a dog make my family circle complete.  We love to get together whenever we can and we all enjoy the great outdoors, but most especially the beach at Byron Bay.

Making it all work – uni, work, home time, ‘my’ time – takes a little organising but I do try to  have just a bit of equilibrium in my life.  I like to walk, entertain, listen to live music, see live theatre and I love travel, either locally, nationally or overseas.  My travel bug started with long car trips and light aircraft travel in western Queensland and New South Wales.  Years (and thousands of kilometres) later, I still have wanderlust. If I can’t go there, then I enjoy movies about travel, destinations, geography and natural history.  I’m still trying to master photobooks and paperless record keeping for everything, but I just can’t throw away all those original artefacts that my artistic family create.  When I finish my Masters, I keep telling myself.

Where I’m up to…

As a final semester student of Masters in IT – Library and Information Sciences – I am happy that I will finish the course this semester, understanding so much more about information management and emerging technologies.  The road has been a little rocky along the way as I have sometimes been overwhelmed with the deluge of information and technology delivered via the units.  However – I am still here, learning through a collaborative workspace (that totally freaked me out to begin with) and accepting that it’s only through experiment, making mistakes, and more exploring that I continue to build on my knowledge base and pack a few more tools in the toolkit.

Where I’ve been before…

My diverse work experience includes everything from basic admin to executive assistance, to flight attendant, retail manager, legal practice management, parliamentary services and 10+ years in school libraries.   I have used information organisation and information management in all of these positions, from colour coding filing systems to complex customer relationship management systems and implementation and integration of databases.

Where I want to go…

I see myself as an information manager more so than a librarian – but the line is blurred, as I think that  ‘library’ skills are synchronous with ‘information management’ skills.  My fieldwork placement at Helensvale Library proved to be an eye-opener to the diversity of community engagement offered by the library.   From toddler rhyme times to one on one sessions assisting patrons in the use of mobile devices there was a full spectrum of community engagement offered far and beyond literature loans in many formats.  Making a contribution to guiding self-learning and self-education in an informal environment is really appealing to me.  I’d like to work within a team of people who aim to make a difference for people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.

Optimising optimism…

That would have to be either my Pollyanna attitude or my completely ridiculous sense of humour.  Old-fashioned as it may seem, there really always is a bright side. (My thanks go to Monty Python for bringing this perspective more up to date).  I think that the ability to keep looking at an issue from different perspectives and remaining optimistic really add to my cope-ability and dogged determination to keep going to reach my goals.

Superpower on show…

Apparently I am a natural networker, gathering information and delivering it to the right people at the right time.  Does this mean that I also talk a lot?  Perhaps it does – but maybe it also means that people see me as a good listener and communicator.  So I guess if that’s my superpower that shines brightest, then I’m very happy with that.

My ideal superpower…

I agree with Kate – teleportation would be the best – commuting from the Gold Coast is so time-consuming and tiring.  Having the ability to complete mundane tasks like laundry and cleaning at the push of a button so I had more ‘people’ time would be great. So my ideal superpower seems to shape to being able to create more time to be where I want to be, doing the things I love to do.