Notes on From Chic to Geek? How One Library Integrated Emerging Technologies into Traditional Programming #PLA12

The presenter, Sam Chada, was named a 2012 Mover & Shaker (as a Tech Leader) and it was evident why. The work she has done after just graduating a year ago is both inspiring and intimidating, though something to aspire to as a student myself.

She began at the Sandusky (Ohio) Public Library as a practicum student and is now the Emerging Technologies Librarian.
Her first task was integrating technology into the library. The first hurdle was selling the idea to her staff, whose average was around 50.

To do this, she developed a series of staff training sessions to start at the beginning in teaching the following technologies:

Facebook and Twitter
Flickr and YouTube
Ebooks and Ereaders
Phone and Web apps
QR codes

To get them on board and show them how valuable this learning opportunity was, she recommended the youtube video, Social Media Revolution by Erik Qualman.

The goals of these classes were exposure, knowledge and empowerment. She started with getting 6 ipads for the staff to use to learn practically. She put them in small groups by skill level and also paid attention to who worked well together and who didn’t.

A couple ‘hiccups’ she came across were:
– Many staff didn’t have a home computer or cell phone
– lack of awareness of new technologies
– scheduling conflicts

* tip: hold classes every other week rather than 3 days every week.

Eventually, these classes were extended to patrons.

– Likes increased 65%
– Staff explored new technologies on their own
– staff were more receptive to new technologies

The total cost of the program:
– Ipads and covers: $3000
– time to develop training
– time to train staff and public

Another revolutionary program was a
QR code self-guided historic cemetery walk. When a guide is unavailable, visitors can scan the QR codes for each person’s grave and be linked to the blog page with corresponding information. This won the 2012 Ohio Academy of History Public History Award. (QR codes were generated using

– time

The library received a $50,000 grant from a local organization to be spent only on non-print materials. With this, they bought 24 Barnes and Noble Nooks and 24 NY Times best sellers to go on them along with 3 book discussion titles. This began their
Ereader lending program.

– $10,000 on equipment and content
– Staff time

Ipads and traditional programs:

They placed apps on ipads for children, so they would make a craft and then have time to play around on ipads.

Ipads and storytimes:
The first part is spent demonstrating songs, rhymes, and other activities. The second part gives time to explore the children-focused apps placed on them.

– many parents thought they had to bring their own ipads to participate
– seating arrangement issues

They eventually decided to give each parent an iPad and allow them to follow along with their child.

Roving reference:
– Entire building didn’t have wifi
– not a lot of reference questions
– staff not receptive; didn’t understand not answering from desk

Sam found some old working monitors and set one up on the reference desk facing the patron, so while the librarian was navigating on his/her computer, the patron could follow along without hovering.

Fail section:
Wordle activity- tried to get teens to create a word cloud and craft a frame for it for Xmas gifts. Had computer and printing issues, but teens had a good time making frames so they might try again

Airswimmers- fish or shark ‘balloons’ that you can navigate through the air. Had huge idea for underwater storytime theme with bubble machine, but swimmers didn’t work out so well.

Lesson: don’t be afraid to try; some things work, some don’t

Lastly, they have gaming as well (xbox 360, wii, kinect) and are in the process of starting to offer game lending.

During audience question time: an attendee mentioned a great site for generating customizable QR codes in colors and shapes:

Another one said her library holds online gaming tournaments with other libraries.

For technology assistance, Another offers a Book a librarian program where you can schedule one-on-one time 2x a month and a suggestion was to get techy teen volunteers to come and teach how to use their own devices. The last example from an audience member was the creation of coaster with the library’s social media or QR code info on them.

I was just as impressed with Sam as I was with Rebecca Renard, a 2011 Mover & Shaker, from the NCLA 2011 conference. This was a great session and she was a great speaker!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s