Posts Tagged ‘23 Things’

New year – new learning

January 4, 2010

Happy new year 2010!

Have you made any resolutions this January? Are you planning to learn something new?

In 2 weeks’ time, on 18th January 2010, 23 Things Oxford will begin.  This is an online learning scheme which takes place over 12 weeks.  Each week, you will learn new things about Web 2.0 and how libraries are using this technology.

The aim of this programme is to introduce all library staff (whatever their role) to Web 2.0 technologies – working on the principle that exposure is the first stage in learning. Over the 12 weeks, the aim is for staff to spend a little time each week working on the project, building up their own skills as well as adding to their abilities at work. It is called 23 Things because there are 23 tasks to complete.  23 Things Oxford is based on the original 23 Things program which ran at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in the USA in 2006.

This programme is open to ALL staff in Oxford libraries regardless of their position and status (full and part time).  It is a self-discovery programme which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to use their lifelong learning skills through exploration and play. Participants are encouraged to work together and share with each other their discoveries, techniques and tips both in person and through their blogs.  There will also be 3 drop-in sessions offered to support this programme.

For further information, including how to register, please see

The very first step in learning is simply exposure

September 29, 2009

The title of this post comes from a recent post by Helene Blowers.

Helene is the architect of the original 23 Things program, which first ran in 2006.  I am currently exploring how we might run our own version of 23 Things here at Oxford.   Helene writes about learning through self-discovery, and how children are encouraged to do this, but seldom are adults.

As I continue to develop my ideas about an Oxford 23 Things scheme, I am keeping self-discovery at the heart of the project.

Read her complete post here, and a post by Richard Wiseman about the importance of curiosity here.

Play date with Helene Blowers

May 22, 2009

This afternoon I have attended an online presentation by Helene Blowers, called Innovation begins with ‘I’.  Happily this was happening at 11:00 EST so I could join in at 16:00 GMT.

Helene’s talk was about finding opportunities for innovation in libraries: not just in terms of technology but in developing at atmosphere in which new ideas would be recognised and rewarded.

Some of my thoughts:

– I really liked the idea of getting someone to support your idea, rather than thinking in terms of obtaining permission to do something

– Consider the risks before pitching your idea, to show you’ve thought it through and are not expecting it all to work perfectly.  Anticipating pitfalls makes your plan more realistic

– The idea that innovation is in perpetual beta.  Whatever schemes or projects may arise, we always need to be thinking about waht we’re going to do next

– Risk is essential for innovation, and an organisation that refuses to engage with any risk will also exclude itself from any innovation

– One of Helene’s former colleagues had the idea that each year they would try 7 new things, and expect 5 of them to work.  I think this is a great idea – might also encourage a really bizarre idea to be included in the 7 that eventually turns out to be the best one!  We can’t know how things will work out until we try them

– Have your new ideas fit with your organisation’s strategic plan.  Hard for the bosses to say no when your plans so clearly uphold their mission…

I first heard of Helene’s work through her pioneering programme called 23 Things.  23 Things is a series of exercises for library staff to help them explore Web 2.0 technologies.  I asked Helene what types of incentives had been used to encourage staff to take part in and complete the programme.  Here are some of them:

– mp3 players

– laptop

LibraryThing membership

– own library-branded items from CafePress

– iTunes and Amazon gift vouchers

I’m going to think about where the funding might come from to provide a similar reward system within OULS.