Friday, May 29, 2015

IMLS Focus 2015: National Digital Platform, Learning in Libraries, and Engaging Communities.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is facilitating another round of IMLS Focus sessions in 2015. These sessions are designed to spark conversations around selected topics with experts in the field and others in the profession. Each session is in a different location and available by invite only, but video recording are available to the public. The 2015 IMLS Focus sessions are broken up into three main categories with the dates that the sessions are/were scheduled to take place:
logo of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
IMLS logo
The National Digital Platform Focus discussion looks at how best to build a platform to host, share, and search for digital content to all users in the United States. Topics of the discussion look at building capacity with partnerships, leveraging both cross sector and federal partnerships, how to evaluate for sustainability, and more. Included in the discussion is Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and HathiTrust, among others. These discussions highlight some of the priorities towards building a national digital platform, like "connecting tools & services with potential to scale," as well as to "stop funding silos as it does not add to the common goal." These quotes can be found on the #IMLSFocus hashtag on twitter, or you can look through the collection of the tweets with this hashtag using Storify

The Learning in Libraries Focus session looks at learning in libraries from the perspective of both those that come into the library (patrons, students) in learning spaces and STEM activities, and those that will be entering the profession. Topics of the discussion include early learning in libraries, digital literacy and inclusion, and aligning Master of Library Science curriculum with the needs of today's libraries. Ann Craig, Director of the Illinois State Library discussed the ILEAD USA program (which Wisconsin is one of the ten states participating in the program this year), and Laura Damon-Moore who is co-founder of the Library as Incubator Project and works at the Eager Free Public Library, discussed participatory learning in libraries and using a story telling platform.

These Focus discussions contain a lot of great ideas, questions, and some possible answers to problems that are currently on the radar for many libraries. If anything, these Focus sessions show how important it is to continue the conversation on multiple topics, and how engaging with others in the profession (and outside the profession) will result in progress towards finding a solution that is acceptable to everyone. Each Focus session is around seven hours long, however the recordings are broken up by each talk which makes it easier to go and listen whenever you have time to do so.

The final 2015 Focus session on Engaging Communities will be on Tuesday, June 2 and the agenda can be found here.

Written By:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team