As we close in on the final days of the May design challenge, taglines for the future of the library, I can’t help but grin at YALSA (Young Adult Library Association)’s TeenTech Week 2012 theme: Geek Out @ Your Library. As our June “maker” challenge looms, I wonder if some students and schools might “put their geek on” and get behind YALSA’s initiative?
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.
Given that we just released our first monthly Design Challenge yesterday, this was mad-timing that Seth Godin published a post just today entitled, “The Future of the Library“.
Timing is indeed everything!
Write the TAGLINE for the K-12 library of the future. In 140 characters or less, provide one or more taglines that you believe capture the spirit, imagination and place called library.
- Redefined ideas of community.
- Exponential access to information.
- Rapidly shifting context.
- Multiple voices leveraged.
- Learning, design and making happening everywhere.
- Imagination is the fuel.
The library as we know it is changing.
What does it mean to your neighbor, the guy out mowing his lawn? Or, the girls on the soccer team? Have they noticed a change? Do they see this and think library? What did the grocery store clerk and her middle school son do the last time they were at the library? The teacher? What does it mean for him and his students?
Capture the potential, the opportunity, the energy of this place called library. What’s the message? You’ve got 15 seconds to capture the imagination of the mother in the elevator, the kid on the skateboard, the driver in the car.
Create a buzz.
Submit using any of the following:
- Twitter: add the hashtag #nxtchp2011
- Facebook: http://on.fb.me/j2JzRG
- Our Website: Comment on this Blog Post!
Submittals are due May 21st Midnight EST.
Initial review and judging will take place May 23rd – 25th to select a shortlist of 10. The shortlist will be published on the Next Chapter Design Challenge site and the community of participants will be asked to vote for the top three. Final selection will be May 27th. All submittals will be archived and shared with the community.
Click on “comments” to add yours here. Now. Inspire Us.
“What could be better than people who don’t have access to knowledge getting the ability to find out whatever it is that they want to find out?” she says. “And that’s what I think is so gorgeous about Wikipedia — it’s this limitless space; it can be as big as it needs to be. It can actually contain the sum of everything that we know, right?”
— Sue Gardner, Wikipedia director
Perhaps a few nuggets to chew on as we daydream the future of K-12 libraries together.
Imagine a space built for discovery. And rapid prototyping. And thinking design ‘out loud’.
Now: can you imagine a K-12 library version of the d.school at Stanford?
“I know that tomorrow you’ll be dealing with broken printers, and shelving backlogs, and the rising costs of subscriptions.
But you must look up. You must never make what you do replace why you do it. And if you can’t link broken printers and shelving to the grand challenges of our society, then you ought to ask why you are doing them.
We must stop reacting to the world around us and start inspiring it! For too long have we defined the core of our profession – service – as standing ready to serve. No one ever changed the world by standing ready. We do it through action.
This is the time – this is the place – we are the people.”
– R. David Lankes
Backstory: “Gaming guru and Reality is Broken author Jane McGonigal is organizing a game to commemorate the New York Public Library’s centennial celebration. On May 20th, 500 gamers will spend the night in the main branch of the library on 42nd Street to complete 100 “quests” designed by a McGonigal-directed team.”
More details here.
There are many online communities. You are probably a member of several yourself.
We recognize that many of you are hitting a breaking point. “No more logins”! You don’t have enough time or energy to visit ONE more online community.
We hear you and don’t blame you.
In an era of online overload, we have created an experience rather than a network. We have created an opportunity for you to help transform your library while in the process connecting and working with like minded people.
So how does this happen?
From the start we wanted to an online component that emulated what the participants would experience in September when attending the Next Chapter summit. The online community had to not simply connect but rather, it had to represent the aspect of design and “doing” that will be embedded into our real time event later this year.
How could we do this?
By using design challenges. Starting May 15th, we will offer one design challenge each month leading up to and after our event in September. Each challenge will directly connect to how we can reimagine the future of the library. The challenges will be split into (4) week long sections like so:
- Week 1 -> problem announced + podcast
- Week 2 -> imagine phase + webinar
- Week 3 -> make phase
- Week 4 -> jury phase + webinar
Each of these weeks will be centered around providing you the chance to shape the solutions. The challenges themselves will focus on issues that can be addressed by any K-12 library or school. Our emphasis will be on building community through action and collaboration that is manageable and rewarding.
How Does it Work?
During the first week, we will announce the challenge and provide a podcast and resources based upon a topic or issue that is meaningful to the community as a whole. Throughout the week, you will have the chance to discuss the topic and create a sense of understanding around the challenge. The goal is to create a sense of empathy, to understand that while we all may struggle with this challenge, we all have different perspectives and view points on how it affects our libraries.
The second week will be dedicated to envisioning potential solutions to the challenge. We will ask you to post your wildest ideas. There will be no judgement. Rather, if we are to truly reimagine a solution to the challenge, we must use ideas that are mashups of ideas from across the map. In addition, we will have a webinar with an expert who will provide insight into the particular challenge and the kinds of ideas that have been proposed before.
The focus of week 3 centers around the idea of making. Members of the community will be given the opportunity to contribute their ideas on how to create a prototype of the solution. Due to the nature of our challenges, the ideal is to have an idea that can be created by any library around the world. These solutions or prototypes that are being built could be range from simple products to experiences that help transform the library.
This final week will be dedicated to testing and iterating. We will ask that the idea that is developed and build be tested. We will have a webinar with a design expert who will provide feedback on the prototype so that changes can be made to ensure the design reaches the intended audience.
So How is This Different?
When we look at an online community it is about attempting to connect people of like minds.
In an age of digital gluttony, we are trying to ride the fine line of providing one more network while separating ourselves from the pack. The challenges will give you an opportunity to not simply connect but “do something”.
In addition, we will provide you access to experts and the resources necessary to understand how design can making a meaningful difference in your library. We’ll also help you organize in person events so that you can take your challenges offline and work with your peers who may live near you.
Ultimately, we want to empower you to reimagine your library and give you the design-centered tools to do so. It is about you and your vision. We’re just giving you the chance to get a little help from new friends + RE:ED / “Next Chapter” community members.
Photo credit: codemastersnake (#1) + Christian Long (#2, #3)
During our initial Next Chapter meeting in Atlanta on April 1-2, leaders from around the country came together to explore the future of the library. On a beautiful spring day, we worked to tackle this issue by exploring three different challenges:
- Embracing a rapid-fire introduction to design thinking.
- Answering the question: What is the future of learning?
- Answering the question: What is the future of the library?
The three scenarios opened eyes to the power of design, challenged our preconceptions, all while creating a connection between peers.
We were introduced to the rules of design and asked to provide verbs that describe the library:
From there, we developed a list of nouns and from those nouns split into groups and developed ideas around one of the nouns that spoke to us. From that list of nouns, each group decided upon a theme and built an experience or improved a place based upon that theme.
Our three groups came up with ideas that ranged from a dining club, to a mobile studio, to improving the sense of community in an airport.
The Future of Learning
Future of the Library
We ended the day with a session led by Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, and Helene Blowers.
The conversation was a powerful one that led to a great debate around the degree to which we should reimagine the library and if there were certain “sacred cows” that we embraced and were reluctant to release.
While there was debate, that is the beauty of the design process.
If we all agreed upon what should be created we would not push the boundaries and truly envision something unique and transformative.
In the end, the three challenges pushed us to rethink how we worked with one another and created ideas and approaches that would not have come by thinking within our comfort zones. If we are to truly reimagine the next chapter of the library, it will take a willingness to let go of our sacred cows, let go of our biases, and embrace ideas and approaches that may seems completely foreign.
If we are able to do that, we have the chance to create some powerful visions of what the library can be in the future.
Photo credit: Laura Deisley, Christian Long, and David Bill