Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The ALSC Blog had a fun post called "Boo!  What to Hand Them When the Halloween Shelves are Bare" that gave ideas for other slightly spooky books that might be in the library's collection.  See the post and my comment here, and have a great Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

21st Century Learning Labs for Teens

One of our readings for this week, Totally Wired: What Teens & Tweens are Really Doing Online cited a Pew Internet and American Life study that found, “Fully half of all teens and 57 percent of teens who use the Internet could be considered content creators," that they have "created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations” (21).  

This made me think of a post I read recently on the IMLS blog about a new project that will build 21st century learning labs for teens in libraries and museums around the country.  Following a national competition, the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the MacArthur Foundation announced where these 12 new learning labs for teens will be built.  Based on the YOUMedia teen space at the Harold Washington Library, these learning labs will be spaces where teens will be able to work with their peers as well as mentors to use both digital and traditional media to pursue their own areas of interest and create their own content, while also building information literacy skills in an unstructured environment.

This project will also involve collaboration with multiple organizations within the community.  According to the IMLS blog, they will involve “partnerships with local educational, cultural, and civic organizations to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.”

The winning libraries are:

San Francisco Public Library
Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries (Thornton, CO)
Howard County Public Library (Columbia, MD)
St. Paul Public Library (St. Paul, MN)
Kansas City Public Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library
Free Library of Philadelphia
Nashville Public Library

You can see a complete list of the winners, along with descriptions of the individual labs that will be constructed at each site, here.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dealing with Conflicts in the Library

Martha over at Grounded from the Library had an interesting post about dealing with conflicts in a public library setting.  Although it can be difficult to deal with unhappy patrons, as she points out it can also be a learning opportunity to practice good librarianship skills.  Read about her recent victory (and view my comment) here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ann Curry’s “If I Ask, Will They Answer?”

I thought Ann Curry’s “If I Ask, Will They Answer” article from this week’s readings was interesting in its attempt to address the lack of information on young library users’ experiences while looking for GLBT-related information in libraries.  The study Curry conducted, in which teen “Angela” approached reference desks at 20 different libraries to ask for materials that would help her start a gay-straight alliance at her high school, had some pretty disappointing findings.
  • Angela gave only 50% of the librarians positive comments in how they responded to her question.  Only three librarians showed her how to use any sources such as the library catalog or the Internet to find information.
  • Some of the materials identified by library professionals were not relevant, such as adult booklists or even picture books.  And in one case, a library staff member conducted a partial reference interview, mumbled something, and then walked off and never returned!  Clearly, improvement needs to be made on librarians’ awareness of relevant GLBT resources.
  • I thought it was great that one particular librarian was not only enthusiastic and helpful in locating appropriate resources, but then directed her question to the YA librarian who emailed Angela with more information, and then even mailed her a packet of articles, booklists, and other resources all within a few days.

While I was reading this, I did wonder how specific the librarians’ behavior was to Angela’s question.  For example, how many of the librarians would act inappropriately and be unhelpful for other types of reference questions?  And does Angela’s age have anything to do with how they responded?  Curry does acknowledge that it would have been useful to have a “double deception,” i.e., have Angela ask another general reference question at a different time to determine a more direct relationship with the GLBT question.  But as Angela pointed out, “It doesn’t matter to a GLBT youth whether the librarian is nasty to everyone, not just her.” 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Humble Bundle

Hillary over at Librageous! had an interesting post about Humble Bundle, an e-book bundle where you get to name your price for the bundle, and then you get to choose where your money goes (percentages go to the author, the site, and a charity).  Check out her post and my comment here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welcome to the ... Mallbrary?

One of the library branches in my sister's area received funding for an extensive remodeling project, and so it has been closed since last spring for renovations.  In order to keep the library open during the renovation period, they have opened a temporary location in a storefront in the local mall.  It functions like a mini version of the library, complete with a window display, a moderate selection of books, and a checkout station where the cash register would be.

They even have a small kid's section with a number of books and some computers, and I guess they still do a lot of children's programming.  They had a big summer reading program, and they do story times that take place in the mall, including a Pajama Tale story time that my sister was thinking of taking her little guy to.  One of the stores in the mall lets them use an open space area on the upper level for their story times and other events.  A quick look at their calendar of events shows that most events are youth services programming: bilingual story times, pajama story times, a young adult book club, and a preschool story time.  

I thought it was an interesting idea to open a temporary location in the mall, and it definitely has its advantages.  In terms of reaching a wider audience, surely you would get more foot traffic being in the middle of a mall.  You would definitely be able to reach out to a larger portion of the population that might not otherwise specifically visit the library.  In that sense, it is a great opportunity for community outreach and advertising the services of the library.  Since their events take place in an open space on the upper level, parents/caregivers walking by could see and be able to join in on a story time or other event with their child.  Still, it is pretty strange to read on an events calendar that a story time will take place "on the upper level near Kevin Jewelers"!

                                                  Photo credit: Crystal Chatham, The Desert Sun