Knowledge Rocks Charlotte, NC!

April 21, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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On Friday Lunch Money rocked again in the “Knowledge Rocks” tour at PLCMC’s ImaginOn. A large event was built around this Friday of National Library Week called “The Red, Read Party.” Hundreds of kids, teens and adults came to rock out, play and celebrate together at event.

Knowledge Rocks New York City!

April 21, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Lunch Money rocked out New York at NYPL’s Donnell Central location on April 12. Kids and adults of all ages enjoyed the good rock of this smart and high energy group.

Great sign

April 18, 2008 at 11:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I was giving a tour to the librarians who are visiting Charlotte on an exchange program from Yarra Plenty Regional Library system in Australia. While we were at North County Regional Library I came across this great sign!

Reading

What a great message! Ironically my husband and I had decided the night before to cancel our cable TV because there is never much on that we want our kids to see. Besides we have tons of DVDs that we can check out for free from the library!

Make Learning Joyful

April 16, 2008 at 11:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The art of storytelling traces back to prehistoric times and it’s legacy remains even today through cave paintings, art, and even oral history. I often hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady wins the race.” Everyone remembers the story of the tortoise and the hare. No matter how many decades go by, no matter how many languages you learn, no matter how many degrees you earn…a well told story will stay with you for life.Earlier this week I had the privilege to attend a workshop at ImaginOn called “The Power of Storytelling” presented by Dr. Rebecca Isbell, director of the Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and Development at East Tennessee State University.

Though this workshop was geared for library staff and educators who work primarily with children, I found that much of what I learned applied to my job of working with adult learners as well.

Why use stories? Stories help learners to…

  • Remember and reinforce key points and concepts.
  • Give meaning and deeper understanding to a new concept or skill.
  • Stay awake! How many times have you ever been in a workshop where you had to pinch yourself to stay awake?
  • Make learning fun! I wrote this quote down from Dr. Isbell today during the workshop, “Learning should be joyful–not painful.” I know that my 4-year-old son loves learning. What if we could always inspire that passion for our learners?

Some tips for getting started with storytelling:

  • If you think you are not a storyteller, think again. We’ve all shared a story of something that happened during our childhood or something that happened at work or school.
  • Build a good repository of stories. You can adapt the same story and use it over and over with different audiences just make sure it is relevant.
  • You must love the story! You may become identified by this story so be sure to choose one that you like.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Work on pace, pauses, and inflections.
  • Try the story out on a friend.
  • It’s ok to make mistakes!

This quote from Dr. Isbell sums up the importance of storytelling, “Storytelling is an interaction between teller and listener. It ultimately becomes a mutual creation.”

As a trainer I would add that it also becomes a mutual learning experience.

Live From New York–It’s Knowledge Rocks!

April 11, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. the band Lunch Money will rock out in New York City. NYPL’s Donnell Central Children’s Room will be hosting this great band who have come all the way from the Carolina’s to be a part of the Knowledge Rocks Concert. They’ll play the following week on April 18 during the Red, Read Party at ImagiOn!

Here’s to rocking out, learning, growing together!

 

Knowledge Rocks in NYC

April 10, 2008 at 9:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m headed to New York City to see the first leg of the Knowledge Rocks concerts through. Just last night ifound out that some cool Dutch library staff I met at the Computers in Libraries Conference are going straight to NYC this morning as well…AND our Austrailian exchange staff members Lynette & Jane are coming up as well! Here’s to Knowledge Rocking together.

Oh, by the way…the concert will take place at Donnell Central Library at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12. It will be the last major event EVER at this location!

 

Unprogramming [part 3]

April 9, 2008 at 8:11 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

And now for the final post in the Unprogramming trilogy! (See parts 1 and 2 below to bring you up to speed.) Besides giving me a place to set up the computer, my table in the lobby also turned me into the de facto library concierge for a couple of hours. People had questions about library operating hours, story times, computers, etc. I was able to either answer their questions or direct them to helpful branch staff members just a few feet away at the desk. What else did I do during that time?

  • Uploaded a picture to a patron’s myspace account
  • Talked about the pros and cons of switching to a Mac from Windows
  • Explained how to sign up for a Gmail account
  • Demonstrated how to import to iPhoto from Photo Booth
  • Gave directions to a different library branch
  • Looked up the title of book through the library’s website
  • Showed someone how to set up the iMac

I consider this experiment to be a successful one. Not every program has to be planned to death. In fact, sometimes the programs with looser parameters turn out to be more enjoyable experiences for everyone involved. I know that we cannot call every library program an “unprogram” and there is definitely a place in libraries for detailed, thoroughly planned experiences. But there is also a place for free flowing experiences that put the objectives and outcomes in the hands of the users, not the staff. I am already planning (err..unplanning?) my next unprogram.

One additional note: I realize that not every library branch or system has an iMac to use for programming. You can unprogram with technology (try iPods, digital cameras, scanners, podcasting, gaming, etc.) or without. The important factor is the engaging experience, not the use of cool tech toys.

Jason

Circle of Knowledge board update!

April 4, 2008 at 11:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wow, the South County Regional Library Circle of Knowledge board is a big hit. Don’t believe me! Well, you can just look at this wonderful picture of what has been posted on the board. There isn’t any empty space left, is there?

Circle of Knowledge board at SOR

 

 If you want to challenge yourself, you can use this idea to have a blank space at your library, your school, your classroom or even your house. Then, you can post, share and be inspired by the words that people and feel free to share it here with us also. We love to hear from you.

Ciao,

Varanrat

 

The Circle of Knowledge board is Coming Soon to ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center.

Please Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

Unprogramming [part 2]

April 4, 2008 at 8:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was eager to try a drop-in technology unprogram because of a recent technology infusion in our department. (If you’re wondering what in the world an unprogram is, take a look at the previous post for part 1.) My first drop-in tech session was a “Digital Photo Booth” using the iMac’s built in Photo Booth software. I selected this topic because it didn’t require much advance planning, the software is easy to use, and people love to have their pictures taken. What was my prep work prior to the day of? The only thing I did before the unprogram date was to sign up for a free Gmail account that I added to the iMac’s built in mail client. That allowed me to instantly send a person’s photo to an email address. In the description of the session I called this a “digital souvenir.”

On a recent Saturday I had the opportunity to give the drop-in unprogram idea a trial run. For two hours I parked myself (and the iMac) at a table in the lobby of the Beatties Ford Road library branch. One of the branch staff members sent a few people my way to get the ball rolling, and the unprogramming experiment was off and running. The actual setup was simple: Patrons stood in front of the iMac, I clicked the button to take a photo, and they instantly had a digital photo of themselves. That was just the hook, however, to get them engaged in the experience. If they wanted to know more about the iMac or try something else with the software, they were welcome and encouraged to do so. Several people asked, “Does it cost anything to take a picture?” and I enjoyed telling them it was free.

In the third and final part I’ll share how this experience moved further into the realm of unprogramming.

Jason

Unprogramming [part 1]

April 3, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Wikipedia article about unconferences includes the following principles of open source meetings:

1. Whoever comes are the right people.
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
3. Whenever it starts is the right time.
4. Whenever it is over it is over.

      I took two ideas from that list (one verbatim and the other slightly modified) as guiding principles for “unprogramming.”

      1. Whoever comes are the right people.
      2. Whatever experiences people have are the right experiences.

          What is an unprogram? One of the concepts we have bounced around in our department lately has been the idea of self-directed or spontaneous programming. These would be sessions/times/happenings without any specific objectives other than to allow patrons the chance to have an engaging library experience (see unprogramming principle #2 above). Working with all of these ideas in mind, I decided to try an experiment. In part 2 I’ll tell you all about it.

           Jason

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