The elements of connected learning (interests, relationships, opportunities, sponsorship of youth interests, shared practices, shared purpose, connections across settings, and a focus on equity) illuminate the ways in which connected learning already happens in libraries and the ways in which libraries need to change to expand their support of connected learning.

Libraries have traditionally supported personalized, self-directed, learner-centered, and interest-driven learning (Braun, Hartman, Hughes-Hassell, & Kumasi, 2014; Hoffman, Subramaniam, Kawas, Scaff, & Davis, 2016; Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). They also have facilitated relationships, sanctioning “intergenerational contact centered on youth interest discovery” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 9) and serving as “inclusive spaces that bring many different groups together” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 11). As libraries have transitioned from spaces that serve as warehouses for physical resources to spaces where teens can “build skills, develop understanding, create and share, and overcome adversity” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 4) through the proliferation of learning labs and makerspaces, they have embraced shared practices, especially production-centered practices for knowledge creation and sharing. Their position as a third space – neither school/work nor home – allows libraries to facilitate connections across settings, bridging activities from different spheres of learning (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013).

Libraries traditionally have had and continue to maintain “strong ties to non-dominant communities and families” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 9). Because members of nondominant populations perceive libraries “as lifelines to learning, technology, and information… libraries are well-positioned to not only connect formal and informal learning but also to do this for the populations that are most marginalized in terms of traditional academic programs and indicators” (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013, p. 30). These relationships with nondominant communities support libraries working toward the connected learning agenda of expanding access to connected learning experiences to people who may not have them without community and institutional support.

While libraries already support connected learning in many ways, they may need to undergo further shifts to expand their support for connected learning. Library staff must consider not only the physical and digital resources that support interest-driven learning, but also human resources (Braun et al., 2014), building relationships “among learners, between learners and experts or mentors, and between learners and people outside the learning context” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 17). In order to help learners to connect their interests and relationships with academic, career, and civic opportunities, library workers must reconsider their roles, learning to consider themselves sponsors and mentors rather than experts or authority figures (Braun et al., 2014; Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 17). Library policies for use of technology and space may need to change to enable learners to engage in shared practices, socializing, collaborating, and publishing their work online (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). Libraries may also need to change how they evaluate the impact of their services and programs; traditional measures of impact, especially quantitative measures of participation, may not be sufficient to capture the impact of connected learning (Hoffman et al., 2016). Measures of connected learning need to capture the way learners move with their learning across settings; setting specific desired outcomes can facilitate capturing evidence of and communicating the impact of a program.

This shift to full support of connected learning “demands new competencies from youth-serving librarians that graduate programs in library and information science do not always provide, and may require a shift in thinking for some librarians and outside partners” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19). Hoffman and colleagues identify the following “four categories of interrelated knowledge and skill sets… that librarians must have to promote connected learning among youth”:

…they must be ready and willing to transition from expert to facilitator…
…[they] need to apply interdisciplinary approaches to establish equal partnership and learning opportunities that facilitate discovery and use of digital media…
…they should be able to develop dynamic partnerships and collaborations that reach beyond the library into their communities…
…they should be able to evaluate connected learning programs and utilize the evaluation results to strengthen learning in libraries… (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19)

The need for training to build these competencies can be met by in-house professional development, programs provided by professional organizations, open online learning resources, and formal educational experiences. The ConnectedLib toolkit (“ConnectedLib,” n.d.) is one example of an open online learning resource directed at meeting this need, while the University of Maryland’s Youth Experience Graduate Certificate program (“YX @ UMD – Youth Experience Post-Masters Certificate Program at Maryland’s iSchool,” n.d.) is an example of a formal educational experience designed to build these competencies.

References

Braun, L. W., Hartman, M. L., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Kumasi, K. (2014). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Chicago: Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Retrieved from www.ala.org/yaforum/sites/ala.org.yaforum/files/content/YALSA_nationalforum_Final_web_0.pdf
ConnectedLib. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from connectedlib.github.io/
Hoffman, K. M., Subramaniam, M., Kawas, S., Scaff, L., & Davis, K. (2016). Connected libraries: Surveying the current landscape and charting a path to the future. College Park, MD; Seattle, WA: The ConnectedLib Project. Retrieved from connectedlib.test.ischool.uw.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ConnectedLibraries-SurveyingtheCurrentLandscape-and-ChartingthePathtotheFuture.pdf
Ito, M., & Martin, C. (Fall 2013). Connected Learning and the Future of Libraries. Young Adult Library Services, 12(1), 29–32.
YX @ UMD – Youth Experience Post-Masters Certificate Program at Maryland’s iSchool. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from yx.umd.edu/

I suffer from migraines. I’ve gotten them since I was around 7 years old. There are any number of triggers: changes in barometric pressure, eating MSG, but the most frequent one is hormones. I’ve got one right now, and though I’m not certain, I think it’s probably hormone related.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I couldn’t do anything with a migraine. I had to go right to bed, preferably in a dark and silent room, banishing everyone else. This was before triptans got big, so I just guzzled Coca Cola, took some Percogesic (which researching it I now see is just Tylenol + Benadryl), and hid for twelve hours or so. After twelve hours of solid sleep, I usually felt like new.

As a college student and young professional, I tried Imitrex and some other triptans. They always came with nasty side effects: actually increasing the migraine-related nausea if I didn’t take them fast enough, giving me a weird lockjaw-type feeling but in my whole body. So I still mostly drank some Coke, took some Excedrin Migraine or Tylenol Arthritis Strength, and went to bed.

As a young teacher with a limited amount of sick leave, I couldn’t just go to bed. I worked through these migraines many times, doing what I essentially called “subbing for myself” – tossing my original lesson plan for something I would have been comfortable giving to a sub, and asking my students to please work in silence, in a somewhat darkened classroom.

As a parent, I can’t just go to bed. But also, my migraines aren’t usually as bad now as they used to be. I usually can get through them okay with just being chill. I don’t usually need to just go to bed and be left alone.

Usually.

I have one today. We’re in Day 2. My sweet child keeps asking me “Mommy, is your headache gone?” and it breaks my heart every time I tell him it’s still here. The first time I told him that, he said, “But I kissed your head!” I had to explain that kisses can ameliorate pain, but only sometimes take it away entirely, and this was not one of those times.

(BUT HOW CUTE IS HE?)

Anyway. All this to say: when I feel this way, words won’t go in.

I’ve been trying to read, because that’s one of the two key activities in my day. (The other being writing.) I’ve been trying to review my own notes. I’ve been trying to refresh my memory of the Dublin Core. I tried to watch a video that explained Dublin Core, and the professor’s words wouldn’t go in my brain through auditory means any easier than the DCMI specification’s words would go in visually.

There’s a very light halo on my vision in the eye where the headache sits.

Words can come out, apparently, though analytic ones won’t.

It’s possible fiction could make it in. I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s frustrating.

I guess that’s all I wanted to say, really. It’s frustrating that migraines make me unable to work with words, when words are most of my work.

Read Fifty shades of white: the long fight against racism in romance novels by Lois BeckettLois Beckett (the Guardian)

For decades, the world of romantic fiction has been divided by a heated debate about racism and diversity. Is there any hope of a happy ending?

I found this article because I wanted to read romance novels again. I decided to check out the Romance Writers of America website. I noted several announcements in their news section that started to ping my kerfuffle-dar: they’re hiring a DEI consultant (which honestly would be a great idea for most organizations but based on my observations, organizations only do this after an incident), there have been changes in their board membership, special statements from award nominees withdrawing themselves from consideration… So I decided to hunt down the origin of it all and found this handy summary. That summary pointed me to this article, which I found especially interesting because a lot of it centers on my local RWA chapter, which I have been adjacent to in a couple of ways, though never a member.

It’s a great piece because it illuminates the way institutional racism touches an industry, how people can do antiracist work in their own area of expertise, and also serves as a list of authors to check out and books to read.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go track down some books about BIPOC & LGBTQ people that definitely have happy endings. And then I’m going to read them.