Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to participate part 2 of ILEAD USA. This session was all about hands on technology and how it can be used in your library. This session provided small group training that really gave a lot of room for reflection on how these tools can be translated back to our home library settings.
I think the biggest take away from this program was working with other professionals with different perspectives. If you keep working in your same corner of the universe, you miss out on different ways to approach a problem. Sometimes looking at something from another angle or reflecting on what the problem IS (instead of troubleshooting when issues arise) can be the thing you need to fix the problem. Having the chance to work with and talk with other people in different situations can be enlightening.
We also had the chance to listen to Paula Kelly talk about a program that her library, called the LEARN Bus. It has been an incredibly successful program, but it had it’s ups and downs. I like that she highlighted that problems aren’t solved in a day, and potential solutions need to be constantly evaluated and adjusted. Programming is an ongoing process, not a one shot event. Even if something is successful at the moment, it requires thought and effort to keep steering it to be effective. People look at success and only see one high point along that process. Use the momentum from the positive results to keep you looking forward, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Sarah Frey provided us with a variety of coding resources, keeping in mind everyone’s diverse background and ability level. Coding is becoming a larger part of the world we live in, and the more we expose our students and patrons to, the more likely they are to become thoughtful users of computers and be more willing to tinker and develop their own codes. The more I look at different coding programs and activities, the more I realize that it’s much of the same logic that we’ve been doing in schools. Coding is a new tool for an old skill. As librarians, we do a lot with boolean logic, and search strings. This logic can translate into coding.
Until this session, I thought I was good at technology. I was willing to try most things, but there was a short list of items that I was afraid to try. This session forced me to step outside of my technological comfort zone. We learned how to program a Raspberry Pi and brainstormed potential uses, how Linux works, and got to experiment with virtual reality.
The education world is all about student centered libraries. One of our evaluation catagories on the Danielson rubric is “knowledge of students.” I thought Nathaniel Rasmussen’s section would be a reiteration of what we already knew. In school libraries we think of our teacher websites and web presence as something to do. We have some many other things to do, that we don’t think of how our students use our technology as deeply as we should. Our students look at our web presence as a virtual representation of our libraries. They have short attention spans. They want their information quickly. We have to think about not only content, but HOW they search. It can be hard when we wear many hats, but this is something that is worth our attention.