Angela Hanshaw | November 10, 2009
I recently came across the Library 101 project, which was developed to help librarians make it through and succeed during the social and technological change we are seeing today. In addition to providing tips, the site featured essays by librarians on what they see changing in libraries, and what we need to be doing to ensure we remain relevant as technology and society evolve. A few of these essays provide some food for thought for programmers, as well.
For example, David Lee King, digital branch and services manager, Topeka & Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library, offered some programming tips for social networking:
… invite them to learn things they wouldn’t necessarily think of. For example, don’t create a Facebook Basics class. That’s boring. Teach your customers how to connect with their grandkids online (by teaching them Facebook). Don’t teach them about YouTube. Teach them how to watch their favorite TV shows online, and how to watch some silly short videos, too (by introducing them to YouTube, Hulu, etc).
Loriene Roy, ALA President 2007–2008, professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information, wrote about a specific library that inspired her:
I recently attended part of the 100th anniversary celebrations for the Salinas (California) Public Library. This library typifies how a library can remain a bright spot of optimism in the midst of touch economic times. It is embracing the breadth of services and delivery approaches that we see in outstanding service centered libraries—building library staff skills in cross training in public programming; conversion of the library interior into spaces for public access computing, gaming, exhibits, literacy services; and the inclusion of a wide range of resources in formats including audio, video, print, to absorbing a large toy collection from a community agency.
Brenda Hough, library training specialist for the MaintainIT Project, and Cindi Hickey, continuing education librarian at State Library of Kansas and WebJunction Kansas coordinator, offered some advice that, while not specific to programming, can certainly help generate programming ideas:
Put yourself in the path of new perspectives, new ideas, and new people. It is human nature to stick to the people we know, the people we like and feel comfortable around. New ideas, however, are often to be found in new experiences. Online networking tools (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) can expose us to new people and new ideas on a daily basis. Staying connected to a diverse network can help us keep our minds open for our next great idea.
Additional essays cover customer service, unlearning to learn, advocacy, important skills, embracing change, and common fears. The site also looks at the library’s history, present, and future as well as provides a list of the skills needed to accommodate each phase. How do you see your library’s programming fitting in with Library 101?
Angela Hanshaw is Program Officer/Web Editor for the ALA Public Programs Office.