The Fayetteville Free Library has two reference desks, one in the front by the circulation desk and the adult collections and one in the back near the teen space and children’s area. Tonight was my first chance to shadow a librarian at the back reference desk. My librarian was Lauren, the Transliteracy Development Director. Lauren is the newest librarian to join the ranks at the FFL. I already knew Lauren pretty well from when she used to work on the circulation desk with me, but this was my first opportunity to learn about her new position.
First of all, what is transliteracy? Usually, people understand literacy as the ability to read and write. In order to learn, one had to be able to read, write, and think critically about printed text. Think of literacy as the means of encoding and decoding information. To transmit information by print, we must be able to transform information into letters (encode). To understand the information, we must be able to take the letters and draw from them the original information (decode). But then people began to develop new ways to communicate, new platforms for conversation and new ways to transmit information. These new technologies require a new set of skills beyond those of traditional literacy. Transliteracy is “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks,” (from transliteracy.com).
So, transliteracy is the ability to communicate information effectively through a range of means. Lauren made the point that Disney has been doing this for years. Take Alice in Wonderland, for example. You can read the original story, you can read the graphic novel, you can watch the animated movie, you can watch the live action movie, you can color the coloring book, you can listen to the music, you can play the video game, and you can go to Disney World and meet Alice. In all of these media, the same information is being transmitted.
In order to promote transliteracy in our area, Lauren is building a Fab Lab at the FFL. A fab lab, short for fabrication laboratory, is intended to empower the average person to evolve from an information consumer to an information creator. The FFL Fab Lab will have a 3D printer, computer stations, etc. Patrons will be able to take an idea and make it a reality learning new transliteracy skills along the way. For more info about fab labs, check out MIT’s Fab Central. For more information about transliteracy, check out the libraries and transliteracy blog.
When I wasn’t learning about transliteracy and the fab lab, I got to help Lauren with a tech-time appointment. That’s an appointment for a patron to get one-on-one help with technology. In this case, I got to answer a question about the maps app on the iPhone. I even taught Lauren a little. Oh yeah!
I can’t believe I’m almost a third of the way through my internship (47 of 150 hours)!
(reference internship hours completed: 26 of 75)