“Systems for Services and Discovery (RUSA Emerging Technologies Section) is organizing a panel session during the upcoming ALA Conference in Chicago. We are very excited for the sponsorship of Library H3lp and will be giving away 10 $30 Amazon giftcards to audience members. We hope you can join us!
The first years of college present many opportunities for libraries to make an impact on students’ development. Creative librarians in small and large academic institutions are employing technologies, such as library tours via mobile apps, digital collaboration tools, research suite services and tutorials, and innovative discovery tool technologies, among others. In this panel presentation, we will highlight three examples of ways libraries are using emerging technologies to enhance the first year experience of students. The speakers will be Michelle Bishop (SUNY Oswego), David Sharp (Carleton), and Sarah LeMire (Texas A&M University).
Earlier this week, I was able to attend an ALA webinar called “Liven up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language” presented by Kathy Macmillan. I was excited to learn about this topic because I am hoping to learn to communicate through signing with my own little one at home, but also because I know many of our member libraries work with small kids and thought this could be a fun addition to their storytime routine!
Kathy began the presentation by laying out the multiple benefits of including ASL (American Sign Language) in your library programs. There were a ton! Some of which were: kids are able to sign before they can speak, signing stimulates language development, it reduces frustration, and learning one form of communication encourages more communication in general. Plus, signing is an instant way to get kids to participate!
In this series we have spent a lot of time focused on libraries and how we can advocate for our libraries and our profession. Of course this is important, and if you have not told someone today about a great thing your library does – get on that!
We also need to talk about advocating for ourselves! As library people, we need to advocate for our specific jobs, and we need to advocate for ourselves to move into other jobs, to be taken seriously, and to do the good things we want to do in the library. (You can also advocate for yourself outside of the library; but here we will focus on self-advocacy in the workplace.)
Where do we start? Think about your job now. Do you like it? This is a serious question. Too many people are stuck in jobs they don’t like, or jobs that don’t speak to their skills and professional interests. Sometimes there is nothing to do about that, and then you either decide to just grit your teeth and do it (develop some good outside hobbies!), or you start looking around for another job.
Let’s assume that we are somewhere different, that we are in a job that may not really connect with the things we know we can do professionally, or that we can not see with a strong potential for growth and promotion. It’s not bad enough to leave it, but things could be better.
You might blink a couple of times if a patron asked you this question! But we want you to be about to confidently say “Yes! Have you found our library’s cache??”
Geocaching is a popular activity for people of all ages, all tech abilities, and located literally anywhere you could go. It is done at bus stops, at highway rest areas, in parks, at historic sites and in junkyards, downtown and in the middle of the woods, with friends or alone. An astronaut cached on the International Space Station!
But what is it?
“Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” It sounds easy. Sometimes it is. And sometimes all you get is the fun of hunting for things. And that is the real attraction of caching: the chance to look around for things – either right in your own neighborhood or as you travel to new places! Finding things that others have hidden for you lets you participate in a special community, one in which Muggles have no idea what is happening right under their noses. You discover new places, find new people, and have fun – a great combination. Think Pokemon Go, but more real-world. Fewer monsters, less fighting – more focus on finding things.
Libraries are natural spots for caching, and work well with people who may want to go out to cache to explore the community. Caching involves identifying a specific piece of information (the cache), then hunting it down. Sound familiar? It’s pretty similar to the work we do in hunting down information online or finding books for people! Library people are natural cachers; we know how to be tenacious and to keep hunting for that one thing we need out of a whole environment of other things. And providing caches in our library is a great way to encourage people to visit us!
And many libraries are already getting in on this action. Does your library have a cache? Would you like to?? Read through the instructions here, scrolling down to read Hiding Geocaches.
You can also participate by sharing Travel Bugs! “A Travel Bug is a Trackable that moves from place to place, picking up stories along the way. Here you can add your own story, or live vicariously through each Bug’s adventures.” What kinds of adventures could your travel bug have?? SO many!!
CMLE is setting up some library Travel Bugs. You can follow the adventures of our Travel bugs, and get updates as they move around to exciting new locations; and we will update you as they make their way around to different libraries. Set up a cache in your library, so our Travel Bugs can come visit you! Click on these links to see the Travel Bug individual pages – complete with photos of CMLE Office Bear Clarence holding each.
And the Geocaching Vlogger spends time looking for another library cache, which is requiring use of the library resources! (All our patrons should be this excited about coming to the library!!)
Look through these resources for some information about library caching:
The Other Wikipedia: A Geocache in The Library “In 2013, staff created a geocache to be hidden within the Beatley Central Library. Starting at the Information Desk, a series of clues guides players through various collections until they reach the actual geocache. Staff creatively employed the Dewey Decimal System to navigate geocachers from one clue to the next.”
Libraries “Cache” in on Geocaching Treasure Hunts “As physical collections shrink in response to the digital revolution, most libraries are looking for ways to keep the turnstile spinning. In central New York near Syracuse, Liverpool Public Library (LPL) found one answer this past spring in the call of the wild, namely, the growing geocaching craze.”
NLD ideas: Let a library geocache help in the hunt for new visitors “It’s a perpetual problem when promoting libraries: how to avoid preaching to the converted and inspire people who’d never normally come through the doors to make their first visit. Libraries as far apart as Cornwall and Norfolk, Glamorgan and Ayrshire have all found an innovative answer – set a library geocache.”
Does your library have a geocache? Tell us all about it! We would love to feature you and your library in an upcoming story!
This article from Public Libraries Online describes some of the instruments available (they are mainly stringed instruments and hand drums) like acoustic guitars, ukuleles, and bongos. The library hopes to gain more instruments to share with the public during their instrument drive.
The way it works is that a person can borrow one instrument at a time for 21 days, and if no one else has made a request for the instrument, they are able to renew their instrument up to two times. However, that opportunity won’t come for awhile – the article shares how only three days after the Vancouver Public Library launched the Instrument Lending Library, every instrument was checked out, with a wait list of up to 70 patrons for some instruments! Hopefully the instrument drive is successful and the library will be able to acquire more instruments to share with the public.