Content Creation FTW: Information Literacy in the Wild

School Library Monthly Blog » Blog Archive » Enjoy Our Class Book : Information Literacy in the Wild via kwout

From teacher and librarian extraordinaire Kristin Fontichiaro and her SI 641 / EDCURINS 575 : Information Literacy for Teaching and Learning students comes Information Literacy in the Wild, a class created of compilation of essays reflecting their field experiences in public libraries, K-12 libraries, K-12 classrooms, college classrooms (online and face-to-face), academic libraries, museums, and more.  I can’t find words to say how fierce and awesome this project is! BRAVO!  Read more about this project on Kristin’s blog; in the meantime…

from Kristin:

We hope you will enjoy reading about our observations, projects, and conclusions. Here are some tidbits with which to tantalize you:
– how Lady Gaga’s meat dress is an example of synthesis
– how an AP language teacher plans to teach an information literacy unit
– the importance of a lesson “hook”
– how to sneak an IL lesson into a tech lesson
– how a map can guide even the most experienced researchers
– bird unit sightings in public libraries … and a physics classroom
– how the SCVNGR app can refresh and deepen library orientation

You can download it for your eReader here:

It is also available as a formatted-for-print PDF:

We are eager to hear your feedback:

Kristin & SI 641/EDCURINS575

50 Ways to Leave Your Non-Innovative Culture

The Heart of Innovation: 50 Ways to Foster a Culture of Innovation via kwout

Are you looking for ways to leave a culture void of innovation?  No need to slip out the back, make a new plan, be coy, hop on a bus,  or drop off a key–instead, check out this exceptional list of 50 Ways To Foster a Culture of Innovation.

Which of these qualities are part of your library?  Your school?  Which are not?  Which of these qualities do you find most important?  Here are the ones that speak to me:

2. Wherever you can, whenever you can, always drive fear out of the workplace. Fear is “Public Enemy #1” of an innovative culture.

3. Have more fun. If you’re not having fun (or at least enjoying the process) something is off.

4. Always question authority, especially the authority of your own longstanding beliefs.

5. Make new mistakes.

6. As far as the future is concerned, don’t speculate on what mighthappen, but imagine what you can make happen.

9. Ask questions about everything. After asking questions, ask different questions. After asking different questions, ask them in a different way.

10. Ensure a high level of personal freedom and trust. Provide more time for people to pursue new ideas and innovations.

11. Encourage everyone to communicate. Provide user-friendly systems to make this happen.

12. Instead of seeing creativity training as a way to pour knowledge into people’s heads, see it as a way to grind new glasses for people so they can see the world in a different way.

13. Learn to tolerate ambiguity and cope with soft data. It is impossible to get all the facts about anything. “Not everything that counts can be counted. Not everything that can be counted counts,” said Einstein.

14. Embrace and celebrate failure. 50 to 70 per cent of all new product innovations fail at even the most successful companies. The main difference between companies who succeed at innovation and those who don’t isn’t their rate of success — it’s the fact that successful companies have a LOT of ideas, pilots, and product innovations in the pipeline.

15. Notice innovation efforts. Nurture them wherever they crop up. Reward them.

17. Don’t focus so much on taking risks, per se, but on taking the risks OUT of big and bold ideas.

18. Encourage people to get out of their offices and silos. Encourage people to meet informally, one-on-one, and in small groups.

20. Create a portfolio of opportunities: short-term, long-term, incremental, and discontinuous. Just like an investment portfolio, balance is critical.

27. Make customers your innovation partners, while realizing that customers are often limited to incremental innovations, not breakthrough ones.

28. Understand that the best innovations are initiated by individuals acting on their own at the periphery of your organization. Don’t make your innovation processes so rigid that they get in the way of informal and spontaneous innovation efforts. Build flexibility into your design. Think “self-organizing” innovation, not “command and control” innovation.

29. Find new ways to capture learnings throughout your organization and new ways to share these learnings with everyone. Use real-life stories to transfer the learnings.

32. Avoid analysis paralysis. Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction.

43. Try to get as much buy-in and support from senior leadership as you can while realizing that true change NEVER starts at the top. How often does the revolution start with the King?

46. Reward collective, not only individual successes, but also maintain clear individual accountabilities and keep innovation heroes visible.

47. Do your best to ensure that linear processes give way to networks of collaboration.

Intrigued?  See the complete list and add your suggestions!


What Keeps Your Library Customers Coming Back?

Yesterday, I had a short but meaningful Twitter conversation with fellow librarian Aaron Tay about “how much is your library service worth to users.”

aarontay (aarontay) o

Twitter via kwout

I shared with Aaron a new “service” my library is offering this year—custom loan periods.  I am actively working with teachers to offer extended loan periods for independent reading assignments to help students stay out of “fine” territory and to schedule a day in which they come back to the library to return the books or renew if needed.  In addition, my staff and I are actively asking students who do individual checkouts if they need a longer loan period than the standard two weeks we offer; if they do, we offer three and four week loan periods.  My hope is that students will be able to enjoy their books and then return them without worry of fines by having the extended loan period.  Only time will tell if these new options will entice more students to use the library and help reduce overdues/fines, but I feel the initiative is worthwhile.

My Twitter-sation with Aaron, along with some other readings and blog posts I’ve reflected upon this summer, have had me thinking again today about “customer service” in my library and library program.   What services or special options can my library offer and add to our current menu to attract and retain student use of the library?  To encourage collaboration with teachers?   What matters to them?

A dream I had in an afternoon nap today somehow reflected these musings.  I dreamed that I was on a trip back from Florida with family and Tammy, our media clerk.  In the dream, we stopped at a convenience store that was a major tourist attraction in the Southeast because it offered quality gas and other standard store fare, but it also gave customers the opportunity to sit in a royal blue Corvette and enjoy a high tech simulated driving experience inside the store.   In my dream, I marveled at how people came from all part of the Southeast to shop at the store and “ride” in the Corvette.    While I realize the content of my dream borders on nonsensical, the principle is perfectly logical—offer your customers services they can’t refuse and that they love—-and they will  keep them coming back.

Two blog posts I have read this evening reinforce my thinking about how I can continue to market my library brand more effectively.  The first blog post, “Brands That Matter” from Seth Godin, offers two important questions:

  1. Do I want people to interact with me and my brand in unexpected ways (as opposed to just quietly consume it)?
  2. When they interact, do I overwhelm people with delight worth remarking about?
I think these are two important questions we as librarians should be able to answer with a resounding yes.  If our response is only lukewarm, negative, or indifferent, then we have some thinking and retooling to do.  I am committed to finding “unexpected ways” to have student interact (think participatory librarianship!) with the materials, services, and staff in my library.   In the next few weeks, I’ll continue to think about how I can innovate at all points of contact with our teachers and students to make our increase the worth of our library and to up the level of conversations we have with our teachers and students.
A second blog post, “A ‘Brand’ New Perspective for Libraries” by Kim Cofino, offers some practical and do-able tips for library design and marketing your “products” (in this case, books are the focal point) from library design expert Kevin Hennah. As the journey of Library Remix continues in my library, my staff and I will use these guiding principles to make sure we our physical space and placement of materials reflect these effective design strategies.    Kim leaves us with this thought-provoking question:
If retail strategies have so much to offer libraries, I’m now left wondering, what do popular and “addictive” websites, like Facebook, have to offer schools trying to shape their online presence?
While Kim’s question is directed toward a general school virtual presence, I will be thinking about this question in relation to my library’s virtual presence.   Am I effectively use our social media presence to reach students and teachers?  How do I assess that?  And if I find I am not effectively reaching students and teachers with our virtual presence, how do I make it more effective?
How would you answer these questions for your library program?  Your musings and ideas are welcomed here!