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)