Register for “Makerspaces: Inspiration and Action” at ALA Midwinter

How do you feel about 40,000 square feet full of laser cutters, acetylene torches, screen presses, and sewing machines? Or community-based STEAM programming for kids? Or lightsabers?

If these sound great, you should register for the LITA “Makerspaces: Inspiration and Action” tour at Midwinter! We’ll whisk you off to Somerville for tours, nuts and bolts information on running makerspace programs for kids and adults, Q&A, and hands-on activities at two great makerspaces.

a rainbow of paint cans, a sewing mannequin, a paint-covered shoe
A workspace at Artisan’s. (“HoaT2012: Boston, July-2012” by Mitch Altman; https://www.flickr.com/photos/maltman23/7641851700/ ; CC BY-SA)

Artisan’s Asylum is one of the country’s premier makerspaces. In addition to the laser cutters, sewing machines, and numerous other tools, they rent workspaces to artists, offer a diverse and extensive set of public classes, and are familiar with the growing importance of makerspaces to librarians.

adorable child in Riddler costume in front of a soldering station
My kid made her fabulous Halloween costume at Parts & Crafts this year and I am definitely not at all biased. (Photo by the author.)

Parts & Crafts is a neighborhood gem: a makerspace for kids that runs camp, afterschool, weekend, and homeschooling programs. With a knowledgeable staff, a great collection of STEAM supplies, and a philosophy of supporting self-directed creativity and learning, they do work that’s instantly applicable to libraries everywhere. We’ll tour their spaces, learn the nuts and bolts of maker programming for kids and adults, and maybe even build some lightsabers.

workbench with miscellaneous tools
What tools can you use? (“Parts and Crafts, kids makerspace” by Nick Normal; https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicknormal/16441241633/; CC BY-NC-ND)

Parts & Crafts is also home to the Somerville Tool Library (as seen on BoingBoing). Want to circulate bike tools or belt sanders, hedge trimmers or hand trucks? They’ll be on hand to tell you how they do it.

I’ll be there; I hope you will be, too! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/makerspaces-inspiration-and-action-registration-19968887480″Register today.

metal dragonfly on a red shelf
Let’s all fly to Boston! (Untitled photograph by Clarence Risher; https://www.flickr.com/photos/sparr0/6871774914/in/album-72157629681164147/; CC BY-SA)

An Interview With LITA Emerging Leader Melissa Stoner

Melissa Stoner image

Tell us about your library job. What do you love about it?

I work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Lied Library Digital Collections. I am the Workflow Manager for the Nevada Digital Newspaper Project, part of the National Historic Newspaper Project, a joint effort between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I have been a part of the Digital Collections team for a couple of years. Every year I learn something new about the work I am doing. I love my job because of the people I work with. I also love that I have the freedom to observe different aspects of the digitization process for many of our collections. At times I assist with managing the metadata of the different collections. We are currently utilizing TemaTres Controlled Vocabulary server to manage, publish, and share the ontologies and taxonomies we use in our collections. I am also learning more about linked data.

Where do you see yourself going from here, career-wise?

I really enjoy being a project manager and working in academic institutions. I like the idea of making photographs and other historical items digitally accessible to students, faculty, and the community. I think it would be great working for an academic institution where I am allowed to manage and create digital collections, whether with an institutional repository or within a special collections library.

Why did you apply to be an Emerging Leader? What are you most excited about?

I applied because I’ve been very fortunate to have a fantastic mentor in my supervisor, Cory Lampert. She took me on as a volunteer intern and then helped me get hired as the Digital Projects Manager at Nevada State College with an IMLS grant funded oral history project.  Then she brought me back for the newspaper project. From this experience, I’ve learned the value of working with true collaborators. I’m excited to build on this experience on the national level as an Emerging Leader.

I am Navajo and lived in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation until I was 24. Like many others, I moved away because of a lack of job opportunities. I hope that in some way my being an Emerging Leader could inspire others from a similar background.

What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?

I like thrift store shopping, gaming, traveling, photographing abandoned buildings, and going to dinner with friends — but not cooking!

Editorial Response to “Is Technology Bringing in More Skillful Male Librarians?”

Hi LITA members (and beyond):

My name is Brianna Marshall and I am the editor of the LITA blog. Last week, the post “Is Technology Bringing in More Skillful Male Librarians?” by Jorge Perez was published on the blog. The post has understandably sparked considerable discussion on Twitter. Jorge has indicated an interest in writing a follow up post to clarify his viewpoints vs. the viewpoints expressed by the authors he cited, so I won’t speak for him beyond saying that I believe his intentions were to highlight issues around the stereotyping of male librarians. In his communications with me, he indicated that the provocative title and brevity was intended to spark a conversation with blog readers, not to be flippant about the issues. Again, I will let him provide clarification on the content of the post itself.

As I looked at the conversation on Twitter, I noticed a number of comments that implied that the viewpoints, quality, and tone of this post was endorsed by LITA as an organization. There have also been comments questioning who would allow something like the post to be published. As blog editor, I want provide greater transparency on how the blog has worked under my direction. I wholeheartedly welcome ideas to improve this process.

The LITA blog has a revolving team of regular writers who volunteer to contribute a new post once every 1-1.5 months, depending on how full the schedule is and how many regular writers we have at a given time. I provide a blog content and style guide to reference, as well as encouragement to ask for opinions and feedback from the team through our shared listserv. (I’ve added a link to the content and style guide to the LITA blog about page, if it is of interest.) While I work directly with guest writers who publish on the blog, it is not manageable for me to review or oversee all posts by regular writers. Peer feedback prior to publication is solicited at the author’s discretion; it is encouraged but not required or enforced. Ultimately, as a blog that tries to produce and publish new content multiple times per week, additional oversight has not been sustainable. A level of trust and knowledge that a post may go through that elicits negative reactions is, in my opinion, just part of the trade-off. However, the conversation around this post has sparked a renewed discussion among the LITA blog writers about our review processes and whether there are additional measures to help support each other in producing high-quality writing. As blog editor my critique of the post is not the content but rather that the author’s ideas are not fully developed, leading to a rushed post that at first read seems like Jorge is putting forth ideas that he is, I believe, instead critiquing.

It would deeply sadden me to have the efforts of a really incredible group of writers in the LITA community overshadowed by negative reactions to this blog post. I know I am often impressed by the writers’ thoughtful posts on a diverse array of topics. While as the blog editor I regret that the topic that brought about this conversation is an unclear post about a controversial issue, it’s great to be part of an engaged library tech community and I welcome any feedback to help us make improvements. In particular, I invite you to apply to be a blog writer during the next call for writers, and in the meantime to propose a guest post. We would love to feature your ideas!

Lastly, I appreciate Galen Charlton for his thoughtful response, everyone who has contributed to the LITA listserv thread, and for the tweets that sparked this conversation.

Brianna, LITA Blog Editor

Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know – 2, a LITA webinar

Attend this informative and fast paced new LITA webinar:

Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know – 2

Varnum300pebMonday November 2, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

We’re all awash in technological innovation. It can be a challenge to know what new tools are likely to have staying power ­­and what that might mean for libraries. The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know, highlights a selected set of technologies that are just starting to emerge and describes how libraries might adapt them in the next few years. In this 60 minute webinar, join the authors of three chapters from the book as they talk about their technologies and what they mean for libraries. Those chapters covered will be:

Impetus to Innovate: Convergence and Library Trends
Presenter: A.J. Million
This presentation does not try and predict the future, but it does provide a framework to understand trends that relate to digital media.

The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems
Presenters: Elliot Polak & Steven Bowers
The “cloud” has come to mean a shared hardware environment with an optional software component. In libraries, cloud computing technology can reduce the costs and human capital associated with maintaining a 24/7 Integrated Library System while facilitating an up­time that is costly to attain in­ house.

Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams
Presenter: Ken Varnum
Libraries, and libraries’ perceptions of the patrons’ needs, have led to the creation and acquisition of “web­scale” discovery services. These new services seek to amalgamate all the online content a library might provide into one bucket.

Review of The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know
”Contains excellent advice about defining the library’s context, goals, needs, and abilities as a means of discerning which technologies to adopt … introduces a panoply of emergent technologies in libraries by providing a fascinating snapshot of where we are now and of where we might be in three to five years.” — Technical Services Quarterly

Presenters:

Steven Bowers is the director of the Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), at Wayne State University. He also co-teaches a course on Integrated Library Systems for the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, with his colleague Elliot Polak. Bowers was featured in the 2008 edition of the Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers.

A.J. Million is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT) at the University of Missouri, where he teaches digital media and Web development to librarians and educators. He has written journal articles that appeared in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, the Journal of Library Administration, and OCLC Systems and Services. His dissertation examines website infrastructure in state government agencies.

Elliot Polak is the Assistant Library Director for Discovery and Innovation at Wayne State University. Prior to joining Wayne State Elliot spent three years at Norwich University serving as the Head of Library Technology responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and implementing systems at Kreitzberg Library.

Ken Varnum is the Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library. Ken’s research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. He wrote “Drupal in Libraries” (2012) and edited “The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know” (2014).

toptech2guys

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.

Cost:

  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
OR
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR
email registration@ala.org

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org

Digital Privacy Toolkit for Librarians, a LITA webinar

Attend this important new LITA webinar:

Toolkit_Icon_MediumDigital Privacy Toolkit for Librarians

Tuesday October 20, 2015
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

This 90 minute webinar will include a discussion and demonstration of practical tools for online privacy that can be implemented in library PC environments or taught to patrons in classes/one-on-one tech sessions, including browsers for privacy and anonymity, tools for secure deletion of cookies, cache, and internet history, tools to prevent online tracking, and encryption for online communications.

Attendees will:

Alison’s work for the Library Freedom Project and classes for patrons including tips on teaching patron privacy classes can be found at:https://libraryfreedomproject.org/resources/onlineprivacybasics/

Alison Macrina

alisonmacrinaIs a librarian, privacy rights activist, and the founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative which aims to make real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries by teaching librarians and their local communities about surveillance threats, privacy rights and law, and privacy-protecting technology tools to help safeguard digital freedoms. Alison is passionate about connecting surveillance issues to larger global struggles for justice, demystifying privacy and security technologies for ordinary users, and resisting an internet controlled by a handful of intelligence agencies and giant multinational corporations. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s reading.

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still ant to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.

Cost:

  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
OR
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR
email registration@ala.org

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org

Creative Commons Crash Course, a LITA webinar

Attend this interesting and useful LITA webinar:

cc.logo.largeCreative Commons Crash Course

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Since the first versions were released in 2002, Creative Commons licenses have become an important part of the copyright landscape, particularly for organizations that are interested in freely sharing information and materials. Participants in this 90 minute webinar will learn about the current Creative Commons licenses and how they relate to copyright law.

This webinar will follow up on Carli Spina’s highly popular Ignite Session at the 2015 ALA Mid Winter conference. Carli will explain how to find materials that are Creative Commons-licensed, how to appropriately use such items and how to apply Creative Commons licenses to newly created materials. It will also include demonstrations of some important tools that make use of Creative Commons-licensed media. This program will be useful for librarians interested in instituting a Creative Commons licensing policy at their institutions, as well as those who are interested in finding free media for use in library materials.

Carli Spina

CarliSpinaHeadshot2Is the Emerging Technologies and Research Librarian at the Harvard Law School Library. There she is responsible for teaching research and technology classes, as well as working on technology projects and creating online learning objects. She has presented both online and in-person on copyright and technology topics. Carli also offers copyright training and assistance to patrons and staff and maintains a guide to finding and understanding Creative Commons and public domain materials. Prior to becoming a librarian, she worked as an attorney at an international law firm. You can find more information about her work, publications, and presentations at carlispina.com.

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still ant to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.

Cost:

  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
OR
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR
email registration@ala.org

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org

Teaching Patrons About Privacy, a LITA webinar

Attend this important new LITA webinar:

macrinalockTeaching Patrons about Privacy in a World of Pervasive Surveillance: Lessons from the Library Freedom Project

Tuesday October 6, 2015
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA and FBI dragnet surveillance, Alison Macrina started the Library Freedom Project as a way to teach other librarians about surveillance, privacy rights, and technology tools that protect privacy. In this 90 minute webinar, she’ll talk about the landscape of surveillance, the work of the LFP, and some strategies you can use to protect yourself and your patrons online. Administrators, instructors, librarians and library staff of all shapes and sizes will learn about the important work of the Library Freedom Project and how they can help their patrons.

Alison’s work for the Library Freedom Project and classes for patrons including tips on teaching patron privacy classes can be found at: https://libraryfreedomproject.org/resources/onlineprivacybasics/

Alison Macrina

alisonmacrinaIs a librarian, privacy rights activist, and the founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative which aims to make real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries by teaching librarians and their local communities about surveillance threats, privacy rights and law, and privacy-protecting technology tools to help safeguard digital freedoms. Alison is passionate about connecting surveillance issues to larger global struggles for justice, demystifying privacy and security technologies for ordinary users, and resisting an internet controlled by a handful of intelligence agencies and giant multinational corporations. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s reading.

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still ant to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.

Cost:

  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
OR
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR
email registration@ala.org

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org

Putting Pen to Paper

Back in January, The Atlantic ran an article on a new device being used at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York City. This device allows museum visitors to become curators of their own collections, saving information about exhibits to their own special account they can access via computer after they leave. This device is called a pen; Robinson Meyer, the article’s author, likens it to a “gray plastic crayon the size of a turkey baster”. I think it’s more like a magic wand.

description of how the Cooper Hewitt pen can interact with museum exhibits
Courtesy of the Cooper Hewitt Museum website

Not only can you use the pen to save information you think is cool, you can also interact with the museum at large: in the Immersion Room, for example, you can draw a design with your pen and watch it spring to life on the walls around you. In the Process Lab, you use the pen to solve real-life design problems. As Meyer puts it, “The pen does something that countless companies, organizations, archives, and libraries are trying to do: It bridges the digital and the physical.”

The mention of libraries struck me: how could something like the Cooper Hewitt pen be used in your average public library?

The first thing that came to my mind was RFID. In my library, we use RFID to tag and label our materials. There are currently RFID “wands” that, when waved over stacks, can help staff locate books they thought were missing.

But let’s turn that around: give the patron the wand – rather, the pen – and program in a subject they’re looking for…say, do-it-yourself dog grooming. As the patron wanders, the pen is talking with the stacks via RFID asking where those materials would be. Soon the pen vibrates and a small LED light shines on the materials. Eureka!

Or, just as the Cooper Hewitt allows visitors to build their own virtual collection online, we can have patrons build their own virtual libraries. Using the same RFID scanning technology as before, patrons can link items to their library card number that they’ve already borrowed or maybe want to view in the future. It could be a system similar to Goodreads (or maybe even link it to Goodreads itself) or it could be a personal website that only the user – not the library – has access to.

What are some ways you might be able to use this tech in your library system?

Get Involved in the National Digital Platform for Libraries

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Emily Reynolds and Trevor Owens.

Recently IMLS has increased its focus on funding digital library projects through the lens of our National Digital Platform strategic priority area. The National Digital Platform is the combination of software applications, social and technical infrastructure, and staff expertise that provides library content and services to all users in the U.S… in other words, it’s the work many LITA members are already doing!

Participants at IMLS Focus: The National Digital Platform
Participants at IMLS Focus: The National Digital Platform

As libraries increasingly use digital infrastructure to provide access to digital content and resources, there are more and more opportunities for collaboration around the tools and services that they use to meet their users’ needs. It is possible for each library in the country to leverage and benefit from the work of other libraries in shared digital services, systems, and infrastructure. We’re looking at ways to maximize the impact of our funds by encouraging collaboration, interoperability, and staff training. We are excited to have this chance to engage with and invite participation from the librarians involved in LITA in helping to develop and sustain this national digital platform for libraries.

National Digital Platform convening report
National Digital Platform convening report

Earlier this year, IMLS held a meeting at the DC Public Library to convene stakeholders from across the country to identify opportunities and gaps in existing digital library infrastructure nationwide. Recordings of those sessions are now available online, as is a summary report published by OCLC Research. Key themes include:

Continue reading Get Involved in the National Digital Platform for Libraries

LITA 2015 Scholarships Winners

Rachel Vacek announced at her LITA President’s program at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, the winners of annual scholarships LITA sponsors jointly with three organizations: Baker & Taylor, LSSI and OCLC. These scholarships are for master’s level study, with an emphasis on library technology and/or automation, at a library school program accredited by the American Library Association. LITA, the Library and Information Technology Association, is a division of the American Library Association.

Andrew Meyer
Andrew Meyer

This year’s winner of the LITA/Christian Larew Memorial Scholarship ($3,000) sponsored by Baker & Taylor is Andrew Meyer who will pursue his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The LITA/LSSI Minority Scholarship ($2,500) winner is Jesus Espinoza who will pursue his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Young-In Kim, the winner of the LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship ($3,000), will pursue her studies at Syracuse University.

IMG_9360-1
Jesus Espinoza

Criteria for the scholarships include previous academic excellence, evidence of leadership potential and a commitment to a career in library automation and information technology. Two of the scholarships, the LITA/LSSI Minority Scholarship and LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship, also require U.S Citizenship and membership in one of four minority groups: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, African-American, or Hispanic.

About LITA

Young-In Kim
Young-In Kim

Established in 1966, the Library and Information Technology Association is the leading organization reaching out across types of libraries to provide education and services for a broad membership. The membership includes new professionals, web services librarians, systems librarians, digital initiatives librarians, library administrators, library schools, vendors and anyone else interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers.

For more information, visit www.lita.org.