Friday, 23 February 2018

Playful publishing ponder

stack of board games
A general (but short) ponder coming up!

I've tried to do some playful things with publishing books for library & related staff... starting with "Only Connect..." where we messed about with format quite a bit (and made it open access). I also wrote a book chapter in comic format that I was allowed to release OA too. Last year I tried writing and publishing a book in a pocket sized format (Mini book of teaching tips for librarians) to try and make it easy to dip into and very cheap to buy, with less of the "padding" you might get in a typical professional development book.

So... I was wondering whether we could do something else a tad playful that might be fun to create AND useful for people to access afterwards. Perhaps getting a bunch of people together to write something in 1 day (maybe 2)? If we had a bunch of people come together for a day, we could easily sketch out a structure and create a few pages worth of something in that day. If we want, that could be very informal (a zine?) that would then be pulled together immediately afterwards and made available primarily in electronic format (with a handful of paper copies for the attendees / writers). Slightly more ambitiously, if we're all locked in a room, it should be possible to write at least the first draft of a book chapter each (which would require coming ready to write, plan already in place). So could write a full edited book if we agreed a structure beforehand, came ready to write, then polished afterwards. Though realistically, "proper" chapters for a book might take a couple of days with some space in between the two days... plus decent amount of communication beforehand / between sessions online.

I'd be open to pretty much any subject matter to try out the idea, but here are a few possible ideas that might be suitable for the "library" world, but also up for wider education / learning support / fun stuff:

For a zine:

Information Literacy teaching ideas (of various flavours? Referencing? Searching? Critical reading?)
Found poetry
A selection of library walks (Psychogeographical style)
Playing in libraries (how to make libraries more "playful")
Cheap & free professional development ideas
Critical librarianship for beginners

For a book:

Information Literacy teaching ideas (of various flavours? Referencing? Searching? Critical reading?)
Playing in libraries (how to make libraries more "playful")
"Workbooks" for improving IL in particular student groups (e.g. IL for education students)
Critical librarianship examples  / studies / how to...
Getting diverse voices into librarianship

Also open to anonymising contributions / editors if people wanted to do something they felt might be controversial or career limiting as long as the topic had value.

To do something short & sweet (zine style) we could agree a topic online, meet somewhere free or cheap on a weekend(?) and create everything from scratch then.
To do something like a "proper" book (but as random / playful as people were up for), we'd probably have to agree a topic online, assign chapter authors / write abstracts and collect material for those chapters, meet for at least one day on a weekend somewhere free or cheap, then edit / tweak material afterwards. Plenty of online tools we could use to communicate for it... Slack maybe?

Would anyone be up for these sort of ideas? If so, talk about it on Twitter / whatever initially under #bookdisrupt hashtag? Then we'll see if we can make it happen if there is enough interest...

Cardiff Lego Workshop

Librarians sat around a table covered in Lego

I ran a Lego workshop in Cardiff the other day - a full day of looking at how we could use ideas from Lego Serious Play (or related ideas) in library teaching.

It was a lovely group of nearly 20 people, though I think I worked them a tad hard... lots of people were flagging towards the end. A full day has worked well in the past, but might be tempted to do a half day in future for a workshop like this (it would also make tickets cheaper!) next time I run it.

Lots of lovely tweets during the day under the #libraryplay hashtag, such as the one below - take a look if you want a flavour of the day!