The speech I would have given tonight

I am accepting an Outstanding Recent Graduate award tonight from Emporia State University, for the School of Library and Information Management. All my paperwork for the event had stated that I was to be prepared to respond to the award in a 3-5 minute speech. Knowing this wasn’t going to be a librarian-centric crowd, I prepared a speech that preached libraries and librarians and how we’re transforming communities. Unfortunately, I just learned that that was a mistake and the outstanding recent graduate honorees no longer give remarks.

So other than genuine disappointment, what can I do? I have a blog, and while my site is pretty dormant these days and not far-reaching, I’m going to put it out on the web anyway.

To my chagrin, the tears friends predicted I would have while delivering this speech won’t happen now. That’s probably a good thing. Maybe no one else will appreciate these comments but it’s a love letter to librarians and it doesn’t deserve to sit only on printed paper or in Google Drive. Here’s the speech I would have given tonight:

Good evening. I want to first thank Emporia State and the School of Library and Information Management — SLIM as we call it — for this honor and recognition. I would not be standing here today, without the support and encouragement from my parents, family, friends, colleagues, and my patrons — the librarians of the Northeast Kansas Library System.

Eight years ago I entered the SLIM program, running away from my first loves of politics and public good and I stand here today, having come full circle, in my own way.

Let me start back at the beginning. I am the daughter and grand-daughter of school librarians. I was destined to become a librarian.

I came to SLIM, KNOWING I was going to be a law librarian.

I started SLIM’s foundational coursework, and along the way, technology and social media began transforming everything.

One Sunday morning in March 2007, my reference professor told us of careers in blended librarianship, blending librarian skills with technology. That evening, I applied for the Technology Support position at the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), and in April 2007, I began supporting the technology in over 30 small public libraries across Northeast Kansas.

Today at NEKLS, I manage a library software platform that connects the resources of over 40 public and school libraries in northeast Kansas. These libraries share over 1 million items with their communities. The open source software we use, Koha, is used by thousands of librarians around the world.

My career-path has been technology-focused, but technology isn’t what fascinates me about libraries.

I now believe, that librarianship, especially in public libraries, is steeped in public good.

Libraries are one of the few democratic places (little d democratic, before anyone misinterprets that) available in almost all communities.

What do I mean by that? Libraries are one of the few places where everyone is welcome and welcome to learn whatever you want, explore whatever you want, and…

Where it doesn’t matter how much money you make or
where you went to school or
how much schooling you had or
how old you are or
where you are from or
what you look like or
what you believe or
what you want to know more about or
what you want to be entertained by.

Librarians want to help you on your journey. We want to see you succeed.

Many of you may think of libraries as a place for books. And that’s fine — that’s our brand. But libraries are so much more. Yes, the Internet allows you to search for and access a lot of “stuff”, but Google will NEVER be as good as your local librarian. A company or platform can’t transform communities — people transform communities.

The librarians I work with, in small Kansas towns and across this country, are transforming their communities through
job searching support,
cooking classes,
Lego clubs,
co-working spaces,
business support,
civic discussions,
beer crafting opportunities,
summer reading, and
yes, even the escapist new movie release.

Libraries provide opportunities for learning, offering spaces for collaboration, discussions, and music and poetry performances.

And multimedia labs in some libraries are changing the possibilities, including a brand new sound recording studio in the beautifully renovated Lawrence Public Library.

Of course, libraries still offer spaces for reading. Have a digital device? Librarians can help you with those, too.

What makes all this possible? Your local librarian.

The library spaces and “stuff” and systems are important, but without the trained librarians, particularly in our schools, I would argue libraries WILL fade into the past. The librarians are the ones working with people, connecting them with the “stuff” that they need, that next great book, or even apply for a job.

I could stand up here all night, sharing many more examples of all the ways librarians are transforming their communities. But to end, I’d like you to consider this statement, from ProtectNYLibraries: Throughout our lives, we seek knowledge and information. Throughout our lives, we learn. Throughout our lives, we turn to our libraries to continue learning. How is your local library doing this? Are you supporting them? Thank you.

Open Education Resources at the NEKLS Summer School Librarian Workshop

The following are resources from a presentation given at the 2013 NEKLS Summer School Librarian Workshop. Continue reading “Open Education Resources at the NEKLS Summer School Librarian Workshop”

Open Educational Resources & the Open Web (KASL District I)

I presented at the KASL District I workshop today on Open Educational Resources and the Open Web for the School Librarian. This is a slightly revamped version from Tuesday’s presentation at Computers in Libraries in Washington, D.C., and with Gary Price’s permission (my co-presenter there), I have incorporated many of his resources into the presentation. All of the resources (links list, articles, download slides are available on my Open Educational Resources LibGuide). The slides are embedded below.

CiL presentations on Innovation and Open Education Resources

On Tuesday, I presented without slides during a sunrise session on innovation with Jill Hurst-Wahl and James King. Purposefully presenting without slides for the first time in probably 15 years (dating back to high school, yes),  I very briefly spoke about Kansas libraries and the continued innovation that goes on there, because (at least from my perspective) the Kansas library community is open to sharing, collaborating, and working together on initiatives, because many libraries have limited staff, time, financial resources, and collections. This has allowed for a lot of innovation to happen in consortias, open source software deployment, statewide platforms, and ebooks.

At the end of that same day, I presented on Open Educational Resources for the School Librarian as part of the school libraries track. The slides are embedded below. All presentation resources are available here. Gary Price also presented in the session on the same topic, focusing on open web resources and their untapped wealth of potential for educational use. All of his great resources are available on his presentation website. There is huge potential for open education resources to be used at all levels of education (K12; College; Self-Education).

Nonfiction 2.0: Digital Extensions of Text to Support the Common Core

Dr. Marc Aronson, Author, Lecturer Rutgers

Knowledge is inherrently changing quickly — ability to process data, doubles every two years. [More’s law]

We have to begin to give them the context that information changes. Ability to process knowledge as it changes. Pluto perfect example of this.

Marc is telling stories about fossil finding.

Lee Berger used Google Earth and had a new perspective looking down. Because he looked w new eyes and asked new questions, he found new answers. And we can do the same.

Story told in print form. How does the story change in digital form? Marc showing book in iBooks format (not out yet)

The story opens with a video, explaining how Lee Berger used Google Earth for new fossil discoveries. No hominid clavicles had ever been found before.

Digital platform — freedom where you more space on digital platform.

As science changes, Marc & Lee will be tracking changes at

The print book that narrates a story to the iBook that shows the story. To the experience that allows you to see change as it happens.

InFORMation. Knowledge as it takes form. That’s what is exciting about Common Form.

Read for evidence, argument, POV. Compare/contrast. To see one view against/another. Not passively absorb, but actively think through reading, writing, and speaking.

That is the only training that will prepare young people to deal with 9 planet solar system vs 15 planet.

Knowledge is In – Form – Ation.

Melissa Jacobs Israel, Coordinator of Library Services, NYC Dept. of Education [@missyji]

“How can the use smart tech web tools and apps build curiosity, critical thinking and independent inquiry amongst students?

You can’t just teach to a standard, still have skills to teach. Many skills needed to get to the standard. These skills scaffolded. To meet a standard, you’re teaching over time. You have to break down the standard to the individual skill.

Teaching kids to critically think through these digital apps/ebooks. Not necessarily teaching a site. Teaching kids to critically think about the items they are extracting.


Bats! Flurry Fliers of the Night book. How does this change the learning experience for kids vs. flat book? How does it extend idea of inquiry? Repetition, further discovery of the bat’s life, there’s being the bat. The book uses the space of the iPad (horizontal/verticality). Understands that digital space is different from print space.

It understands that kids have questions. What does it mean to be a bat? Where would I live? What would I eat? Can I survive during the day?

Al Gore’s Our Choice book. An app like this is changing the way we interact with books. Changing the way kids are reading. They are empowered as learners, to dive deeper in the process of thinking, gives the context and the content to deal with the information and the problems.

Web Tools

Provide historical context — Tour collections. Narrow by date, area, subject. Look at two photographs and seeing how they’ve changed. Capturing first hand account information when something happened. Gathering that from around the world. This is a way of starting inquiry, critical thinking, and getting kids excited about learning about the world around them. Also teaching kids copyright, authoritative sources, debate.

Extend conversations and inquiry w Multimedia Resources from ARKive Images of life on earth. Photos & videos of wildlife of endangered species around the world. Help students see beyond facts of the animals, the information. Why are these animals endangered? Why do they need to be saved? It has a kind of wiki feel to it. People can edit the entries, ARKive verifies the posted info and if it’s correct, will incorporate. Gives credit to the videos and images. Post, comment, share information.

Education part of the site, resources for different age groups. It has teacher notes, presentations, and activity packs. Edit presentations/resources to what you need.

AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning project

NEW! AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning project