LSC597 Reflective Essay 2: More, more, more

Prologue

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Oh brother… reviewing the past eight weeks of course readings, video screenings and digital learning for this reflective essay, I found myself going down even more rabbit holes than I did the first time through! Nice trick, Dr. Hobbs. Besides getting drawn back in to readings I didn’t have the time to read fully earlier, I was able to watch videos I hadn’t really absorbed or appreciated when I was still fumbling around with new digital literacy expectations. And then there was that PCFF films available online list! Thank goodness some of them were no longer available and I had an extended assignment deadline.

Digital Literacy  

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Two months after my first reflective essay, and two weeks before the end of this course, and I’m starting to feel quite comfortable in the 21st century online environment. I’m regularly using and appreciating Twitter, a social networking service I had little earlier interest in, even though I’d opened an account a few years back. I’m even tweeting for non-course-related purposes. I like receiving headline style news from the media and media literacy worlds that I can explore further or not, but also from the world in general, as well as other interest areas, issues, organizations, and people that I’m following in specific.

I’m glad I now know how to use more than one video conferencing service, am more or less at ease with Flipgrid, Basecamp, and WordPress, and have finally learned how to use PDF annotation – a very helpful tool for a writer and editor, don’t you think?  Can’t believe I wasn’t forced to learn this earlier. Oh, and interactive PDFs – who knew? canstock3480216I also enjoyed playing around a bit with the They Say, I Say” format to break the monotony of slide style.

My increased online exposure and activity has made me even more aware of the vast differences in online presence. I can see both the need for and the obvious either resistance to or lack of resources for a vibrant digital branding for the library community. The YALSA site was actually sad and disappointing to me in this regard. I tried more than once to tweet a page from their web site using their Twitter share symbol, but never got more than the word “Programs” to make it through cyberspace. How are libraries expected to keep up with the digital media explosion when its national organizations are still using muskets?

Videos Screened

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Overall, even though they shortened what seemed like an already short class, I enjoyed the video screenings and discussion during online class time as well as those for assignments. It took me a few weeks to figure out how to jump effectively from the Google Hangout or Zoom tab to our course tab and follow the link to a video, but I eventually got there.

I liked watching the PCFF green screen workshop with kids. I remember being fascinated myself the first time I encountered that technology and forever after guess at which scenes in movies may have been filmed that way. There are some great examples of green screen use in the extras included with some movies on DVD, but I loved the low budget, drawn environment that kids in the workshop first created, then “stepped into”.

670px-Cut-out-a-Picture-(Green-Screen)-Step-1Also loved How to Take Care of Your Pet as an example of how simple learning by creating can be and how young media makers can be.

Jason Lamotte’s The Library was another favorite – enough for me to watch another of Lamotte’s short films The Terms, an interview with him, and just now the companion pitch video for The Library (Warning! Mystery spoiler alert).

I wanted to travel back in time and attend the forest kindergarten in School’s Out. My kind of school, and a video I plan to send to all the overprotective (IMHO) parents and grandparents I know. Talk about learning by doing! Just as some parents in the video were scared or concerned about possible dangers, so I suspect, are some teachers and librarians concerned about the challenges of digital and media learning by doing.

Women Win’s Mountain Girl video was a nice companion to show what their Digital Story Telling Kit tried to teach.

Readings

As I mentioned in a Flipgrid, I really liked some of the ideas in the Roy (2012) article on Canadian film festivals, particularly the one about partnering with sponsor community organizations with a connection to an issue in a film. I see this as a potential route to getting a more diverse audience for film festivals interested in that outcome.              books

I found the “history” readings – Saettler, Horne, and Nichols – very interesting. Never knew about the museum/film/school district/library connections, and I loved reading about Edgar Dale and the film appreciation movement. The one copy of the entire Payne Fund Study on Youth available through Amazon is in my shopping cart.

The NILPPA White Paper’s terms programming librarian, outreach librarian, community engagement librarian, and civic engagement librarian were all new to me, even though I recently worked with the Providence Athenaeum, which has a Director of Public Engagement. I think it was the “librarian” part that threw me, because I’ve never thought of Christina (the DPE there) as a librarian. Strange. As I look over the Athenaeum staff list now, I see very little use of the word – only three of the 21 staff have Librarian in their position title. There was a concerted effort in the past five years to attempt to change the public perception of the Athenaeum as “just a library”, and to play up its role in public programming. Another example of “program or perish”?

The tips in Flora’s Planning for a Successful Library Event were very helpful in doing just that, despite the lack of any social media or other digital publicity suggestions. We even utilized the suggested use of hyperbole on our event poster. Ned Potter’s Venn diagram helped us hone our program to overlap our knowledge and program goals as much as possible with what might matter to our target audience.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was intrigued by the ALA white paper (2014) discussion about program impact. The list of examples of deep-level impact given included “the generation of new questions; an increasing sense of confidence in one’s abilities; and recognition that something has ‘pushed one’s mind’.” (p.14) These seemed like good examples to shoot for in our library film event, and I was pleased that the children attending had many questions, many were confident enough to get up and show off their hand-clapping skills, and there was some evidence that seeing a locally-made film and meeting the filmmaker and actor may have pushed a few minds into imagining some new possibilities in their own lives.

Because we really tried to make as many community connections as possible with our event, and to collaborate with multiple partners, I also appreciated the Caroline Marshall quote below that acknowledges the work involved.

“No one should kid themselves . . . collaboration is not fluffy work. It is hard, frustrating, and unremittingly real, but it’s worthwhile and absolutely essential in this new age,” wrote Caroline Marshall more than a decade ago. Marshall, an experienced strategic planning consultant to cultural institutions, would receive no argument from those engaged in the sensitive work of bringing together multiple partners toward a common goal. (ALA p.18)

All in all, a whole lotta’ learnin’ goin’ on these past eight weeks, and I’m guessing I’m just getting started. Here’s my first attempt at an infographic, just for fun. Some day maybe I’ll even figure out how to get the visual on the page.

REFERENCES

American Library Association (2014). National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment White Paper.

American Library Association, Public Programs Office (2003). One Book, One Community: Planning Your Community-Wide Read. 

Flora, Kate (2011) Planning for a Successful Library Event – Tips for Librarians

Horne, J. (2011) A History Long Overdue: The Public Library and Motion Pictures. In Haidee Wasson & Charles Acland (Eds.). Useful Cinema (pp. 213-2570. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Nichols, J. (2006). Countering Censorship: Edgar Dale and the Film Appreciation MovementCinema Journal 46(1), 3 – 233.

Potter, N. (2015). The Library Marketing Toolkit.

Roy, C. (2012). Why don’t they show those on TV? Documentary film festivals media and community. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 31(3), 293–307. http://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2012.683610

Saettler, P. (1955). History of A-V Education in City School Systems. Audio Visual Communication Review 3(2), 109 – 118.

Women Win (2015). Digital Storytelling Kit. National Association for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC).

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Creating an impactful program

While there were many takeaways in the three course readings for the first week of April, being so close to our program implementation, one topic that leapt out at me was program impact. As stated in the American Library Association program assessment white paper, “Understanding impact is critical to assure that the best possible programming is being developed to meet the greatest needs and interests…” (ALA, 2014, p.13). I had been used to writing proposals and creating programs with measurable outcomes, but the distinction made here between outcomes and impact was both interesting and understandable.

Although we may not have labeled it as such at the time, impact on our various constituencies was probably on our minds when planning our team’s film education program. Our goals followed the One Book, One Community (ALA, 2003, p.6) model of identifying Program, Audience, Thematic/Collection, and Community goals, and reviewing them now makes me realize that our program was designed to have impact on more than one audience.

The claim in Digital Storytelling for Social Change (p. 26) that “Organizations that evaluate the impact of their storytelling accurately can learn what’s working and strengthen their storytelling—and also build a body of evidence about the merits of investing in digital storytelling.” made me rethink our evaluation plan somewhat. While we were not having our program participants create their own digital stories, we were exposing them to the stories of others, and it would certainly be helpful to know whether that exposure had any impact on our audience.

“The development of a research framework begins with the shared understanding that the lives of the users of library services, public programming in this case, will be enriched because of their participation.” (ALA, 2014, p.13)

The part about building a body of evidence is another key idea, related to impact, that shows up in all the readings. There is obviously both a need for solid data that shows the value of these programs for planning decisions and to obtain funding, etc. and challenges in doing so. I thought the suggestion to see what information is already being gathered and what tools are already available was sound.

The Women Win – Digital Story Telling (DST) program attempts to measure and prove impact “at the individual level of the girl, at the organizational level, and at the community level”(p. 14). It names three very specific areas of impact for the girls in the program, which made me think, a bit too late in the game, if we should have written specific outcome or impact goals for the participants in our program. All part of the experiential learning process. While the DST program spoke to my feminist sensibilities, the numerous typos drove my writer’s brain crazy.

All in all, lots to think about in these readings, all of which I will want to revisit for a more thorough read in the future.

REFERENCES USED
American Library Association (2014). National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment. White Paper.
American Library Association, Public Programs Office (2003). One Book, One Community: Planning Your Community-Wide Read. 
Rockefeller Foundation (2015). Digital Storytelling for Social Impact. National Association for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC).
Women Win (2015). Digital Storytelling Kit. National Association for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC).