Are you wondering what it means to hack your library and what it’s like to be a library hacker? What do you need to know and what do you need to do to hack your library?
Today we’d like to share a story of how a team of ordinary library staff hacked their own library. The moral of this story is that hacking isn’t limited to just computer systems – any of you could hack your library; maybe some of you have already started.
Our story begins in a place not too far from here, in a time, not so long ago. There was a professional library and a multimedia centre located in the dark and dreary depths of a Brisbane building.
This library space was a converted underground carpark.
It was dim and crowded with old, dusty books, outdated equipment and collections that matched a long gone and forgotten curriculum.
Part of the collection still made available videos and cassettes, which were shelved according to the running length of the video rather than by title or Dewey Classification.
The library and the multimedia centre operated with separate library management systems, and were managed by different groups of staff. Circulation policies were vague and were considered part of ‘secret library business’.
Discussions around the building were growing, questioning if this library space was needed at all. Amidst this, a Champion was appointed with an important task – transform the space into a 21st century information and resourcing service centre or…..
The champion had great vision, a passion for learning, but not much library management experience, and so she knew that without collaborating with others, her vision would never be possible to achieve. So she brought in a team of library hackers, and thus ResourceLink was born.
Why did she choose these people to hack the library?
Hacking means: To gain access To manage successfully To seek information as its own reward To break up or chip away
These hackers, because of their experience in libraries, and in schools knew how to open up the collections and create access for users, they knew how to manage library systems and information (both physical and digital). They loved to seek information as its own reward, and most importantly, they knew that library hacking was a task that needed to be broken up and chipped away at – that changes would not happen overnight.
The library hackers were just like you. They had different skills and abilities, and they knew that if there was something they couldn’t do, they could either learn how to do it, or seek out someone who would help them.
So this is how they hacked the library.
We hacked into the idea of the library as a ‘shop’, a place where you get things, and focused on developing the concept of the library as a ‘kitchen’, a place where you create things (Joyce Valenza) her full quote is Libraries are no longer grocery stores where students pick up ingredients, but kitchens, where they have the resources necessary to create a finished product. – we went from being a provider of ‘resources’ to actively participating in ‘resourcing’ learning and teaching
We hacked into our collections: We began to be more creative with what we included in them; not just books, dvds, posters
we constructed kits of equipment for makerspaces, We created kits for movie-making we bought religious and cultural realia we created photo cards, anything we create we share
We went one step beyond the physical, and included digital and virtual items in our collection: Just like Joyce Valenza says, it’s not just what you buy, it’s what you curate, point to, make discoverable, and use
For us, ‘digital’ means digital resources that are licenced by BCE and users can download e.g. audiobooks, ebooks, journal articles And for us, ‘virtual’ means online, freely available resources that we direct users to e.g selected youtube clips, curated lists, websites, app reviews
We hacked into our catalogue. We used the power of SCIS, to enhance our hacking, to make our records as rich and informative and accessible as possible. We try to imagine how our users would search, and make sure that our records are discoverable.
We select based on user needs, curriculum requirements, quality of content; when we import records from SCIS we value add: we add related website information, related resources, we connect to ACARA and the new Religious Education curriculum.
We remix our physical items to include access to digital resources; e.g. adding a qr code which links the user to a book trailer, or a Pinterest board of the author
We hacked into our library’s online presence and hacked into the way we communicate with our users, to raise our profile as collaborators and creators, not just as suppliers of resources.
We started with a brochure but it was too difficult to keep it up to date; so we hacked into it, and now we focus on our online presence, and create postcards, bookmarks, displays and posters which reflect whatever we are currently working on.
Block Posters http://www.blockposters.com/
Consider: Your library homepage Your presence on the school website Your presence in the school newsletter
How does your library have a presence on the web? Is it through your catalogue, or do you have your one page on the school website, or do you maintain a blog/wiki/website? How do your users search for your resources? Do they have 24/7 access? Do they know how to search your information? Do they know how to find the library home page?
Is your library presence up to date or is there outdated information?
As library hackers, our motto ‘make the library management system ‘greater than Google’ – we want our library catalogue to be the first place users go to when searching; because we know teachers are spending an increasing amount of time searching for resources (physical, online etc) so we are trying to develop a collection which has the ‘best’ quality resources, that is relevant to the context that our users are working in.
e.g. Vikings Pinterest – accessed info in SCIS, searched what we already had, then evaluated online resources and curated a list. http://tinyurl.com/pinterestvikings
We hack into our collection by taking advantage of the many tools available to build a rich and relevant collection: Magpies + online subscription (useful when cataloguing also) Books and Publishing journal Scan journal SCIS as a selection tool as well as a cataloguing tool ReadPlus OZTLNET Book Review sites: Inside a Dog, School Library Journal SLAV – Synergy: now all back issues online for free. http://www.slav.vic.edu.au/synergy/ Using Flipboard for easy professional reading
There are resources freely available to us that we use to supplement our own resources: Trove, Scootle, Khan Academy, WHYU (maths), Australian Screen, Flickr Creative Commons, Smart Copying, ESA websites, ABC Splash
We hacked into how we presented online resources, the ways we collected these resources and the ways users could search and discover them. We didn’t abandon our physical collections; we knew that they would be complemented by these digital and virtual resources. We adopted a curation mindset; we knew that what we left out was just as important as what we included.
When we curate we this is the process we follow: Find websites matching the topic area – Jesus as Messiah Select – the best, most suitable for your users Review and describe – add explanatory notes, and how it might be useful for your audience/group of users Create a curated list using the most suitable tool Sharing this with your users – including in the catalogue, adding to your library homepage, publish it on your wiki
Three examples: Early Years: Padlet: http://padlet.com/resourcelink/gn5elfq5089j Daniel Morcombe Child Safety:https://www.diigo.com/list/resourcelink/list-2014050800375085 Sustainability : http://www.bagtheweb.com/b/IncEjp?source=embed
There are hundreds of social bookmarking and curation tools available for free or for very little cost. Currently, we use Diigo, Pinterest and Bag the Web, as these tools meet a variety of needs and offer different opportunities to access web resources. The selection of the tool is dependent upon the nature of the website’s design, content and likely users. The following summarises our evaluation of these tools:
DiigoDiigo stands for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff.” It is a social bookmarking program that allows you to save your ‘favourites’ online, so that they can be accessible from any computer with an internet connection.
Pinterest Pinterest is a visual discovery and social curation tool that allows users to create personalised ‘pinboards’ with visual links to websites, images and videos. Each pin has an image and a short description, and the pin may be ‘repinned’ onto others’ boards as a way of sharing.
Bag the WebBag the Web allows users to create ‘bags’ of curated content, which can be shared with others. The ‘bags’ are a hybrid media container, which collate links to websites, media, images and other online resources.
We hacked our idea of who our network was; we realised that we couldn’t know/do/create everything, and so we created connections with people in our organisation, in our community, and in our online community.
Here’s a bag of great people to follow online. Use the skills of others, share your curated lists, connect with others’ online and within your own community, make sure that when you share, it is reliable, relevant and you always acknowledge the source – don’t breach copyright or pass others’ work off as your own.
If you don’t feel comfortable evaluating, ask for a second opinion – get a buddy to check – send links to relevant experts in your organisation or community e.g. lists of RE links – get the APRE to check, lists of Health links get the PE teacher to check etc.
EG Daniel Morecombe list: I found a website that had been highjacked….
Lismore Diocese Teacher Librarians: Hack Your Library
Presented by Kay Oddone, Librarian,
ResourceLink, Brisbane Catholic Education
Revision what a library is and
does in the 21st Century
Re-energising the way you see your
Physical Resources Digital Resources
· Curriculum resources
· Kits, games and puppets
· Posters, picture books & big books
· DVDs, CDs and sheet music
· Mobile technology & equipment
· E-books and audio books
· App reviews
· Curated online lists
· Online video files
· Digital learning objects
· Online journal articles