Daily Archives: January 26, 2016

Community Building at METRO’s 2016 Annual Conference

Posted on by

Hey, Internet. For those of you who were not able to attend the 2016 METRO Annual Conference, let me tell you, it was great!

I really tried to focus my day on learning about a number of community-oriented services that libraries can offer. This post is going to be a recap of the panels that I went to and will pose some questions that I have after spending some time digesting what I learned. These questions are not necessarily directed towards anyone and are more of a way for me to process my thoughts; however, please feel free to reply with any comments, additional questions, or answers!

Keynote: Library Space for Community Use
If you didn’t already want to go to Finland, learning about Kari Lämsä’s work at Library 10 will surely convince you. In this morning keynote, Lämsä talked about this interactive, cooperative library space where the the patron is treated as someone whose opinions are valid. With areas dedicated to maker spaces, meditation, meetings, media, digitization, audio recording, computers, and of course reading, the library is both multifunctional and usable. Lämsä said that one of the biggest lessons learned in building this library was to listen to the residents and design carefully. They’re also working on a new Central Library to be opened in 2018 for the centennial of Finnish Independence Centennial. Looks pretty dreamy.

Q: Are there models of libraries that look like this in NY? Or in the US at large? How can one advocate for allocation of resources to “design carefully” within already strained budgets?


Panel: Our Streets, Our Stories: Brooklyn Public Library Oral History Project


Emma, Taina, and Lauren, and Brenda on the “Our Streets, Our Stories” panel at the METRO Conference on January 21st, 2016.

BPL employees Taina Evans, Emma Clark, Lauren Fiorelli, and Brenda Bentt-Peters shared about their efforts to foster a community in Brooklyn and to gather the stories of people who have lived and continue to live in this diverse borough. As a current Brooklyn resident and native New Yorker, I was super into this panel. Connecting people to their neighborhoods through their local library branches–what more could you ask for?! With a growing number of oral histories, including one with the oldest woman in the world, who still at 116 years old lives in Brooklyn, this project and service is really amazing! Check out their tumblr!

Q: Preservation was admittedly an aspect of this project that the presenters said they’re working on. There is currently no system in place for archiving/preserving these oral histories but soon they will be brought into a BPL DAM. Can you/how can you trust the DAM BPL is using will ensure continued storage, management, migration, and access over time to these audio formats?


Panel: Engaging Community, Building Accessibility: New models for Raising Patron Involvement in the Library Based Around Innovative Inclusive Technology

FullSizeRender (1)

Willa, Brian, Chancey, and Jill on the “Engaging Community, Building Accessibility” panel at the METRO Conference on January 21st, 2016.

Jill Rothstein and Chancey Fleet of NYPL’s Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library talked about increasing technology based community services in libraries to people who are differently able. “Many individuals with disabilities don’t know what technology can do,” stated Fleet. At Andrew Heiskell they are trying to think creatively about how to be inclusive of non-typical technology users. With one-on-one coaching sessions, they are trying to provide opportunities to help individuals work with technology to get the most out of a library. Willa Armstrong and Brian Foo of NYPL Labs talked about an amazing project Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience, an an oral history project that aims to collect, share, and preserve stories of people who are living with a disability. They are trying to make these recordings as accessible as possible –which means transcription, translation, and outreach. With somewhat limited resources, they are doing an incredible job adapting Pop-Up Archive’s speech-to-text services to quickly and accurately provide text to accompany the audio.

Q: Similar to BPL, NYPL Labs talked about accessibility and preservation of these oral histories over the “long term” still being a major question mark. Are there any examples of oral history projects within public libraries that are addressing questions of preservation?


Panel: Coding is Where It’s At: NYPL’s TechConnect

FullSizeRender (2)

Brandy speaking on the “Coding is Where It’s At” panel at the METRO Conference on January 21st, 2016.

In this panel with Brandy McNeil and Steven Deolus, I learned about an incredible program from NYPL, Project Code. The session was started off with an open question to the audience: Can you name three industries where coding is not present? Someone tried to stump the presenters with the answer “sheep herding,” but another audience member pointed out that geospatial agricultural technology is a thing. If coding is such an integral part of so many industries, how can libraries as a resource provider help support people who want to learn coding? In response to this, they developed Project Code– a free 10 week program with flexible meeting times that  enables attendees to receive concrete, hands-on lessons in HTML and CSS. Before you get too excited, it’s important to note that they have a OVER 5K person waiting list! However, it was exactly this huge demand that they thought proves that other library and community service organizations should consider starting offering code learning services.

Q: There are many of us for many reasons who will not be able to initiate code learning programs in our institutions. However, if code is present in all of our work, what can we do to make the code that underlies our work more visible?  


Panel: National Digital Stewardship Residency Project Updates

That’s us! In this panel each of the NDSR-NY residents gave brief project updates on our work thus far. You can check out our slides here! A lot of the information we shared in our presentation can be found in more detail in our blog posts. In general, we have done tremendous work that has not been without challenges. If anyone has questions, as always, talk to us!

In the spirit of community building, wanted to give a shout out to NDSR-Boston residents:

  • Alexandra Curran, MIT Libraries, @ArchiveTea
  • Jeffrey Erickson, University of Massachusetts at Boston
  • Alice Prael, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, @AlicePrael
  • Stefanie Ramsay, State Library of Massachusetts, @stefanieramsay
  • Julie Seifert, Harvard Library, @julieseifert39

and NDSR-DC residents:

  • Valerie Collins, American Institute of Architects, @valeriemcollins
  • Jamie Mears , DC Public Libraries, @@JaimeMears
  • Jessica Tieman, Government Publishing Office, @J_IreneTieman
  • Nicole Contaxis, National Library of Medicine, @ncontaxis
  • John Caldwell, U.S. Senate, Historical Office, @JCaldwell89

(and potential future AAPB NDSRers! Hosts to be announced this week! January 28th!)