Grants/Gateways to Creativity

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Gateways to Creativity

Applicants: Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS)
Affiliation: no others
CC affiliated? No
Contact: Brenda Hough, Heather Braum
Coordinator: same as above
Project Start: 2010/09/01
Project End: 2011/08/31
Download budget Discussion

Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

Since the advent of the web, public libraries have been helping to bridge the digital divide by not only providing public access computers, but by also providing training regarding how to use technology. Taking advantage of the creative potential of technology tools like Flickr and YouTube requires awareness that the tools exist and the skills required to use them. Through this grant, we will develop lessons that will teach patrons about technology tools that enable them to continue to create and publish their works, as well as how to license these works in such a way people around the world can see, use, and develop up them. This project will enhance public library efforts to encourage individuals to contribute to the creative output technology enables. Ultimately, we hope that by publishing our work on the web, libraries and organizations around the world will be able to take what we've done and teach it in their own communities.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

1. Lessons & multimedia files will be developed around the following five topics. The materials can be used by public libraries around the world to create self-directed learning for their patrons. Creative Commons licensing will be integrated into each lesson, helping people understand why and how to use CC licensing for the works they create. The five topics include:

- a class on Flickr (photographs in community, life, library)
- a class on Google Docs (writing memoirs, life stories (very popular with older generations))
- a class on YouTube (videos)
- a class on Blogging (writing online)
- a class on finding Creative-commons licensed works to use for your organization, your own work, your business, your website, etc.; discuss the different types of licenses and what situation to use different licensed-materials.

2. The lessons will be delivered and tested with an in-person pilot group. Equipment purchased using the grant funds will be used with this initial pilot group, as well with as future classes. Materials will be refined based on feedback from participants.

3. The lessons and multimedia files will then be available through an online website. Libraries around the world can then use the materials, customizing them for their needs. This will be possible, because our work will be licensed under Creative Commons, for non-commercial use.

4. The website will also be a vehicle for people to participate in the lessons virtually, from around the world.

5. A project blog will accompany the website. It will be used to discuss the successes and lessons learned in the program, as well as provide advice and tips for delivering your own program.

6. Online train-the-trainer events will also be provided to help library staff learn to use the materials to provide learning opportunities.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

Public libraries serve incredibly diverse populations and are therefore ideal gateways through which to reach people. This project targets people who are not familiar with free online tools, but who could benefit from those skills. They may be older people, poor people, artists, writers, musicians, students, parents, and community leaders. We want to reach people who want to create their own work but are uncertain about what free tools are available to share their work. We want to emphasize Creative Commons.

Our initial target community is northeastern Kansas, but ultimately the goal is to promote the availability of these materials to those in libraries internationally. Many people who use the services of an individual public library may not be aware of the established connections between libraries (globally, really). Libraries not only cooperate to share resources like books, but also to share ideas. We could build on these already established networks and connections to disseminate information about the project.

It is our hope that organizations around the world would discover our materials and use them to fit their needs. Because our work will be licensed through Creative Commons for non-commercial use, anyone will be welcome to use them!br />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

We are librarians. Our organization (the Northeast Kansas Library System) supports and works with over 40 public libraries in rural, suburban, and urban communities in northeastern Kansas. We provide training and support to these libraries. Our services potentially impact over 1.2 million people in the region.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

A mix of qualitative and quantitative measures will be used. Lessons will include a pretest and post-test for participants. In the face-to-face classes in our region, improvement will be measured and tracked. Class attendance numbers will be tracked. Participants will be asked to provide feedback about the classes, which can be posted to the website. We will create an online gallery -- highlighting the work of individuals who learned about the creative tools from one of these library classes.

Website traffic will be analyzed to see how people from around the world are using the site. We will provide a visual map on the site, highlighting where the materials are being used. People who use the project materials will be asked to provide feedback about how the materials are being used.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

There are over 40 public libraries in the Northeast Kansas Library System. We would like 10-15 libraries to participate in the initial pilot project. If each of these libraries reaches 20 participants, that would be an initial impact of hundreds of people.

We expect this project to be embraced by the library community nationwide (and potentially internationally). These hundreds of participating libraries could impact thousands of individuals in their communities. We are seeding this project and really are not sure how it will grow - there is great potential.

There are precedents to this sort of project in the larger library community -- efforts which focus on technology training for staff in public libraries. As far as we know, this would be the first large-scale effort to provide training materials and resources aimed at the public (using the library as a gateway).

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

Libraries are ideally situated to do work related to openness and sharing. We already have a history of educating people about copyright; in the digital age, we are now taking that to another level. Libraries already facilitate creativity through programs, classes, and summer reading. Through our project, by educating participants about the Creative Commons options as they create their new works with these new tools, we're sending out more people who are furthering the work of Creative Commons.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

Technologies and Tools:

1. Main Website: A domain name will be purchased at (as long as it stays available). This will be built using the Wordpress CMS open source software, and will house the lessons and multimedia files about the program, as well as the gallery of participant work, and the map tracking the program's use worldwide. During the face-to-face classes, participants will be asked to either read the materials on the computer screen or print their own copies. In order to save printing costs as well as the environment, printed materials will not be provided during these classes.

2. Project Blog as part of the main website: This will be the place where we talk about how the program is going, what is working, what isn't.

3. (10) Laptops: For the face-to-face classes, we will need to provide 10 laptops, because not all libraries have enough computers in one space for these classes to take place. Continuing on our open theme, these laptops will use a Linux operating system that is user-friendly and other open source software programs, including GIMP and Audacity. That way, patrons become aware of desktop tools that also free and easy to use.

4. (1) Projector that will be borrowed from the NEKLS organization

5. (1) Projection Screen that can be set on a table. As some our libraries have space constraints or lack of a wall, we need a flexible projection screen option that can be set on a table.

6. (4) Power strips with lengthy cords to make sure we are equipped for all outlet situations.

7. (10) external mice for those uncomfortable using laptop touchpads

8. (2) digital cameras available for participant use during the Flickr lessons if people don't have a digital camera available to them.

9. (2) Flip video cameras for participant use during the YouTube session if people don't have a video camera available to them.

10. (2) USB microphones to create the lessons, as well as use with participants if people want to record their voice for their works.

11. (1) Digital video camcorder, to record our training lessons as well as record some of our training sessions.

12. (2) web cameras for webinar training

Technical skills & expertise:

Our team at NEKLS includes experienced trainers, web developers, open source gurus and evangelists, and system administrators. Many on staff have already been involved with developed web-based training, including the 23 Things Kansas statewide online learning program for Kansas librarians ( Most of our web content runs on Wordpress, and we manage a statewide program for library websites built using Wordpress ( We also use open source software where possible in our organization and encourage our libraries to do the same.

Technical needs Our technical needs are few, as all design, development, and editing will be able to take place in-house, as the skillets needed to run this project are already in place.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

The greatest challenge is in reaching those who really most need the training. How will we make sure that libraries in remote areas or areas with poverty know about and are able to take advantage of this program?

One of the greatest challenges when providing technology training is always... how do you address the needs of participants with widely varying skill levels in the same class, with the same materials? We will attempt to address this issue by creating training materials that encourage self-direction and exploration.

Many libraries do not have a designated training space. How will these classes be delivered in those environments? Using laptops will increase the flexibility.

Using Internet-only tools, we might run into inadequate bandwidth, network downtime, and even one or more of the tools disappearing during our lessons. As much as is possible, we will seek to be prepared for these issues -- including backup materials as part of lessons, etc.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

There will not be many ongoing monetary costs after the project funding has ended. NEKLS will continue to sponsor payment of the project's domain name, and if any equipment needs to be replaced or updated, NEKLS will find a way to replace the equipment.

In addition to the lessons and other content that will be contributed by staff at the Northeast Kansas Library System, ongoing efforts will be made to seek contributions from people working in libraries in other regions, therefore increasing and improving the content available.

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

The project materials will be freely available and customizable on the website. The beauty of web things is that we are all using the same tools. We will create handouts and training plans that others can take and customize. Train the trainer webinars will be hosted and archived so that individuals can learn how to deliver these lessons. We will disseminate information about the laptop lab we use for the pilot program, encouraging others to seek funding opportunities, too.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

The Creative Commons organization can help get the word out about to others about the potential role libraries could play in training the public about Creative Commons. We also hope to get training materials from Creative Commons to help us explain why you should license your work creative commons.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

Currently, we communicate directly to public libraries in northeastern Kansas through email lists, blogs, Facebook updates, face-to-face meetings and workshops, online meetings and workshops. Our members communicate to their individual communities through posters in the community, word-of-mouth, library websites, library social media presence, library newsletters, community groups, the schools, and newspaper articles. We communicate with the greater library community through many of the same tools, especially using online tools such as email and social media networking sites.