Monday, May 05, 2008

literacy, e-literacy, me-literacy, we-literacy: a talk for and from art librarians

since friday, i've been in denver, colorado, attending the 36th annual art libraries society of north america (ARLIS/NA) conference.

today is my turn to talk and i will use a recent field trip to work through four different and overlapping literacies: literacy, e-literacy, me-literacy, and we-literacy. i will also share some stories about getting students - and faculty - into their libraries. some of these stories will be about projects i heard about here in denver at ARLIS/NA 08.

for the more linear minded, my talk may go a lil something like this:

stonelake farm, I: literacy and e-literacy

i'll begin with a brief explanation of the davies forum on digital literacy and the series of events that led to our four-day field trip to stonelake farm, an organic, off-the-grid homestead in humboldt county, california. all the while, i'll try to tease out what i mean by literacy and e-literacy.

stonelake farm, II: me-literacy and we-literacy

next, i'll discuss the differences and overlaps between me-literacy and we-literacy and share my students' experiences with individual blog posts and collective tags and tag clouds. i hope to show, as ArLiSNAP's web 2.0 tech kiosk did, that we learn more when we learn together.

getting student and faculty bodies into libraries

the heart of campus is the library -- how do we get more of we inside?

one idea is to do what they do at wertz art and architecture library at miami university in oxford, ohio. there, junior and senior art majors matthew addison, caroline brown, sam doan, kim hogan, katie leone, emily moorshead, chris skaggs, hilary stevens, and ellen warner teamed with librarian stacy nakamura brinkman and art professor sara young to create a site-specific installation that encompasses two study/reading rooms.

to make it happen, the students - collectively - had to brainstorm ideas, write a grant, and establish a dialogue with library staff (in this case, stacy). plus, they had to follow two rules: 1) no physical alterations could be made to the site and 2) the installation could not interfere with daily activities and services of the library.

as far as i can understand, images of book spines and covers were printed onto acetate panels that served as translucent curtains for the reading room's windows. a video was projected on opposite screens in the study rooms. and bringing it all together was a woven paper cord that ran the length of the ceiling.

student art surrounding studying students. awesome.

or maybe we should do what they do at depauw university libraries visual resource center (the same center that creates super smart, award-winning videos that market their library services). there, graduate intern jessica bozeman worked with visual resources librarian brooke cox to create a research scavenger hunt game. the game was based on the da vinci code and engaged students (and, i hope, faculty) in library research, resources, and services. (more info on the panel wiki.)

or maybe we should take a tip from amanda gluibizzi, subject specialist for history of art, fine arts, and art education at the fine arts library at ohio state university. noticing that there was a lot of excellent public art across OSU's campus, amanda created a map with pins on various pieces of art. when users click the pins, they will see images of the art, thereby, i hope, making them more aware of the work the next time they walk by. but clicking on the pins reveals another thing: a keyword search for any OSU holdings relevant to the artist. online tools to enhance offline campus walk-abouts. online tools to highlight offline library services. excellent.

stonelake farm, III: steven's ipod

i'll end my talk with a special story about an ipod, a six-hour drive home, and students remixing and curating content.

update: pics from the stage!


Bryan Loar said...

Thanks for blogging about the con and your presentation ;)

david said...


Lulu McAllister said...

I'd love to hear the story about our sweet DJ session. Kick out the jams!

Coco said...

Hello. Thanks for your talk at ARLIS. I am not an art librarian, but an instruction librarian, so I was not the target audience. It struck me that you were talking about many things we talk about in the "information literacy" biz without using the actual labels. Among them are student engagement, on which there is an enormous body of literature; the teaching vs. learning paradigm, ditto; and of course, critical thinking. On a critical note, I think the real challenge would be to get students to talk about chickens, snow, and the "tactile" in an computer lab, which is what we are called upon to do regularly, without taking them out in nature. It is not that difficult, actually, if you use the methods I mention above. Finally, Richart Light at Harvard write an interesting book asking students what really makes them tick: Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds, which you might enjoy. Coco Halverson, California Institute of the Arts

Rina said...

Thank you for your presentation and your active participation at the ARLIS conference. I especially appreciated the very respectful and admiring way you spoke about college students in your talk. I am regularly impressed by their creativity, intelligence, and activism. Here at Washington University, students are organizing a protest to the university's decision to award anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafy an honorary degree,

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

(Posted this before, but noticed pesky typos. Sorry!)

Thanks for posting about the Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk! I really enjoyed working on it. The kiosk idea grew out of a more "traditional" session last year, where a group of us talked about some Web 2.0 technologies using the standard PPT setup. I left that session wondering if we'd really gotten through to anyone, or if people would still be afraid to try the technologies themselves after leaving the conference. So, I thought I'd try to find a way to work more personally with people to make the learning more accessible, less intimidating, and more relevant to each person's needs/ questions/ concerns. I think that the format worked, even if we did sometimes have a larger crowd than I anticipated (not a bad problem to have!). I hope many more people will take the approach of talking *with* people instead of talking *at* them.

david silver said...

coco - hello! thanks for the comment. indeed, what librarians call information literacy is what served as one of the key foundations (the other being participatory media and culture) for this class. as i began to brainstorm the class, i studied and learned a lot from ACRL's information literacy site, which i highly recommend.

thanks for suggesting richart light's making the most of college. my library has this book and i hope to take a look at it over summer.

but i have to say i disagree with you when you write, "I think the real challenge would be to get students to talk about chickens, snow, and the "tactile" in an computer lab, which is what we are called upon to do regularly, without taking them out in nature." do you think such experiences can be replicated in computer labs? and, if so, is it something we should pursue? personally, i thought one of the highlights of the class was when we logged off, left our laptops and computer labs, and went to the farm. i'm curious to hear more of your ideas on this.

thanks for attending my talk in denver and i'll look forward to future conversations.

david silver said...

rina - it was a pleasure to meet you in denver and to see your comment on my blog. your comment about how i speak about my students is one of the nicest things i've heard. thank you. i will try my best to follow washington university students' activities around schlafy (an honorary degree for her?!?) and her honorary degree (for what?!?) on graduation.

rebecca - i was and continue to be a big fan of the Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk! i thought it was smart and smartly designed and, as you write in your comment, it talked with people rather than at folks. excellent. i spoke at length with tom riedel who, along with peggy keeran, served as local arrangements for the conference and we agreed that having the kiosk in the exhibits room, rather than as lecture/panel, was so much more effective. i'm really impressive with the lessons and materials you all produced as well as the work that ArLiSNAP does.

Mike said...

This blog is great

Karry said...

Hi there,

I attended your presentation at the ARLIS conference and it was awesome. I am a student and would like to write a paper on some of the concepts that you spoke of ( e-literacy, me-literacy, we-literacy). I am guessing that you coined these terms/concepts because I can't find any information using those ideas. Was that presentation recorded? Can you recommend anyone who may have inspired your thoughts so that I have a paper trail? I can't write a paper on my memory of your presentation, so please write a book! Thanks for the great presentation and thanks in advance for any info you can send my way (or post). Karry

david silver said...

Karry - thanks for the kind words! i enjoyed the conference immensely.

to the best of my knowledge, the talk was not recorded.

one day i will formally write up these ideas but until then they exist as a talk in denver and as this here blog post!

if you would like to talk further about this, feel free to email.

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