Alex Byrne

Alexheadshot

Alex Byrne

Pierce County Library System

Biography

Youth Services Librarian for almost a decade, Linux user for longer, player of games of all sorts and wearer of floral print shirts. Very interested in the ways that public libraries can better assist and find the needs of their communities, how open source code can help raise a generation of coders and hackers, and how open technologies can help free public libraries from vendor lock-in and prevent the adoption of technologies that run counter to public library principles just to get at content.

Open Source Bridge 2017

Proposals for this user

* Edge Case Too: The Intersections of Identity

A thing that human brains do is generalize groups based on the individuals that they personally know who make up that group, either as examples of the group or as exceptions to the group. Thus, you get both #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen. The easy way to beat this human tendency is to surround yourself with more than one person of that given identity or group membership....More likely than not, there's going to be one, maybe two, people in your immediate work circle who are part of groups that you're interested in recruiting more of into your profession or project. Usually. As we pointed out above, in some cases, you have one in your entire department who carry the entirety of their group identity with them wherever they may be going, without anyone else to be able to share the burden of being everyone's shortcut example of how that group behaves.
Culture 2017-03-07 20:00:12 +0000
Alex Byrne

* Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play: What Early Literacy Can Teach Us About Software Literacy

I'm not saying that you have to speak parentese to beginning software learners. They might be quite offended with you doing that, actually. What beginners often need, though, is not just to be set in front of a tutorial and told to come back when they're finished, but to have someone on hand to bounce questions off of or to talk them through problems and exercises so that they understand. Learners often pick up useful information by observing someone else at work using the language, but they can't just be there while you do things and learn it all by observation alone. One of the best skills a librarian has that goes mostly unnoticed is that they're really great at narrating themselves to others. When demonstrating (sometimes for the sixteenth time) how to go through a procedure to obtain resources or run searches, librarians narrate what they are doing and why. When reading a book to tiny people, youth services librarians often ask questions about what the characters are doing or feeling, so that the tiny people can use both the text and the pictures to decode what's going on in the story. Key information about the story is often communicated visually in a picture book, and sometimes in complete contradiction to the text. By providing scaffolding through narration, the librarian provides context and reasoning for the actions they're taking. By asking questions at regular intervals, the librarian can check to make sure understanding is happening and adjust to include perspectives they may not have been taking into account before. [...] Talking and explaining things to your learners, and with each other, is the best way to help them learn. So if you get the opportunity to have someone shadow you and ask you annoying questions about what you're doing and why you're doing it that way, take up the opportunity. (And request it all gets documented. Trust me.) By talking through things with someone who doesn't have your expertise, you shore up your own knowledge and help someone get more of their own. That leads to literacy.
Culture 2017-03-07 20:14:58 +0000
Alex Byrne

Open Source Bridge 2016

Sessions for this user

* Librarians and Open Source: We Need Code, Too!

Getting people started is easy. Sustaining people through is not. Let's talk about the ways the Open Source community can help people beyond the beginning steps, in the context of public library programming and staff development.
Culture
Alex Byrne

* Postcards from the Edge Case: When One Size Doesn't Fit All

For every average person that finds your product what they want, there is a person outside that average that wants to use your product. They might even be able to use your product, if there was a way to make it work for them. Outliers are useful for your design, if you harness them properly.
Culture
Alex Byrne

Proposals for this user

* Data-Driven Deaccession: The WeedingHelper Script

Figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of is an important task for librarians, and the armada of statistics kept is supposed to help. Getting things to mesh just right, however, sometimes requires custom code. I'll show you my solution (in Ruby) and the reasons why I created it.
Practice 2016-03-15 19:30:57 +0000
Alex Byrne

Open Source Bridge 2015

Sessions for this user

* The Public Library As An (Almost) Open Source Institution

Your public library can be one of your best allies for creating, distributing, and promoting Open Source ideas and projects. They want to help - they just need to know how.
Culture
Alex Byrne