Do School Libraries Need Books?

The New York Times asks:  Do school libraries need books, now that everything’s online? Online debate ensues.


Innovations in Reading 2010

The fine folks at the National Book Foundation have issued a call for nominations for the Innovations in Reading 2010 prize.  The prize recognizes individuals or organizations who have developed “innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading.”

One of the winners of the prize in 2009 was the Perry Branch of the Maricopa County Library District, which did away with Dewey and shelved its books in browsable “neighborhoods,” the way bookstores do.  Circulation rates are way up, and customer feedback has been great.  I can’t say this idea hasn’t occurred to me many times–if only we could make our library look more like a really awesome, welcoming bookstore!  I love hearing about a library that’s actually done it.

Librarians vs. stereotypes + Rock Band

Eric Frierson at UT Arlington (along with some colleagues) has put together this terrific short promotional video for librarians’ services there.  I love it!  (Annie, something for our list to show our students!)

In other news, Annie and I taught our first LIB 101 class last week.  I had the flu and had to use a microphone to be heard, but Annie persevered in getting Rock Band (The Most Complicated Video Game In the World To Set Up) running for the end of the class, and that was a pretty good success.  They sang along!  This week, we’re delving into search and wayfinding in new environments:  games, Google, and the library catalog.  Should be interesting.

Chronicle article on the future of “The Library Building”

From the article:

Tech Therapy: The Library Building (Chronicle of Higher Education podcast)

“As you are planning library spaces, you need to find ways to bring nuance and agility into the conversation about what the library will become,” Scott says. “You need to stay away from saying the library will be all one thing or the other, or we’re going all electronic or going all paper, or whatever.”

Hear, hear!  I’ve just finished working with architecture students to do two charrettes to design our classroom/group study room to include both mobile chairs and tables and some soft “living-room” style seating…as well as tackable surfaces for pin-ups, possibly some equipment for photographing models, and the standard array of classroom technology.  We’re still throwing ideas on the walls (I have giant post-its stuck to my office all around my desk) and we’ll see what sticks, but it’s pretty exciting to have the opportunity to design a space and its services more or less from scratch.

Library spaces: inspiration

So, I’m learning that the “Press This” plugin doesn’t work very well with Firefox right now.  I write posts, WordPress deletes them, except for the link I pressed.  Bummer.

Once again, long story short.  I’m working on developing a new learning space in the library.  I’m thinking less traditional classroom, more flexible multi-use student-oriented technology lounge (with the capacity to teach classes as needed.)  I have a windowless basement room with a low ceiling, and I’m determined to make it a comfortable, welcoming place.  A couple of sources of inspiration:

Color at Seattle Library

Concepts at Delft Public Library

ECAR 2008 study, and return to posting

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, mostly due to the flood tide of our first-ever fall quarter at the UO Portland Library & Learning Commons.  It’s been busy, to say the least.  A lot of my time and energy have been taken up with operational stuff:  hiring and training students, getting furniture installed and moved around, setting up initial subscription orders, figuring out budget lines, and moving our entire collection (I think I already posted about that.)

I’m starting to come up for air, though, and am hoping to get back to regular posting, with an emphasis on library instruction, user research, learning spaces, and my current favorite topic, the 21st-century learning commons.

With that in mind, a quick link to the 2008 ECAR study on students and technology.  A topic that never gets old.