Session: How do we foster information li…

Session: How do we foster information literacy and media literacy in our libraries and in our communities?

  • Use games to engage groups. Example of Jane McGonigal’s game for the New York Public Library: Find the Future: The Game
  • Rheingold, a journalist, founder of Wired, prof. at Berkeley, Stanford, created a Wiki-based, asynchronous online classroom on “infotension.” How to control info overflow. Questions of transparency come up a lot in these classes.

How can we engage underserved communities to understand their information needs, create knowledge, increase social capital and strengthen the institutions committed to both?

Breakout session: working together for community engagement

What would happen if Beyond Books forged a consensus statement on libraries, journalism and participatory democracy?

How can we TRUST community engagement, especially among teens, to build to civic engagement? And support that trust via our institutions?

How should we redefine “public” and “access” to facilitate new media literacies?

  • Another case / example
    Remember the video about the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse from Peter Shane’s “Information Stories” videos yesterday? (
    In this example, the community journalists pulled in images from flickr: what do people think about this? For example as it relates to ownership? Posting images becomes point of source/record—library as public repository, host in a public way
    persistence of access
    wikimedia commons

Is it possible to create a global information network for investigative journalists?

  • Perhaps by connecting members of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project with organizations such as: IRE, Global Journalist, RJI, Soros, SLA, European and Asian business librarians, we can begin to investigate the possibilities of building information networks. This group will begin to have conversations about connecting networks interested in coming together to investigate the feasibility of creating a global information network for journalists.

Digital Citizen 2012

How can we build long-term engagement from crisis engagement?

(other sessions with great ideas)

Breakout session: How do we get everyone in the room?

Credibility, journalism, and libraries — ideas of trust and responsibility

Sustainability Session (9:30 a.m.)

1pm session: How can Librarians and Journalists collaborate in recruiting and training Citizen Journalists

Session: Instructional Strategies

Session: Obstacles and Opportunities

Session: How to encourage young people -…

How can we leverage 100,000+ news sources and libraries to gather stories and useful information? (3 pm)

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Digital Citizen 2012

Convener: Evelyn Messinger
Participants: Janet Jai, Anne Raci, Jaqueline Woolcott

Description: Digital Citizen 2012 is a converged media project that will seamlessly connect citizens online and via their mobile phones to televised election discussion programs, leveling the playing field between candidates and pundits, and the issues people care about. See

Discussion: Promotion is crucial. Well before the election and the launch, ramp up awareness. Invite people via other media. Get beyond small groups that always participate (whose thing is participation). Must reach beyond people who want to be on TV for its own sake.

Other comments from other sessions: See your users as potential tipsters. This is “bottom up TV”.

Thanks everybody!

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Session Host: Katie Ingersoll Participan…

Session Host: Katie Ingersoll

Amy Radermacher
Jack Brighton
Joy Mayer
Colin Rhinesmith
Louis Battalen
Chelsea Gunn
Meredith McCulloch
Barbara Jones
Melody Ng
Alex Kelly
Jan Harrington
Khara Whitmey-Marsh
Eileen McAdam

We spoke of how libraries and local media outlets, especially public and community media. If you are intrigued, join some of us in the JTM group:

what could these collaborations look like?

trusted public space, we have had success with events at libraries, but there are a variety of models you could use to convene people, and then have those inform what you report on, etc
libraries have computer labs, media labs, so there could be trianing on digital storytelling, provide guidance and expertise
also have satelite spaces that libraries are engaged in like book mobiles that could host those activities outside

its about partnerships finding the right parners and brining them to the table

libraries have a lot of content, which can inform us in current issues, but they are not accessible, want to work with libraries to make that more accessible, use it for community engagement, have the conversation happen in the library, and follow up in media outlets

newsrooms are rich in locla history also, Joy worked with group that keeps local records on index cards. They are working on typing that up. Newspapers don’t take advantage of that record of community history, how cna those instutitions make things relevant, along with libraries

Metadata is an important contributon to withe (eileen)

chelsea, does digitization, used to work in a microfilm department, people will use microfilm, just putting that in the library so people don’t have to go to the post gazette or an archive, people will use it more

Melody- project could be to go through historical photos at libraries, and then submit them to the newspapers along with information, then people could add things about the photo, would build a record of stories

Chelsea – similar to what library of congress does

Is there a copyright issue? If library can put it on the web they can jsut state what the issue is

Jack: raises issue of collaboration around metadata, could collaborate on ways to structure news information to make it searchable, libraries might be able to help with that, make it more available

Do radio stations routinely use metadata to keep track or archive their work?

Most don’t, but librarians could help with that preservation…

Meredith:historical society would be a good group to help with photo contributions

Jack: our libraries have info from a century or more ago about our communties, what if you had photos from different periods and inviting people in to tell stories about them, could lead into a story in the locla paper

Colin: used to work in public access tv station, we were working with members of community to put content online, in terms of citizen journalism potential for libraries and local media to foster this
skokienet is an interesting model
essential to tap into different partners like public access and community radio who are used to convening community partners

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Is it possible to create a global information network for investigative journalists?

Session Host: Dorothy Carner

Suzie Katz, Troy Espe, Tina Cheng, Helen Grosso

1. How can we create networks of global journalists and librarians to help investigative journalists have access to information currently unavailable?
2. How could we fund and staff an information center for global investigative journalists?
3. Should such an info center be a loosely organized free network?
4. How could we fund such a venture?
5. Could we create a not-for-profit info center based on tiered memberships?
6. Who would be interested in joining such a group?

Perhaps by connecting members of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project with organizations such as: IRE, Global Journalist, RJI, Soros, SLA, European and Asian business librarians, we can begin to investigate the possibilities of building information networks.

This group will begin to have conversations about connecting networks interested in coming together to investigate the feasibility of creating a global information network for journalists.

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How should we redefine “public” and “access” to facilitate new media literacies?

Session Hosts: Lauren Britton Smedley and Rory Solomon

Amy Ryan, Debbie Walter, Amy Radermacher, Jorge Schement, Jeanine Finn, Jessica Smith, Jen Gilomen, Khara Whitney-Marsh, Dana Walker, Katie Ingersoll, Eileen McAdam, Michelle Fellows, Kevin O’Kelly, Karen Perry, Tom Lowenhaupt, Alan Inouye, Denise L McIver, Jack Brighton

1.) How do you define public: Internet not strong public space, non-commercial space and civic space analog on cyber space as citizen, right to exist
2.) How to provide access to a truly public space? Harness the unique public-ness of public libraries
3.) How can collaboration foster access for different people in community? How can we come together to provide access? Challenge to go out in community and engage

Does the internet and new media allow for more equitable access to create/consume?
Nicholas Carr: what is reliable information
Bias of medium moving in a different direction, there is an inherent bias. We have seen a change from linear to multi directional–not one path: web structure.

Unique perspectives and what can come out of creation:, similar to flicker but for audio stories: public access to stories

Journalist and librarians talking about access
Functional access:

  • Connectivity*
  • Capability*: skills to make something
  • Content*: consumed and able to produce or they aren’t participating
  • Context*: communities are different, context must be taken into account
  • Access must be meaningful*

Context Example: *Prairienet* (webhosting, providing computers, bringing things to people instead of making them come to library), provide training partnership between community, library, school
Ownership: to be functional requires *social contract* — participants need to understand and agree to terms, not static, evolve over time
Knowing how to use the tools not just providing them-how did past models succeed?

Natural partnerships
Hard to maintain public access, a million models of doing the ‘good work’ to do well in a sustainable way and truly get your target demographic: challenging for public libraries to maintain public access
Looking at systems 100Million in stimulus.: digital literacy, computers—is there a way to capitalize on what’s already here to create new engagement and create new business models to create sustainability
Is there a way to push back against corporations/facebook in defence of public space?

Restrictions based on economic interests: what is a public library
Renegotiating the social contract of public libraries: libraries are underfunded, not level-funding.
Outcry comes from small groups people who want to keep library as it always has been. Amy from BPL: Frequently hear “in the past” & “when my kids were young” have not allowed ourselves to expand our thinking of public libraries. Nostalgia is our biggest enemy: engage the next generation
How do we foster the ‘curl up and read’ with new technologies: how do we build a 21st century library?

We’re here because we care about the present and future of democracy. Democracy functions best when there is constant exchange of information. Many institutions have developed to allow for exchange of information but only two still functioning that visualized the user as a consumer—libraries and journalism. The alternative model, exchange networks, are thriving. What can we learn from them?

A library as a place to create enabling people to engage/ access just the beginning, it is the start of a conversation
*Key isn’t library but librarians!!* Information navigators—help facilitate civic engagement, get community to come together to teach each other—*not just a gatekeeper librarian but a coach, a navigator*.
Is there a way that journalists can come in to teach basic civic journalism, create stories

FCC: Future of Media Report recommended to include (won’t be in final report however):idea to develop a set of guidelines for libraries taking a stronger role in news in communities.
library has newspapers on shelf, can you go to a public library and get a list of local blogs—a “place about place”, here is a place to get all the information about your community
different levels depending on library—list everything or go further and include public notices, next step to take listing and to add academic rigor
provide assessment regarding the caliber of the reporting not the thought
teach to use info skills. The next step is media/news generation but we aren’t doing the first one yet.
Librarians are experts in their community and they aren’t expanding this knowledge. A lot of library myth and there is a gap: stepping more broadly into community news and information

LOCAL!! find gaps that provide perspective: do we have the right news/information: gap in local accountability relating to news.

look at the community news outlets in area that are already providing service.
The Knight Commission published a toolkit for evaluating information ecology.
Perhaps librarians and local journalists should review together.

Another case / example
Remember the video about the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse from Peter Shane’s “Information Stories” videos yesterday? (
In this example, the community journalists pulled in images from flickr: what do people think about this? For example as it relates to ownership? Posting images becomes point of source/record—library as public repository, host in a public way
persistence of access
wikimedia commons

What is sustainable?

Boston library uses flickr as hosting site for images, but keeps source images

Internet not public space, more like a mall: option for debate
Digital Library of America: what does access mean? what does public mean?

Not just making something new: getting people to use tools—there are tools available, must be infrastructure, money required to sustain access
Examine unexplored space


(1) We did not quite reach a consensus about the public vs. private commons question. Especially as it relates to sustainability. What can we count on? Can we factor in open standards and open source tools here? What about things like wikimedia commons and etc

(2) Can pubic access go further? To support and expand communities. New notions of literacy including digital media, which implies the ability to create as well as to consume. Local, community, accountability.


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How can we build long-term engagement from crisis engagement?

Session Host/Reporter: Liza Barry-Kessler

Participants: Jack Harris, Anna Raya-Rivera, Caroline Nappo, Lacey Mamak, Anne Raci, Catherine Odson, Gina Perille, Nancy Kranich, David Gordon, Charles Benton, Dana Walker

Discussion: The discussion began with dialog about how different kinds of crises engage people, particularly in the context of libraries. For example, after natural disasters, libraries can step up to help facilitate communication and provide information. Similarly, when library closure is threatened, libraries and communities may organize to prevent it. The social action (as distinct from reaction to natural disaster) looks to some of us more like a social movement than “institutional” engagement.

We face similar challenges (and opportunities) to how the Obama administration is positioned in 2012. In 2008, he galvanized people around hope and possibility. Now, many of those people are disillusioned and disengaged.

It may be helpful to distinguish between community engagement and civic engagement. Community engagement is much more broad than voting or attending a legislative event. It includes children’s programming, artistic activity, meetings, using mobile libraries, bringing books and resources to other community institutions like farmer’s markets. It is also important to build relationships.

What is the role of journalism? What are the benefits of the 2 professions collaborating?

Are current struggles an example of our “ediface complex?” What do we need to do to demonstrate being part of the community?

There is research suggesting that community engagement changes and evolves with social institutions, social networks, and loose relationships. See the book Engaging Emergence. In this context, “libraries” can be whatever they are needed to be, although there are funding issues.

One way to get people to care about these issues is for journalism to communicate outwardly, reaching people at home. Libraries can also serve as “The Information Place” (TIP). Both professions can improve the public’s skill set in information literacy — finding, evaluating, and using information. We need to use simple language, think outside of the box, and remember that purely rational arguments do not work.

When people value something, they vote for it. This means we need local information, articulating the value of libraries, and to help make sure that people appreciate what libraries have to offer.

We often have ideas about what people should do, but those are OUR ideas. What we really need to do is be ready, be in the information and communications flow, but not necessarily be doing anything in particular. This allows us to meet people where they are.

Example: Journalism: The interest can build in a community, starting from the micro. High school sports coverage builds interest in the high school, builds relationships, builds a sense of the community. From one online citizen journalist covering, big things can happen.

Transparency: Both libraries and journalists need to be upfront about what they do and why, and what they do not do and why not.

Is activism the only measure of success? No. We should try to measure civic health. Minnesota example — civic culture of being news consumers, history of engagement with civic and public life, even immigrant communities are highly engaged. Common basis of trust. Iowa example — grow up engaged, take civic responsibility/Presidential caucus system very seriously.

Now, more sense that “my daily life does not change depending on who wins.” This began to change with the Obama campaign, privileged people are feeling directly affected, but still no instant gratification.

Most people who are at all civically engaged, do so where they are, reporting on what they care about. Hyperlocal news/web = good example. How do people get information/community knowledge? Is it possible that the homogeneity of communities is what used to work? What can we learn from institutions like African American community newspapers? Are libraries looking at census data for their communities, to inform them of coming demographic shifts?

Who are the intersectors? We need people to span boundaries, to serve people in healthy communities. This is about serving people, connecting people, and about reading.

Although we adhere to the idea, attributed to Rahm Emmanuel, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” we want to use that energy to help a community emerge organically. People need to view the pubic sphere as a place for both aspirations and inspiration.

In a nutshell, “We have a lot of questions.”

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What would happen if Beyond Books forged a consensus statement on libraries, journalism and participatory democracy?

From an “action step” session, the notes are in a blog post:

The session was called by Nancy Kranich

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How can we leverage 100,000+ news sources and libraries to gather stories and useful information? (3 pm)

Host/reporter: Melody Ng
Leigh Montgomery
Katy Aronoff
Katie Ingersoll
Debbie Holmes
Michelle Fellows
Cynthia Orozco
Alpha Delap
Eileen McAdam
Debbie Walter
Khara Whitney-Marsh
Tom Flanagan


We currently have more than 100,000 people in the Public Insight Network who have agreed to share what they know to inform news coverage. We also have tens of thousands of libraries who have a mission to inform people and serve their communities. How can we leverage this knowledge, information, desire to serve, goodwill, etc. to produce great stories or gather essential information that benefit people?

For example, one thing we’ve wanted to try with the Public Insight Network for a while is a crowd sourcing or citizen science project — like the ones that get people to monitor migrating monarch butterflies or birds. Maybe sampling tap water, or soil…

Can you think of something that people or libraries would be excited to help monitor or measure, or talk about?

Ideas & examples from the group

Everything starts with a good question: e.g., Have you observed ______ where you live?

How about gas prices? Everyone cares about gas prices. Could ask people how prices are changing their habits.

Could ask people to respond to a topic or question with one of the following:
– I have an opinion.
– I have an observation.
– I have a rant.

Or ask: Why does _________ matter?

WNYC has done something with milk prices, asking people to report in on the cost of milk, eggs and bread, and mapping it.

Food deserts: distance to fresh fruit and vegetables

Ask people for questions or topics they don’t see or hear about in the media

Ask: What do you do when the library’s closed?

Some organization wanted to know how people felt about gentrification of a neighborhood. So it put up a big billboard-sized sign in the middle of the neighborhood that asked people what they thought. Installed a phone by the billboard so people could call in with their views.

Tios for a collaborative project

Think in advance about how it will be curated.
Including visual communication is key.
Look for depth.
Consider cultural barriers.
Ask people questions with the mindset that they are equal knowers — they have something to contribute.
Encourage for the project to lead to action:
– Libraries could be involved in helping get people doing
– Add a “Take action with that” button or check box at the end of an online survey form, for example.
– Let people comment on what action they’re going to take.
– Follow up with people a few months down the road, and report on what actions took place.
– Include links to resources and bloggers who focus on that topic, etc. so people can get more involved or educated on topic.

How to motivate people to participate

People need immediate feedback if they participate. Provide it.
Provide online ratings for people who participate – e.g., they get badges or honorary titles.
Determine what people’s goals are, and make sure the project can help them accomplish their own goals – e.g., If they share some information we ask for, we should give them back useful information to them — like Prometheus Radio Project letting community radio stations know if they’ve filled out federal forms correctly or not.

How can libraries participate?

Q: Do libraries have time to do this? Aren’t they already underfunded and understaffed?
A: Yes, but libraries will participate because their mission is to empower people and gather & preserve the stories of their communities. Things that benefit patrons are at the top of their To-Do priority list.

Lend out digital recorders and train people on how to use.
Involve Talk Time programs – People learning English meet weekly at local library to converse in English on a topic, like women’s health (Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, MA, and Cambridge Public Lib are two that have these programs)
Host or organize community events

Think of libraries as settlement houses, community centers.
Lots of resources to use: auditoriums, cafes, gift shops, big screen TVs, group study rooms, presentation practice spaces, tutoring…

Good questions

Questions people in the group want to ask (or get answers to) — and thus, might make good questions for a project

What’s the hot topic in your community today?
What’s the last interesting conversation you had?
Why does my four-year-old drive me nuts so frequently?
What were you thinking when you got dressed today?
How do you set priorities?
What was the last time you were profoundly moved?
What do you believe in deeply?
What are you cooking for dinner tonight?
Who’s the last person you asked for help from?
What’s the last argument you had with your spouse (or significant other)?
What did you last change your mind about?
How did you find out about ________ (insert major historical event — e.g., 9/11 or end of WWII)?
Where were you when _________ happened?
Who are your heroes?
What was the last thing you learned that really excited you>?
How do you self identify? (when you’re not checking boxes on the Census form)
How much information do you really want?
What are you doing with the rest of your life?
What’s a confusing situation you’re in that requires collaboration?
What will people (or aliens) find in the future when they sift through what’s left of 2011?

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Breakout session: working together for community engagement

Topic: Collaboration around community engagement/how the library can be a catalyst for civic engagement
Conveners: Joy Mayer and Tina Stewart
(Joy and Tina’s topics seemed to have a similar focus so they decided to combine the session.)

Lauren Britten Smedley
Chelsea Gunn
Saul Tannebaum
Andrew Ott
M Thomason
Amy Penwell
Mike Kittross
Sannon Crawford Barniskis
Catherine Odson
Irene Van
Jamie HelgrenTome
Tom Stites
Jeanine Finn
Mary Chute
Susan DiMattia
Celeste Bruno
Nancy Picchi

Shannon Barniskis shared how her library filled a gap in an information need in the community. During road repair work, residents did not know what streets where closed. Shannon created a blog on the library’s web site and kept people informed about any road closures.

Another participant indicated that a high school student was given his own page in a local newspaper in which he could report community news.

Comments like the above led to the question: “How do we identify what information the community needs? The appetite or the need for particular information ebbs and flows depending on the problem.

Joy asked: How do we identify a community problem? One suggestion was to put a survey on line and ask residents what issues were most important to them.

Good quote, in reference to the See Click Fix project: “ Potholes are the gateway to civic engagement.”

Another comment: Both librarians and journalists should need to become more involved in the community.

People want to feel that what they do or say has an impact on their government.

What about the good things happening in a community? Are these underreported? Journalists should not always follow the “if it bleeds, it leads.” Journalists can contribute to residents having a positive feel about their community. One suggestion: Have a “thank you column” in the newspaper.

One participant indicated that he thought that newspapers and libraries are in competition with each other. At his library, people come to read the daily newspaper instead of buying it.

An editor from Patch explained the format of this online community newspaper, Participants who were familiar with Patch noted this online newspaper was making a positive contribution to getting out community news. More and more people were signing on. Was it increasing civic engagement? Too early to tell.

Patch has also reached out to public libraries promoting their programs and services.

How can libraries be a catalyst for community engagement?
Nancy Picchi suggested that libraries can adopt “one book, one course” model similar to the one book, one community model. There are classes available from universities that public libraries can use.

Tina noted that public libraries can also adopt the public forum concept mentioned by Laurie Moffat from the Norman Rockwell Museum. These can be used to address local issues or more national or global issues that are important to all.

Another participant pointed out that the conversations that are begun at the library should be continued in the public space? Is this the collaborative role of journalism?

The need for librarians and journalists getting out in the community seemed to be a common thread in the conversation.

One participant is part of Radical Reference Librarians, a service that began at the 2008 Democratic convention. Could this model work for public librarians?
The following explains statement was taken from their web site:
We designed this site to answer questions from activists and independent journalists on topics related to those activities. This is not a general reference site. For that, we recommend ASK NYPL, your local public library, the Internet Public Library, or Ask MetaFilter.

Although this was not included in the discussion at the confab, I wanted to point out that September is Civic Awareness Month: The following link was emailed to me by Wilmington Memorial Library’s Reference Librarian. It answers ome ways libraries can be a catalyst for civic engagement.

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