Unlike previous generations, many of us spend a good deal of our working and recreational lives "plugged in" to the Internet – whether through a computer, tablet, smart phone, or some other electronic device. The benefits of the Internet seem so obvious that its value tends to be taken for granted. Thanks to the Internet, our access to information, social interaction, and entertainment has never been greater or more immediate. But what if there’s a cost to all that time we spend "plugged in"?
The Internet is unique in the history of mankind. It provides multiple, simultaneously streaming channels of information, with more streams of information just a click away. Is it possible that access to all this attention-fragmenting information has negative consequences for the human mind? Internet critics such as Nicholas Carr say "yes." Carr argues that the almost unlimited possibilities for distraction available through the Internet have adverse effects on memory, learning, and even our humanity. Internet defenders disagree. They argue that the Internet is either a neutral tool that has benefits and costs depending on how it is used or a positive influence on individuals, culture, and/or society.
Who’s right? The San José Public Library can help answer that question. In his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, accomplished writer and thinker Nicholas Carr presents persuasive evidence for the problematic consequences of the Internet. Check out these other books on the individual and social consequences of the Internet and explore this important issue for yourself!
Makerspace, fab lab, hacker dojo, coding, 3-D printing, a new industrial revolution, DIY… Have you seen any of these buzz words popping up lately? News stations are now reporting on the booming sales of 3-D printers and makerspaces are setting up shop in big cities and small towns across the country. Even the White House is jumping into the maker world, hosting their first Maker Faire.
The maker culture expands on the "do it yourself" trend which really took off in the ‘90s when suddenly there were websites and television stations devoted entirely to those people who wanted to do and make for themselves. People were fixing their own sinks, planting gardens, and distressing kitchen tables. Libraries continued to be a home hobbyist's paradise, stocked with the latest how-to guides. As technology has become more accessible to the average citizen people have begun to find ways to integrate technology into their home projects; discovering creative solutions and sometimes bringing their ideas to the market through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter. More than ever, people are breaking out of the role of consumer and becoming creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
Just as the library provided people with the information resources to remodel their houses, we’re evolving to be a place that offers the tools and technology that you may have only read about online. Instead of just providing books, libraries are now providing the tools to make those projects a reality. Libraries around the country have begun offering patrons access to 3-D printers, soldering and circuit design workshops, coding classes, e-textile craft nights, and more. People have begun to take advantage of these resources and are walking out of the library with new 21st Century skills that can lead to success in school, career, self-expression, and entrepreneurship. Some have created items that have made a huge impact in someone’s life; like the teen at the Johnson County Library in Kansas who used the library’s 3-D printer to make a prosthetic hand for a family friend’s nine-year-old son. The possibilities are endless!
San José Public Library is working to foster the spirit of the maker culture, partnering with people and companies in Silicon Valley, to continue providing you with library services which will inspire you to Innovate, Create, and Discover.
Join us at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on March 19, 2014, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, in Room 225 for a taste of the future. Some of our, and San Jose State University’s, amazingly talented librarians will be teaching you how to make everything from leather masks to Zen doodles. TechShop has partnered with us and will be showing you how to engrave your own dog tag. You will also be able to see a 3-D printer in action and watch a vinyl cutter at work. Another partner, CreaTV San Jose, will be teaching you how to scan your photos and then use them to create a music video or digital storytelling piece, and NEXMAP (new experimental music, art, and production) from San Francisco will join us to share its work with circuit stickers, 21st Century Notebooking, and crafting with electronics. Just watch out for the high school robotics teams that will be piloting dueling disk-throwing robots around the room! This is an opportunity for you to touch, explore, and spark your own maker mentality!
Would your young daughter benefit from a program designed to stimulate interest and knowledge in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math?
San Jose Public Library is partering with Girl Scouts of Northern California to provide such a program at six library branches in November and December. In "Girls Go Tech: Movie Chemistries," the girls will create movie special effects acting as chemical engineers in the prop department. They'll make paint, explosions, and slime in the workshop, which is being presented as a single three-hour program at some library branches and as a series of three one-hour programs at other libraries.
The Girl Scouts' Girls Go Tech website cites National Science Foundation statistics indicating that women represent 46% of the total workforce yet only 25% of the technology workforce and 10% of the nation’s top technological jobs. The Girls Go Tech Initiative encourages girls to develop an early interest in math, science and technology and to maintain that interest as they mature and enter the workforce.
The Movie Chemistries program is open to all girls in K-4th grade. Space is limited, so please be sure to call or visit the library ahead of time to preregister.
Do you know our library web site has many eBooks available for download? Come, bring your iPad (or iPhone) and learn the best techniques on how to access to these wonderful resources from Overdrive. Pre-registration required.
Prerequisites: email account, knowledge of computer use, keyboard, mouse, and internet
When: Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
For Whom: Seniors
Location: King Library
Room & Floor: Room 125
Call to register: 1-408-808-2331
On Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19 2013, over a hundred thousand people descended on the San Mateo County Event Center. They came in droves for the annual Maker Faire, billed as "The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth". The event acts as the epicenter for the fast growing maker community; a group of people who enjoy "innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance, and craft". Some of you may have noticed a cultural shift in recent years with the emergence of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself)/maker movement. Television shows, books, blogs, and videos have been popping up everywhere, showing us how to do everything from knitting a sweater for the holidays to growing our own food or even designing a circuit board. Maker Faire brings together people from around the world who want to show off their maker creations and teach others.
Maker Faire is unlike any event you’ve ever been to. There isn’t much in the way of rides, though you can still chow down on corn dogs and funnel cake. Instead, attendees can build robots, sew LEDs into clothing, learn how to raise chickens, take a workshop on programming Arduino, or watch a 3D printer in action. People are encouraged to be participants, not just spectators.
One of the talks that caught my attention this year was, "Librarians Making Makerspaces". Makerspaces are a somewhat new phenomenon, giving people outside of the tech industry an opportunity to work with tools that were once beyond their reach. Companies like TechShop allow its members to use a huge assortment of tools, most far too expensive (or large) for the average person to have at home. Spaces often have items such as laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines, vinyl cutters, screen printers, computer software, welders, etc. Most makerspaces charge its members a monthly fee in order to access their equipment. These shops are amazing, but are often too expensive and therefore only accessible to a select few.
Libraries, being the great equalizer that they are, are beginning to create their own makerspaces, open to everyone in the community. At the talk I attended several Bay Area librarians discussed their advancements in bringing makerspaces into their locations. Libraries are much more than book depositories. We are houses of knowledge, palaces of learning. The maker movement is about experimentation and learning new skills, something libraries have been encouraging since their inception. Libraries want everyone in the community to have free access to the latest in technology and have the opportunity to tap into their creativity. Many of your local San Jose Public Libraries already offer free workshops where you can learn a new craft technique or how to use your computer. We also have a TON of books and e-resources covering everything from robotics to knitting. Browse through our catalog or talk to your local librarian about what your interests are. We would be happy to help you find the resources to start that new project!
Being a maker myself, I am currently looking into ways we can bring the maker movement into our libraries offering a wide range of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programming options for all ages. If you’re a maker and want to volunteer to teach people in your community about your passion, send me an email!
Expand your maker knowledge:
First, I checked our Library Catalog and used keywords "app" and "business". I found a few titles that would be useful: The Art of the App Store by Tyson McCann, The Business of iPhone and iPad App Development by Dave Wooldridge, and Build Your Own App for Fun and Profit by Scott La Counte.
Next, I checked one of our online business resources, Business Source Complete, to search for industry news or statistics. I used keywords "mobile" and "app". I found an article titled "Games and Diversions Dominate Mobile App Use". This short article had great information and led me to Flurry’s website that tracks mobile app data and statistics. This site had lots of great statistics and information about how app users spend their time and what these users look like (demographics). Another website I suggested to the customer was Pew Internet, this site has great reports and data on technology trends and other topics.