Take-Aways from the King of Information Literacy in Schools

I was honored to introduce Mike Eisenberg at the Texas Library Association Convention 2013 in the exact same building where I saw Elvis Presley! I was just as excited to hear Mike as I was to hear Elvis. So I introduced him as the King of Information Literacy because he truly is a champion for teacher librarians.  Here are a few take-aways from a leader in teacher librarianship who is always innovating and continually evolving in the information age.

Embed information literacy learning opportunities
A teacher librarian can utilize online spaces alongside physical spaces. As we transform our physical libraries with flexible collaborative seating areas, we can also share tools for creating user-generated content. We can infuse high quality, credible sources into courses and curriculum. I had to rush off after Mike’s presentation to present on a panel about that very topic: Embedded Librarianship. (See my presentation below which validates his perspective.)

Embrace Wikipedia!
Currently, the top three information sources in the world are Google, Youtube, and Wikipedia. Let’s embrace them! The first “go-to” sources are a great place to start but not always the best or the only source for the problem-solving process. As information professionals, our role is to teach critical evaluation as learners face a flood of incoming information daily. For years, educators have been reluctant to allow students to cite Wikipedia but the accuracy of the content continues to prove to be as reliable as most print resources. Students today demand convenience and real-time access and the time has come to shift our thinking from the resources to the process of deep thinking and self-assessment (personal responsibility for learning).

Offer consultation-coaching services
Through wikis and online spaces, we can offer both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities to teach information literacy. Librarians today can be available physically, virtually, digitally, electronically, and even through augmented reality and mixed reality venues.  My elementary library is evolving into an exciting physical space that embraces new media and information literacy in all formats.

Thanks for a wonderful session, Mike, even if you didn’t sing Jailhouse Rock!

 (click below to see my school library/learning lounge-loft.)


This is “Our Gutenberg Moment”

As libraries change from primarily circulating print-based materials to providing information in a variety of formats in both physical and virtual spaces, my quest has been to follow colleagues who strive to balance the rich heritage of the past with the rapidly evolving changes of digital culture.










I have used T. Scott Plutchak’s quote (click on the picture to enlarge) to end many presentations and slideshows on the topic of libraries and the information revolution. T. Scott continues to inspire me with a positive outlook on the future of civilization as we continue to value knowledge and literacy. Be sure to listen to the closing remarks in this video about librarians and publishers sharing common values. T. Scott says’ “This really is our Gutenberg moment.”



Plutchak, T. Scott. 2007. The Librarian: Fantastic Adventures in the Digital World. Serials, 20(2), 87-91.

Flying Through Media Formats with ACRL Librarians

When I organized the gridhop between two virtual worlds, I had this thought in the back of my mind that perhaps only a couple of participants would actually attend because of the difficult level of technology skills involved.  I was wrong!  An amazing group of librarians and educators from around the globe met the challenge and interacted in Jokaydia, an Australian based educational virtual world using the open-source code of Second Life.

As fifteen avatars began to gather in this new frontier, Barbara Janson (a doctoral student in library and information science) gave a tour of a 3D virtual world library she created.  Watch as these amazing technological pioneers “fly” through this library and demonstrate that information and media formats have been revolutionized and librarians are in the forefront of transliteracy.







Emerging Tech Trends and the “Trough of Disillusionment”!

Learning to maneuver in a virtual world is a daunting task for many people and the “steep learning curve” has been touted numerous times.  I am honored and humbled to be in the company of high-tech cutting edge librarians- who not only conquered this “steep learning curve” in one virtual world, but are gridhopping between worlds!

Jokaydia Lifelong Learning Library 








The ALA Association of College and Research Librarians Virtual World Interest Group organized an event on Jokaydia Grid, which is a virtual world based on open-source code (similar to Second Life).  Jokay, the owner of Jokaydia, graciously agreed to help our group and Barbara Janson, builder of the Lifelong Learning Library in 3D, led a virtual world tour.  Fifteen brave pioneers attended– juggling three worlds (the physical world on computers, Second Life as a starting point, and Jokaydia as a destination).

With current trends in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the rise in mobile apps, and an interest in augmented reality, keeping up with technology can be quite a challenge.  Virtual worlds, according to the Gartner Hype Cycle, are emerging from the trough of disillusionment!  Librarians were some of the earliest adopters and have persevered through that trough while juggling other emerging trends that impact information professions. 


Summer in Berlin- Travel Back in Time

For the past two years, I have been working with fellow librarians on virtual library projects that allow participants to “enter” a virtual exhibit or simulation.  The first exhibit we developed was Virtual Texas, which featured the Alamo.  Next, we worked with a virtual world builder who designed a rescue simulation called Virtual Tornado.  The third virtual library project was created in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Washington’s Certificate in Virtual World, which built Maya Island.

Now, in the summer of 2012, we present Summer in Berlin!







Summer in Berlin will be on display at the Community Virtual Library Exhibition Area in the virtual world of Second Life. This virtual experience will give participants the opportunity to enter an historical simulation of Berlin, Germany in the 1920’s- complete with music, art, literature, and historical attire (which will be provided).  The Berlin project was created by a woman in the Netherlands who is an historical consultant specializing in the era.

What’s the purpose of these virtual exhibits?  The Horizon Report, and current research on best practices in education, show potential and predicted growth in serious gaming for education. Librarians realize the importance of not only embracing emerging technology trends, but helping users prioritize them through teaching critical evaluation of content.  Several librarian colleagues have worked together to acquire virtual world resources in the same way librarians acquire the best physical resources available for community libraries.  In the future, it may be possible not only to “read” the book, but to “enter” the book through an immersive virtual experience in 3D.


New position in librarianship: Infoculturist

A well-respected colleague recently requested help writing a job decription for a new librarian role: Publisher of Community.  I couldn’t help but think about content creation and user-generated content.  I have been creating content for my school library for 20 years, through producing a weekly edited news show called “EETV” for Ethridge Elementary TV.  The show has evolved from old VHS format to DVD and mp4 (among other file types). So, content creation has been a part of librarianship for decades.  However, user-generated content shared online has been growing like crazy since Youtube launched.

The core values of librarianship promote acquisition of the best content available and much of the user-generated content we find online today hardly qualifies as even watchable.

Our culture is becoming, we all know, a participatory one.  The library stacks are no longer perceived as top dog in information.  What Melvil Dewey called “man’s heroic deeds” in the literature of the 800 section has been pushed back behind Pinterest and Instagram.

I enjoyed the blogpost from Michael Stephens contemplating new roles for librarians. The online name I chose for myself, Valibrarian, is out-dated but (I hope) remains quaint.  We do need new titles that emphasize services we provide with better nomenclature!  One of my favorite metaphors for a library is that of a garden. One of Ranganathan’s 5 laws for library science stated that “a library is a growing organism”. I am remindeed of how the gardener plants and weeds.  So, I thought about the word horticulturist or agriculturist.

Here’s a nomination for a librarian job title:  infoculturist.  Whaddaya think?  Any more ideas?

QR Codes for Information Delivery

I recently saw (for the first time) a QR code on the back of a book in a book store. Using the I-nigma app on my phone, I scanned the QR code and viewed the author’s website. Potential for QR codes is growing–t-shirts and other items might have QR codes.

I created a bookmark for teachers in the school library using the I-nigma QR code creator. The bookmark shared my blog, our collaborative wiki, and our Schooltube site.

At our last family gathering, I shared QR codes linked to youtube family videos on greeting cards. The teenagers thought it was cool to scan the QR codes and view home videos. With an onslaught of information on the web, QR codes may be a useful tool to conveniently share particular sites with an audience.

This new app is a reminder of the new tech tools we encounter daily, many with similar purposes and some completely trivial.  My goal is to search for meaningful purposes, unique applications, and an awareness of the waves these new trends bring in this “sea of chaos.”

Twirling Through Tech Tools

Back to school we go! I prepared a presentation for colleagues called “Twirling Through Tech Tools” that starts at glogster.com. The idea is to share numerous new tools (actually there’s an onslaught of them facing us daily) with a reminder that purpose should trump form. Dozens of online applications help us with presentations, media mashups, pictures, graphics, music, and social networking. As educators, there is no way we can utilize all of them. But through collaboration, we can find the best online tools to use for specific purposes.
The presentation will specifically share these (as examples):

A Library is a Growing Organism

My favorite one of Ranganthan’s Five Laws of Library Science is “the library is a growing organism.”  Circulation of books and materials is similar to the human circulation system.  Another metaphor for the “growing organism” might be a garden, with the librarian tending to healthy plants by weeding and planting (acquisition of new materials).  Books that are unused or unread have no place in a healthy library.  Lev Vygotsky, in Thought and Word, discussed the idea of thought being “alive.”  He stated that a “a word devoid of thought is a dead thing.”  In other words, when a book is opened and read it comes to life.

If we apply the law of the library as a growing organism to the Internet, what metaphors might come to mind?  The resources on the Internet are almost impossible to monitor for maintaining the health of the organism.  Instead of a lovely garden, is this organism more like a growing monster?  Working as a school librarian, I enjoyed my role as “gardener” tending the library.  In the future, will the role of the librarian be more like a knight battling a dragon or perhaps a captain navigating through storms and giant waves to bring passengers to small islands of relevant  high-quality information?  Or, will there be so few passengers onboard who care about the quality and authority of information, librarians will be isolated on those small islands of academia or in the hushed halls of museums?  I do hope they have a garden there.

Alliance Virtual Library: Where can I find…?

Looking for information on the virtual libraries collaborating in Second Life through Alliance Virtual Library?  The Alliance Virtual Libraries Catalog provides slurls (Second Life url addresses) that will take you to many inworld libraries and library related sims.  Another directory lists many of the libraries and projects on Info Island.