Cil2011 v2.2 -paul


Published on

This presentation, prepared for Information Today's "Computers in Libraries 2011 Conference" in Washington, DC (March 21 - 23, 2011), is the first of three exploring the development of social learning centers as a proposed "Fourth Place" after Ray Oldenburg's original three (home, work, and "the great good place" comprised of community meeting places. The focus here is on libraries as Fourth Place; Jill Hurst Wahl's portion of the presentation is also available on Slideshare ( Presentation script is included in speaker notes.

Published in: Education, Sports
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Let’s start with basics: Learning is like planting—you put those seeds in the ground and you hope that something gorgeous is going to grow. Which is what often happens!
  • When several of us were in conversation last fall on a live show called “T is for Training”—you might have heard of it; run by a really nice guy named Maurice Coleman, who looks suspiciously like the guy sitting in front of you right now (yes, that guy)—we were lucky enough to have a new voice on the program—a self-identified library lover named Walter, who told us he was a student at Rutgers University. Throwing Walter into a conversation among a group of us interested in offering effective training to library users was like tossing fresh meat into a tank of sharks: we were all over him. And, to his credit, he held his own. The conversation reminded us that people like Walter still love libraries for the sense of awe they inspire. The sense of cultural history and continuity they represent. And the educational role they play in library users’ lives.
  • “ Sounds like Ray Oldenburg’s idea of the Great Good Place,” I suggested. “ You know,” we explained to Walter, “the idea that the First Place is our home; the Second Place is where we work; and that fabulous, much sought after and all too rare community meeting place is the Third Place. Funny thing about the idea of the Third Place is that Oldenburg mentioned “cafes, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, hair salons, and other hangouts at the heart of a community.” Almost every social gathering place imaginable. And because it was just before the World Wide Web changed the landscape, those three places were all physical. But Oldenburg said zippo about libraries, and like the rest of us, he had no idea that the passage of a couple of decades would create a space for places that were virtual as well as physical. As for the library part of it: that came later, when other writers starting noticing that libraries were much more than places to go if you were into getting shushed.
  • Libraries as physical “Third Place” have been documented through books like the ones we’re taunting you with. If we shush you now, you can probably almost hear a sigh of relief and pleasure flowing through the room as we relish the strong roles we are taking on in the Third Place arena. But Walter wasn’t quite with us on that one. No, he assured us, it wasn’t that the library was his Third Place. The library—libraries in general--attracted him because learning was a central part of his life, and that’s one of the many needs the library was serving for him. That’s a whole different animal from Oldenburg’s Third Place.
  • “ Time for a Fourth Place?” we asked ourselves and Walter as the seed from that conversation started to quickly sprout. “ Libraries as Fourth Place?”—the fourth place being the educational community meeting place where members of the community gather? And if we do carve out a Fourth Place niche for social learning centers, do they really have to exist entirely in physical spaces like the ones Jill and Maurice are going to describe later in today’s presentation, or can they also be virtual? Better yet, why not physical and virtual—like the room in which you’re sitting today and I’m visiting through this online presence, or like the State Library of New South Wales monthly learning event on games and libraries, pictured here?
  • It was Jill—also sitting before you today—who was first to help refine and define the idea by suggesting that the Fourth Place could be anywhere as long as it has resources, including people, books, and computers. Sort of like what we’ve been seeing in the concept of the information commons—but as likely to be created onsite as online. Like the University of Sheffield Information Commons, in the upper left-hand corner of the slide.
  • Or the University of Las Vegas Lied Library, in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Or the University of Arizona, at the bottom. Or public libraries like Oakland Public, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a teen center that is very much in the spirit of an information commons or social learning center. Or the new facilities open or underway in places including Denver and Brooklyn. Not just for the academic crowd. For any life-long learner or even anyone with short-term learning needs.
  • Maurice, by the end of that episode of T is for Training, helped us with the word-smithing—and like the idea of social learning, it was a collaborative effort where everyone involved in the conversation contributed to the seamless conclusion: “the Fourth Place as a community gathering place for social learning.” And we all agreed that if we didn’t jump on this and start talking it up among colleagues in Library Land, we might be left behind by someone else creative enough to find other community centers willing to fill that social learning need. To be explicit: what we’re talking about here is that there is room for Fourth Places of this level in almost any onsite or online setting where learners come and go, where they seek a community of support and a chance for exchanges among people from a largest imaginable set of experiences, skills, and learning levels imaginable. And the place itself serves as and inspires communities of learning. Even if it’s a virtual space like the one here where we’re pretending that our Trainer-Teacher-Leaner-in-Chief is connecting with an audience in the library where T is for Training Colleague Beth Tribe works.
  • So what does that mean to all of us gathered together for this brief session today? Let’s start with the idea that this is both new and not new. New in the sense that there are not—yet—many of us talking about libraries as social learning centers in a capital letter Fourth Place sense. We’re still struggling with our collections—print and digital—as decisions like the Overdrive-Harper-Collins 26-check-out limit stimulate some very interesting discussions and highlight some critically important challenges. On the other hand, the idea of libraries as social learning centers is old in the sense that libraries have always been places where learning at some level takes place. I strongly believe that our colleagues in academic libraries have been way ahead of the pack on this one since there’s such as strong tradition of library instruction, and that our public library colleagues have been engaged in just-in-time learning opps for library users without using that “just-in-time” catch phrase. I also sense that the winds are blowing a little differently now with public library adaptations of the information commons model and the huge surge in creative, entertaining, and important programming that both entertains and educates in libraries across the country every day.
  • And since we’re not going to lose sight that the technological side of things is what is drawing us together today, let’s think about where that learning is taking place: with the onsite library users we have always treasured, and also with that huge group that we sometimes erroneously refer to as the “invisible patrons.” But we know they are far from invisible. What we see and hear from colleagues is that they’re highly visible through their use of our online resources. And they make up an overwhelming majority of the people who are using our services. They are finding us…and our resources…and our services…and the learning opportunities we offer…through the very computers in libraries that intrigue us so much. So what are we doing for them?
  • Well, for one thing, we’re putting more of our attention, energy, and effort into formal and informal distance learning opportunities—something again which is not all that new, even if the means of delivering distance learning are changing as quickly as we can attempt to master them. (And for those of you who are too young to recognize the objects on this slide, please stay afterwards for our refresher course on “cutting edge technologies from previous centuries.)
  • There’s the effort many of us make on a daily basis to provide learning opportunities via informal and formally designed chat.
  • Here’s the next step up from chat as a learning tool: Twitter to deliver course content, as a non-library colleague, Bill Cushard, does with a weekly online leadership course where he uses Twitter for class discussions.
  • And there’s the effort our colleague Char Booth made a few years to use Skype within Ohio University Libraries to deliver information to library users within the building via Skype rather than making them seek out a reference desk. And let’s be completely blunt about it: what we’re doing right now builds off what we see from Char, but in an even more extended effort that takes advantage of changes put in place Char’s Skype in a Kiosk effort. So, here we are: learners in a room with face-to-face presenters. And today’s onsite-online community of learning probably includes offsite learners who are picking up bits and pieces of this via Twitter. There will be the follow-up extended life of the program via face to face conversations as you leave this room. Slides posted on SlideShare. Online discussions via Twitter. And maybe even a blog posting or two, with follow-up comments on those sites. You can see the presentation becoming what it is proposing: we’re in the middle of an onsite-online Fourth Place which exists right now, and may continue in some other variations. And there’s no reason we can’t take this back to each of the libraries where you work and see how this helps you meet your users’ needs.
  • We’re recognizing that onsite and online learning opportunities don’t have to be either-or choices. We can serve our learners onsite in the best sense of social learning—learning which takes advantage of instructor-learner interactions as much as it takes advantage of learner-learner interactions—and we can also meet those learners online through the social networking/social learning sites they are already frequenting. It’s what we keep hearing over and over again: if we seek them where they are as well as welcoming them when they visit us onsite, we’re engaging in learning. Not onsite learning. Not online or distance or e-learning. It’s learning, and that can be the gift that all of us offer each other through our vibrant and varied communities of learning. That’s the gift that really brings it all home.
  • OK, I’m the first to admit it. I still love my books. And I love interactions, face to face as well as online. And I’m about as social as they come, and increasingly open to learning new tech tools and toys even though I often feel as if my head is going to explode. So let’s wind up this part of the presentation with a few resources that can help us shape our growing awareness and potential embracing of the idea of libraries as the Fourth Place that serves as a social learning center: There’s “The New Social Learning,” the wonderful book by Tony Bingham—he is CEO for the American Society for Training & Development—and Marcia Conner, a columnist for “Fast Times” magazine. It helps us get our hands around what social learning is all about and what it offers; that leaves it up to us to see how great a fit the concept for be for us, our libraries, and our library users. There’s Sarah Houghton-Jan’s “Technology Training in Libraries,” which helps us focus on how we train our colleagues and can easily be adapted for use in offering effective and engaging learning opportunities to library users—in those computers-in-libraries areas where so many of our users so desperately need our help and patience and support. There’s Char Booth’s “Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning,” which gives a broad and engaging view of how to provide effective instruction at many levels.
  • And there’s you. All of you who so effectively see the potential for computers in libraries as tools to humanize rather than mechanize those wonderful organizations. Who are willing to join us in planting the seeds that will grow into vibrant, vital onsite and online Fourth Places augmenting what we are already doing. And solidifying the positions our libraries have as community centers. Information centers. And social learning centers.
  • Cil2011 v2.2 -paul

    1. 1. Fourth Places for Learning Skills & Acquiring Knowledge Part 1 Presented by Paul Signorelli Paul Signorelli & Associates @paulsignorelli
    2. 2. Origins
    3. 3. Places
    4. 4. Third Places
    5. 5. Blended Places?
    6. 6. The Next Place?
    7. 7. The Next Place?
    8. 8. The Next Place?
    9. 9. Learning
    10. 10. The Changing Landscape
    11. 11. Invisible?
    12. 12. Distance Learning
    13. 13. E-learning Reexamined: Chat
    14. 14. E-learning Reexamined: Twitter
    15. 15. E-learning Reexamined: Skype
    16. 16. Bringing It Home
    17. 17. Social Learning
    18. 18. All That’s Missing…
    19. 19. Contact Information Paul Signorelli & Associates 1032 Irving St., #514 San Francisco, CA 94122 415.681.5224 [email_address] @paulsignorelli
    20. 20. Credits: Images from unless otherwise noted <ul><li>State Library of New South Wales Learning From/In Games: From Photos o’ Randomness’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The University of Sheffield Information Commons: From biblioteekje’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas: From the Travelin’ Librarian’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>University of Arizona Information Commons, from University of Arizona website at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Picture of audience in library (to the right of Maurice Coleman, as if he is addressing them), from </li></ul><ul><li>mlibranius’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Reader resting on stack of books: From Cindiann’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Invisible man: From Phil Thirkill’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Radio: From PJGuyton2002’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Mailbox: From Steve 2.0’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Antique TV: From AJMexico’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Skype: From Char Booth’s slide show at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Onsite learning: From Pollyalida’s photostream at </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>You: From Tsmyther’s photostream at </li></ul>