Books, Conferences, School Libraries, Techno Geekiness

Day Two at #BEA12

Children’s Author Breakfast

Our MC this time was Chris Colfer, author of The Land of Stories.  He was a little awed by the company he was keeping – “John Green is the Justin Bieber of the literary world”

John Green:

  • Stories were the way out of narcissism and the way into believing that other people were as real as I am
  • When you read, you become the co-creator of the story (because you have to translate the scratches on the paper into meaning) – this requires concentration in a way that no other media requires concentration
  • Reading is the key to human empathy – if we believe in their reality and their importance we have a responsibility to their health and well-being
  • What we do best doesn’t necessarily benefit from enhancement – we are good at creating immersive experiences; the enhancements will ultimately prove to be distractions.  We do not need to emulate what other media are doing – we already know how to do this and we do it well
  • An app will not succeed because of bells/whistles but because it’s got an amazing story:  story trumps everything
  • When I’m on twitter/tumbler, I’m not reading I’m scanning – it’s not immersive.  It doesn’t take you to that place where something else is happening.  We do not need to become something that you look at while you do other things!!!!!!
  • Reading is quiet, contemplative, immersive – that’s why it matters.  That’s how we’re going to compete: by being the thing we’re great at, not by being something else.  It’s not a gift that Angry Birds can give us.
  • It’s true that a book asks more of you than Angry Birds… but it also gives you back so much more.

Lois Lowry:

  • I write because I’m wondering about something – I don’t write what you know (it makes more sense to write what you don’t know, what makes you uneasy, what keeps you awake at night)
  • Young readers believe they can fix this world… it’s the adults who are concerned with keeping things the same.

Building a social library 

(while this is mostly geared to what large public libraries like NYPL can do to engage the public, there’s so much that could also translate to smaller public libraries and to school libraries… but that’s for another post!)

In 2010: realized people were using their catalog, but going other places to have conversations about what they’d done/learned/read – focus groups said they wanted to connect & collaborate.  The experience was: Look for Book – Find Book – Read Book – ???

Moved to Bibliocommons interface (includes links/lists/comments from all the Bibliocommons member libraries) – allows for much more interactivity, connection to this and other libraries.  Now there’s findability via LCSH, patron created lists and folksonomies and subverts the paradigm of user finds book –> deadend.  It keeps them within the library catalog, within the library “family”

** trying to create interactive experience around research collections – have been digitizing at an increasing pace but how can they go past the mere digitization?

  • Using “cognitive surplus” concept to figure out how to extend the walls of PL to the space shared by Wikipedia, etc.
  • Crowd = well-informed enthusiasts/researchers/educators/creators/bored people
  • current focus is on image collections (Digital Gallery – – open access, can be downloaded by public(!!)

EXAMPLE: Map Collection

  • Took old maps of NYC, scanned…. but doesn’t meet current needs
  • Created Map Warper –  (exports to Ggl Earth) – allows you to compare and contrast between then and now
  • Exporting as much data as possible from this collection to make it useable, informative
  • Use social media to recruit volunteers/participants (possibly make it a game) “Citizen Cartography”

EXAMPLE: Restaurant/banquet menus Collection

  • “Raw material of social history”
  • Mere digitization doesn’t make data searchable – want to create a structured data set so you can track ingredients, dishes, prices, etc. over the ages
  • Created an interface that allows public help: “Whats on the Menu” –
  • Turn all this into historical factoids – create public interest/ownership
  • Trying to create “library as platform” w/outsiders building applications/data sets from what’s archived there

EXAMPLE: Stereograph Collection

  • Joshua Heineman) created a Tumbler art project using their stereograms (really cool 3-D effect!!)
  • The created the Sterogranimator –
  • If you have 3-d glasses, check out the anaglyph section of the site!!!
  • Starting to host on Flickr (based on BPL‘s connection!)

So many other things… they’re looking at all their other collections and wondering “what if… what can we do next???”

** Always looking for free/easy methods to reach people because they’re a non-profit – they also actively target journalists (looking for reciprocate PR from them)

  • present compelling content (below level of press release, but will generate interest)
  • think about what public is thinking about – post those things (eg, pix of Elizabeth Taylor on Tumblr just after she died)
  • these replace/support press releases
  • be creative with text – send links to blogs/other social media – use images
  • post low-res images on FB, allow them to ask for hi-res one
  • Twitter/Tumblr/FB all work in sync

Biblion iPad app – World’s Fair info

The big question is: how do you make this work?

  • get everyone on board / trained
  • create a policy so they know what to do/what’s expected
  • multiple people work on this – it’s not just one person’s job – work together on social media curation (also, scheduling them so the tweets keep flowing, etc.)
  • also use 4Sq and other geolocation programs – create incentives to visit
  • Blogs: curated discovery
  • Meet patrons/speakers/workers on YouTube
  • Create an editorial calendar
  • Use Social Flow (Twitter client that channels blog content) and MeltwaterBuzz (monitors social media presence)

Beyond the Book

David Levitan moderated this panel on the new “Infinity Ring” series from Scholastic

Multi-platform: reading beyond the book (online website, games, etc.) allowing for more intricate experience.  39 Clues had an incredible numbers of users(1.6million) from 191 countries

So, what about The Infinity Ring? This is adventure/time-travel (tons of curriculum tie-ins)

  • Very collaborative process between the authors – lots of brainstorming as a group
  • Engaging kids in a variety of ways (the book, puzzles, research)
  • Centers around key moments in history when something goes wrong
  • Hystorians Guide (takes you through the series, entirely on-line)
  • they don’t have to wait the 2mths between “episodes”, they can go on-line and participate/interact
  • the on-line site has Easter eggs that point  to the next book
  • audio and text – hook to help reluctant readers pronounce words (eg, Chartres or Versailles)

During the entire presentation, I kept thinking about the gulf between this and John Green’s thoughts about books and reading.

1 thought on “Day Two at #BEA12”

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