Category Archives: Uncategorized

LibUX for Dummies: Podcast Edition

“Complain on your blog, and ye shall receive” – The Bible.

After I complained about there being few resources for LibUX newbies, Michael Schofield, from LibUX got in touch. He invited me to do a LibUX podcast episode where I ask him my newbie questions, and he attempts to answer them. Have a listen!


LibUX for Dummies (Like Me)

Learning new stuff on your own is hard.

I’ve always been ambiently interested in areas of user experience, user-centred services, and improving library design (both physical spaces and virtual spaces). But I’ve always struggled to find comprehensive learning opportunities on this topic. I need something that is sufficiently practical, but taught by an expert, and which holds me to some level of accountability.

There’s lots of practical material out there written by practitioners in the field, but those resources – blogs, websites, conference presentations – are often written for fellow experts. Ain’t nothing like experts talking to other experts, to make a novice instantly feel lost and/or dumb.

The other pitfall of practitioner materials is that they aren’t necessarily focused on comprehensive teaching… they’re grappling with the niche-y particularities of their job tasks, so it’s hard for a novice to put that work into a meaningful, big picture context.

The thing about learning about UX is that:

  1. It’s an important topic for librarians no matter what you’re job is, because we kinda live and die by our users, and
  2. there are points of entry for just about everyone: technologists, and non-technologists, public service folks and technical services folks, people who are up in the clouds of research, and people who are down on the front lines of the reference desk. UX touches on so many aspects of what libraries do.

To this end, I’ve been trying to find resources to help novices learn the basics of UX practice, and thought I’d share the few I’ve found particularly helpful, as someone who is not technical, and doesn’t have much of a background in these topics. Continue reading

Student as Scholar, Creator, Instagram Star

NCSU exhibits an exclusive collection of beautifully captured photographic images that is shown in the James B. Hunt Jr. library.


James B. Hunt Jr. Library, NC State University, via Instagram user @riflemanphotography

But this particular exhibit isn’t an acquired photography collection from some hoity toity famous photographer. It isn’t featured behind a glass exhibition cabinet under lock and key, with a security guard watching your every move.   Continue reading

From library stacks to server racks, and what is lost.

Library collections have taken a sharp turn to the digital in recent years, so maybe this Internet thing isn’t a fad.

Once upon a time I did some UX work with students about eBook stuff and many of them reported that, even when our eBooks suck and are hard to use (which often they totally do and are), they still love ’em. eBooks don’t have be shlepped around campus all day in your backpack. They’re available at 3am unlike the library’s print collection. And hey – no overdue fines! You can’t forget an eBook on the bus and then suddenly be at risk of having your degree withheld from you until you scrape together enough cash to pay for a replacement copy.

But the thing about print books is that in the last 500 years, libraries have devised some pretty nice systems for connecting users to print books and discovering other books they may be interested in. If you’re actually in the library (unlike the growing proportion of users who only access the library remotely), connecting to books of interest is easy and can help foster a rich library experience.

Continue reading

Startup Weekend: Library Edition… Coming to Toronto!

Attention Library people! (And Tech people! And designer people!)
I’m part of an organising team for a pretty awesome and exciting event: Startup Weekend Toronto EDU: Library Edition.
It’s a Startup Weekend (SW) event held in downtown Toronto in space donated by Mozilla Toronto (thank you Mozilla!!) during the weekend of March 28-30, 2014.
The event will begin on a Friday night, with attendees bringing ideas to pitch before an audience. Teams, comprised of both technical and non-technical participants,will form around the best ideas and then spend Saturday and Sunday building a prototype. Volunteer coaches and mentors are available throughout the weekend to provide advice and support. The event will culminate with product demos before a panel of judges, with prizes awarded on the Sunday afternoon. Also, I am organising the food, and I promise it will be delicious.
Startup Weekend Toronto EDU: Library Edition will bring together passionate people from the library world and tech worlds, as well as students, entrepreneurs, designers, and more, to problem-solve and build solutions for libraries, using the best of startup and library thinking. Solutions should have a technical component and can address any pain point experienced by libraries.
The organizers believe this event will create new relationships and help empower the library community to think differently about the challenges they face.  No technical expertise is required of library or information professional participants to participate (although systems or technology librarians are welcome of course) – just a willingness to embrace the experience and work hard! It would be rad to have you there!
coming/.  You can also follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at   And if you have questions, feel free to email me or just ask on our Facebook page.
Hope you’ll considering joining us on March 28-30.  It’s a lot of fun!

Scalable Information Literacy

Remember back in August when we basked in these last glorious dog days of summer, and looked with such wide, hopeful eyes towards the onslaught of September?

Now it’s November, and for many of us the tornado of Fall semester behind us, we have some time to look back and reflect on the insanity that was.

Librarians have been working really hard to get an information literacy presence into the classroom for decades. Some with great success…. Maybe even a bit *too* much success. Given the enormous time constraints placed on librarians as they become increasingly in demand for in-class teaching, I’ve started thinking about where we go from here. How can we continue to push forward an information literacy curriculum that meets faculty demand, is effective for student learning, and doesn’t create a Fall teaching schedule that makes us want to collectively crawl under our desks with a box of kleenex and a bottle of finely-crafted whiskey?


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Daniel Caron steps down from LAC!

Ottawa Citizen article here: Library and Archives boss chastised by heritage minister for taxpayer-funded Spanish lessons and subsequent press release here: