Libraries & Transliteracy

Bobbi Newman, Matt Hamilton, Buffy Hamilton

Bobbi’s part

Transliteracy: ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools, and media.

Fast evolution of technology going on. Industrial revolution will look small by comparison.

1976: first Jobs’ apple computer creatd.

1998: iMac

2001: first iPod

2007: first iPhone

2010: first iPad

Information used to be consumed through the printed word. Information overload concerns been around for a very long time & are not new.

Life being changed by drastic technology changes. Taxes, health info, statutes, contact information, paying bills, social media. Privacy, life online. Password strength (hacking).

Access to internet is increasing. Free wifi just about anywhere. A lot of people still don’t have access, and don’t have ability to get it.

Those with chronic diseases, under the poverty line, and those older are more likely to not be online, but these people need to be online more than anyone else. Social interaction online helps them out, keeps them engaged, saves their lives.

Change. Regurgitation of information in schools. Information is now available online, accessible in two seconds. Must instead be focused on analysis, evaluation, critical thinking about information. Patrons are looking to libraries to learn how to do this. They’re asking, requesting, and demanding this.

Transliteracy is not a destination. About methods of communication, art, culture, not just technology. Grandparents need pics printed; parents can be emailed with links to pics thru email; friends will see the pics the next time they long on.

Reading literacy — learned to read and that was it. Transliteracy is fluid that you must be able to change and learn new things, constantly.

“The future is here it is just not evenly distributed.” –William Gibson. –Knight Commission report & MacArthur Foundation reports talking about second class citizens in this digital world both mention libraries. 2nd class citizens could include senior citizens, those below the poverty line, those with chronic diseases, and some teenagers.

Digital Divide — high speed Internet access AND access to hardware. Ownership of hardware and/or lack of knowledge to use the hardware.

Transliterate Divide — those who can’t discern what a legitimate website is. Those who can’t write a resume.

Libraries are failing their patrons. We assume they know it or ignore it.

Training is important.

What can we do?

  1. stop fighting amongst ourselves. Web 2.0 vs. Anti-Web 2.0. need to meet where the patrons are at. meet the patrons needs, not ours
  2. it won’t be easy. Techies: must lead from here on out and must stop being condescending to those who don’t know; be kind and excited for those learning. Make comfortable environment. Non-techies: must move forward; have to be fearless and try and attempt. You are moving. Standing still is not working at all.
  3. there are no excuses for not doing any of this. patrons need this. It will be hard; no money; no time, but we always find time to what’s important to us. Patrons must be transliterate to be an active participant in society.

Buffy’s Part


reading and writing the world: school libraries as sponsors of transliteracy

  1. sponsors of literacy
  2. participatory librarianship

“literacy is the energy supply of the information age.” –Deborah Brandt.

“this means that our democratic institutions (schools and libraries particularly) have to work hard and thoughtfully to mitigate these forces.” –Deborah Brandt

Knight Foundation is calling upon libraries to be this powerful agent into what literacy can mean in the lives of patrons, for transliteracy, we’re doing something even greater for the public good.

“as new and powerful forms of literacy emerge, they diminish the reach and possibilities of receding ones” –Deborah Brandt

In the very near future, Transliteracy, digital literacy will become as valuable as the three Rs.

How do we invite and facilitate conversations about transliteracy with our patrons?

participatory librarianship is about inviting and creating spaces for participation; sparking conversations (f2f; virtual means); knowledge construction and creation; libraries are in the change business.

Not just books. eBooks; mobile readers; iPods; cell phones; mobile computing (using Evernote, for example); ereaders; research pathfinders that reflect the changing nature of social scholarship with tools such as rss, social networks, videos, mashups, and other information feeds (not just databases).

Connecting students with real world experts. Skype. Blogging.

Collaborative tools to create and share knowledge; Social bookmarking tools (diigo, evernote, delicious);

scaffold alternate ways of representing learning and knowledge (glogster)

Scanning, posting, and licensing artwork (creative commons licenses)

Multigenre elements of learning

Presentation zen and digital citizenship and get away from death-by-powerpoint.

Harness power of cloud computing. RSS; Netvibes; videos; blogs; widgets

Rethinking what “collection” means. Gaming. Manga and anime (graphic novels); virtual reference; digital equipment (flip cameras); information portals & digital information;

“The possibilities are challenging and exciting”

“libraries efforts as sponsors of translitearcy can provide ripple effects in the lives of our patrons.”

Matt’s Part

Supporting Transliteracy

21st century skills– IMLS

customers growing up with expectations of ubiquitous access.

For those not growing up as digital natives, libraries are about the only institution that people can turn to.

IT traditionally looked to as locked-down. Tools looked at as security threats.

“teach yourself.” –IT self-taught, but not normally good teachers, and frustrations provided on both sides during training.

How do we bring everyone to the table and work together?

Get excited and make things.

Have to ask IT to shift focus from fixing things to getting involved with programming; (hacking Wii firmware); program at St Louis Public Library on personal technology assistant;

IT can help take it further; classes on things as removing Spyware; alternatives to paid software; IT can help lead the way to increase tech competencies. IT staff not comfortable with training can work with those more comfortable with training already (reference desk staff).

IT can support digital storytelling workshops; video game club — developing games yourself (Scratch & Alice);

“Make tools for creating and experiencing new media broadly available.

We’ve got to work together. All about partnerships.