making noise in the library – ALAO workshop

Yesterday I participated in Making Noise in the Library: Advocating for Our Students and Our Libraries, an ALAO workshop hosted by the Distance Learning Interest Group and the Instruction Interest Group.

While the day was packed with great information and conversation, it was simply enjoyable to be out of the office and “thinking big” with other librarians. The keynote was by Buffy Hamilton and she’s sharing the slides from Moving from Nice to Necessary: Academic Libraries and Communities Collaboratively Composing Participatory Practices of Learning. What was really terrific about this talk was Buffy continually referring to other scholars, helping me expand my own research and learning network. Some key references she made:

Buffy mentioned Brian Mathews‘ notion that we must give ourselves permission to pick a starting point and then let that point be flexible.

David R. Lankes is at the forefront of participatory librarianship and says that “learning is a collaborative conversation.”

She recommended the work of Dr. Henry Jenkins, particularly his paper Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.

Buffy stresses that it is important for teachers to become comfortable in being the novice and learning from the learners. There are a few ways librarians can ease the vulnerability teachers may feel and one of them is taking time to simply listen “even if it flies against everything that we hold sacred as librarians.” She extends this to listening not only to our patrons but to each other and moving beyond our silos to learn from others.

Thankfully, Buffy didn’t “think big” and leave us to wonder how we could implement collaborative communities and participatory librarianship. She finished with action steps that we can take today:

Be a trust agent. Buffy returned to Brian Mathews’ work, particularly his paper The Art of Problem Discovery. She also introduced us to Chris Brogan, social media marketing and branding master.

Use academic and information literacy standards to go deeper in inquiry. In other words, become authentic thinking partners with our students and faculty. Here she refers to the work of Lauren Pressley and char booth.  Buffy also focused on Barbara Stripling‘s Model of Inquiry and many practical examples of how to engage students in this model.

Let student passions and needs drive the story of the library. This is where knowledge sharing can be important. Buffy mentioned the work of Ellen Hampton Filgo, aka the Hashtag Librarian, and Alison Hicks. Makerspaces made an appearance in this category too.

While the late morning and afternoon sessions were great, it was the keynote that both expanded my librarian learning network and addressed my current dilemma of wondering how to go from “nice” to “necessary.” Thanks to a rather simple day of learning and talking with other librarians, I now have a lot of new ideas for my instruction – my primary goal for this summer!