IMLS Supporting Making in Museum and Library Conversation

For the next two days, I’m in Pittsburgh, PA attending the Supporting Making in Museum and Library conversation being held at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I’m really enjoying everything that’s being shared and want to share that with you! Below you will find my Google Doc which I’ll be constantly updating throughout the event.  You can also follow along at the #makingandlearning hashtag


1. I am currently in the Atlanta airport on my way to Pittsburgh, PA for my first ever “I’m doing the business travel thing but I’m business traveling to my hometown” experience! I will be taking part in the Supporting Making in Museum and Library meeting happening in Pittsburgh, PA.  I am honored to be a part of this! Late last year, I met Peter Wardrip & Lisa Brahms from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and gave them a tour of the 2nd and 4th Floor at the Chattanooga Public Library. It was great to share ideas with them back then and I am looking forward to sharing more with them and many others over the next few days.  The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was one of my big inspirations when I started on the 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library. It’s neat that I get the chance to go back to that same place and learn and share more ideas.  Here are some photos I took the last time I was there.


The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in cooperation with the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have launched a field-wide initiative to better understand, advance, support, and connect makerspaces in museums and libraries. This project, in partnership with Maker Education Initiative, Chicago Public Library, the Exploratorium and North Carolina State University Library is holding a convening to advance our efforts in supporting learning in these space and programs.

2. I can’t wait till Megan Emery blogs more about her ideas on libraries, programming, parallel programming, volunteers, and more.  I guess this is kind of my nudge to get her to write about those things!  Ha!  Seriously though, Megan is (IMHO) doing the best work in public libraries at this moment.  From Camp EtsyNooga to linking programming between Chattanooga Public Library’s 2nd and 4th Floor to writing a book on library programming, everything Megan is doing is inspiring and community first. Go ahead and think that I’m a bit biased because I work pretty closely with Megan…you’re right, I do work pretty closely with Megan. But read about her programs and ideas and you’ll see what I mean. Go Megan go.


3. I am currently on the sixth dungeon in The Legend of Zelda.  This time around I am playing it on my 3DS in little moments of inspiration. I almost forgot how good this game is.  I find the grinding aspect of the game to be quite rewarding. I haven’t played a game where I need to dedicate a good chunk of my time to getting rupees and preparing for my next adventure in such a long time. If you haven’t played this game in awhile and are looking for something to do, pick up a 3DS and buy it for a few bucks on the Nintendo eShop. You’ll find yourself quite happy!


One of the best things to have when you’re managing public library work are sets of procedures for your employees to refer to when needed. Not only are they helpful for your staff, but as a manager who is writing them you get an interesting glimpse into workflow. You learn how to think step by step and try to simplify things.

Here’s a screen capture of a procedure regarding security cameras. Sure, writing procedures won’t be the most fun you’ve ever had as a librarian but I will say this: they’ll help you manage your time, your staff, and aid in creating a positive atmosphere at your library location.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.40.50 AMBALANCE
2014 was the year where I noticed my personal life/work life balance was way off. I worked pretty hard over the past year or so but I hadn’t noticed it. When I started having dreams about work that’s when I noticed that I should take a step back and balance everything out in my life. It has a been a great journey. When I’m away from work and libraries in general, I don’t think about them that much. I’ve always had a worry in the back of my mind that if I stopped thinking about libraries even for a moment that I’d become stale, old, and outdated. I was very wrong about this. Stepping back and taking your mind off of your work allows you to be even better than before. It gives you more patience. It allows you to stop and think before reacting. You grow to make better decisions. These decisions allow you to give your community the best that you have to offer. Everyone wins when balance is achieved.

One of my colleagues Michael Whittaker once said the following to me: “You and I are idea people. We have about ten ideas every minute. Once you learn to let some of those ideas go and focus on the really good ones you become a lot happier.”

It is so much fun to sit in a room and brainstorm a ton of ideas. There’s probably some study out there that talks about how some kind of very awesome brain thing happens when you sit in a room and brainstorm. I’m  not going to link to that study here because I’m being lazy and I don’t want to look it up. But you know what’s even better than sitting in a room and brainstorming? Having ideas, weeding out the ones that won’t work, and sitting back and letting things happen naturally. Now I’m not suggesting we stop brainstorming. It is good! But we’ve all fallen into the “what we brainstormed didn’t happen and now we’re stuck in a rut” trap. Brainstorming allows us to be free and dream big. But sometimes when we brainstorm we come up with things that just don’t translate well into the real world. When we get hung up on those things not working, we can get bummed out.  That’s not fun either.

I really like my work here on The 2nd Floor.I have had so many ideas about how to make this place work and how to make it both fun and enriching for the community. Some things have worked and some things haven’t worked. As I step into a bigger management role, I’ve had to put some of those ideas aside and hand over the keys to my colleagues to be the idea makers. Some of their ideas have worked and some of their ideas haven’t worked. It’s all good. We’re all trying our best.

I really like disco music. Specifically I love Italo Disco. Websites like Mixcloud and Soundcloud are amazing places to find disco and dance music. Check it out! Here’s a mix of JAMZ that I’ve collected on Soundcloud. Smile! Dance! Enjoy life!

Reinventing Reference: How Libraries Deliver Value in the Age of Google


Radical! Reinventing Reference: How libraries deliver value in the age of Google is finally in print!

I was honored to be a part of this book! Back in 2011 when I was just beginning my “outside the library that I am currently employed at” librarian journey Katie and Vibiana were one of the first people in the library world to give me a shot at doing something in the greater librarian community. I am eternally thankful to them for asking me to be a part of this!

It was really neat and interesting to write a book chapter. I found it to be a really great learning experience: I had to balance my enthusiastic and untrained writing style with something more….well, book-ish. Was it tough? Sure, but it was a great learning experience.

I got my own copy a few weeks ago and have been digging through it. I LOVE all of the stuff said by the collaborators and I found it very useful and informative.

If you want to check it out, you can purchase it in that old fashioned yet very handy print format here: REINVENTING REFERENCE

What Is And What Should Never Be

2014 was the year I slowed down a lot. As I slowed down I noticed something: the world still moves really quickly. It presents me with an interesting dilemma. How can I live in a world that is so out of touch with what I truly believe at my core? 2015 should be an interesting year where the answer to the question that I asked will slowly show itself to me.

Libraries and librarians have been good to me. 2014 was a year that I got to do some amazing things in the library where I work and with the greater library community. I traveled a lot and shared joy and enthusiasm with the library community. Along the way I learned so much from the people that I was visiting.

In 2014, I also kept on having this thought: everyone hits a wall at some point in their lives where they know it’s time to move on from what they’re doing and try something new. Some people just burst through that wall and keep on keepin’ on. 2014 has shown me that I can’t be that person. I’ve known for a bit of time that there’s some kind of change stirring inside of me.  Putting everything in their right place took some soul searching, but now I think I’ve reached a good point.

Justin Hoenke and Justin The Librarian are no longer the same person. Once they were intertwined. I was him and he was me all everything connected in the middle. It was good for that moment in time. But Justin Hoenke the person took some steps in 2014 that rendered this Justin The Librarian persona, well, no longer that important in the great grand scheme of things. But life isn’t just so cut and dry. You don’t disconnect and move on. The process of change is long and drawn out. 2014 was the year where I noticed that there was an imbalance in my life. 2015 will be the year where I go about overcoming that imbalance. I don’t know what’s to come. It’ll be a neat adventure.

And if I say to you tomorrow. Take my hand, child, come with me.
It’s to a castle I will take you, where what’s to be, they say will be.

Merry Everything. Here’s some music.

Before I dove into the weird and wonderful world of libraries, I wanted to be a songwriter. In my head, it worked like this: start a band—write a lot of music—perform that music with the band—record that music with the band—tour—release albums—repeat. That’s how, in my aged 18-23 brain is how I’d become a songwriter.

Well, now that we’re here on we know that I didn’t become a professional songwriter/musician/rock god. For a few years I was bummed out about how my life did not go in that direction. As I get older, I care less and less about it. I like where I am, I like who I am, and the journey getting here was pretty radical. I also went through the “hide all of the music from everyone because I’m embarrassed” stage. I think that as 2014 wraps up I’m finally coming out of that.

2003. Great hat.

2003. Great hat.

2014 was the year that I picked up a guitar again. I wrote three songs! I like those songs. I hope to record them and share them sometime in the future. 2014 was the year that I actually told people about my musical past. I wasn’t embarrassed! In fact, I was kind of proud to say that between the years of 1998-2008, I had taken part in the writing, recording, and performing of about 10 albums worth of music (different projects, etc, all of which will be revealed in time). That’s one album per year on average, and overall that’s a good amount of love and work put into something.

I’ve probably made $1,000 total from music (performing, selling physical/digital albums, etc) since I decided that this was (is?) a path I wanted to go down in life. In 1998, the idea that one could really make a living from music was still a real thing that people did. Bands actually sold CD’s at shows! People actually bought those CD’s! These days, I realize that there’s no money to be made in music so I’m in the process of taking everything that I’ve done and putting in on the internet for free. We live in a world that thrives on sharing and ideas these days. My thought is simple: put it out there because it is a thing that people may possibly enjoy. That’s what I’m working on, and here today I’m putting something out into the world for free that I haven’t before: the albums recorded and released by the band Zomo.

Between 2002-2008, Zomo recorded three albums and released two. At the Zomo Bandcamp site, you can now download or stream those two albums free of charge. Enjoy! The music may not reflect me as a person at this stage in my life, but it is an honest and accurate representation of the journey which I have been a part of.

If you actually want to buy a physical CD, those are still avaliable:

We also have our discography on iTunes. For some reason I can’t figure out how to change the price to $0.00.

For the Muses by Zomo (2004)
Triangle of Drunk by Zomo (2008)

Fun Fact: The most “exposure” that my music has ever received was when I decided to give Jason Griffey the A-OK to put the entire Belsapadore catalog onto his LibraryBox project. How many of those things are out in the wild? Jason? Well, whatever that number is is the biggest exposure music that I have created has ever received.  Free? Sharing? Caring? See, it works.

The 2nd Floor PLUS STEM School Chattanooga

Over the past few months, the Chattanooga Public Library has collaborated with the STEM School Chattanooga on a project with juniors for the Project and Problem Based Learning curriculum. The project that the library presented to the students dealt with 3D Printing: How can we create a 3D Printing station that allows the community to walk up to the 3D Printer, watch a video tutorial that introduces 3D printing, and in the end have the customer leave with a great 3D printing experience and an object.

Over the next few months, the students and their teacher Michael Stone worked on what a 3D Printing station looks like, what it includes, and then spent the time building the station in their school Fab Lab. The end result? Check out the image in the tweet above! It’s a beautiful station like structure that was created by the students. The words 3D PRINTER represent the various stages of 3D printing….from first layer to the honeycomb structured middle to the end product. Using the laser engraver, the students also created a plaque that proudly displays the STEM School Fab Lab logo. Finally, the students put together tutorial videos for customers to watch so that they could get acquainted with 3D printing. You can watch those videos here: Beginner Video and Advanced Video.

I’m super happy with the results and I couldn’t ask for more. The 2nd Floor of the Downtown Chattanooga Public Library is all about the public library as an experience, and the 3D printing station created by the STEM School fits perfectly in with the vibe of the 2nd Floor.  I look forward to working with the STEM School and their students on more projects in the very near future!

For more of my writings on 3D Printing, click here!

For the FAQ’s and details on 3D Printing on The 2nd Floor of the Downtown Chattanooga Public Library, click here!