Category Archives: Innovation Action News

On Innovation (but not technology!)

logo_808707_printIn September, Adriana wrote an astute post on this blog about the term “innovation” being equated with “technology.” I have been musing on that subject for the past several days, especially as it pertains to public libraries, and increasingly, academic libraries. I now work in an academic library, but I got my start there. I have also worked in a homeless shelter, and that experience provides a backdrop for some of the following musings as well.

Adriana’s post sparked my thought process about an inherent challenge for libraries; that is, how best to serve different and diverse communities of users, from the homeless population to tech-savvy teens interested in videogame design and programming. I’m also very interested in how we serve populations that we can’t “see”; libraries often focus on user needs via surveys of current users. But what about services to homebound seniors and senior centers? What about the growing population of refugees? What about the students (and this is a true example from my own experience) who never enter the library until the final semester of their master’s degree? We have had SIX YEARS to reach this patron, whom we could have given very valuable resources; how and why have we not done so?

Some libraries have addressed the needs of homeless populations by incorporating social service offices into their premises and adding homeless street outreach workers to their staff. When I think about how often I helped library patrons log onto the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) website to access benefits (e.g. food stamps, unemployment, etc.) and assisted patrons with resume and job application questions, these ideas seem to be on the right track. But what about bringing the library to the homeless population as well? For instance, starting a satellite operation in the homeless shelter in conjunction with DWS staff, where folks can check out and return books, learn tech skills, and use computers?

I realize libraries can’t be everything to everyone, and I’m not picking on any particular library here because I think we must partner with each other in order to operate such outreach efforts; academic as well as public libraries must be invested in their communities. For instance, given the entrepreneurial business community downtown, could the library community in greater Salt Lake City offer tutorials on conducting patent and trademark searching, copyright information, and industry and market research through the Women’s Business Center Business Essentials program? Could we jointly operate a one-librarian satellite location downtown to assist entrepreneurs and established business owners with research and information needs?

When libraries think about expanding services, we often just add more, when we could be adding the right resources or targeting new populations. We add more databases, more e-books, more computers, and more branches. This is not necessarily wrong; we often do need more, but I think it would also be useful for us to think about using what we have to target new populations and match the right resources to the right patron.

We must open ourselves up to the diversity of what our patrons actually are, as well as who our patrons could be, while at the same time maintaining our identity as knowledge institutions and spaces where quiet introspection can take free rein (and surprisingly, quiet space is often hard to find in today’s libraries!). I’m not maintaining that I know how to execute innovation in reaching users, given increasingly tight budgets, underpaid and overworked staff, and competing interests for library services, but my intent here was simply to put out some ideas. What innovative services does your library offer? What would you like to see your library offer? What do you think is working in terms of reaching new users? What’s not working? Post it all here!

There are several articles that I consulted in writing this post. Shannon Mattern wrote an excellent piece published in Places Journal titled Library as Infrastructure (June 2014). Jeff Goldenson and Nate Hill wrote an article titled Making Room for Innovation for Library Journal (May 16, 2013). Additional musings were found in Thomas Felton’s Innovation Teams article for the Urban Libraries Council.

By Jessica Breiman, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Triple Threat: Teaching, Research, and Technology in Higher Education

logo_808707_printThis week, I’m going to take advantage of you, my favorite captive audience, and shamelessly plug an upcoming innovation-centric event. Sleazy, I know, but I swear it’s worth your while to keep reading.

On February 27, 2015, the J. Willard Marriott Library is hosting our first ever Symposium on Emerging Technology Trends in Higher Education. Taking a cue from the New Media Consortium’s 2014 Horizon Report, the symposium will explore the intersection of teaching, research, and technology and higher education.

And this is where you come into the picture, dear readers: We’re inviting presenters to talk about their perspectives on that intersection, focusing on challenges, trends, and future developments. You can check out the call for papers for presentation ideas, but you’re certainly not limited to those suggestions. The proceedings will be published as an open access journal following the symposium.

And here’s the real kicker. The symposium is a free (FREE!) day-long event, and we will provide a coffee service and a light lunch.

To register to attend or to submit a proposal, please visit our site.

By: Adriana Parker, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Know Your Why, Know Your 8!

By: Tegan Davis, Eagle Valley Library District, PR Librarian


Why are you a librarian?

This question was proposed to the 90+ librarians attending Lead the Change; after watching a short clip of Simon Sinek explaining the ‘golden circle’ and our brain’s neocortex and limbic systems response to it. We were instructed to write our ‘Why’ on a sticky note and put it on the conference room wall. Here’s what I wrote: ‘To serve and to assist in dreams becoming a reality’.

This is why I’m a librarian:  to serve my community in whatever capacity I can and to assist my community in making their dreams a reality.  I want to be of my community and librarianship is about building relationships and assisting in growth.

Lead the Change came right after I completed my final module for Leadership Park City (Class XX) with guest speaker Walter C. Wright, Jr. (He proposed 8 questions, which I’ll get to.) Mr. Wright stated a correlation between leadership and mountaineering in that—“like it or not we’re all tied together” on the same rope. To lead requires at least one follower; thus, leadership is about a relationship between two people—one who seeks to influence and one who chooses to be influenced. Yet, as with any relationship, they both will influence and be influenced by each other.

How does this effect an organization or a mountaineering team?

In that the decisions the leader makes based on the leader’s values have a ripple effect throughout an organization (from administration to front line staff) or a mountaineering team (from the first to the last person on the rope). It’s not just about the summit—toxic leadership, which has adverse effects on staff and their morale; the organization and short and long-term performance of the organization.   A great leader is focused on the trail they leave behind for their team:

“The values and integrity of leadership shape the relationships of trust and respect that enable collaboration and cooperation in any organization. Character matters!” –Walter C. Wright, Jr.

Mr. Wright proposed 8 questions to be answered in order to get your bearing on your values as a leader and as a follower (who do you want to be on a rope with?).

The 8 questions:

What’s the single most important thing in life to you?

What do you want to be known for?

At this point in life, what do you want to learn?

What gets you up in the morning?

What makes you weep?

What are you good at?

With whom in the day do you laugh, play, and weep with?

What’s your exercise program?

These questions are not always easy to answer; for example, a fellow Leadership Class XXer shared the eight questions during a staff meeting. The response: staff yelled, discussed shortfalls, and some people started crying. All the more reason to answer these questions!

What’s your ‘Why’ and ‘8’? What’s your organization’s ‘Why’ and ‘8’? Figuring these out will help you as a leader, as a follower (finding organizations or leaders that align with your values), and in engaging with your community by articulating the ‘Why’ and ‘8’.

On Finding Your Inspiration

By: Jessica Breiman, University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library

logo_808707_printIf you are like me, sometimes your job is not always the most fulfilling. You might feel stunted, bored, or outright frustrated by work obligations. Maybe the job isn’t fulfilling enough, maybe navigating the bureaucracy gets you down, maybe you get frustrated by the clash of personalities and competing demands of other librarians. Maybe it isn’t the job really at all; sometimes adult working life is not very exciting in itself, amirite?

Whatever your frustration, it’s important to find sources of inspiration for yourself. Sources of inspiration can be books, people, projects, professional education, conferences, or any combination of the above.

Working in libraries, there are sources of inspiration on the shelves all around us. One that I recently read is Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie. MacKenzie is a retired Hallmark Greeting Card executive. Having served in a variety of positions, including as a greeting card designer, in a corporation that should reward and prize creativity, yet still gets bogged down in the minutiae of policies, meetings, and general bureaucracy, MacKenzie has years of insight into orbiting the corporate monster (or hairball) yet not getting sucked into its inner, entangled core.

MacKenzie (1998) writes, “Every new policy is another hair for the Hairball. Hairs are never taken away, only added. Even frequent reorganizations have failed to remove hairs (people, sometimes; hairs, never). Quite the contrary, each reorganization seems to add a whole new layer of hairs. ..With the increase in the Hairball’s mass comes a corresponding increase in the Hairball’s gravity. There is such a thing as Corporate Gravity. As in the world of physics, so too in the corporate world: The gravitational pull a body exerts increases as the mass of that body increases. And, like physical gravity, it is the nature of Corporate Gravity to suck everything into the mass – in this case, into the mass of Corporate Normalcy. The trouble with this is that Corporate Normalcy derives from and is dedicated to past realities and past successes. There is no room in the Hairball of Corporate Normalcy for original thinking or primary creativity” (p. 31). [emphasis mine]

The challenge for the reader is this: MacKenzie doesn’t offer the reader a roadmap to happiness and creativity at work. That’s our part of the journey!

One option to get you motivated could be asking what projects your colleagues are working on and offer to help; perhaps you can get involved with something outside your work zone and develop a new skill. Another option is simply to ask for help. I know that I forget that people, especially my colleagues, WANT to help me! All I have to do is ask! If you can be honest with your supervisor, maybe you can discuss your problem with them and ask for input or permission to start a new project. Maybe other colleagues can provide suggestions of what keeps them inspired and effective at work.

While admittedly, libraries have much less funding than Hallmark, what can we make happen on our wee little budgets? Maybe there is a free conference you can attend, a low-cost local training, or some other professional education opportunity that could help jumpstart your imagination. Is there a scholarship available? And how can your middle management help you?

MacKenzie (1998) writes “Any time a bureaucrat (i.e. a custodian of a system) stands between you and something you need or want, your challenge is to help that bureaucrat discover a means, harmonious with the system, to meet your need” (p. 139). What programs, projects, or collaborations could we start? Maybe it’s not a big thing. Maybe yours is a small project. But the point is to make it big enough so that you are launched away from the hairball and into orbit!

MacKenzie, G. (1998). Orbiting the giant hairball: A corporate fool’s guide to surviving with grace. New York: Viking Penguin.

Reach Out and Figuratively Touch Someone


Whenever I hear the word “innovation”–and it gets thrown around pretty frequently in libraries these days–it’s often used in a way that makes it seem interchangeable with “technology.” And that’s really missing the point. So, for this edition of Innovation Action News, I think it would be useful to revisit the denotative meaning, to go a little old-school in order to discover new ways to accomplish those things we want to do, and to do them better (more efficiently, more cost-effectively, on a larger scale, you name it). I know that sounds contradictory, but stay with me, folks.

I’m a big believer in outreach as a form of innovation, regardless of the medium or the type of library. And, for the record, we librarians have a STRONG outreach game. One great example at my university is the work that the Eccles and Marriott librarians do in the Bench to Bedside program, in which librarians are embedded into the infrastructure of the program in order to support students with their research needs. Such a good fit, right? It just makes sense.

Another successful example of outreach is Personal Librarian programs that are cropping up in academic libraries all over the country–Yale, Chapel Hill, Barnard, and Drexel are particularly notable. This year at the University of Utah, I’m coordinating with The MUSE Scholars Program to provide each student involved in the program with a personal librarian. Since many haven’t selected a major, I don’t assign librarians according to their areas of expertise; it’s more like luck of the draw. And so far, we’ve been fairly lucky. This year, twenty librarians are participating in the program and connecting with approximately 200 undergraduates, reaching out to them at anticipated points of need, such as mid-terms and finals (actually a couple weeks beforehand). This is the first time  we’re working with this particular group, but it sure seems to be a good fit for those who are seeking a signature experience.

One last example, and this one is very old-school-meets-new-school: At my library, we serve on College and Interdisciplinary Teams to carry out our collection development duties. So, rather than each subject selector approaching his/her department independently with a small pot of money that’s designated to that specific department, teams of librarians collectively address the research needs of the colleges and with bigger, shared pots of money. (I like to visualize actual pots of money when I talk about this concept. Yes, as if we’re leprechauns.) And that goes for outreach, too. While each librarian is assigned to one (or two) departments and meets and communicates with those faculty members and students, we also come together to offer interdisciplinary support (e.g. offering workshops like “Advanced Research in the Humanities”).

What I’m getting at is that innovation doesn’t have to be driven by technology, just by a perceived need and an appropriate response. And that response can include technology if it fulfills the need better. But we can be creative, and thoughtful, and try new things without relying on gadgetry to make it sexy. That’s not to suggest that technology doesn’t have a place in libraries because it very clearly does. I just don’t think we have to force it.

The grand takeaway: If anybody would like to gift me an iPhone 6, that would be awfully nice. Because outreach.

By: Adriana Parker, Instruction Librarian, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Failure: EVERYONE’s Dirty Little Secret

logo_808707_printI have failed numerous times in my life, but we usually do not discuss our failures. If you have ever been to a library conference, board meeting, or office party you have heard endless expositions of triumphs and laudable results. Failure is unacceptable in our society and, more often than not, in our work places. We treat other people’s simple mistakes and good-faith efforts gone awry as personal opportunities to gain advantages. We have all seen people do this and many of us have done it ourselves. I understand that workplaces are competitive, but at what cost?

Failure is inevitable, but what do we personally, professionally, and institutionally lose by not discussing it openly and honestly? Even if we do discuss our failures within a safe space, what do we lose by not sharing what we have learned more broadly? Now this isn’t me trying to say my failures weren’t actually failures because I learned something from them. This is me sharing my failures and some of the lessons that I have learned in hopes of helping someone else avoid the same fate. So, let’s discuss three of my failures.

The Insecure Man-Child

When I began my job in San Juan County I had almost no library experience. On my first day of work I was in charge of a branch library and within two months was managing the entire system. Unfortunately though, I was too insecure to ask for help. I did not want my employees to know that I knew less than them. I did not want the library board to know that I was learning on the go. I did not admit to myself that I needed help. It took me several months before I started reaching out to an amazing library board president and other librarians from around the state. Instead of being met with scoffs from unsympathetic colleagues as I assumed I would be, I was given every chance to succeed by committed individuals who invested in me. They created a safety net for me that allowed me to grow and learn. I was working hard, but I wasted several months groping in the dark before I allowed people to help me.

This leads to two important questions: are you part of someone’s safety net and do you feel like your supervisors and colleagues are a safety net for you? Everyone needs a safety net. If we are going to be creative and innovative we are going to fail. I was given a safety net and now I try to be a safety net for others.


I began telling people as early as the sixth grade that I was going to be a history professor. I loved history and I did well at school. When I began graduate school in history I became very depressed after just one semester. I was not sufficiently self-aware to connect the dots right away, but by my second year I knew I did not want to continue. The only problem was, I did not know how to articulate this to myself or other people. I was newly married and had told my wife that I was going to be a professor. I felt like I would be letting her down or changing the game on her if I changed my mind. I had always discussed grand plans with my friends and family, what would they think of me for giving up so easily. I just kept trudging along until my lovely wife confronted me. She knew I was unhappy and I finally let it all out. More than anything she was relieved that I had finally discussed this with her. She helped me search for other opportunities and because of her I now have a career that I love. My failure wasn’t not becoming a professor, it was not trusting the people who loved me the most.

Everyone needs people in their lives that will confront them with hard truths and then support and love them unconditionally.

Neighborly Love

For years my wife has taken great care of our ninety-something year-old neighbor. She invited her to meals, holidays, and simply to visit. Earlier this year she invited our neighbor over for dinner on Mother’s Day. She came, we had good food and a nice visit, and later that night she died. She had told her cousin what a wonderful dinner and evening she had had, and her cousin relayed this compliment to me. This woman had very little family and almost nothing to do. I could have done so much more for her and now she is gone. For some reason I thought a ninety-something year-old woman would be there forever. This might be more a regret than a failure, but what if that was my mother or my wife. I could have done so much more to make her life enjoyable.

I know we are all working hard, but there is always something more that we can do.


Now, why am I discussing all of this in an article that is supposed to be about innovations. I believe that it is an innovation to discuss failure. We all need to openly discuss what went wrong. My failures stay with me much longer than my successes and mean much more to me in the end. We all need to work on self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and emotional maturity. I believe that discussing failure will go along way to help each of us do that. I would also suggest that you all read a book called True North: Discover your Authentic Leadership by Bill George.

May The Failures Be With You.

By: Dustin Fife, San Juan County Library Director and ULA President-Elect

On Creativity in Library Instruction

logo_808707_printAs the new school year begins (it started on Monday at the University of Utah), I think about my own education and the drudgery that I experienced as a student. Every class was set up the same, no matter the topic: a full slate of readings, in class lectures followed by stilted discussions, the same old timeline of quizzes, mid-terms, and final research papers. After cramming for the final and staying up all night writing the final paper, I mostly forgot everything I had memorized within two weeks.

The classes that I still remember as truly transformational were the ones that strayed from these norms. They may not have strayed too far, but just enough to jog my brain out of the ruts it had fallen into. In these classes, I had professors who asked us to draw material from our own lives and apply it to the material; we watched football games and horror movies, and made connections between current events and our coursework. In these classes, we were encouraged to say whatever we were thinking during class, regardless of the perspicacity of the comment.

Now…library instruction can’t be all that can it? Perhaps not.

But it can be more lively, engaging, and truly educational than the same-old same-old.

Most librarians only have brief opportunities to reach students; perhaps five instruction sessions or maybe even just one. Which is truly not enough, but we have to work with what we get, cooperate with professors, and show our willingness to help out so that maybe next semester we get longer periods of time to work with students.

As I sat down to write this blog post, I reflected both on my experiences as a student and as an instructor. What follows are a few things that I have learned from teaching instruction sessions, providing reference at the main undergraduate reference desk, and from being a student, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate.

  • Most students that I have encountered have never been in a library, or if they have been in one, they have never really used it. This means they have no idea how the catalog works, what call numbers and subject headings are, or how to locate an item on the shelf. For the instructor, this means: SLOW DOWN. The students truly have no idea what you’re talking about!
  • Slowing down often means scaling back; you won’t be able to cover as much material as you intended. But you can make the material you cover more meaningful and helpful to the students.
  • The best advice I ever received when wrestling with learning a difficult subject matter: PLAY! Set up games where students can play and learn at the same time. This might be Reference Sources Jeopardy, library terminology Wheel of Fortune, setting up a library geocaching hunt to locate resources, anything! But inserting a little friendly competition always gets juices going, especially if there are some sweet treats involved!
  • Heed a phrase I heard often when I worked in social services: Meet the client where they’re at. That is, where is the student starting from? Do you know? Can you find out? Know your audience! What kind of technology do they use on a daily basis? Can you create a class Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or Instagram account that they can use for discussions, status updates on research projects, library treasure hunt finds, sharing links, etc.? From social media, can you move them beyond to other useful technologies like digital storytelling or developing their own altmetrics sites?
  • Another branch off of that idea: do your students need to go in the library to find you? What if you went to them, not just for instruction, but for weekly research help in their department? What if you could use that time to help them research, ask them what they need (a book for class? a book for pleasure? there’s so much you can help with!) and just generally be available! And why not have a small book display and candy while you’re at it…I’m not above a little bribery to engage with students!
  • Alternate activities! I don’t want to sit and listen to anyone, much less myself, drag on for an hour straight. Alternate games with quizzes with research and database exploration and you will find that your students are better able to pay attention and remember your takeaways.
  • Speaking of, what are your takeaways for students? What is the most useful thing you can teach them? In my opinion, it’s letting the student know where they can get help. Test them on the location of the general reference desk, their subject liaison, what the library can help them with and where (tech help, the reserve desk, writing center, security, etc.).
  • Help the students engage with each other about ideas. Give them room and time to think through their research topics with each other, brainstorm key words and concepts, unravel the nitty-gritty of developing an idea and deciding whether it will be a good one for a final paper. That is, help them help each other develop the research skills they will need throughout their lives.

Need ideas? We all need a jumpstart once in a while! Here are some sites I visit for mumblings and musings about innovation and instruction.


And especially the 7 Things You Should Know About series

A great presentation by Meredith Farkas

Some great mobile learning apps

I follow blogs to get new ideas!

Designer Librarian

Meredith Farkas

By: Jessica Breiman, University of Utah Marriott Library


logo_808707_printI just want everyone to know, though I may have already made this abundantly clear through past podcasts and blog posts, that I AM A HUGE SUPPORTER OF ILEAD USA Utah! The deadline for applications is only two weeks away and I encourage everyone to get involved. Creative Libraries Utah is a product of ILEAD USA Utah 2013. This program and our project have been an important success in my career. I had the opportunity to work with colleagues and mentors from across the state and country. I was taught skills that helped develop a participatory technology, but more importantly, that helped develop me professionally.

A great example of what ILEAD USA Utah can do is Librarians from several universities and the Utah State Archives built a beautiful and still growing digital collection about historical Highway 89. ILEAD projects are not constrained by your walls or your communities, but by your ideas and willingness to explore.

This program allows you to take chances with new ideas in a safe environment. The primary role of each ILEAD Team is to create an innovative program directly addressing an identified user need. Individual participants will join together in diverse teams, including public, school, and academic librarians, as well as specialized library staff members.” This is an amazing opportunity to work on one of the many innovations that are stuck in your brain or in the pipeline. Success will not be measured with a year-end review, but by how much you take away from the program. 

If you are a library manager or in charge of an institution, find ways to get your people involved. There are great ideas among your staff and they are waiting for a forum and opportunity to blossom. You can help your staff develop professionally and be more fulfilled (and that is never a bad thing.) Encourage them to apply. Encourage them to grow.

Creative Libraries Utah’s own Kristen Stehel is the Program Director for ILEAD USA Utah for the Utah State Library. If you have any questions please contact her! [email protected]


By: Dustin Fife, San Juan County Library Director and ULA President-Elect


Assessment on the Fly (Sorta)


Assessment is the bane of my existence as an instruction librarian.  No need to be coy about it. Before each semester, I revisit, re-evaluate, and rework all of my assessment tools. Are they giving me the information I need? What are my students getting/not getting? Is the format appropriate? How time-consuming is it for me to review and respond to each student’s quiz, for example? And are they reading my replies? Needless to say, it’s clear that there’s a lot of energy, time, and trial and error involved when it comes to developing and using assessments.

My style of instruction runs on the quick-and-dirty side: A little bit of lecture, a little bit of demonstration, and a little bit of hands-on time. In the past, I’ve asked students (much to their chagrin) to take a quiz after each library visit outside of classroom time via Canvas. We’re talking multiple choice, ten or so questions, and the occasional short answer. Time and again, their scores tell me that they’re either not retaining what they’ve learned and practiced in my class, OR they suck at taking quizzes. And, yeah, they do vocally lament how much time it takes to complete a quiz.

So, my interest was piqued when one of my colleagues at the Marriott Library, Dr. Donna Ziegenfuss, suggested that I try using Poll Everywhere as an alternative to the traditional-format quiz.  Here’s how it works, according to the folks at P.E.:

1. Ask your audience a question with the Poll Everywhere app.
2. Audience answers in real time using mobile phones, Twitter, or web browsers.
3. See your response live on the web or in a PowerPoint presentation.

So, the major selling points here are ease-of use, instant gratification, and an engaging interface for students. This method of instruction is referred to as “adaptive learning” because of the interactive technology component, and students (anecdotally–I haven’t done my research here) seem to respond well to it.

Give it a shot and reply back to me your thoughts/questions/outcomes. Poll Everywhere is taking a minor role in my classrooms this fall.

By: Adriana Parker, University of Utah Marriott Library

How to Bring a YouCreate Lab to Your Library: Part II

logo_808707_printFunding for the YouCreate Lab was provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Utah State Library, Park City Municipality and by the Friends of the Park City Library.

Part Two: Vision to Action

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world — Joel Arthur Baker

Research and Funding:  Know Your Ask

In January 2012, Heather Reynolds, the pervious Youth Services Librarian attended a webinar presented by Skokie Public Library on creating a digital media lab.   This was the spark, which lead to a budget request by former Library Director, Linda Tillson.  Digital media labs are fairly new and not a traditional component of libraries; however, Park City Municipality recognized the need to support the community’s development of 21st Century skills and granted a $5,000 budget increase specifically for the digital media lab!

Seven months later, Jasmina Jusic, Adult Services Librarian, Chris Roh, IT Coordinator, and I began extensively researching digital media labs and discussing how we could create a lab at the Park City Library.  It became evident that our vision had developed beyond the previously conceived project scope and additional funding would be necessary.  With encouragement from the Library Director, Jasmina and I co-wrote a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant proposal for the first phase of the YouCreate Lab.  In September 2012, the Park City Library was awarded the requested LSTA Grant funds of $15,492!  Additionally, the Friends of the Library offered their support of the project by providing funding for books and materials.

Equipment and Setup:  Phase I – Digital Multi-Media

The digital media lab includes three Apple desktop computers with software that enable users to creatively express themselves through digital videos, photography, websites, graphic design, podcasts, animation, presentations, and other forms of digital media.  Also available for patrons to use are digital cameras, video camcorders and tripods; Wacom touch tablets and portable hard drives; a digital scanner, a slide scanner, and a green screen with lighting.   The selection of these items were based upon a criterion that considers the 21st Century skill needs of the community, community interests, ease of usability, product reviews, durability, cost and longevity.  Acquisition of the digital media lab equipment, software, and hardware transpired over a few months through direct purchasing with vendors (Apple and Adobe), utilizing and purchasing assistance provided by Park City’s IT Department.  (Although, the IT Department doesn’t currently support Macintosh computers, they were receptive and excited about the YouCreate Lab.)

The Park City Library invested a substantial amount of time organizing and preparing a digital media lab for community use.  A large study room, which was originally an office, was selected and reposed for the YouCreate Lab due to the counter top and cabinetry already in place.  The windows into the study room were blacked via construction paper until the lab’s ‘big reveal’.  Jasmina, Chris, and I were responsible for setting up the hardware and installing the software; however, multiple staff members assisted with the project.  For instance, Circulation and Cataloging staff ordered reference materials for the digital media lab, cataloged, designed, and programed equipment kits for ‘in house’ use as well as for ‘check out’.  Team effort is what made the YouCreate Lab possible!

Policy and Procedures:  House Rules for Your Community

Prior to co-writing the YouCreate Lab’s policies and procedures, Jasmina and I researched how other libraries were establishing a foundation for digital media labs use. For example, we studied Skokie Public Library’s rules and Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia guidelines and adapted concepts that were appropriate for our community. The policies, procedures and user agreement form we composed, reflected our community and provided equitable access while adhering to library policies and procedures already in place. In 2013, these documents were proposed to the Library Board for discussion and revisions. After a few revisions, the documents were submitted to Park City’s Legal Department. Subsequently, more legal revisions followed and the final documents were presented to the Library Board for a unanimous approval.

 Stay tuned next week for Part Three:  Vision to Action to Engagement

By: Tegan Davis, Park City Library Youth and Spanish Services Manager