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.

Pivot Points for Change Session

Connecting the dots of information literacy with social media.

Buffy Hamilton, Internet & Schools East, April 2010.

Presentation slides

Rethinking ways we can instruct our students with information literacy.

– How do we support and scaffold students’ ability to read and write an ever-growing world of information?

– How do we adapt our pracitce as librarians to effectively cultivate informationally fluent students who will thrive in today’s society? — help them learn to analyze/evaluate information.

-Seth Godin: “when industry norms start to die, people panic. it’s difficult to change when you think that you must change everything in order to succeed. Changing everything is too difficult.”

– strategic changes are much more helpful than changing everything.

Don’t reinvent the wheel; instead, find pivot points for change.

Pivot Point #1:

Keep your traditional sources of authoritative information in your research pathfinders, but let the research topic and mode of research guide the integration of social media information sources and tools for delivering that content to help students navigate the maze of today’s information world.

– days of trusting the printed reference book has come and gone. Teachers must get their heads around new authorities.

AASL 21st Century Standards

New Resources for Authorities

  1. podcasts — students much more engaged at times if they listen or watch resources. Lots of resources now provide podcast; lots of authoritative information being delivered through podcasts.
    1. PBS
    2. CNN
    3. students weren’t just reading about situations; they were able to experience the situations.
    4. Podcasts can be a free and dynamic way to capture student interests
  2. Blogs — lots of experts blogging about issues.
    1. Homefires Blog (veterans transitioning back into mainstream civilian life)
    2. Netvibes — RSS feeds from several blogs all on one page
    3. Students prefer to read the blogs over a textbook — they are much more organic and students are engaged. Plus blogs are free; textbooks are not.
  3. Twitter
    1. #iranelection
    2. way to get current information about current issues.
  4. Youtube/video
    1. YouTube blocked at schools, use Zamzar to download and convert YouTube videos.
    2. Treasure trove of videos that are free and online and full of information that students can use and explore.
    3. Video used as a teaser; then, students really got excited about learning and researching.
  5. Google Maps/mashups
    1. taking data and putting it into map form
    2. Embassies Accepting Injured People in Iran
    3. Swine Flu Google Map
  6. RSS Feeds
    1. Librarians’ best friends
    2. Database vendors (including Ebscohost & Gale) have RSS feeds
    3. Newspapers, Twitter, Podcasts all have RSS Feeds
    4. Streams of information to push the information out to students
    5. Google News
  7. RSS Feeds/Widgets
    1. Don’t have to be an html expert to create widgets; already created for you.
    2. News, Topics, possibilities are endless

Teaching research is much more fun today, because so many tools available to teach research. Traditional research pathfinders are no longer. So many ways now to display research information in ways students will use them, and they are free

Pivot Point #2:

Keep focusing on teacher collaboration, but focus on creating conversations…

Create conversations about collaboration, leadership, and social responsibility….

  1. research wiki (wetpaint)
    1. building living textbook
    2. continually being updated and created
    3. share with other classes involved with the same project. very rich and informative discussions in class
    4. cross-collaboration with students; no more lone-wolf learner in era of testing; how do we share information & replicate what we see in the real world
  2. literature circle wiki
    1. book trailers
    2. notes on the face-to-face meetings posted to the class wiki.
    3. have follow-up discussions online through the class wiki, through comments on the discussion notes.

Pivot Point #3:

keep assesing student learning using traditinoal tools, but use alternative modes of assessment like blog to engage students in metacognition and to activiely reflect on their research strategities.

create conversation about adaptability and research strategies using blogs.

  1. research student blogs
    1. students get excited about the research. “Life changing, these two words give a perfect summary of what this project has been for me….” –student blog comment
    2. Real world experts comment on student research blogs.
    3. Students engage, think about topics, and connect with real-life experts.
    4. Learning tool not just for one research project. Blogs are a way to have a voice and get ideas out there. Ideas have value and meaning

Pivot Point #4:

Keep teaching students how to access and consume information, but place….


  1. multi-genre artifacts — can differentiate instruction & open up students who have abilities in other areas. Can learn online safety skills through these projects. Presentation Zen ideas covered.
    1. Facebook Page
    2. Voicethread
    3. Glogster
    4. Two Voice Poem
    5. Skit
    6. Song
  2. Presentation Zen: Students had to think about the content, not just regurgitate. Had to learn to connect with the audience.

Pivot Point #5:

Keep creating research pathfinders for students, but teach students how to forge their own paths for learning and building their own information portals

Learning is the process of creating own network…. (student created netvibes portal) (student created netvibes portal)

Students so excited about researching and learning about their topics.


  1. Baby steps are ok.
  2. anticipate some initial pushback, from both students & teachers. –for first time students were being asked, “What do you think?” Some students were ok, some not so much.

Embrace the messiness of social scholarship and questions of authority.

  1. Rules are hard & fast now; not firm. What is authoritative. If students can articulate this, they have mastered these skills.
How do you go about getting some of these tools unblocked? Check out Buffy’s Fighting the Filter Presentation.