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Come To CIL 2018!

CIL 2018 Sign

CIL 2017 has ended.  It was a good conference and had lots of practical information on topics of current interest.  Be sure and mark your calendars now with the dates of CIL 2018:

April 17-19, 2018

at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. The Call For Papers will be available in January if you are interested in presenting a talk.

The dates are later than this year, so spring should be in full swing!

Rocking the Small Screen: Video and Libraries

David Lee King, Ustadza Ely, James Rider

(L-R) David Lee King, Ustadza Ely, James Rider

David Lee King, Digital Services Director, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, led off this session by noting that he has been working with videos for more than 10 years. Video on the web is now easy to make and watch; it drives people to your website. People watch videos and like them. 78% of US internet users watch videos online every week; 55% watch them every day. Only 4% of the population prefers to read manuals to learn about a new product; 5% prefer to call the manufacturer, but 44% prefer to watch a video. Videos are everywhere on social media. According to Tubular Insights (a tracking website), the most popular video channel in the world is on Facebook. 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat every day–a huge number!

Types of video that libraries might like to make:

  • Promotional to show off a new database or service,
  • Trainer and explainer videos,
  • News (interviews, reporting news of the library),
  • Story time,
  • Fun videos,
  • Book series,
  • Unique things (with 340,000 views, this is the most popular video in King’s library),
  • Short videos to post on social media, and
  • Live videos of reference interviews, book reviews etc.

What to consider:

  • The first 15 seconds tend to get watched, and if they do not attract the viewer’s interest, they will just click away. So just jump right in to the subject and put your most compelling content first.
  • Upload to Facebook separately because those videos will get favored more than ones taken from YouTube.
  • Share to Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Think about who will make your video.  If your organization is large enough, consider having a video team and figure out how much video you want to make.
  • Start simple with equipment; smartphones take remarkably good quality videos.

Ustadza Ely discussed how to harness the power of video in libraries. You can engage during library instruction to talk about library services by using Adobe Animate, Photoshop, or TurningPoint/Kahoot.

Videos are very useful for distance learners and for marketing the library’s physical collections. They are used to entice students to come and see the collections.

Questions to ask yourself: What is the audience, the goal. branding and connections, trends, staff time and professional development. Can you get others to sell your video for you? You might create a video about a faculty member’s class and mention the library material that is incorporated into the class.

Storyboarding is very important in video creation. Use a storyboard as a guide and ensure that the video has a natural flow.


Videos can be complicated; you need to communicate with other people when you are developing the story. Have a script and sync it with what will be shown.

Here are some tools for editing, filming, music, etc.

Video Editing Tools

YouTube has a free music library.  Be careful when uploading video to Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  It is fine to upload links to the video, but do not upload the whole video or else you will get into copyright trouble. There have been incidents where Facebook accounts have been deleted because of copyright violations.

As an example of the use of video, James Rider created a video for CIL that can also be used on its own or in conjunction with a library instruction. See it on the library’s YouTube channel.

Zero To Maker

Zero to Maker Speakers

(L-R) Colleen Dearborn, Sussan Navabi, Erin Walker, Dominique China

This session addressed two projects in which makerspaces were created. Dominiique China and Erin Walker began by describing Makerspace Brampton in Brampton, Ontario, which launched in November 2014. The project now extends over all of the Brampton library’s 6 branches. They noted that invention literacy is the ability to read and write human-made stuff: understanding how something is made, how it works, and then applying that knowledge to bring one’s own ideas to life. Inventions are simply the human-made part of the world that we live in (see the article by Jay Silver, “Invention Literacy”,, May 2016). They are not magic; if something can be created, we can improve it.

Makerspace Brampton is empowering people in three ways: zero to maker, maker to maker, and maker to market.

  • Zero to Maker targets children and families and novice makers of all ages. It is designed to foster invention and innovation through hands-on and play-to-learn activities that demystify fundamental concepts.
  • Maker to Maker (learn and collaborate) are more advanced programs that target teens and adults and promote collaboration and access to expertise and advanced application of skills.
  • Maker to Market (entrepreneurial imagination and commercialization) targets teens and adults, demystifies entrepreneurship, and encourages networking and mentorship. It is presented by the Brampton Economic Office and teaches practical skills for turning an idea into a viable startup, such as business basics and idea generation.

The next steps for the program are to formalize the partnership and expand program offerings. An additional 32 physical makerspaces are in development. Plans are also underway to continue to build the community of makers and supplement programming with a self-service model. Makerspace Brampton has been well received; over 8,000 people visited the makerspace in 2016.

Colleen Dearborn and Sussan Navabi have created a mobile memory lab at the Alsip-Marionette Park Library (near Chicago). The Alsip library director suggested creating a mobile makerspace, so Dearborn did a survey of what other libraries were doing. She drew on case studies mentioned in last year’s CIL talk (click here for the presentations from that conference) that Jamie Mears at the DC Public Library and I gave. Mears created a memory lab at her library, and Danielle Conklin wrote a chapter in Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage (Donald T. Hawkins, Information Today, 2013), in which she described relevant several case studies. (The Library of Congress maintains an excellent website with lots of helpful information on digital preservation).  Based on her research, some recommended hardware was purchased for the makerspace.

Recommended Hardware

Sussan Navabi was hired to set up the lab. Her advice is to set aside ample time for development; test a variety of materials, and include the library staff in the project to generate interest. For example, Navabi asked staff members to lend her their analog materials to test on the equipment, which generated interest and buy-in.

Some issues and problems that arose:

  • The hardware might work but the software bundled with it is not compatible with the devices your patrons will be using. Don’t try to patch the software–just return it and get something else.
  • Even if everything does work, patrons might want other features, so look for free apps and test them (be sure to check the rating). Navabi’s list of suggested software is here on the conference website.
  • Be sure you have adequate space for the makerspace and space for training the staff.
  • Visit other libraries to see what they are doing. Here are some questions to ask them:
    • Where to put the lab? Who staffs it? How to do training? When will it be available? Who will be accountable?
  • Instructions that typically come in the manuals for the equipment tend to be complicated and too long. So they created their own instruction pages. Be succinct, include as many screenshots as possible, and use bold keywords.

Experiment with all equipment, make the necessary adjustments to accommodate all skill levels, promote skill building.

Do Space: Tech For Everyone

Rebecca Stavick

Rebecca Stavick

Rebecca Stavick, Executive Director of Do Space, introduced Do Space and said it has been in operation for a little over a year. It is a community technology library in Omaha, Nebraska. Its mission is to empower our community through access to technology and innovative learning experiences. It is privately funded but has partnerships with public libraries. The digital divide is still a problem in our communities; Do Space is located in the middle of Omaha at the busiest intersection in Nebraska; 100,000 cars pass the intersection every day. Do Space is the beginning of a movement to tackle the digital divide, boost digital skills, and drive innovation, creativity, and invention in the region.

Do Space provides access to basic and advanced hardware ad software, such as PCs, Macs, industrial-quality 3D printers, laser cutters, robotics, as well as AutoCAD, the Adobe Creative Suite, and about 200 other types of software.  It offers a diverse array of free technology learning programs and events for all ages: Littles Lab for preschoolers, Cyber Seniors for older adults (seniors learning and teaching each other in weekly workshops), workshops in the 3-D lab, community-led technology meetups, and other fun things.

Just like public libraries, Do Space serves everyone: families with small children, teenagers, working adults, senior citizens; job seekers, entrepreneurs, students, etc. Membership is free; anyone can join, regardless of where they live (bug they must physically visit the site to obtain their membership card). It has been very well received; 4,000 people came on opening weekend.

Do Space's 28,000 square foot building

Do Space’s 28,000 square foot building

  • They have industrial quality 3-D printers, 56 laptops–both PCs and Macs, a variety of games with learning aspects. The second floor of the building is leased to a non-profit community college that provides access to higher-level experiences.
  • A volunteer program manages a lot of the activities. There are about 150 volunteers and a coordinator. A mentorship program–a network of volunteers who sign up to help people individually with technology questions–is in place.
  • Hack Omaha is a new program to engage people to work together and solve technology problems of the community.
  • I Heart Do Space allows people to put what they are doing into a system, and the postings are displayed on a video wall. These generate considerable interest.
  • A fellowship program to bring in 3 Fellows for the summer was recently announced.  They get a $10,000 stipend to create innovative projects in 3-D printing, robotics, and software development.

Community response last year was 223,834 visits, 44,480 members, 12,325 people attended 1,010 programs, 89,692 hours of computer use, 12.035 volunteer hours, 100% awesomeness achieved.

Lessons learned

  • Membership cards do flush down the toilet;
  • You can never have enough sanitizing wipes;
  • A bean bag can be used as a weapon!
  • Community spaces are powerful;
  • Stationary workstations are cool again; people don’t need high-powered machines at home any more;
  • People don’t ask them reference questions, but if somebody asks one, they will connect them with a librarian (users mostly ask questions about the technology);
  • Empower people to lead their own learning experience.

Trends for libraries

  • Community lab spaces which defy categorization
  • People want experiences; facilities are everything
  • Offering something people can’t get anywhere else
  • Harmonious mixture of old-school and new-school.


  • Technology moves faster than you think
  • Strongly enforce your mission (one thing that is hurting libraries right now is that they don’t know what their mission is)
  • You live and die by your user; they are the only ones that matter
  • Constantly strive for a diversity of thought. Diverse teams challenge each other.

Further information is available at

Technology and Library Customers’ Needs: The Thursday Keynote

Jane Dysart and Lee Rainie

Jane Dysart and Lee Rainie

Lee Rainie, Director, Internet, Science, and Technology Research, Pew Research Center, and a frequent and popular speaker at CIL conferences, presented the final day’s keynote address: “Where technology fits with library patrons’ needs”.  The Onion regularly makes fun of Pew and puts up some parodies of its results. Click here to see Pew’s previous research on libraries.

There is a deep decline in trust in many organizations, but libraries have bucked that trend. People like and trust librarians and think that libraries are important, especially for communities. They think that libraries level the playing field for those without vast resources. Librares have re-branded themselves as technology hubs and are deeply appreciative of these changes. People still read books and like printed books more than e-books, by a 3 to 1 margin.

Here is some of Pew’s latest data on libraries from its 2016 study:

  • Over 40% of users used a library or bookmobile in the last 12 months. About 1/3 of them–more women than men and more younger people–used the library’s website.
  • Traditional activities like borrowing books or reading dominate library use, but people are also attending classes or other programs (class use was the activity that increased the most from 2015 to 2016).
  • Doing research or checking email are the most frequent uses of library technology resources, but more people are using them to take classes online than last year.

Here are some new research findings drawn from polls and focus groups.

New Research Results

Factors shaping people’s information interests include access to and use of libraries, personal tastes, trust in information sources, a personal growth mindset, life circumstances and time horizons, and access to information technology. People most engaged with information and bringing it into their lives are thinking more about the future. Thinking like a networker is an important thing for libraries to do.

Libraries are curators of the better quality of information, along with health care providers, family and friends. Social media is the least trustworthy.

Information users can be characterized in these five clusters:

  • The information wary (1/4 of the population): people with low levels of interest in info and low levels of trust in information sources. They don’t exhibit much interest in acquiring digital skills. This group is male-dominated, older, and not parents of minor children.
  • Information addled (1/4 of the population) have a fairly typical level of interest in information and visit the library on a par with others. But they have low levels of trust in information sources, especially news organizations. They are multitaskers, have trouble relaxing, and have little interest in improving their information literacy. They are male, suburban, and are better-off households.
  • Cautious and curious (1/8 of population) have an interest in information but not a lot of time or attention to pursue it. They have below average levels of trust in information but a high level of interest in acquiring digital skills. They could become more interested in pursuing information. Clearing trust hurdles is part of it; we need more time and attention to do this.
  • Eager and willing (1/5 of population) has the highest levels of interest in news and information, and a high degree of trust in information sources. They trust family and friends plus libraries and librarians as information sources but do not have an abundance of digital information access tools; over half of them report difficulty finding information online. They have a high degree of interest in training on digital skills and wish that a public library were closer to home and had expanded hours. They are mostly female; the majority of them are minorities, relatively young, and least well educated.
  • Information confident (1 in 6) have the highest levels of trust in information sources, above average interest in news with particular emphasis on government, politics, and foreign affairs. They have a lot of technology and don’t feel they need additional training in digital skills or how to determine the veracity of information for making decisions. This is a population that librarians should cherish. Many of them are mommy bloggers who write about school events, community zoning projects, etc. Many are equally male and female, white, young, and better educated.

Many people overwhelmingly say the library helps them.  Finding trustworthy information is highly important, followed by learning new things, personal growth, and getting information to help in making decisions. Help given by libraries in focusing on things mattering in their life, coping with a busy world or a world where it is hard to get ahead, or protecting personal data from online thieves is not as important. 77% say the local library provides them with the resources they need.

Providing a safe place for people to spend time is extremely important. They also value the creation of educational opportunities for people of all ages, sparking creativity in young people, and serving as a gathering place for addressing challenges in the local community. 56% say it would have a major impact on the community if the library closed.

85% of people say that libraries should coordinate more closely with local schools in providing resources to kids. 73% of people think of themselves as lifelong learners and want to learn something to make their lives more interesting or something that would allow them to help others. 33% want to learn something to help with their children’s school work. 34% say libraries serve the learning and educational needs of them and their family.

The Aspen Institute report on the future of libraries did a survey and found that libraries are pathfinders for trusted information, and curators and arbiters of it. Libraries are technology and data experts, master teachers in an age of lifelong learning, and visionaries for the knowledge economy and the jobs it produces.

Nobody has had to reinvent themselves more than libraries in the past few years. They have needed to reconfigure and re-purpose themselves and become community resources. In the future, they should embrace the Internet of Things, become the “first place” to meet, fill in “market holes” or niches in the information marketplace, and become innovation test beds. Become trusted, top of mind institutions for learning, advocates for free and open, and closing digital divides, and privacy and algorithms watchdogs.

Libraries touch every part of our culture. It is a lifelong mission. So it’s scary to be in this environment, but fear not and thank you for being there.

Here is a video of some of the highlights of Lee’s talk.


Reimagining Libraries: Open Ecosystems: The Wednesday Evening Session

Redesigning Libraries Panel

(L-R) Michael Winkler, Jane Burpee, Jack Ammerman, Marshall Breeding (Moderator)

Marshall Breeding, long-time attendee at CIL (he has been to all 32 of them!) moderated the Wednesday evening session on Redesigning Libraries: Open Ecosystems. The panelists were Michael Winkler, Open Library Environmennt; Jane Burpee, Coordinator, Data Curation and Scholarly Communications, McGill University; and Jack Ammerman, Boston University. A video of a presentation by Erik Boekesteijn, author of the blog This Week in Libraries, was shown.

Marshall opened the session by defining  open ecosystems as consisting of interconnected communities, peers and partners, and systems. They are essential for libraries to make the connections with people, organizations, and technical systems because their data must be sent somewhere and back. Closed systems and data hamper the vitality of libraries. None of us like closed black boxes!

Why be open?

  • To be creative: expand spaces, technical systems or information through the involvement of a broad community.
  • Extensibility: no system or product that is delivered will meet the needs of all, so we must enhance existing functionality to meet local needs and create new services.
  • Interoperability gives programmatic access to data and functionality; allows us to put data in and take it out, and exercise granular units of functionality.

There are many paths to openness:

  • Open source: full access to source code,
  • Open APIs: expose APIs, which are essential for both proprietary and open source apps,
  • As a primary vehicle for extensibility and interoperability,
  • Open data: ability to use data for other purposes, open access data sets, but safeguard sensitive data, and
  • Open flexible spaces.

Proprietary systems still dominate the ISS landscape, even though open systems (i.e. Koha, Evergreen,VuFind, Blacklight) have become part of the mainstream.

In his video presentation, Erik Boekesteijn said that technology is taking libraries to new heights. The library experience is now “I am your customer, I am unique, I want to be special, pay me real attention, excite me, open my eyes and make my time with you a fabulous experience.” Erik showed the Delft Public Library and its some of its features that embody this experience. He also mentioned the following innovative developments:

  • BorrowBox is a eAudiobook and eBook digital library solution app (available on the Google Play Store).
  • The Workary provides flexible and affordable desk rental space in public libraries for startups, coworkers, and technology. Initial installations are in some libraries in the UK.
  • Visit Aarhus, Denmark’s library to see an open ecosystem.
  • In Norway, there is a library for kids 10-15 only–no adults allowed!
  • In Siberia, an “ice library” has been constructed outside near Lake Baikal using blocks of ice. People’s wishes and dreams are inscribed on the ice. The library is expected to last until April when the ice begins to melt.

Smart libraries make smart citizens. Look outside the library walls to see what you can do.

Jane Burpee supports research data management at McGill University. She discussed how researchers can increase their openness and their impact. Many research communities are having a hard time with being open. We need to raise awareness of data sharing and research data management. See these two documents: Vienna Principles of Scholarly Communication, and Force 11. Data must be findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable (FAIR principles). The Canadian government has started a policy mandating researchers to publish their data in open systems and share stewardship of research data. Libraries must work together; we cannot do this alone.

McGill has announced it will be an open science institute and will share code, publications, data, and anything they develop. They will no longer patent anything, nor will there be an institutional data repository. Once money gets behind these things, it changes the conversation. Some students have started a Meetup group for open and reproducible science. It takes a lot of people involved: grants officers, deans, researchers, students, campus IT, … and librarians! In response to a question about the availability of grant money, Jane said that if researchers feel they will make a lot of money, they can pay for the patent themselves, which is expensive. But many of the researchers are already on board; for example, in the US, data from Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” is completely open.

According to Jack Ammerman, Boston University has a mid-level ARL library with 12 branches that have 3+ million records and serve 17 schools and colleges. Systems used are ExLibris Alma/Primo, Dspace, SAP, and the Library.Link network. Making work open is just part of the standard faculty workflow.

Libraries have always developed systems to enable their users to discover and access materials in the collection; for example, in 1855, Lawrence University had a handwritten library catalog. Then card catalogs came along and were organized so that they were browsable. Then the internet brought about OPACs which are now being supplanted by discovery systems, and catalogs are mobile. This chart shows the progression of cataloging data models over the years.

Data Models

Each system implemented different rules, but they all originally described things in terms of their physical location on a shelf. We are still working on second-order ordering systems which will lead to discovery in a digital environment. Constraints on the current systems include questions that are difficult or impossible to answer, such as “Show me all the library’s holdings in Arabic”; the integration of data from separate systems or transferring records from one system to another when there is no record in the receiving system.There is also concern about questions that never come to the library, such as those relating to gaming, walking tours, or virtual reality.

Do cloud computing models have anything to offer? Could we make the library as a service or a platform with a service?  Such a system will need a lot of APIs.

Michael Winkler said that people still think of libraries as big buildings full of books. But that’s a downtrending part of our business. We are increasingly involved in helping researchers market their brand, building the spaces that reach out to the community, and redefining what the library is. A  community is a self-organized network of people with a common agenda, cause, and interest who collaborate and share information, ideas, and other resources.

So what  is the library community? It includes vendors, libraries and various types of both. There are difficulties in moving data around. It is difficult to map all the information that is available and make it so that users can query it. We need them that to happen without breaking the continuity of their work system. Interfaces to other systems are needed. Are the boundaries limiting the kind of innovation you can think of?

We must start with the proposition that libraries are part of a community and our systems should be designed around this idea. We need a place where people can come together and talk about serving the community. The library community needs to break down the the barriers currently in place, such as those between vendors and libraries. Progress is very slow. Every time we identify a new problem, nobody says “we should use … to solve that problem”; instead, we go out and get another system!

We need a way of moving data around and a way of representing it to let the developers focus on the business aspects. We need to lower the cost of development and develop models that are stable and well supported so that we can purchase them. Fit things together in new ways and look outward. Everything is still inward-focused; vendors don’t ask what you are trying to do with your community. How do we bring designers into the process and think about how users operate in their spaces?

This video shows some of the highlights of the session.