Everyone needs a pick me up and some inspiration from time to time, and Frances Tout report titled Travelling Librarian 2015: Community Engagement Projects in United States Public Libraries (for a pdf of the report click here) was that inspiration for me today. I was originally pointed to it by a colleague who said “hey, part of your work at the 2nd Floor at the Chattanooga Public Library is mentioned in this piece.” It was super nice to read about the positive experience Frances had during her visit to the 2nd Floor. I was and remain very proud of that place. It was a great chapter in my life! Much love to Lee Hope, Vicki Prater, Kaye Rose, Olga Russell, Janice Keene, LaDonna Spruill, Ali Banks, Jessie Meyer, Alondra Gomez, Victoria Caldwell, Megan Emery, and many, many others that helped build the 2nd Floor and make it what it is today. It is really neat to see all of that work live on.
Thanks for the kind words Frances! :)
The big takeaways I got from this excellent report were as follows:
- The emphasis (in US Libraries) is now very much on programming rather than stock.
- Every library’s community is different, engaging with communities and meeting the needs of individual communities is vital, there is no one size fits all when it comes to programming
It’s great to read these things when you’re in the middle of them. It reaffirms the work that we do and why we do it.
Follow Frances Tout on Twitter @francestout
Read more from Travelling Librarian 2015 @ the blog
Posted in 3D printing, Chattanooga Public Library, Libraries, Technology, Teens
Tagged Chattanooga Public Library, Frances Tout, ideas, Inspire, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Share, Teen, teens, Travelling Librarian, Tween, Tweens
From the article Circle Is the Parental Control for the Internet I’ve Always Wanted:
Circle is a 3-inch white cube that connects to your Wi-Fi network. The $99 device allows you to filter content, add time restrictions, and see activity reports for every device on your network. It’s like God Mode for your household’s Wi-Fi devices. You simply plug in Circle’s power cord, use your iPhone or iPad to connect it to your router over Wi-Fi, and set up each family member’s settings in the Circle app.
Instead of putting up invisible technology walls for our kids to yell at, why not instead encourage conversation? Why not have a nice chat with our kids about time limits, tech fatigue, and why some YouTube videos are just not that great to watch? I think that in the long run these are the kinds of conversations we should have with each other.
My son Finn (age 6 almost 7) is nuts about Five Nights at Freddy’s. He wants to play it all the time. He wants to watch YouTube videos of people playing it. He wants to be immersed in that world. And you know what? For the most part, that’s ok. After giving him access to the full YouTube experience, after a few months we had a chat with him about how we were going to change his experience and allow him to only use the YouTube Kids app. We told him about how he wouldn’t be able to see many of the videos he was watching but he now had a selection of different videos. Was it difficult to explain? Yes. Explaining why the phrase “fucking holy shitballs” shouldn’t be used in every situation to a six year old is tough but in the end he got it. The best part? The YouTube Kids app has shown him a whole new world of the Five Nights at Freddy’s game. This new world can be seen in the videos that Finn is making these days:
Have a chat instead of putting up invisible technology walls that your kids will be pissed at you for putting up. A conversation between human beings is an amazing thing. If you do decide to go the route of Circle or any kind of technology time limit content blocking thing, I suggest you have conversations about it before you put the system in place.
PS: Yes I do realize that by writing this blog post I am in some way “spreading the idea” of Circle and that a few people may read this and go “I should get that for my kids!” I don’t care to have this debate with anyone.
Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 13, seem destined to suffer some of the negative effects of video-game overuse. The 10-year-old gets up half an hour earlier on school days to play computer games, and he and his brother stay plugged into their hand-held devices on the ride to and from school. “There’s no conversation anymore,” said their grandfather, who often picks them up. When the family dines out, the boys use their devices before the meal arrives and as soon as they finish eating.
Taken from the New York Times article “Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children” by Jane E. Brody.
It seems like every six months or so an article comes out that talks about the dangers of (insert here) screen time, video games, computers, iPads, etc on kids today. I don’t know if it’s a slow news day or its just something that gets a lot of clicks and likes, but hey, they keep on coming.
I see this argument from two sides: as a parent and as a librarian. I see what technology does to kids AND adults: it kind of totally mystifies us! We want to use it, we want to have it in our hands, and we want to play with it. I think it’s important to realize that this argument doesn’t just apply to kids. Adults too get sucked into technology. I see parents (myself included sometimes!) lost inside of their smartphones. It’s an escape from the world and sometimes a nice 5-10 minute break.
I also know that too much technology can have an effect on a person. I find myself getting tired and worn out if I’ve looked at my computer or my phone too long. I see my own kids getting cranky and bored when they’ve watched way too many toy review videos on YouTube.
Technology is awesome. Technology lets us connect and learn in so many different ways. This week, I’ll be part of an interview process at my place of work to hire a new Youth Services Librarian. You know what? We’ll be doing all of our interviews over Skype. Technology helps bring the world together. Technology like video games help us take part in stories and adventures and connect with other like minded people.
What this article, the many others before it, and the many others that will come, should be focusing on instead is balance and the importance of having conversations. Talk to your kids, whether you are their parent, their teacher, or their librarian. Talk to them about how important technology can be in their lives. While you’re at it, also talk to them about the importance of balance in their lives. It doesn’t have to be all technology all the time. You need balance. You need variety. I like to tell my sons that it would be AWESOME to have ice cream all the time but in the long run I’d probably die really quickly and that would suck. They get it. Don’t have ice cream all the time. Spice it up. Have some lima beans in there too. It’s that way with technology/video games/iPads/etc: sprinkle in a walk, play a musical instrument, have a conversation, etc. Balance is awesome.
Posted in Technology
Tagged Balance, conversation, Conversations, iPads, Kid, Kids, Screen Time, Technology, Teen, teens, Tween, Tweens, Video Games, Youth
I earned all these badges, dagnabit.
Up until a few months ago, I was very bored by the whole idea of issuing badges for completing certain tasks, obtaining new skills, or just doing something in general. Foursquare was the first badge system that I had participated in and, quite frankly, I could’ve cared less about earning new badges.
This summer, I worked on some projects with Mozilla, specifically HIVE Chattanooga and the Mozilla Community Gigabit Fund. We helped out with the HIVE NYC Maker Party in the Bronx, NYC, threw our own Maker Party in Chattanooga, TN, and even dabbled around with Webmaker a bit for our Summer Program at the Chattanooga Public Library. All in all, it was an exciting summer filled with great collaboration and great work.
And every once in awhile when some work was completed, I would get an email from Mozilla saying “you earned this badge”. The image you see above shows the badges that I earned over the past few months, and dagnabit, I’m proud of those badges. They look awesome and they share that I’ve been a part of something pretty cool.
Now my outlook on badges has changed. I’m most curious about exploring Mozilla’s Open Badges and how we can use them at the Chattanooga Public Library for not only programs but also volunteers. Just imagine the kids, tweens, and teens earning badges for being part of their local library. Take that to the next level and you can issue badges for your teen volunteers when they complete certain tasks around the library. When they’re applying for colleges or jobs, they can share those badges to show off the skills they have. Here at the 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library our teen volunteers have become our unofficial “3D Printing Gurus”. They walk the patrons that are curious about 3D printing through the process from beginning to end.
Now just imagine if we gave them a badge to show how they’ve learned this particular skill. That’s some next level awesome library stuff we’re talking about here!
Posted in Chattanooga Public Library, Libraries, Technology, Teens
Tagged #makerparty, Badge, Badges, Maker Party, Mozilla, Teen, teens, Webmaker, YA, Young Adult