Blog Archives

Talking Tech in an Interview, by Susie Serrano

I don’t consider myself tech-savvy. I do have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads accounts; use WordPress to blog; and do most everything on my iPhone 5 and sometimes my Google Nexus or my husband’s iPad. Still, when it comes to troubleshooting, my husband is the person I look to for help.

When I was applying for a promotion to Countywide Children’s Librarian, my husband encouraged me to take the iPad to the interview after seeing how jazzed up I was after meeting Cen Campbell at an Early Learning with Families Advisory Committee meeting at the California State Library. Cen demonstrated the use of new media for storytime at the library by connecting her iPad wirelessly using Apple TV to show us examples of books and songs to display on a bigger screen and make the experience interactive. As a fellow Eurekan, class of 2010, I couldn’t help but try using one of these examples at my upcoming interview.

I brought the iPad into the interview room along with my professional folder with resumes and reference lists tucked inside. No one asked to see these items; instead they asked about the iPad and were excited when I explained I had a demonstration planned. I used the same book as Cen, Red Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton, not because it was easy seeing as I just watched Cen demonstrate it, but because it really is one of my favorite books! I didn’t have time to set this up with a projector, but with the interview panel of 5 I was able to effectively show how interactive and fun new media can be. I had every librarian, including the director, touching the screen and making the animals dressed in bathing suits jump into the pool at the end of the story. I explained that I hope to incorporate new media into my storytimes and share with the children’s staff the process to try it as well. I also explained this would be a helpful tool to show people while out of the library doing outreach. We can demonstrate how new media can be used and that the library is well prepared with suggestions, tips, and research directing the public to useful apps and interactive storybooks.

Just the other day I was amazed when a parent finally asked the question about what types of apps she should download for her 4-year-old daughter.

We do have TumbleBooks, but the storybook portion is still not compatible with Apple products. I gave the parent a few suggestions and told her the library is in the process of reviewing further recommendations and to check back soon. She was very pleased and looked forward to trying out my suggestions. I found it interesting that the parent doesn’t have a TV and instead has an iPad, laptop & portable DVD player.

My next project is to demonstrate a New Media Storytime at our next children’s services meeting.

Susie Serrano works at the Butte (CA) County Library.

Age-Inappropriate Photo of Cen and Genesis at the Infopeople Booth at CLA

Yeah. This is how we roll.

For everyone who wonders who the charming ladies are who thought up Little eLit in the first place; here we are in all of our mad library science glory. On the right is the beautiful and brilliant Genesis Hansen, and on the left, the wicked and dastardly Cen Campbell. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about digital programming and services for children in libraries, evil laughter and questionable science.

Embrace Risk

The rock star known as Ann Awakuni has put together a little video about her experience at the R-squared conference (risk and reward) that took place in Telluride, Colorado earlier this month.

There are lots of nuggets of goodness here, but my favourite is:

Instead of imagining things as they are, imagine them as they could be.

Check out her post on the Infopeople blog.

What? Another Conference?

I have tossed my hat in the ring to attend the Risk and Reward conference in Colorado in September. Infopeople, the lovely little outfit that runs the Eureka! Leadership Institute, is footing the bill to send three of its fellows to take part in discussions that will keep public libraries from going the way of the Dodo bird.  Here’s what I said in my statement of interest:

I began with Genesis Hansen (a 2008 Eureka colleague) in late 2011 to review apps and interactive media for children aged 2-5. Since then, our little website has grown to a digital storytelling resource and a forum for radical new ideas in librarianship. We have established ourselves as experts in digital media for young children. We have been contacted by app developers, academics and educators who are all looking for guidance in this brand new world of digital publishing for children.

Most recently I was approached by a group of students at Stanford University who are developing a brand new distribution model for book based apps. They have big name authors on board, they are in talks with large publishing houses, their creative lead was an animator with Pixar for 10 years, and they want to launch their product in public libraries. There is a social media and content creation component to the platform, plus the development of an algorithm that calculates a child’s reading level according to how the child interacts with the app.

Another children’s app developer approached my library with a similar model, only their model incorporates workflow technology to enable collaboration between developers, artists and writers. Who even knew these things were possible? And what’s even more mind blowing is that these new developers/publishers are looking to LIBRARIANS for guidance, because we know content, and we know distribution. The publishing industry is about to change, and libraries will be on the very front lines IF we seize this kind of opportunity.

I want to develop a distribution platform for book-based apps in public libraries, and I want to develop the public library as a digital content creation space. I spent hours at ALA recently talking to OverDrive, Freegal,and all sorts of other ILS and digital content vendors about these ideas. I told them I wanted a mechanism to circulate apps and they all said “Gee, what a good idea. We’re not doing that.” It’s time for come creative thinking, collaboration and the busting of old-school librarian paradigms. It’s time to acknowledge that the old publishing business models are dying, if not already dead, and that libraries can serve as the end-user distribution mechanism for interactive media if we develop the right skills and relationships.

Send me to this conference and I will share my ideas of app circulation, content creation and creative collaboration. I see librarians around me who are not only unaware of how libraries NEED to change in order to stay relevant to people’s lives, they aren’t doing anything to help themselves learn. I want to become a better advocate for the changing role of libraries, and to help make some of these technical concepts more accessible to my colleagues. I want to learn to harness the creativity of my community, both within the library and without. Please help me to be a part of this dialogue.

Also, I believe I have the chutzpah to be a real and true rock star, so I will be participating in the Rock and Roll Academy Preconference session.