Saturday Morning Keynote by Joan Frye Williams

I am so buzzed, carrying being part of these conversations with librarians. I’m mostly listening, but it makes me fell so smart. I just got through talking to Joyce Valenza about libraries as containers, and how evil the file cabinet is. This morning we will hear from Joan Frye Williams.

Joan says that when she dies, its going to be like the chesher cat, fading away, with the mouse staying behind – talking about libraries.  We need a new initial welcome from libraries.  To many think of Madam Irma Pince (Harry Potter) and a library that is more penal then enjoyable.  She says that the students’ experience is the library’s product.

  • Williams is making a case for a green library, one that recycles and then teaches about it.
  • She says that in order to look like you are an information specialist you should be wireless (the librarian that is) — Information and technology have converged!  This is pass/fail.  It’s the entry test.  If the teacher or librarian says, “I don’t know much about this technology.” Students year, “I don’t know much of anything.”  If you whine about the technology, then you are losing credibility.
  • Libraries must not be a warehouse.  It should be an Idea Factory — where work is done.  It’s not bunsen burners anymore, it’s data files.  Think about it, librarians!
  • Furnishings for different learning styles.  Carrolls are not popular.  Students want to work and learn together.  If you want to feel comfortable, you take your buds with you, and you want to face each other.  Arrange for groups.
  • Emphasize the pleasure of learning.  Too often, people are not there by choice.  Think of the consumer technologies that are out there.  They are developed to be a playful tool.  Think of the photo contests.  We seem, lately, to even be stripping fun out of the learning experience.  Don’t call your bibliographis, bibliographies, or lesson plans, lesson plans.  Call them easter eggs and cheat codes.
  • Students ask, as they enter a library, “Will I succeed?”  They are looking for a success experience that does not require assistance.  The library should be a candy store, with what they need, lying around for the taking.  If they get stuck, then we can help them get unstuck, and then go away.
  • Simplify finding.  As Michael said yesterday, make things findable.  For librarians, information is how they give LUV.  That isn’t the same for others.  Restrain yourself.
  • Merchandize your colletion.  The spin of a book is not it’s best side.  Interesting!  Make information stumbleable.  Make it easy for people to sumble upon something.
  • Set up information neighborhoods.  Signs of sections of the library might be changable.  Librarians enjoy searching.  Everyone else enjoys finding.
  • Go with touch screens.  Make it easy and quick.
  • another question that students ask is, “Does this integrate with the rest of my (online) life?”  We must understand that we are now in an open info-system.  Many of us became librarians in an age of information-scarcity.  The general condition now is information-ubiquity.  We can firewall it out!  It’s a crime (that’s my words).  We’ve already lost that one.  A lot of learning happens nights and weekends when we’re not looking.
  • In surveys, students did not consider libraries better than a search engine an any aspect.  Student identify with the term extreme googling.
  • Put your digital library on the toolbar of your school browsers.
  • Outreach to external forums, social networks (Wikipedia, YouTube,, myspace.  Shouldn’t you have an entry for your library in the Wikipedia.  They don’t start with the library, so put sign posts out where they are looking.
  • Podcasting is easy and cheap.  If you are generating content, set it up to be podcasted.  Don’t call it a lesson.  Call it a podcast.
  • Don’t overlook IM.  It will give you street cred.
  • Here is a phenomenon, continuous partial attention.  Need a system that faclilitates this and focus.
  • Students may be asking, “May I partricipate?”  Yahoo use to say, “Find Use Shae and Expand.”  Libraries should be doing the same thing.  It’s a great opportunity for getting kids involved in learning.  Participating can be blogs, vlogs, and wikis, and much more.
  • Williams also like the idea of collaborative filtering.  It’s the student version of peer review.
  • Plug into life cacheing and mash-ups.

An outstanding Presentation.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.