Content Creation, Media Labs, and Hackerspaces

Skokie Public Library's Digital Media Lab

I’ve been thinking about content creation and libraries lately. Right now, we collect content – hence our shelves of stuff. Yes, we do many other things too. But if you look at our buildings, they have been, by and large, designed for collections of stuff – for collecting content.

Some libraries are changing that focus (or at least adding on to it) by enabling customers to create their own content in a variety of ways … and it’s pretty interesting stuff!

I’ll lump what I’m seeing into three loose categories:

  • Digital Media Labs
  • Hackerspaces
  • Coworking spaces

Digital Media Labs: These spaces have content creation tools that allow customers to create and share video, music, photography, and design projects. Customers have access to computers with editing software, cameras, camcorders, microphones, and musical keyboards.

The best examples I’ve seen of this so far are Skokie Public Library’s Digital Media Lab and Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia project. Skokie’s lab has a greenscreen wall for video projects; Youmedia includes a small recording studio space.

Hackerspaces: “A hackerspace … is a location where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, or digital or electronic art (but also in many other realms) can meet, socialise and/or collaborate … hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things” (from Wikipedia).

Basically, hackerspaces tend to be public spaces with tools – 3D printers, drill presses, etc. And people make stuff there. Who’s doing this? Well, Allen County Public Library and Fayetteville Free Library are, for starters.

Coworking Spaces: Coworking is a pretty simple concept. Independent workers, freelancers, small business owners, etc. gather in a shared space to share ideas, team up on projects, and get some work done in a more social setting. It’s an alternative to meeting at home or a local coffee shop.

Libraries have unofficially done this for years (how many of you have heard of a patron who runs his/her business from the library? I’ll bet some of you have). But some libraries are going a step or two further by embedding librarians in these spaces, or even offering coworking spaces as part of their services. Meg Knodl, a librarian at Hennepin County Library, is doing this – here’s an article on what Meg is doing. Helsinki City Library has created some coworking spaces – read more about it here.

For more info, check out these articles:

Question – is your library doing something like this? If so, let me know in the comments!

Photo by Skokie Public Library

CIL2009: Helene Blowers’ Presentation

OK, you caught me – I was updating my presentation, so missed the first part of this… so starting notes now.

Showing connections in LinkedIn – Helene is one person away from Barack Obama.

Showing the friendwheel on facebook – you can see the lines, see where your relationships are congregating. Interesting to see who knows who.

We need to think about social networks as we create these connections and sites for our customers

Cultural consumers thrive on info and ideas …

93% of teens are online… nearly 2/3s of online teens are content creators.

Showing how there’s a switch from authoritative control of content to collaborative control – wikipedia vs britannica – wikipedia won (britannica added a wiki)

Trusted Media Index – digital natives trust their networks and experience more than older people

Digital safety: only .08% of all students say they’ve actually met someone in person from an online encounter without their parents’ permission.

Most teens ignore strangers who contact them online

About 1 in 3 teens are nonconformists, and break online safety or behavior rules … they know what they’re doing (to some extent – they don’t realize the global reach it can have)

Digitally – there are no barriers. the playing field is leveled. access is universal. connection is ubiquitous. It’s all about ME. = a ton of opportunities.

Digital piracy. digital natives think of this as sharing.

talking about remixing of content. Creative Commons, remixing music, fan fiction, etc.

Quote – in the past, you were what you owned. Now you are what you share.

Digital Advocacy

Strategy Framework that Columbus Metropolitan Library is using. Question: what elements need to be present in order for our strategies to support virtual users?

1. young mind
2. virtual users:
engage – enable customers to connect with library staff, services, and with each other in meaningful ways. Goal. Our customers feel connected.
Enrich – to provide customers with a rich online experience that enhances their local branch experience & daily lives. Goal: our customer feel they’re getting value.
Empower – to enable customers the ability to personalize and add value to the library experience and allow the community to celebrate themselves. Goal: our customers feel good about themselves.
3. power users

With this framework, the goal isn’t to answser “should we have facebook?” Instead, they are asking does it engage, enrich, and enable customers?

So the real goal – look for tools that meet these things

CIL2008, Day 2: Innovation Starts with “I”

Speakers: Helene Blowers, Tony Tallent

How do we get the innovation and change to occur? This track is about that – how to move our organizations forward.

Talking about the ingredients of innovation

What’s innovation NOT?
process improvement
strategic planning
best practice

What is it?
it’s an intersection
a pivotal point

Creativity is thinking up new things.
Innovation is doing new things. It’s action.

Book to read – the seeds of innovation by elaine dundon.

Innovation is Fresh Practice! (rather than best practice)

4 components of I:

Creative is I

I am an innovator:
i have ideas
i have done my homework
I’ll do the initial legwork
i am capable of more than my job description
i am a leader, too
i take risks with you

I offer you a framework
i put \resources behind my expectations
i create growth opportunities
i SUPPORT your work
i celebrate your success
i take risks with you

Create alliances – get others on board with your ideas – sell them

prototype your idea

Don’t ask for permission – ask for support!

Sell your vision personally – don’t do it on paper. Actually, I’d say it differently – sell it multiple ways. On paper (BRIEF), person to person, via presentation, etc.

People need to SEE something, so prototype it

What’s wild success look like?
IT will not feel like business as usual.

It’s also about failure – if you’re not failing once in awhile, you’re not being innovative enough.