Monday, April 15, 2013

Third Stop...Cross Cultural Competency

All of us have had the “stranger in a strange land” feeling before. We have all visited places where we felt just a little apprehensive of the unfamiliar. We have used skills of adaptation and observation to help us navigate the unknown. We tend to think more, move less and engage in a different way. These feelings can be all too real when we experience other cultures.

But culture is a strong part of our daily lives. And differences can influence service standards and interpersonal communication. Working with the public, we encounter a diversity of individuals in the process of transitioning between primary cultures and secondary cultures. As the world becomes more globalized, Cross Cultural Competency becomes a pertinent skill for the workplace.

At a staff or departmental meeting, try this experiment! It is designed to help illustrate understanding cultural intersections and demonstrate challenges when leaving your comfort zone! Completion of this module grants up to 1 hour of training credit. Upon completion, submit the participants using the form on Harriet.

Note: This is a group activity. Facilitator must fill out form and list all participants.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
  2. Draw a vertical line down the center of the paper.
  3. One the left side of the paper, write the following with your dominant hand:
    • Write your name in cursive.
    • Write the word "psychiatrist" in cursive.
    • Write the sentence "I am writing this with my dominant hand."
    • Draw a tree.
    • Write today's date.
  4. On the right side of the paper, use your non-dominate hand to do the same:
    • Write your name in cursive.
    • Write the word "psychiatrist" in cursive.
    • Write the sentence "I am writing this with my non-dominate hand."
    • Draw a tree.
    • Write today's date.
  1. Did you have trouble with this exercise? If so, what adjustments did you make to better complete each task?
  2. Did you notice any of your peers experiencing difficulties accomplishing any of the tasks? If so, did you notice any techniques they used to complete each task?
  3. If you were required to use your non-dominate hand for the remainder of the day, how do you think you’d feel?
  4. How would you relate this experience to a person moving from one culture to another?
  5. How does this exercise specifically relate to language barriers during library transactions?
  6. Having finished this exercise, how do you believe this will change the way you interact with those transitioning between cultures?
When you have submitted the participants at this station, you will receive the your medal and get up to 1 hour of training.   You have until June 14 to complete this exercise.

Second Stop...Curating a Collaborative Collection

At this stop on the Brain Train, we’ll be working together to create digital collections on the theme of travel.  We’ll be curating digital objects into different collections based on countries, cities, or places both real and imagined.  This station will focus on developing three of the Ten Skills.
  • Virtual Collaboration – At this stop we’ll be working with others to pull together information found online into location-based collections.
  • Cross-Cultural Competency - We'll be working together to explore a variety of cultures and cultural objects and records, pulling together what is specifically regional, but also finding common or shared ground.
  • New Media Literacy – At this stop we’ll be evaluating online content by collecting the best sites, blogs, images, videos or audio that help us explore a place.  We’ll be using Pinterest to capture these collections.    
What is Pinterest?
Imagine a bulletin board where you pin interesting photographs or newspaper cuttings or images torn from a magazine.  Now imagine that your friends, family members and even people you don’t know have these kinds of bulletin boards too – and you can grab things from their boards that you'd like to put on your own.  This is Pinterest: an online bulletin board where you can grab things you like, organize them based on your interests, and share with others.

New to Pinterest?
First, go to and select to “Join Pinterest.”  If you’re already on Facebook or Twitter, you can use either of these accounts to create one for Pinterest.  You can also choose to create an account with an e-mail address. If you prefer, you can use your work email to create a work Pinterest account instead of using your personal Pinterest account.  Once you’ve created your account, take a look at the BrainTrain Pinterest Boards.  These are the boards that you will be contributing to.

Pinterest Primer
If you’re new to Pinterest or you’re on Pinterest already and need some help, take a glance at these helpful hints.

In the upper right-hand corner you'll see your Pinterest name and your avatar if you've uploaded one.  When you hover over your name, you'll see a drop-down menu that will help you navigate the site.  "Add a Pin" is one of the most important options you'll use during this project.  When you select "Add a Pin" you'll have two options: Choose File - or - Find Images to Pin.

Find Images to Pin: This is the primary method you’ll use to add content to the board or boards you’re interested in.  When you find a website worth adding and sharing, copy the web address.  Select "Add a Pin" and paste the web address into the space provided.  You’ll notice that it says “Find Images” rather than just “Pin It!”  Just like a bulletin board full of photographs, Pinterest is a very visual way of organizing content.  For some websites you might have several image options and others you’ll have fewer.  Scroll down through the images until you find one you like.  Make sure you select which board you want to pin to, add a description of what you’re pinning and then Pin It!

Choose File: Maybe you have a photo you’d like to upload to Pinterest to share with others.  If you select to choose a file, you’ll need to browse your computer for the image.  Once you find the correct picture, select open.  You should see a preview of your picture on the right.  Select which board you want to pin it to, add a description of what you’re pinning and then Pin It!

Create a Board: Boards are how you organize your pins.  I have boards for recipes, interior design, fashion, library program ideas, and books I’ve enjoyed.  I have friends who have boards just of cars, as a planning space for their child’s first birthday party, for health and fitness tips, or a place to put things they find inspirational.  The possibilities are endless.  If you are new to Pinterest, I would recommend creating a board or two to help get you comfortable with pinning.

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn about Pinterest, it's time to get started.

In this module, staff members will contribute to system-wide Pinterest board focusing on Travel (just in time for Summer Reading).  To earn credit for this module, you must pin a total of 10 items onto one or more travel boards, which can be found here.  You can choose to pin to a board that is already set up, or you may ask for a new board to be created.  When you are ready to start pinning, follow these steps:
  1. Sign up for a Pinterest account.  If you already have a Pinterest account, you may use that or you can create a new one with your work email for the purpose of this module.
  2. Click on this FORM and include the following:
    1. Name
    2. Branch
    3. Work email
    4. Email address used for your Pinterest account
    5. Name of board or boards you would like to pin to or see created

    You will then receive an email inviting you to begin pinning to your selected boards.  You must accept this invitation to begin pinning.
  3. Pin items pertaining to that board’s travel destination.  Possible items to pin include books, movies, recipes, cultural information, fashion, sports, history or anything you think will be interesting to someone viewing this board.  Some of these boards may be highlighted each week on during the Summer Reading Program.  If you are pinning books or movies, they MUST be titles available in our system and the image must be taken from our catalog.  In addition, all books and movies must link back to the HCPL catalog.  For instructions on how to pin items from our catalog, please see How to Pin from the HCPL Catalog.
  4. When you pin something, please put something short and descriptive in the comments box.  You must include your name and branch initials to receive credit for the pin.  For example Christina/NC or Meredith @ FM.
  5. Important-please make sure your pins link to websites with good information.  Remember that these boards may be made available to the library's customers so make sure the links work and that they link to appropriate information.
  6. If you upload personal photos, we must have photo release forms for anybody featured in your pictures.  Again, remember that these are public boards representing HCPL.
  7. When you have finished pinning your 10 items, fill out this FORM telling us what you pinned in which travel destinations so that we can give you credit for completion.
  8. Be sure to check the boards later!  It will be fun to see what other staff members find interesting about all of the destinations.

  9. You will have until June 14th to contribute your 10 pins to the collaborative boards.
    Happy Pinning!

    When you have submitted your Pins for this station, you will receive your medal and get 1 hour of training.

Monday, April 8, 2013

First Stop...What is the Brain Train?

In the beginning (or 2007, to be more precise), there was iHCPL, to guide us through the new technologies of Web 2.0.  Next, we followed the HCPL Treasure Hunt to help us navigate our way through different library concepts.  Finally, we took the Space Quest, exploring library functions that might usually be someone else’s responsibility. 
This year, though we still have a cute name, our focus will be more internal.  The HCPL Brain Train will explore skills like social intelligence, cross-cultural competency, and new media literacy.  You might discover skills you were already using and didn’t know you had, or self-assessment might lead you to explore new talents.  Your learning could take place in a group, at a computer, or on your own.  It might not seem like learning at all.
Inspired by a paper called Future Work Skills 2020, LIT has created a different sort of training program for the Brain Train.  According to this paper, six factors are driving change in the skills that we need in the workplace:
·         We are living longer and the nature of our careers and lifelong learning will change.
·         Computer processing will move us to a more programmable world.
·         Social technology will come in new and different forms.  Organizations will be larger.
·         The workplace will have smart machines and robotics will help with daily processing.
·         New communication tools will require media literacy beyond text.
·         Lastly, we will be a more globally-connected world.
Scary or intriguing?  Read on.
Imagine the year is 2020.  What do you think the library will look like?  The collection?  The buildings?  The computers?  The catalog records?  Most importantly, what skills will the library staff need for the future?  What will our children need?  Our children’s children?

Thomas Suarez was speaking in 2011, not 2020, but the solution to his app development dilemma was not found at the library.  What if his library had used adaptive thinking, new media literacy and social intelligence to work with Thomas and his friends?
Let’s follow Steampunk Harriet as she conducts us on the Brain Train, a training filled with group activities, interactive learning and, yes, training credits.  Not all activities will receive the same amount of credit and you don’t have to complete all tasks to receive credit.  We hope that you experience learning and fun.
So, grab your goggles and your gear and get onboard.