Media Lab Launcher
On his first round of graduate school, in 2003, Richard Kong studied film. As much as he loved the medium, he soon realized a life in academia wasn’t for him. A year later he enrolled in the library program at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, “where the focus was always on considering the places where information, technology, and people intersect,” says Kong, now the digital services manager at Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML).
Kong’s appreciation of visual media played a role in one of the library field’s newest interpretations of that intersection. In 2009, he helped design and launch the innovative Skokie Public Library (SPL) Digital Media Lab, where users access software and hardware—and trained librarians—to create videos, music, podcasts, images, ebooks, websites, animation, and more. (See “Build Your Own Media Lab.”) He’s encouraged others to create similar spaces.
He also helps his colleagues develop digital savvy through the Reference Librarians Association for Continuing Education (RLA CE), which is where Shannon Scanlon, now business services librarian at AHML, first met him. “Richard is a mentor,” Scanlon says. “His understanding of technology as a training tool for librarians and patrons has inspired me.”
Kong now plans to launch a digital lab at AHML informed by the lessons—both technical and philosophical—that he learned at SPL. “It’s better to press forward and take risks rather than perpetually wait for the perfect time and conditions,” Kong says. And he’s proving that.
|Lead the Change is a library leadership seminar that brings together library thought leaders to show participants how today's top libraries are leading change and transforming their communities. Attendees are lead through a series of exercises to help bridge key thoughts to individual leadership objectives to help them harness their ideas, their innovation and their ability to lead.|