First Definition…

Broadly speaking, I would describe a book to be a ‘container’ of a collection of ideas, thoughts or knowledge. With e-books and audio-books in mind, I would stop short of saying that a book must be able to be held in the hand. However, I would say that a book in any format must have a beginning and an end, which could be represented physically by the front and back covers, or perhaps by the introduction and conclusion, or something else that denotes a start and finish.

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INF330: Censorship

 

censorship2

Analyse and evaluate a website designed for children or young adults

The website for Mermaids.org offers support for children and young people up to 19yrs of age who suffer from gender identity issues. The site offers resources such as links to child and adolescent services, legal information, fact-sheets on sexual health and suicide prevention, and a forum where teens can connect and share stories. Besides providing valuable health and sexuality information, this site’s online forum can be seen to meet the unique information needs of gender variant young people through providing a safe environment to express themselves and reach out to others. Holt (2011, p.266) explains that online communities where these youth can freely and anonymously discuss their problems, concerns and issues without fear of reprisal from a frequently homophobic community, play a crucial role in identity formation. The importance of this is emphasised by Holt (2011, p. 269), who explains that positive identity development is strongly related to psychological adjustment, resulting in a stronger sense of self leading to improved outcomes later in life.

However, the use of internet filtering in some public libraries may render this site inaccessible due to some of the keywords in its content. Denying access to this site and others like it can be viewed as censorship, which is defined by Moody (2004, p.139) as those actions which restrict free access to information. In Farrelly’s (2011, p.28) view, censorship goes against the very core of librarianship which serves to protect the intellectual freedom of individuals through ensuring that they have access to information from a variety of sources and agencies to meet their needs. Educating young people in the art of selection, evaluation and authentication of information can be seen to be one alternative to filtering. The importance of teaching individuals to find quality information themselves is highlighted by Farrelly (2011, p.28) who points out that with the ubiquitous nature of smartphones, young people are able to access any subject regardless of whether they are in the library or not.

Exploring the issue of censorship in the library, I came to understand that it is a contentious issue with no one clear solution. The Library’s commitment to protect the intellectual freedom of their clients is commendable, yet can contradict the interests of parents who wish to make the library responsible for controlling and monitoring access to inappropriate material. However, I now understand that controlling access to information from the library can not only deny access to vital online communities and resources, it may ultimately be useless as young people are able, through their smartphones to find the information that they want wherever they are. I see this as an opportunity to advocate information literacy instruction within the library so that individuals can learn to locate, evaluate and authenticate quality information on their own. Familiarising myself with the relevant organisations that offer support to gender variant young people would not only fill gaps in my knowledge, it would allow me to guide them towards resources that could be searched and accessed outside of the library walls if need be.

 

References

 

Farrelly, M. G. (2011). Digital (Generation) Divide. Public Libraries, 50(2), 28-29.  Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=59805405&site=ehost-live

 

 

Holt, D. (2011). LGBTIQ teens–plugged in and unfiltered: How internet filtering impairs construction of online communities, identity formation, and access to health information. In Greenblatt, E. (Ed.). Serving LGBTIQ library and archives use: essays on outreach, service, collections and access. (pp. 266- 277). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.

 

Moody, K. (2005). Covert censorship in libraries: a discussion paper. The Australian Library Journal, 54(2), 138-147. doi:10.1080/00049670.2005.10721741

INF330: Digital materials/resources and emerging technologies

 

Activity: Learn how to use a new tool, software or game, and write about your experience.

For this activity I learned how to use Aurasma, an augmented reality application that allows for additional layers of useful information to be overlaid upon a static image, which may then be viewed through a smartphone or tablet. The static image can be of your own choosing as can the layers, which can be a video, URL, text or animation. This can be seen to offer tremendous potential for libraries to deliver informative, directional, actionable and descriptive information in an engaging way.

Mobile AR applications can be seen to offer an engaging and interactive information experience, in Robinson’s (2015, p.113) view this presents a profound opportunity for increased access to library collections. Massis (2015, p.797) explains that after viewing an AR display, one’s interest in the topic may be expanded, prompting a search for further supplementary information on the subject such as books, articles and videos, and that this exploration of multimedia sources can be seen to support the development of information literacy skills. The librarian is able to choose the resources to be displayed in the AR application, the benefit of this explains Beautyman and Shelton (2009, p.69) is that the information can be channelled towards age appropriate and topic specific materials.

Beheshti (2012, p.54) describes digital natives as those born after 1989, and explains that as they live in a digital world and rely extensively on ICT that they may process information differently to their predecessors. AR can be seen as a learning solution for digital natives as the virtual world can be utilised for engagement and delivery of information, and in Massis (2015, p.798) view AR supports the shift from the static transmission of knowledge to user-centred learning as the information seeker becomes an active participant in the learning process. Indeed, “the user is vital to making AR technology functional” (Zac. 2014, P.39) as the content/information lies dormant until activated by a user’s smatphone or tablet.

I now know that there are any number of exciting new tools at my disposal that will enable me to harness technology to develop engagement and to deliver information to young people in a way that can be understood and enjoyed, and that many of these platforms do not require a high level of technical skill. Knowing this has given me confidence which has relevance to my professional practice as a librarian for children and young adults as I look forward to exploring and creating new engaging ways to deliver information. As I gain skills in terms of mastering this new technology, gaps in my knowledge will be continually revealed as it will inevitably be superseded as new platforms and applications are developed. There is opportunity for me to fill those gaps by ensuring that I stay well informed of relevant emerging technologies and stay willing to continually learn how to harness them for the benefit of my clients.

 

References

 

Beautyman, W., & Shenton, A. K. (2009). When does an academic information need stimulate a school-inspired information want? Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 41(2), 67-80. doi:10.1177/0961000609102821

 

Beheshti, J. (2012). Teens, Virtual Environments and Information Literacy. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (Online), 38(3), 54-57.  Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/933226070?accountid=10344

 

Massis, B. (2015). Using virtual and augmented reality in the library. New Library World, 116(11/12), 796-799.

 

Zak, E. (2014, 2014/12//). Do you believe in magic? Exploring the conceptualization of augmented reality and its implications for the user in the field of library and information science. Information Technology and Libraries, 33, 23+.

 

Aurasma

 

aura

My experience using a new tool,software or game.

Aurasma is a virtual reality (VR) application which overlays images or video on top of a trigger image, the finished product is then viewed through a smartphone or tablet. I found it to be fairly straightforward to use, and a high level of technical expertise was not required in order to begin creating my own VR image. I created an account (free!) on a computer so as to upload chosen trigger images and overlays in order to create my VR image (‘aura’) as well as downloading the application on my smartphone in order to view ‘auras’. Once I understood that these are essentially two accounts I was better able to wrap my mind around learning how to use the platform.

Uploading a trigger image was straightforward. However, there was a steep learning curve initially in regards to file sizes that would work when uploading a video for the overlay, but I found help both through the Aurasma site and other online tutorials. Also, as I wanted to use videos from YouTube I had to figure out how to save them for uploading, but if you were using videos that you created and saved yourself I imagine that this would not be a problem. A further learning curve arose when attempting to view ‘auras’ through my device as I didn’t realise that you need to ‘follow’ the account of the person who created the ‘aura’ that you wish to view.

I created the ‘aura’ below with a view to promoting a book for young adults that is a finalist in the YABBA book awards for 2016. However, one would only be limited by their own imagination when utilising this tool, Birmingham City University’s eLibrary blog offers an in-depth exploration of potential uses of Aurasma within a library setting and presents some great ideas.

 

        loyal creatures

 

To watch this ‘aura’ come to life, first download the Aurasma app. onto your device. When you open the app, tap on the ‘A’ at the bottom centre of the screen, then select magnifying glass to open the search window where you can type in the name of an account or aura to follow. In this case type in LainiF’s-Loyal Creatures then tap ‘follow’. Then activate the camera within the app by clicking on [ ] at the bottom of the screen. Use the camera to point at the image above, the ‘aura’ will be triggered by the image.

 

INF330: Young people’s book awards

Image

book awards

 

Activity: Create and upload a virtual presentation for children or young adults. 

 

For this activity an interactive virtual presentation was created using ThingLink with the view to promote the shortlist for fiction for Years 7-9 for The Young Australians Best Book Awards (YABBA) 2016. The YABBA awards aspire to give young people a voice within the Australian Children’s book industry by encouraging children to recommend, read,rate and reward their favourite Australian books. The ThingLink platform allowed me to upload and attach to the book covers of this year’s finalists, videos of book trailers, author’s readings or discussions about each book, as well as short synopsis, excerpts or reviews. These were made visible through simply scrolling over a button on the book cover. In my view this could be an effective way to generate interest and engagement with these books by taking the viewer beyond the cover alone, and in turn encourage participation in the process of a children’s choice book award.

Children’s choice book award programs can be seen to be a successful strategy for motivating children and young adults to read. Crow (2010, p.12) suggests that this is because the programs are built on positive involvement with books, and that the more positive experiences the participants have with books the more likely they are to develop a connection with reading. This connection, explains Crow (2012, p.12) can be attributed to the transactional theory of reader response which suggests that when the readers are surrounded by, and encouraged to respond to quality books, they begin to develop personal ties with the material as they bring their own experiences to the texts as they read. Furthermore, Crow (2010, p.12) writes that once this personal bond with books is formed, the reader is likely to return to reading on their own once the program ends as there is a desire to repeat the positive experience. Encouraging an enjoyment of, and a desire to continue to read can be seen to have positive implications that may benefit individuals beyond improved literacy levels. Merga (2014, p.1), explains that whilst developing reading skills through establishing a reading habit is generally associated with higher literacy scores and reading achievement, in her view the larger benefit can be seen to be an improvement in life prospects, as improved literacy outcomes positively influence academic performance and post-school vocational outcomes.

Through this activity I learned that a young people’s book awards that encourages active involvement and allows the child to have a say can be effective in motivating children to read and fostering a love of reading. Additionally, that allowing children to aid selection may guard against the “necessary fallibility and idiosyncrasies of individual judges and judging panels” (Hately, 2012, p.197) and allow for an unbiased choice of books that young people may find a connection with. Armed with this knowledge I would endeavour to actively promote the YABBA and any other children’s choice book awards within the library. As I was researching material for my presentation I realised how unaware I was about the quality and variety of books included in these awards. This could be remedied by familiarising myself with shortlisted books so that I might best promote them and the awards.

 

References

 

Crow, S. R. (2010). Children’s Choice Book Award Programs: Effective Weapons in the Battle to Get and Keep Kids Reading. School Library Monthly, 26(9), 12-13.  Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/89189790?accountid=10344

Hateley, E. (2012). And the Winner Is…?: Thinking About Australian Book Awards in the Library. The Australian Library Journal, 61(3), 189-199. doi:10.1080/00049670.2012.10736074

 

Merga, M. K. (2014). What would make them read more? Insights from Western Australian adolescents. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 1-16. doi:10.1080/02188791.2014.961898

INF330: Diversity

diversity

Diversity

Activity: Observe and document a program delivered for children or young adults at a local library, reflect on the experience.

Woollahra Library presents a weekly Storytime program for pre-school children (3-5 yrs.) which aims to promote reading readiness through language, rhythm and rhyme. I have attended and assisted with this program a number of times in the course of my work duties and have observed a themed approach which runs through the course of the half hour program which begins with a story read with the use of props or toys, followed by a related song and culminating in a simple craft activity. The themes have been seen to range from occupations, transportation, book characters, food and nutrition and animals. Multicultural themes are explored annually on Harmony day and indigenous themes are the focus during Naidoc week.

Whilst the topics and structure of the program can be seen to be age appropriate, in my observation there is a shortfall in the frequency and scope of culturally diverse themes. One explanation for this could be that demographically speaking the areas serviced by the library are not highly represented by those from CALD backgrounds. However, in Overton’s (2016. P.13) view, children should be allowed to develop a sense of familiarity with diversity, regardless of their background, through stories and images that reflect and celebrate individual differences in regards to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities and religion. Importantly too, Overton suggests that featuring diversity only at certain times of the year may encourage the notion of’ “the other”, which can be seen to be in direct opposition to the promotion of diversity. In Naidoo’s (2014 p.5) view the library is an ideal environment to introduce positive representations of diversity to children which may help them develop favourable attitudes to those perceived as “the other”. Furthermore, Hunter (2015. P.34) explains that by exposing our children to other lives and other stories a commonality may be found, which in turn may engender empathy, and, in his view this may also be an effective way to eradicate racism.

On reflection I have been able to understand the importance of promoting diversity within the community. I see that the Library’s Storytime program is an opportunity to allow children to develop a sense of familiarity with diversity through exposing them to stories and cultures different to their own with the view of creating respect for each other’s differences.

This new understanding can be seen to be relevant to my professional practice as a CYA librarian as I will be sure to include books and stories representing an array of cultures, to move beyond representing our own community, and to do so on a regular basis.

My previous understanding was that the library seemingly supported diversity through the inclusion of annual multicultural programming, this could be seen to reflect a gap in my knowledge. I now understand that multicultural themes should be a regular inclusion in programs and need not be based entirely upon demographic information about the cultures of the community of which we serve, to do so could be seen to truly cater to diversity.

 

 

 

References

 

Hunter, S. (2015). Promoting Diversity at Your Library. The Booklist, 111(11), 43.  Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1651243234?accountid=10344

 

Naidoo, C. (2014). The importance of diversity in library programs and material collections forchildren. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/ALSCwhitepaper_importance%20of%20diversity_with%20graphics_FINAL.pdf

 

Overton, N. (2016, Jan/Feb) Libraries Need Diverse Books. Public Libraries, 55, 13-14. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1773243107?accountid=10344