658.4063 (nerd alert!) aka Innovation in Business

A few years back, I reorganized and reevaluated the business section in my library and it became clear that we had a lot of pop culture biz books on innovation. It became a nerdy, almost inside joke. If we got some new book written by young anti-suit CEOs or if it had innovation anywhere in the title or table of contents or had quirky illustrations, I would automatically know where to put it in the collection – 658.4063. Ok, so this is a boring story. ANYWAYS, “innovative” to me has turned into another buzzword like “hipster” or “organic” and that idea irritates me a bit. Whatever happened to just plain old-fashioned “good ideas”?

Semantics aside, I was happy to see some companies on the list such as Vine, Dropbox and Airbnb (although, some “controversial” names appeared – SF and the tech industry are a bit at odds these days, have you heard?). Vine is a bit of an addiction of mine. It’s like one big inside joke with the world. It’s like peering into the minds of strangers and realizing that we’re all totally strange. I’m also shocked at some of the videos people post – duck lipped selfies, twerkin, #scarecam, and crazy pranks…It’s also unfortunately full of spam and mean people. All that aside, let’s face it – things get funnier when repeatedly looped.

Some key takeaways from the FastCo list include connecting globally – this is perfect for what we’ve discussed so far with social media behaviors and new trends in digital media. Most of these companies are online and have a strong social aspect. Of course, building and sustaining global communities is perfect for a library setting. Community – that’s what we’re all about! Also, most of these innovations were based on amazing customer service and making products/services easier and better to use. Totally relevant in libraries. Think of how many rules in libraries hinder rather than inspire? (Related: just stumbled across this on Twitter via Brian Mathews – who would definitely make the top list for librarian innovators if Fast Co did that – Do Libraries Need a User Manifesto).

I didn’t have time to make a video – writing is faster for me than making a video – so I thought I’d include some vines I made at my job. Here are two videos of some interesting collections in our library: the materials workroom and the costume collection. These are all hands-on resources for the students to use. Materials can be taken from the workspace and are donated from local designers (fashion and interior). Costumes (1820s-present) can be circulated on campus for students to use in class presentations or to study construction and design details. I made this website on the costume collection for my 240 class at SLIS.




Life Long Learners

I love when my courses at San Jose SLIS overlap! This week’s prompt reminds me an awful lot of information literacy standards, which calls to mind my instructional design class from last quarter:

“What would it mean to think of public education as a responsibility of a more distributed network of people and institutions? And rather than assuming that education is primarily about preparing kids for jobs and careers, what would it mean to think of education as a process of guiding kids’ participation in public life more generally, a public life that includes social, recreational, and civic engagement?”

Of course I have concerns with standardizing learning, but still at the heart of it all, information literacy is about preparing students to be “lifelong learners” and “become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning” (ACRL). Students can get hung up on getting good grades or meeting requirements instead of really savoring the information, learning from the experience and contextualizing the content. I think there is disconnect between homework and school from real-life settings. This is one of the reasons I bring up Facebook in nearly all English Composition presentations – people share terrible, fake news all the time! Evaluate sources before citing in a research paper AND before posting online on Facebook or Twitter!

I love the idea of education promoting and preparing children to become more socially and civically engaged. I think libraries are in the perfect place for this shift in education. Libraries are a public space, full of knowledgeable staff and information resources, that bring together different populations from a community. There are the typical challenges such as training, funding and legislation, but I think with the right leadership and library staff, this future of learning is possible. Collaboration is key for this type of change – relationships between libraries and schools, art community, local businesses, politicians, etc. should be nurtured to promote participation in public life.

I don’t think it’s unimportant to prepare people for jobs. I think these goals are interrelated – if we prepare young people to be self-sustaining, curious and engaged with their community, then we’re also preparing them to be more successful in their careers. The example in the book Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out of the teenager (Jacob) customizing MySpace pages and learning HTML and CSS code demonstrates this. The student had a feeling of autonomy and pride for the work he had learned on his “own will” and “not because anyone was telling” him (Ito, et al). The skills he had learned based on his own interests eventually scored him a job interview in web design, but I think the key takeaway here is that he was took control of his own education. The after-school program gave him the space and the resources, but this example proves that education isn’t exclusive to school classrooms.



Goal to Geek Out?

Reflection Question, Week 2:

When creating nontraditional learning spaces, is it more valuable for libraries to focus on offering opportunities for a ‘geeking out’ behaviors or more mainstream interests? Why?

At my library, we have a team-based collection development procedure and money is allocated to categories that carry the most weight in the college curriculum. Though collection development isn’t un-traditional, I ask myself a similar question posed in this week’s reflection: popular vs. niche interest. What will check out versus what do I think is unique for our collection? The way I figure, students can order mostly anything on Amazon so I feel more inclined to select books they can’t readily find online. While I try to keep my own personal beliefs out of it, I still feel an obligation to introduce my library users to new ideas and topics they might not know about.

This collection development example is worth mentioning when dealing with other non-traditional learning spaces. I believe it’s the librarian’s role to appeal to both the general library audience as well as encourage users to “geek out” and become a bit more fanatic about their interests. The library is a great place to do research, after all!

In the book Hanging Out, Messing Around & Geeking Out, some “geeking out” behaviors included pirating music and illegally sharing and downloading files. Have I done the same in my life? Absolutely! Outside of a work setting, of course…I can’t envision myself telling a library patron to scour the internet for torrent files; although, wow – I’m impressed with those search strategies! Another student in the book talked about an after-school program that offered new and expensive programs and equipment. The library can provide the tools so that people don’t need to download little bits of a program from various sites. Related to this idea is the open access movement, which has been gaining momentum recently especially in academic libraries (read more on that via SPARC, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition). In this effort, there are a lot of licensing complications and vendor relationships to consider.

Also mentioned in the book Hanging Out, Messing Around & Geeking Out is that these people who geek out generally steer clear of mainstream channels (e.g. authorized or official game networks vs. fan boards). Do teens just view the library as another corporation looking for people to buy into a product or overbearing parents meddling where they don’t belong? (I hope not…) Maybe our role in the library is to simply get people excited about a variety of topics and provide the space to network with others who are also excited about these same things. We could be more of a motivator, and then users can branch off as they desire.

But really, isn’t geeking out relative to the user group? According to the book “geeking out” isn’t always motivated by technology (listservs, bit torrent, etc.): it’s “an intense commitment or engagement with media or technology” (location 995, for you Kindle readers). It’s just as important that the library offers workshops, provides a variety of interesting and unique materials and so on…and the geeking out will come later. Also, the library can serve as a place for these people to meet and connect with each other on their interests. So yes, encouraging geeking out is a goal, but we’re still here to offer opportunities for hanging out and messing around too!

First Thoughts on Youth, Media & Technology: How Will I Fit In?!

I’m getting a real kick out of reading Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out. For starters, I couldn’t get Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake out of my head after reading about the two teens watching “torture cams” and other grotesque videos together while on a school ski trip. And I really connected with the senior who belonged to an online creative writing community because it reminded me of being 15 and writing and subscribing to email zines (pre-blogs!) written by other girls my age. I’m also really inspired by “fortuitous searching” or open-ended/non goal-oriented searching. I’ve got to find a way to incorporate this into my English Composition presentations at my library!

Two main ideas really stand out to me after reading and viewing this week’s material:

  • Online and physical environments are becoming more and more seamless
  • Standards and authority-driven goals in education/libraries can hinder young people’s creativity and learning

It wouldn’t be a class at SJSU SLIS if I didn’t bring up my favorite phrase “verbs not nouns.” I first came across this on an education blog a few years ago, and I keep coming back to it. I think it applies here nicely. Young people are using new media to do the same things they’ve been doing: communicating with friends (love the mention of the boring Facebook status updates), flirting, making plans, meeting new people, listening to music, etc. In fact, these medias are making these behaviors easier – make friends on their own terms, from all parts of the world! Young people don’t think of Instagram or Facebook (or other social media platforms) as anything other than a way to check in with friends and stay in the loop. It’s becoming a part of everyday life, and it’s not strange or rude for friends to hang out and talk to each other while watching a video or filming one. What matters is what we’re/they’re doing (verbs) with these technologies, not necessarily the tools (nouns or brands, ahem…Apple).

Even so, there is something to said about online environments and comfort levels. I find it’s way easier for me to write a quick intro or bio about myself online than it is to walk up to someone I don’t know and share my interests, goals. Similarly, it’s easy for someone to hide or “check out” (esp. in the example of an online classroom – anyone have a dud group member before?!) I’m also curious if this book will go into cyberbullying in future chapters. People might feel braver online which can lead to harassment.

I was a bit disheartened (but only just for a second!) to read that restrictive policies and “teacher-driven exercises, designed to achieve goals mandated by the school” were deterring young people from using the library or fully enjoying a learning situation. I understand the importance of these policies, goals and standards, but I also don’t want this to turn into an “us versus them” situation. One thing that is so great about youth’s media behaviors is that everything is so social and collaborative. So my goal/challenge is to explore how to be more user-driven and connect with my community, instead of just being another authority figure who doesn’t seek input.

This is why I chose to be a librarian, right?!

My Summer Reading Program

School starts up again this week, and I’m already mourning the loss of my free time. I’m so happy about my choice to take the summer off. Although I didn’t go on too many trips this summer (I didn’t even go to the county fair this year!), I did find a way to spend my time:


Damn you, Hunger Games. It all started when I couldn’t fall asleep and decided to finally watch JLaw fight to the death on the big screen. But Hollywood didn’t cut it…I needed more.

So I devoured all three books in about a week’s time. I rudely read in the car when I should have been chatting with my boyfriend and his parents on our drive to Yosemite (and before you yell at me, no I didn’t read during the amazing drive to Yosemite…I read only on the boring highways leaving SF!). The whole time I was hiking around Yosemite, I kept thinking how “very Hunger Games” and considered my chances of survival if I got lost from my group (chances: zero).

My friends have teased me endlessly about the ridiculous plot lines I can’t stop sharing with them even though I know they won’t ever read the books I’m sharing. (Just try explaining the Divergent factions to a non-YA person..) I just can’t stop reading! I even bought a Kindle so that I could read and review free copies of e-books that are shared in my Goodreads book club! Now I’m obsessively scouring Overdrive for more books on my list.

So in order to relate this whole thing back to my profession, here are some reasons on why I’m not ashamed of this recent addiction:

Writing practice

With a summer off from school, it’s easy to fall behind in writing. Goodreads is allowing me to critique and analyze why I liked a story or not. Reviewing books (although informally) allowed me to practice my writing, so hopefully my first few weeks of writing papers will seem less strange and difficult.

Youth Librarianship Investigation

I never seriously considered being a teen librarian, but YA has changed me! After reading Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, I felt so excited knowing that there are authors out there, writing such inspiring and intelligent stories about non-traditional relationships and the lives of teenagers. I mostly read end-of-the-world stuff, so this story stands out to me. Same goes for The House of the Scorpion…what a smart, beautiful story that touches on so many important topics like human rights, cloning, classism, and immigration. Call me a romantic, but I’m fascinated by the idea that stories and books can change someone’s perspective on life. Plus, I’ve been so far removed from young people (I swear there are no kids in San Francisco) that it’s nice to see what’s exciting teenagers right now.

Reader’s Advisory

I work in an academic library, so I do a bit of reader’s advisory. I’d like to get better! YA has inspired me to investigate webinars, reading lists, etc. that will help me build these skills.

But seriously, let’s get real: reading is FUN. So excuse me, but I have some reading to finish before Wednesday’s classes!

Oh yeah, and let’s talk books. Find me on Goodreads!

Lessons in Dance

Modern Dance Performance, March 12, 1941
Modern Dance Performance (1941) via University Archives. Durham, North Carolina, USA. library.duke.edu/uarchives

I started dancing when I was three. My mom started me in tap lessons, then came jazz and ballet. For ten years, I basically danced in a company that was similar to what you see on the reality show, Dance Moms. Yikes. Except my mom wasn’t crazy and I wore more than a sports bra. But I still left it all behind. Later, I danced and sang in choirs and shows in high school throughout college. Felt uncomfortable with that scene after a while, so I thought dancing was behind me.

Nope! For the past two+ years, I’ve been taking ballet and modern dance classes. It’s amazing how much more information my adult mind has taken in from dancing a couple nights a week. I’ve learned so much about myself and movement, and I honestly wish everyone would take a dance class so we can talk about it! Buuuut I know that’s not going to happen. So I’ve decided to break down what I think is so valuable from my experiences in dance. And don’t worry – this post is appropriate for absolute beginners and advanced dancers!!


In dance, there’s a lot of balancing. Some days, I’m like a rock. Other times I can barely stand on two feet, let alone balance on my toes. So figure out what your body is telling you! Determine where your weaknesses are and then find the solution.

Dance is also about learning to fall with grace. Make it look like choreography, not a mistake! Fail or fall with confidence and poise, and no one will know. And so what if they do? It proves you’re not perfect, and you can handle set-backs.


Dance is not just about coping steps and hitting poses. It’s fluid and it’s personal. Yes, learn the technique and have a strong foundation. But make the movements your own. Who cares who’s watching? When you lose all inhibitions and insecurities, this is when you truly can express yourself.


Similar to falling and losing yourself, you have to mess up. How dare you think you’d be perfect on the first try! Making mistakes is how you learn.


Accepting feedback is way to improve your technique, but also it can keep your body safe. Listen to those who are more knowledgeable and make adjustments. Change doesn’t always happen right away, but as you build your strength over time, you’ll eventually be performing at a higher level.


Be inspired by those around you! Don’t be jealous or competitive. Focus on yourself, but also observe the beautiful qualities you see in others and apply to your technique.


This is my favorite by far. Every time I walk into my dance class, I know that I’m going to try something that I’ve never tried before. I love that! Tonight, my normal instructor was unavailable so we had a substitute. I didn’t know his warm-up, didn’t know his style…I didn’t even know his name!  In class, we fell to the floor and rolled around about 50 times. I’ve never done that, and it was awesome! (Ask me how I feel tomorrow!) Challenging, not perfect, but definitely rewarding. Try something new, and you might surprise yourself!

So who’s ready to take a dance class?!

Spring 2013 Semester Recap

I haven’t had too much time to blog. I have all the usual excuses of a typical library student: work and school, mostly. I also celebrated my birthday! I’m back because it’s summer break and I’m not taking a single class until fall! Plus, I recently dropped a fairly large sum of money on a domain and web hosting plan, so I’m attempting to get my website/e-portfolio in order. I’m coding everything from scratch, which makes everything slower and harder, but I do enjoy the freedom and creativity.

So how do I know how to code a website? School taught me! Here’s a brief overview of the three courses I took at San Jose State University:

Information Technology Tools and Applications LIBR 240

This was my favorite course of the semester. I learned HTML, CSS mostly, but was exposed to a bit of XML and php. My instructor created a perfectly paced course managed by Drupal instead of D2L. Each week we wrote a blog post and commented on each other’s work, so the interaction was great between classmates. This is crucial in an online environment! It was so inspiring to see what other people were creating, and it made me work even harder on my final. For the final project, I created a website for a costume study collection. I’m really pleased with the turnout. I tried to be creative and make the site look good, but also I focused on the navigation and information architecture. You can view my work on my website.

Web Usability LIBR 251

This class started off slow in terms of assignments and projects, but once I got into designing prototypes for interfaces and testing users, I had a lot of fun! Now when I say design, I don’t mean creating anything with html, css or even a computer! Lots of hand drawn sketching and post-it notes! Most of this class is self-led, and there’s a lot of discussion on D2L. The course load is fairly light, so it was manageable with my two other classes. It was perfect to take this class along with 240 because I was able to apply usability concepts and design principles to my final website. My favorite part of this class was conducting user studies because I found it so interesting to see how people think and act differently when addressing a problem or navigating a website. This class is more focused on the concepts, rather than complicating the content with required web design skills.

Beginning Cataloging and Classification LIBR 248

I’m the lead cataloger at my library, so I felt comfortable with most of the material in this course. There’s a lot of quizzes and exercises that test you on the readings – at least two each week. I wish we had done more “hands-on” exercises. For example, some assignments required us to either copy catalog or original catalog print and non-print materials. My favorite assignment was my paper on cataloging of non-print items. It required me to visit a library, interview the catalogers and critique the classification and cataloging of the collection. I was able to finally view the Mechanics’ Institute Library in downtown San Francisco, and it’s such an interesting library with a rich history! This course unfortunately doesn’t cover much on RDA or DublinCore, but I gained more exposure to LOC (my library uses Dewey) and I feel much stronger in my cataloging abilities.

MLIS students out there reading this…what did you study this semester? What were some of your favorite classes?