Tag Archives: Collaboration

The Spice Market, part 2

Rereading The Spice Market made it sound as if the benefit was all for Brendan. That the library was acting as a kind of guide to his personal epiphany. It definitely wasn’t all for his benefit. So what does the Library (staff and resources) get out of it?

There’s the tangible – we get suggestions for items that the library could/should own. Some were independent suggestions relating to curriculum. Some were from what I like to think of as the fairytale path of research – this book leads to this movie leads to this artist leads to this other movie leads to this director etc. We get a discussion on why those people or products.

Then there’s the intangible – we get insights into the way the industry works and how individuals in the industry work. (There may have also been a few rumours [REDACTED] but I couldn’t possibly comment on that.) I personally understand a little better how an artist could work. It’s certainly helped me to understand better how the students at the kura are being encouraged to work. From that it’s let me look at whether the library has changed along with the rest of the kura to accommodate that. I’m not sure it has, but talking with Brendan has let me see a potential way to change. He said that the library is a place to ‘stop’ for him. A small rest stop. I’m not quite sure how this meshes with my ideas that a library should be both “fucking awesome” and “fucking exciting” but we’ll see.

I guess the thing that feels most important to me about our conversations is that we are both working the thing we need to work while enabling the other to do the same. Which is a slightly wanky way of saying that I actually don’t know what the path is to get to the place I want the library to be but by talking to Brendan I’m getting closer to defining what that might be. And that is fucking exciting.

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The Spice Market

Currently showing in the library space is The Spice Market by Brendan (aka. Design Guy). Our shelves are green so the drawing is a dramatic statement against that background. It’s visible to everyone walking into the building as it’s positioned facing out towards the clear window/walls. (Where our display of new items is usually.)

When Brendan tentatively floated the idea that he would display the drawing in the library I was all for it. He said that The Spice Market has grown out of conversations in this place and therefore should be shown here first. He’s a regular library visitor. Sometimes he takes stuff out, sometimes he doesn’t. Mostly we talk about the stuff that he’s doing with his Art, the things that we’ve been watching or reading. [NTS: leave more comics on your desk to start conversations.] For me it’s a great example of how I want the Library (staff and resources) to work with the students.

In a weird way it feels very similar to the mentoring I’ve been doing. It’s the same process of discuss, question, research, explain, clarify, action etc. It’s not that the Library (staff and resources) are telling him how to be an artist, it’s that we’re facilitating the space he needs to work that out for himself. After that initial display conversation I tweeted “Don’t make art in isolation“, a bad reflection of the idea that art only becomes art when it is seen by someone else. @KiwiLibrarian responded “I make art while isolated in my art room, but I am not isolated in my art practice.” Yeah, I like that.

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Provide a hands on activity

I’ve had a bit of a play with Twine. Wrote a few scenarios, looked at the instructions, clocked how it worked, wrote a few more scenarios, suffered crushing despair when I realised it was all coming out a bit librarian-y. Totally unsuitable. It was supposed to be FUN. Slept on it. Agonised over it. Thought about it. Realised that the two groups of students had two different sets of learning outcomes based on previous orientation sessions. Therefore the Twine story (with a bit of tinkering) would work for the Entertainment students but I should go a different route for the Design students.

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Tell a story

Well. This thing is moving faster than expected. (Mostly because I can’t keep my big mouth shut…)

Last night, at our te reo class, I pitched the idea to The King (part of the Design team.) I hit these points:

  1. Orientation is reasonably successful for our design students, but could be sharper and more playful. K’s presentation in the library was really exciting to everyone who was involved so I’d like to try something like that.
  2. I want to work with the Design team to make sure the learning outcomes are included alongside library goals for the orientation.
  3. Having the new orientation online is an important part of why I want to change it up. Our students are online so we should be too. Even if there are limitations in the software we use, the ideas of play and narrative can come through (if I get it right!)

The King was pretty receptive to the idea of trying an alternative to the worksheets that are usually used. (When he said that, it sparked that I like the idea of having something tactile for the people to hold and play with. ‘Things to hold’ got added to the list of stuff to include.)

I’ve had a few ideas for how the story might go if we use Twine. Spider Baruk suggested I check out App La Carte. After a quick look, it looks a bit fancy for a first outing but I’ll take a better look later. (Not having a phone that can use apps means that I don’t really know how they work. Therefore, YMMV on how ‘fancy’ it is.) Then that reminded me of En Route, an audio based tour of Auckland. It doesn’t have the branching options but that might work better.

This is part 2 of an ongoing project to redesign the library orientation for the Design and Entertainment students at the kura.

Part 1 : Steal an idea

Part 3: Provide a hands on activity

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Steal an idea

Our Design, and Entertainment students get a library orientation at the beginning of each year which is okay but I reckon it could be better. Here’s the first glimmerings of an idea for orientation next year based on the six bullet points from Matt Finch’s Show Me the Awesome: Immersive play in the 21st century library.*

Steal an idea I’m going to steal the idea of City of Souls Auckland Libraries’ “interactive adventure containing zombies, violence and mayhem” and mash it up with a (sort of) discovery game that a designer in their first year of study presented in the library earlier this year.
Tell a story  Not 100% on what this might be yet. A designer’s journey through the design process? A quest of some sort? I will need collaborators for this bit to also ensure that the learning outcomes are met.
Provide a hands on activity The aim is to have it be a mix of clicky-clicky through the story and go-have-a-look-on-the-shelf. What I’m thinking here is “You find an [ITEM] at [DDC]” with [ITEM] and [DDC] being selectable options. There will be an instruction to pick an item from the shelves. Or maybe I’ll put something in the item which determines what they choose. #NeedsMoreThinking
Provide a rich language activity There’s an emphasis on sharing personal discoveries and building on that information in this kura. I’ll expect that the tutors will want to lead this part of it.
Share participants’ work! As above.
Always make them join, always make them borrow They are already signed up so that’s not an issue. We invite people to take something out but only a few take advantage of this. Not next year. Next year they’re not getting out of the library without an item.

Next steps.

– Talk to Designer (student) about what she was aiming for in her presentation.

– Get Design Guy and ET on board to see if we can make it work.

– Tinker with Twine. (Or similar – if you have a suggestion let me know.)

– Remember to define the scope- keep it simple this time.

*I’ve been talking to Matt, Tosca, and Moata over the last month or so. A perfect storm of inspiration. Nga mihi ki a koutou.

This is part 1 of an ongoing project to redesign the library orientation for the Design and Entertainment students at the kura.

Part 2: Tell a story

Part 3: Provide a hands on activity

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