by Cathleen Ash
Getting Tech Savvy in rural Texas – a few of the students will join me as we present how we turned a closed, defunct, dirty library into the happening spot on campus - now including a gaming club, open mic night, library club, blogs, podcasts and more. In just three years, we've quadrupled usage numbers, encouraged all-community relations, appeared on the local news and radio, and engaged more students with technology than ever before – all at almost a tenth of the budget of the lowest performing schools in Texas (less than $2/student/book verses $16+).
Specific grants, donors, community buy-in (Laura Bush Library Foundation, DonorsChoose.org, Project Hope, Fine Arts Department, Austin Lyric Opera) have pulled together and the students are more experienced, tech-savvy and ready to work for chances to go places and get things.
We will showcase how we did it, what we used, and provide specific ideas about student use of tech at the rural level – and how to increase it.
Good libraries are community-minded, technologically-aware, devoted to increasing access to information, and interested in preserving the local cultural heritage. Good newspapers aggregate and curate information for their readers, prioritize the local population, and are the record of a place, a time, a citizenry. Both believe they must tell stories for everyone, not just themselves.
Libraries have experience with media production, and are already a known community resource. Supporting communication within their community falls within the library’s mandate to increase access to information. Building on the “maker” ethic, how can libraries help their communities make their own news, write their own stories, publish their own histories?
by Carson Block
Libraries, oft loved and honored are under attack from the most unlikely of sources. Book publishers, municipal governments and others seem hell-bent on library destruction, while many wonder if libraries are even relevant at all in the digital age. But – if the library disappears, who will really defend your right to confidentially access free information? Business? The megaminds of the Interwebs? Think again, compadre. Libraries - and librarians - care about your rights. Come to learn what the library offers you, what's really at risk, and how the library is more relevant today than ever.
by Nell Taylor
Read/Write Library is a replicable project that uses local media to examine a region’s creative, political and intellectual interdependencies, creating a visible network of primary sources. We hope to make it available as an open source technical and theoretical template for other cities, borrowing models from library science, urban planning and social networks. Non-professional content receives more respect than in any previous era. By developing contextual and social features within a catalog, we can direct this sentiment at media that wasn’t valued in the cultural climate of its day. Using relative tags and non-hierarchical subject and keyword combinations helps hyperlocal or alternative perspectives compete in search engines alongside dominant historical records and fill in massive blindspots, and each entry is mapped and treated as a social object where users can share stories of the forgotten, marginalized or even still-active communities connected to these publications.
9th–13th March 2012