Potential topics, so far

I’ve already met and been contacted by several interesting people who would like to contribute to LibraryYOU. Here are some of the topics they will be covering:

  • beekeeping
  • self-hypnosis
  • patient advocacy
  • cake decorating
  • making cake pops (there’s a trick to it, seemingly)
  • quilting
  • soldering
  • making a telescope

Curation websites

I spent the day working on the LibraryYOU website which will hopefully go live in January 2012. I’m using the mojoPortal CMS to create the site which I think will work out fine but I was hoping to use Omeka, an “open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions." However, you need a LAMP web server and our city does not use Linux. Omeka will also host a site for you for a fee. 

I also considered other free curation sites after seeing this blog post:

At least 20 tools that might help you curate something

None of them did quite what I wanted. Since we are showcasing videos and podcasts, it had to do both. And I had to be able to include searchable metadata (because, after all, this is a library collection). Omeka has it all and if you want to create your own LibraryYOU but have the same issues I encountered, I’d encourage you to take a look at it to see how their sites are set up and get ideas. Oh! And the other problem with Omeka is that you can’t embed videos. There used to be a plugin but it’s no longer available. So all video and audio files would have to be hosted on your web server. That’s another thing that we can’t do with our project. 

If you have a lot of money, the folks at FeedMagnet will create something just for your organization. This might work for a large, urban community. 

Using an iPad for video editing

In his initial investigations into the equipment for the recording studio, Tom (our Recording Studio Coordinator) looked into the idea of using the video editing iMovie app on the iPad. He took a look at some online tutorials and noted that it looked rather easy. So we’ll be adding an iPad to our list of equipment so that patrons may learn some of the basics of video editing (timelines, transitions, etc.).

Some issues to note:

  • iMovie is only available on the iPad 2
  • The iMovie app for iPad has more functionality than the app for the iPhone but less functionality than the desktop application for Apple computers/laptops.
  • You can only use files in the .mov format so that usually restricts you to movies created on the iPhone, iPad, or built-in camera on an Apple laptop/desktop. Some Canon cameras also allow you to record in the .mov format.
  • The Apple Camera Connection Kit allows you to upload videos from a USB or SD card. Again, they must be in the .mov file format so this may not always work. You may have to drop files into your iTunes, connect your iPad to your computer, and add the files to your iPad from iTunes.

Recording Studio Coordinator

As part of the LibraryYOU grant funding we were able to hire a part-time Recording Studio Coordinator. This person will be in charge of the recording equipment, scheduling for studio time, and training/mentoring students or interns. We were lucky enough to get Tom Carroll, a creative professional with years of experience in such areas as animation, marketing, writing, and teaching. He has brought up many ideas and issues that I had not even considered such as helping people plan and organize their presentations. It is difficult to just start talking without a plan in mind. (Although there are many examples of free-form videos on Youtube that are very compelling, though those aren’t usually the instructional videos.) His experience storyboarding for video game development and writing screenplays will come in handy when guiding are participants through this process.

The other nice thing about Tom is that he has a lot of connections in the community. He has been spending time talking to a local high school’s media teacher about the equipment we should buy for the studio. Definitely take advantage of all your local connections! One of the main goals of LibraryYOU is to highlight local expertise and even in the planning stages we are identifying some very helpful people.

First mention in the local media

A reporter got wind of LibraryYOU at a recent City Council meeting and wrote a nice article for the local paper, the North County Times:

Library grant allows locals to make videos

I thought we’d get some phone calls the day the article came out but no one called. This just reaffirms my need to do networking and outreach to get contributors.

UPDATE: We did have one patron visit us in person after reading the article. I also connected with another potential contributor after posting the article on our Facebook page. Yay! 

Differentiating ourselves

I was looking for a video to advertise an upcoming event and came across this very similar local video project called The People’s Post. The San Diego County Library system is one of the partners. I wish I’d known about it before I submitted my grant but as I looked at their site I realized our goals are different.

  1. While they are looking for stories, we are looking for knowledge in the form of tutorials.
  2. We are doing videos and podcasts.
  3. We will accept videos created by the public. They do not have to be created by us even though we will have a recording studio for those who want our help.
  4. We will be providing training so we can teach patrons how to create and share their own videos and podcasts.
  5. We see our videos and podcasts as a part of our library’s digital collection.

Still, I am happy to see there is a similar project going on. We can always refer our participants to The People’s Post. Need to add to my To Do list - Contact those in charge of The People’s Post.

Finding contributors

When I was imagining this project, I realized that outreach would be important to make sure we were getting a variety of contributors. I thought I’d visit business organizations like Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. I’d contact educators from local K-12 schools and colleges. I’d speak to the local art partnerships and gallery owners. I’d take advantage of people with large local networks to help spread the word. I’d also need to prepare all our front-line staff to let me know about any interesting patrons who share their stories at our customer service desks. I need to get them a script or a hand-out so they can help me identify interesting people who would like to create a video or podcast for LibraryYOU.

Since the project is just beginning, I’ve been tentative in my recruiting efforts. I’ve spoken to a few people and they have all been interested in being a part of the project. Some have told me they know other people who would be interested. Today I received a phone call from a local author who was excited about contributing and telling his network about the opportunity.

I am much less afraid that we will suffer from a lack of contributors. I am starting to be concerned that we may have too many. In order to keep track of all the interested parties, I’ve created a spreadsheet to capture names and contact information. My current priorities are creating a Release Form and Guidelines for Inclusion (or a Collection Development Policy). I need to have these things clear in my mind so I may easily answer questions about who can contribute, what they can contribute, who owns the contribution and what they may do with it.

Elevator speech

I’ll be explaining LibraryYou to a lot of people in the coming months so it’s time I perfect my elevator speech. It will be important for everyone working closely with me on the project to remember this speech too. Because LibraryYou is all about sharing content created by the community, we’ll be doing a lot of networking and outreach to get people to participate. So when they ask: “What is it all about?” we’ll be able to launch into this: 

Elevator Speech Take 1:
LibraryYou is a website created by the Escondido Public Library to share local knowledge through videos and podcasting. Members of the Escondido community are invited to record a podcast or video. If they cannot make their own, they can set up an appointment at our recording studio and/or attend one of the training classes. You see, information is not only found in books, magazines, DVDs, etc. We think great information can be found in the people in our own community and we want to record and share that information. The library is branching out into digital formats like eBooks and we feel that creating our own information using the new multimedia online formats is the natural next step in making our collection of knowledge richer. Might need some refining.

Getting funding and approval

A short history: 

I dreamed up LibraryYou during the Internet Librarian conference in 2010. It was a synthesis of many of the trends I was hearing about - libraries creating their own content, using audio and video sharing sites, and technology training for the public.

When my boss asked me to come up with an idea for the California State Library’s Pitch an Idea LSTA grant, I jumped at the chance to make LibraryYou a reality. Luckily, the folks at the state library liked my idea and after their support getting the grant application completed (shout out to Suzanne Flint!), LibraryYou was funded. The budget will cover:

  • graphic design (logo creation and posters)
  • a recording studio (complete with video cameras, backdrops, lighting, microphones)
  • a part-time staff person to run the recording studio
  • an Apple computer for audio and video editing
  • various other supplies, subscriptions, etc.

The final hoop is being jumped through as I type. Our library director is getting approval from the City Council to accept the grant funds. Tomorrow will officially be Day One.

On my To Do List:

  • Sign contract with graphic designer.
  • Hire part-time Recording Studio Coordinator.
  • Start building LibraryYou website.
  • Create collection development guidelines for videos and podcasts that will be included on site.
LibraryYou is a project created by Donna Feddern of the Escondido Public Library in San Diego County, California. Funded by an LSTA grant, LibraryYou is an online university by the people, for the people. The library hopes to capture and share local knowledge through video sharing sites and podcasts.

This Tumblr will document the progress of the LibraryYou project.

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