Recent Events

Engaging Stories Info Blitz

This session featured four librarians presenting rapid-fire descriptions (pecha-kucha style) of how they have reached out to their communities to engage library users.

Why Teach Coding

Gabrielle Doyle from the Calgary Public Library made a case for teaching kids in the library to write code using the Coder Dojo model. Libraries are a good environment for this because they are involved with digital literacy. Coding allows us to get involved in how information is presented and how it comes to us (see the quote above). Many online resources are available and some of them can be used face to face, which is important because it helps kids learn how to interact and socialize.

CoderDojo is free and fun. Kids and parents work with volunteers to learn how to code. This provides an opportunity for the community to come together every week and share their knowledge. The library is the right place for this because it has the infrastructure and the programming systems in place. It reduces the digital divide.

Bonnie Lafazan, Library Director at Berkeley College, described how she reaches users beyond the academic library.  She was asked to figure out something new to create meaningful programs and instill lifelong learning, not just library and information literacy skills, but also those that could be used for work and personal life. This led to a 3-part Technology Literacy Workshop which was presented during New Student Orientation week and also during National Information Literacy month. One session taught the basics of the major browsers in 20 minutes. Another looked at free productivity apps for personal life. Students who attended all 3 parts got a certificate. Other courses looked at websites and apps, how to save and share in the cloud, learning new things like 3D printing, and downloading Ebooks.

Lafazan’s best practices include collaboration with different departments, use active learning and assessment, be creative about where to deliver technology programs, and increase participation by giving food, digital credit, badges, extra credit, and prizes or incentives.

Lauren Stokes, Virtual Library Manager at the Las Vegas Library District noted that most Las Vegans work in casinos, the locals play slots, and kids look for something to do in life. The library offered basic technology classes starting in 2000 which grew into large computer labs. Online communication with users began in 2008 with blogs, then on Facebook on which the library has 25 pages to promote engagement. A technology art studio teaches participants how to produce traveling movies. One librarian turned a conference room into a DJ studio. Each library has an iPad to use for answering questions, using Overdrive media, and taking online classes. Outreach is done to promote library services. Participate in events including new teacher events, science fairs, or computer fairs. Have a mobile design site that detects the device being used and serves up the best page. Screen ads are displayed on flat screen TVs to advertise digital content. Everything is about presentation. Digital dashboards show the community how they are being reached.

David Durante from the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, Washington used an interactive discovery platform in a teen summer reading program using the SCOUT program, which builds reading experiments for customers. Badges and entry forms were given for drawings. The teen summer challenge program was built as pilot program to apply for a grant from Paul Allen Foundation. The program was successful; the Foundation gave a $150,000 grant to build a platform.

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