Afternoon Panel

The afternoon started with the speakers for the afternoon breakout sessions giving brief overviews/introductions of their presentations in Krutch auditorium. The theme of the afternoon panel was “Innovative Services & Tools.”

Mary Linn Bergstrom & Susan Shepherd spoke on “Undergraduates in a Science & Engineering Library.”

7 core traits of “millennials” (those born between 1980 and 1995):
achieving, specialness, confidence, team-oriented, conventional, sheltered, pressured

Millennial spaces in the library — should be comfortable, relaxed; celebrate technology; invite users to communicate

These qualities are reflected in the physical spaces at the UCSD S&E library; features there include:

  • fully technologcially enabled
  • wireless with wired tables
  • 743 seats & large proportion are wired
  • students come with own equipment
  • relaxed food & drink policy
  • first-come, first-served study room
  • furniture moved around all the time

Social activities @ USCD S&E:

  • toys, checkers, chess, puzzles, Jenga
  • Great Campus Race (ala Amazing Race) developed by engineering librarian
  • Pictures with Albert Einstein cutout on his birthday

Examples of science-focused activities:

  • display student work
  • junkyard derby
  • Steelbridge competition (reconstructed in library)
  • peer to peer learning
  • exhibits of women faculty
  • lectures on cutting edge technology
  • chameleon jumpsuit (from “Legacy of Time” game) designed by UCSD alum displayed in lobby


Next up: Char Booth talking about “Informing Innovation with Local User Research”

Char’s report — Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies — is available at:
her blog:

Char emphasized the importance of using “locally informed, culturally contextual research” about users to inform choices about technology and services.

We as librarians have an “us vs them” mentality with users; and we tend to inform ourselves about users’ perceptions by reading national and international reports. e.g., this one (cover superimposed with image of evil child). This is wrong.

“Library 2.0” is a forced attempt to bring us and them together, and it’s created a one-size-fits-all approach to technology environments.

We have to ask, “what motivates users to integrate libraries into their personal learning environment?” Surveying users locally can give you this information. Char’s survey (see links above) is a starting point for this, but it’s important to customize/modify the survey to your own institution.

Choose technology that gets you somewhere — technology with demonstrated value. “Technolust” is a poor way to use resources; through research you can decide what you want to understand about your local user community. Understanding local patron cultures is what makes your library valuable — an environmental scan is a scalable means of investigating needs and perceptions.


Finally, Jeff Rosen and Thoreau previewed their presentation, “Gaining a Foothold in Theirspace.”

The major expansion and renovation of the Leonard library at SFSU has been a catalyst to see how things can be done differently. The “library annex” being used while construction is underway is a “tent” with concrete floor 60 foot ceilings. It’s been popular with the students.

Emphasis on small changes with big impacts — not trying to invent next cool tool; strategically making changes to put services in line with what students want.

Services: — library is now on its 3rd iteration of virtual reference. Trying to stay open 24 hours — a lot of students want to study in middle of the night  — peak hours now are 11-midnight. Laptop checkout, more ebooks, more full-text databases.

When looking at implementation of tech issues, asking “how we can build better collaboration between geeks and book freaks?”


Everyone Else, Please Stop Chanting…

I will graduate from library school in May, and have had a wonderful experience at San Jose State’s School of Library and Information Science. Over the course of my studies I’ve read many journal articles, attended a few conferences, and participated in several organizations. Here’s my request and advice; those who don’t agree can simply observe that I am not yet actually a librarian.

Please. Take your cue from the leaders who spoke at the October conference of the Librarians Association of the University of California. No more hyper-focusing on “Web 2.0” and “Library 2.0.” No more chanting, “Podcasts and Wikis and Blogs, Oh My!” No more identifying each new technology, and then constructing a discreet library-branded example in response. It’s no longer impressive to say, “Our library now has a wiki. And, we also have a blog.”

The LAUC  conference had an organic focus that can better serve education, and libraries, and users. Everything began with the students — the users.  Everything started by studying what the users did; what they preferred; how they learn, and think, and play. And not one of the speakers suggested that a library “set up a blog” in order to reach these users.


What in the World is “Digital Media?”

Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out dealt, in part, with the devices, technologies, and worldviews  experienced by the “digital generation.” Although my teenagers live under the same roof, their world is different from mine. I’ve long suspected…

What is meant by the term “digital media?” Why, it’s just all the new stuff that young people clamor for at gift-giving occasions. It explains why they weren’t really very interested when you invested in that beautiful, historically-accurate American Girl doll for their sixth birthday.

Today’s youth interact with digital media as they play, socialize, and study. Digital-plus-media includes  and involves

  • devices like cell phones, iPhones, Blackberries, PDAs, MP3 Players, iPods, the Xbox, and digital cameras:
  • computer software such as Photoshop, and Machinima;
  • platforms such as Facebook;
  • applications that enable texting and chatting;
  • digital audio, digital radio, Pandora, and podcasts;
  • procurement — legal and questionable — via Internet vendors, iTunes, and downloading;
  • digital video and television,  webcasts ,,, video-on-demand, Vimeo, and Comcast Season Passes;
  • digital photography, YouTube, Photoshop, and Flickr;
  • video games, anime, and massively multiplayer online roleplaying games like World of Warcraft.

Undoubtedly, I think of many more after publishing this post, but that’s a start.