Research Libraries are Going the Distance

The rise in distance learning has plenty of advantages for students and institutions, but there are major considerations that can affect the success of distance students—limited support networks, delayed feedback, and overreliance on technology, to name a few. So how can libraries implement practical solutions to help online students overcome the barriers to seeking, accessing, and using information sources when they can’t physically get to the library?

read more Research Libraries are Going the Distance

Read more

​Building the Future of Libraries with #Homemade Digital Tools

As part of our work at EdLab, Laura Costello and I have explored emerging technologies by prototyping systems and products for the Teachers College community. Presenting the products we have helped to create at the ALA Annual Conference allows us to share our work with the greater library community.

read more ​Building the Future of Libraries with #Homemade Digital Tools

The Library as the Heart of Learning

Even as the idea of a library as the main place to find information wanes, the library still serves an important role as a student learning space. To keep up with students’ use patterns, many academic libraries have undergone renovations and space reconfigurations to create group study spaces, cafes, and even classrooms within the library, yet libraries still struggle with managing both crowded and underutilized spaces. How can academic libraries maximize the space available to students, and plan for their needs with the greatest efficiency? To find out, Cha & Kim surveyed 252 diverse students about how they use library space, and how environmental attributes affect their choices—and rather than focusing on levels of student satisfaction with current arrangements, they directly examined the students’ preferences.

read more The Library as the Heart of Learning

Colloq: A Cool New Tool for Archiving Social Media

Rhizome, an affiliate of the New Museum, isn’t a particularly new organization—it was established in 1996 to support art and technology. Yet as an arts organization founded on the internet and focused on fostering digital culture, Rhizome has been developing quite a few interesting tools and initiatives that help re-think artistic creation, and redefine what it means to create contemporary art within the context of technology and the internet.

read more Colloq: A Cool New Tool for Archiving Social Media

Sierra Hacks #Library Scientist

Requesting a list of outstanding holds from iii Sierra generates either a printable list in .txt format or a “print to email” list, which merely copies the .txt file into the body of an email message. While this clearly works perfectly fine for many use cases, it would be much more useful for the particular paging policy at my large university library to have this information in a spreadsheet that could be shared among the staff scattered throughout the library. I investigated alternate strategies for getting this information, but Sierra seems unable to create a csv/tsv version of the list of outstanding holds.

Though I haven’t trained as software developer, I’m always willing to pick up new skills to solve ongoing problems—in this case, a semi-straightforward Python script is all we need to scrape the data from the Sierra text file and generate a .csv of the outstanding holds.

read more Sierra Hacks #Library Scientist

Making Space for Makerspaces

As libraries shift towards informal, collaborative learning spaces, makerspaces have become a growing part of library services and resources. In this article, Bowler not only explores how libraries are creating meaningful, tangible experiences that foster creativity, but also asks how educators can integrate the skills, knowledge, and aptitude required for implementing makerspaces into the professional training of librarians, without losing sight of the core mission and goals of the library itself.

read more Making Space for Makerspaces

Beacons Shine Light on the Library

When it comes to using the library, even the physical materials, most primary interactions still occur within digital spaces. Navigating the physical space often requires navigating the library website first; this can be disruptive, since the site has information to address the needs of all the library users, not just you. Imagine, though, if you could move around the library and always have easy access to just the information you want. The physical objects themselves could provide fluid access to their digital equivalents, creating a seamless information experience for library patrons. The solution already exists, and it’s fairly simple: Bluetooth beacons.

read more Beacons Shine Light on the Library