January 2015

From Four Core, To One More

As part of our mission in bridging the opportunity divide, Microsoft Chicago places an emphasis on promoting computer science education for all. Part of that mission is driven by Microsoft’s global partnership with Code.org, promoting coding for all who are interested. You’ll remember that in December 2014, we featured several guest blogs from CPS teachers who are leaders in the STEM/STEAM movement, especially in motivating their students to consider careers in STEM. To celebrate Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code, Microsoft had the privilege of attending an awards ceremony at Mather High School. The teachers, faculty and students of Mather were honored by Code.org with a $10,000.00 check for their leadership in learning to code and their processes around coding and STEM. The following discussion by the Assistant Principal and CS Teacher at Mather provide important insights into what it takes to embed the focus on STEM into the educational methodology, thereby accelerating student success.  

— Shelley Stern Grach

Photo by Brooke Collins / City of Chicago

The high school setting has traditionally been the place where students take their “core” courses and have a sampling of “electives” in the hopes that students will be prepared for a four-year university setting. Those courses associated with “core” have been English, Social Sciences, Math and Science, whereas electives have been generally offered through fine arts, Social Science courses, and AP classes.

However, the U.S. competitiveness and growth is in need of more people with the necessary technology skills to meet the demands of employers. Therefore, we want to make sure every student at Mather has the opportunity to take a computer science class in order to understand and interact with the technological world.

For the majority of teenagers, the dependency on their cell phone, access to social media, and digital usage through various formats is what is at the “core” for them. Acknowledging that not only that teenagers need to interact with technology, they have to understand how to produce it—through sequencing, programming and coding.

Photo by Brooke Collins / City of Chicago

At Mather High School, the culture of computer science has changed rapidly in the past four years. The Information Technology Academy has filled all 120 available seats, with our first graduating class this year. In addition, the teachers and students are piloting the Computer Science Principles (CSP) course this year for the eventual offering of AP CSP. However, with only 120 available spots for IT Academy students, Mather does not want to exclude any student from taking a computer course. The goal is to integrate Exploring Computer Science (ECS) as a “core” course and expect that students take the course before graduation The ECS course and the CSP course not only expose students to coding, programming, and computer basics, but invaluable soft skills such as team work, interacting with others, and scaffolding thought processes.

One way in which to promote computer science for ALL students is through the Hour of Code. Mather has participated in the Hour of Code for two years—setting our goal of at least 1,200 students coding during the HOC week. Students demonstrate how to code not only to other students, but to teachers and other staff members. Since computer science can be an intimidating subject, our goal is to connect meaning to the technologies that students use in their everyday lives, such as their cellphones, mobile apps, and video gaming that embed computer basics, team work, critical thinking, and programming.

We are proud to take on the challenge of preparing our students with the innovation and technology leadership that our country and the rest of the world needs. Mather will make sure that the issues of equity and access to computer classes are well balanced in our school; thus, we believe it is imperative to add one more, to the four core.

Year Up Chicago Class 8 Gears Up For Graduation

Photo via @YearUpChicago

Microsoft has had a long standing commitment to helping Youth acquire digital literacy skills for employment opportunities and improving their economic access. Our global YouthSpark program, which focuses on education, employability skills and entrepreneurial skills, provides a wide range of resources for Youth (and adults).

As part of our overall mission, our Chicago based Technology and Civic Engagement team supports local Chicago nonprofits that focus on skills in technology and the overall STEM and STEAM fields. With a goal to bridge the skills gap and the underlying opportunity divide, our partnerships with local programs bring with them a huge pride in the daily successes in providing opportunities to the greater public. Year Up Chicago is one of those programs.

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with tYear Up Chicago Class 8 Gears Up For Graduationhe skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Year Up has been a national YouthSpark partner for the past 3 years. During this time, we have become close with the Chicago organization, and I am proud to say that I recently joined Year Up Chicago as a board member.

We’re pleased to announce that Year Up is celebrating the graduation of its 8th Class in Chicago this month. On January 28, Year Up’s latest group of talented young adults celebrate a year of hard work dedicated to bridging the opportunity divide and entering the workforce. And the results are promising — 85% of Year Up graduates are employed or attend college full time within four months of completing the program. We’re excited to see what these young professionals bring to the workforce in Chicago.

It’s one thing to go to your own child’s graduation and feel the emotions of their advancement in life. It’s equally as impactful to attend the graduation of these marvelous young people, who have demonstrated their eagerness to learn, their ability to juggle multiple priorities and their business and technical acumen to success with newly acquired 21st Century Skills.

Hats off to the 8th Class for all of your accomplishments. Hats off too to the Staff of Year Up, its dedicated board and all the volunteers and companies who support this terrific organization.

Those interested in attending may register here. We look forward to joining you in this wonderful celebration.

Interested in our partnership with Year Up? Learn more on Year Up’s website.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Beyond The Hour of Code: The Impact of Computer Science Education

On December 15, 2014, Sandra Abraveya, Director of Education Policy, City of Chicago, summarized the amazing success for Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago during Computer Science Education Week—hard facts as evidenced by the numbers:

  • Nearly 60,000 CPS students learned to code
  • There were 375 Hour of Code Events
  • 100 nonprofits, museums and companies banded together for an Hour of Code including The Museum of Science and Industry, YWCA TechGyrls, Blue 1647, Girls Who Code, Chicago Public Library and YOUMedia, Lumity and The Field Museum.

As we start our new year and our increased focus to bring Computer Science skills to more teachers, more students, and more families in Chicago, I thought it would be both interesting and inspirational to see how Chicago fits into the larger, global picture. While we tend to focus on our progress in Chicago and we definitely should celebrate our successes, it’s also important to note that these initiatives are happening everywhere, at a similarly accelerated pace. This is great news for our global society—but it also means that Chicago needs to continue to be aggressive in our goals and accelerate our programs to keep pace with the world at large. This is the competitive landscape where Chicago is competing for talent, jobs and growth. Let’s continue to be determined and uncompromising in the standard we set and the resources we provide to our children so they have the best chance to be successful in our global society.

Following you will see some best practices and some amazing statistics from Code.org. Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.

This past month, we joined the City of Chicago in Computer Science Education Week and Code.org’s Hour of Code. Working together with Chicago Public Schools and beyond, CS Ed Week saw the best of STEM in Chicago come together, helping to bridge the skills gap and getting kids and adults alike involved in computer science. In 2014 alone, 60 million students tried the Hour of Code—but it will take more than an hour to continue their education.

Here are some ways Code.org keeps kids coding past CS Ed Week:

  1. Take More Courses:org has a catalog of over 100 hours worth of computer science courses for students aged 4 and up. Over 4 million students are enrolled worldwide in Code Studio, and these courses are taught in over 90,000 schools.
  2. School Partnerships: Along with Chicago Public Schools, Code.org has partnered with over 40 school districts to bring computer science education to students across the country.
  3. Reaching Diverse Students: Only a few thousand female African American and Hispanic students earn computer science degrees annually. Code.org’s Code Studio reach over 1 million girls and 1 million African American and Hispanic students.
    Beyond The Hour of Code: The Impact of Computer Science Education
  4. Making Computer Science a Policy: 25 states count computer science as a high school graduation requirement. Together with Computing in the Core, Code.org is working to change policies on computer science in all 50 states.
  5. International Outreach: Code.org doesn’t just stop in the states. Their partnerships reach out to the UK, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Romania, Albania, and the Middle East, and their courses are translated into over 30 languages.
    Beyond The Hour of Code: The Impact of Computer Science Education

What’s Next?

There’s more work to be done, and plenty of ways to keep computer science education thriving in your schools. Microsoft is proud to be a global partner with Code.org, helping them achieve their mission worldwide. We share the excitement and achievements of Code.org, as well as the fantastic success of Chicago Public Schools. Let’s all keep the momentum!

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Big Shoulders: Nik Rokop, IIT Entrepreneurship Academy Council

Big Shoulders: Nik Rokop, IIT Entrepreneurship Academy Council

Nik Rokop is an Industry Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology. At IIT, Nik is involved in the Entrepreneurship Academy Council. The Entrepreneurship Academy is an umbrella organization which is responsible for courses in entrepreneurship, supporting student businesses, and helping professors instill entrepreneurship in their courses. They are part of the Kaplan Institute, which is in turn focused on innovation and tech entrepreneurship

I spoke with Nik on Big Shoulders last week about the Academy. I learned some new things both about the Academy as well as the University in general. For one thing, it reminded me of the breadth that IIT covers academically. The EA Council is a group of professors and deans from each of the 8 college and they oversee the activities of the entrepreneurship academy.  Those include colleges from not just engineering and architecture (which IIT is well-known for), but schools of business and finance, , design, human sciences (including psychology and humanities),science, along with Kent Law School. An amazing resource in our south back yard.

Learn more about this by watching this segment on my webcast Big Shoulders:

Miss the last episode of “Big Shoulders”? You can find them all here.

How To Host A Ruby on Rails-based Website On Azure

Did you know that Ruby on Rails was created in Chicago? Did you know you can also host a Ruby on Rails based website on Azure–using a Linux virtual machine, too?! Check out this tutorial to learn how to create your website today! This tutorial describes how to host a Ruby on Rails-based website on Azure using a Linux virtual machine. It also assumes you have no prior experience using Azure–so beginners are welcome :). Upon completing the tutorial, you will have a Ruby on Rails-based application up and running in the cloud in no time.

The tutorial will teach you how to:

  • Setup your development environment
  • Setup an Azure virtual machine to host Ruby on Rails.
  • Create a new Rails application
  • Copy files to the virtual machine using scp
  • And much, much more

It’s a super easy way to get your Ruby on Rails-based application up and running in the cloud today!

Clearing Snowy Streets with Civic Tech

Photo via Choose Chicago

The weather outside is frightful, but new civic technology can help cities and towns make it a little less so. As every Chicagoan knows, cities and counties maintain fleets of large snow plows, mountains of salt, and grit dispersing vehicles to be at the ready for the inevitable flurries and blizzards. Typically, city planners augment their own fleet with contract labor, bringing privately owned pick-up trucks, small caterpillar vehicles, and front loaders to assist in the smaller roads, suburban neighborhoods, and other non-emergency routes. These vehicles often clear much more linear mileage than city-owned plows, which are dedicated to critical thoroughfares.

Civic technology aims to make citizens’ daily lives easier and more manageable. It’s not surprising, then, to find a new civicClearing Snowy Streets with Civic Tech technology that leverages the weather data, government activity, and traffic to help solve wintry woes. The newest system from EastBanc Technologies utilizes cloud-based data to allow cities and their contractors to monitor the location and work level/duration of all their fleet vehicles. By taking big data and compressing it into a small-scale scenario, EastBanc can send out this data to the community in a relevant fashion — for example, to track snowplows.

EastBanc has developed an app that is easy to use and can report and visualize what’s happening with their snowplows in real time. This cloud-based contractor monitoring system which runs on Microsoft Azure, can be used on various fronts, but is being tested now for clearing roads in the dead of winter.

Whenever there is a heavy snowfall, the minds of the public immediately turn to the question: when will our street be cleared?  People are concerned, of course, about the condition of emergency snow routes and major highways, but when they can expect their own neighborhood to be plowed is also top of mind. The city and county have clear information on the location, speed, and operating capacity of the vehicles they own, but the current position, direction, operating capability (e.g., amount of salt onboard), is not reported in real time. For the city and county, this means that information that is of vital interest to the public is the one set of information ostensibly unavailable to them, let alone available to the public.

The cost of deploying traditional, real-time GPS tracking systems to every contractor vehicle, removing them following each storm or on an annual basis is prohibitive from both a hardware and integration services perspective. The EastBanc solution solves this problem by leveraging a GPS device already existent in almost every moving vehicle: the smart phone of the driver. Those drivers working under contract must, as a component of the contract, log into an application on their smart phone when they begin plowing. When they conclude plowing, they log out of the application.

For the duration that the contractors work through the storm, the application reports the physical location of the vehicle, speed and direction every three seconds. This information is then aggregated, and provides the city or county with a complete view of their own vehicles, the contractor vehicles, their location, speed, and direction. This data is analyzed in real time and outputted to both a map-based dashboard and to mobile apps that the public can use. The analysis provides clear information on what roads have been cleared, when they were plowed (to accommodate the need for multi-pass plowing during extended and heavy snow events), and when, based upon current conditions, the public could expect a plow to reach them. Furthermore, having the information on ALL plow locations enables response managers to redirect plows to support the passage of emergency vehicles.

Being able to easily add and remove vehicles from the operational picture empowers the city or county to proactively address the realities on the ground as they happen, and provide information to the community to reduce their anxiety and set accurate expectations.

It’s winter in Chicago: it’s going to snow. And we’re picturing EastBanc Technologies tracking and visualizing snow clean-up on a City Hall board near you.

Jeff-FriedmanJeff Friedman is the Director of eGovernment Business Development in the State and Local Government Solutions Group, was most recently the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Previously, Jeff was the Manager of Civic Innovation & Participation in the Mayor’s Office. Jeff led various initiatives to make City government (and urban governance generally) more open, participatory, transparent, entrepreneurial and innovative. Prior, Jeff was Chief of Staff to the Chief Technology Officer in the Division of Technology and before that Deputy Director of Performance Management/Implementation Manager for Philly311 in the Managing Director’s Office. Prior to joining City government, Jeff consulted to state, local and county governments across the nation. Jeff earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Temple University.

What’s hanging on your Civic Refrigerator?

How many of us remember having our artwork and report cards hanging on the refrigerator? You know, the pictures of the yellow sun, curly-q clouds and blades of green grass reaching up to the sky? And how about the report cards held on by magnets for Attendance, Gym, and Reading and Math?

Well, our refrigerators—and the evaluation of our children’s progress in education—have come a long way, both literally and figuratively. In Chicago, we should all be checking our “Civic Refrigerators”—every day, like we used to when we were young. Except this time, we are checking for our progress and contributions as adults who can impact the future of education, for our city and collective community.

What’s hanging on your Civic Refrigerator? Thrive Chicago logo

On January 8th, I had the great pleasure to attend Thrive Chicago’s 2015 kick-off event, at which Mayor Emanuel delivered our “Civic Report Card” and his forward-looking Education Platform. Microsoft has been supporting and partnering with Thrive Chicago since its inception, and I have the honor to be a board member of Thrive Chicago. In September 2014, we highlighted Thrive Chicago in a blog written by Arnie Rivera and Brian Fabes. Here’s what they said:

“Bending the curve” on a young person’s trajectory often requires multiple organizations to work together, in an act we refer to as collective impact, and in Chicago collective impact strategies are now organized under the banner of Thrive Chicago. Thrive was launched last year in the Mayor’s Office, with the goal of improving improve outcomes for youth through collective impact. Bringing together city agencies, non-profits, community-based organizations, philanthropy, and corporations, many of Thrive Chicago’s initiatives are focused on the goal of preparing youth, starting in pre-K and supporting them all the way through college, for the attractive jobs offered in STEM fields.”

Thrive is now an independent entity, hosted by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, focusing on collective impact and collaboration, with a laser-like focus on youth and education. Thrive Chicago is helping to keep the focus on our Civic Refrigerator doors, with the Report Cards front and center for each of us to see, reflect and act. For example, one of the key Thrive Chicago initiatives is helping to increase the number of off track and drop-out students who graduate from high school, and move them forward to either college or careers. Through Thrive Chicago,  Chicago Public Schools and eight other organizations are piloting an effort to share data between schools and youth-serving organizations. These organizations will receive daily updates on student attendance, grades, and other information, allowing them to positively intervene in students’ lives. Just like a Report Card that measures progress, Thrive Chicago is focusing on data and collaboration to improve our collective education results.

With Thrive Chicago as his backdrop, the Mayor laid out his ambitious plan on January 8th and  set clear expectations and measurements to increase the caliber of our students, especially in STEM skills and STEM fields. “From cradle to career, we are working to ensure our children have the quality education they deserve,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Through this support and collaborative efforts like Thrive Chicago, Chicago students will remain on the track to college, career, and a successful future.”

Examples of the Mayor’s Civic Report Card include:

  • Early College STEM Schools, such as Microsoft’s partnership with Lake View High School;
  • A goal to triple the number of students that receive STEM credentials by the year 2018;
  • Enhancing great leadership in education through a process and program to ensure an effective, high quality principal in every school;
  • Building upon our growing dual credit/dual enrollment program, which provides students with opportunities to earn City Colleges credit while still in high school.

As a student, I always performed better when I knew what was expected of me, and I performed especially well when I received feedback and praise for a job well done. I am excited to see the same approach citywide with our focus on education, STEM and setting high standards. We should eagerly be looking forward to posting our Report Cards on our Civic Refrigerator and take pride in measuring our progress to truly making Chicago the City of Learning.

Let Us All Joyn Things

AllSeen-Alliance

Photo via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/allseenalliance?ref=hl">AllSeen Alliance</a>

Last month, I attended the Smart Cities Council forum, hosted by Qualcomm at their impressive San Diego headquarters. At the forum, government leaders and technology providers discussed what they were doing in order to make their cities smarter, safer, and more resilient. It became quickly clear that The Internet of Things (IoT) is inextricably linked to smart cities. When you consider that some of the most promising applications for IoT focus on transportation, environmental monitoring, energy management and monitoring, building and facilities management, etc., it is easy to understand where IoT fits into smart cities.

At this forum, the discussions frequently referenced a new framework known as Alljoyn. The AllJoyn framework enables hardware and software developers to create devices and software that are interoperable, that can discover each other, can connect with each other, and can communicate directly, without going through a server or the internet. For example, think of a bunch of sensors and other devices that may be installed in a sewer to measure…well, whatever it is that sewers do.   These devices may need to talk to one another, but may have no reliable way of communicating with a backend. By using the AllJoyn framework, they can all talk to one another without some intermediary. This is referred to as a proximity network: all the devices are within proximity to one another.

AllJoyn is an open source software framework. It includes the set of services to enable interoperability among connected devices to create those dynamic proximal networks. And by defining a common way for devices and apps (the “things” in Internet of Things) to communicate with one another, even when those “things” are made by different companies, you can start to envision new ways of monitoring and managing a city’s infrastructure.

Microsoft joined the AllSeen Alliance, the group of organizations creating the AllJoyn framework, back in July. In November, Microsoft announced that we will be implementing AllJoyn into the forthcoming Windows 10. This will make it very easy for developers and device makers to incorporate this type of IoT structure in their Windows 10 solutions. I can foresee a scenario where the mass appeal of IoT combined with the mass appeal of Windows 10 creates a virtuous cycle.

The news about Windows 10 and AllJoyn demonstrates a second important dynamic – how Microsoft contributes back to open source. AllJoyn being an open source project, and given that Microsoft is committed to open source projects, the Microsoft engineering team is contributing our work on to the software framework back into the AllJoyn. Microsoft Open Technologies x is the group that ensures interoperability through open standards and open source for Microsoft. They will be responsible for ensuring that changes we contribute to the AllJoyn project are also implemented, working and tested on other platforms, including Linux, Android, iOS, OS X, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, thus confirming interoperability of these changes.

This is an exciting time for Smart Cities. It is an exciting time for IoT. It is an exciting time for Microsoft. And it is fantastic to see all three come together in an open source environment.

TEALS applications open for the 2015-16 school year

TEALS Students at DePaul Learning Computer Science

The U.S. is facing a shortage of computer science (CS) graduates. By 2018, there will be 1.5 million CS-related jobs available in the U.S. and only 29% of college graduates to fill them; that means approximately 80,000 jobs requiring a CS degree go unfilled by domestic candidates each and every year.

TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools), a volunteer network of high technology professionals, aims to help solve this deficit by helping schools grow a sustainable computer science program.

The application process is now open for high schools that want to partner with TEALS for the 2015-16 school year. The deadline for all applications is January 26, 2015. Click here for more information.

Chicago Public Library Helps Chicago Go Digital

Chicago Public Library Helps Chicago Go Digital

“In a digital age that has left book publishers reeling, libraries in the world’s major cities seem poised for a comeback, though it’s one that has very little to do with books.”

This is a quote from an article by Rosie Spinks on the future of libraries posted last week on the Daily Good. The article discussed an Independent Library Report published in the U.K. that basically documented how libraries are transforming themselves from a book lending resource to “vibrant and attractive community hubs”.   In this respect, the future is now for Chicago Public Libraries, having already transformed themselves in a number of ways that support the new economy and digital age.

Last night, the Chicago City Data User Group hosted Michele Frisque, the CTO of the Chicago Public Library (CPL). This is her third year in the CPL system. She leads the department that focuses on: technology, content, innovation and data management and analysis. At the user group, she discussed the library’s transformation, as well as how they are generating and using data. Michele pointed out that the library’s 60 year mission that embraces the freedom to read, to learn, and to discover is timeless. In evaluating their strategic plan, the library did not see a need to change that mission, as it applies to a digital age as much as it did to the analog era 60 years ago.

But while the mission holds its value, the way it is manifested makes CPL services seem radically different from just a few years ago. “Going digital” means far more than being able to check out ebooks and audio. To them, going digital is a platform for new ways to nurture learning, support economic advancement of neighborhoods, and strengthening communities. With 80 libraries serving every community area of Chicago, they are uniquely qualified to be at the center of those activities.

So how does this translate into actual services provided by the library? On the one hand, they have evolved their circulation assets. You can now check out robots and digital content (including digital magazines). There is also a pilot underway called Internet to Go, which will allow patrons to check out computers and tablets enabled with WiFi to give internet access to a household. While that in itself is valuable, the fact that patrons will be able to access digital literacy tools, complete homework, work on resumes and job applications at home on those devices, is what makes Internet to Go a key driver of economic advancement and educational opportunity.

Next, the libraries have started providing tools to help citizens participate in some of the newest economic drivers, including digital manufacturing. The Maker Labs provide access to equipment like 3DE printers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters, and milling machines, along with digital design software. These are supported by free workshops, open lab hours and drop-in demonstrations targeted at all levels.

Targeting teens, and in its fifth year of operation, are the YOUMedia centers. As 21st century learning centers, YOUMedia connects young adults, digital production, books, media, mentors and institutions throughout Chicago in a dynamic space designed to inspire collaboration and creativity. According to Frisque, the goal of these center is to provide spaces for teens to “hang out” with friends mess around” with digital media and “geek out” in groups that facilitate exploration of their core interests.

For teens, adaptation to digital technology is natural. This may not be the case with others. To that end, CPL employs what are called Cyber Navigators. A role unique to Chicago, Cyber Navigators assist people in using library computers in a focused way. Beyond how to use a mouse and navigate the internet, Cyber Navigators are able to help patrons use technology to government services, find and apply for a job, research health benefits, etc. And with more than 50 Cyber Navigators employed by the system, the library is able to deploy them where the greatest need is (usually in neighborhoods where digital literacy may lag).

And then there is the CPL website itself. In an era where focusing on your website as a digital differentiator may seem quaint, CPL has reinvented how its digital presence can create community. They have made the shift from using their website as a one-way communication tool and transformed it into a vibrant community. For example, patrons can comment on books and articles, can create, access, and share lists, and can participate in the broader discussions relevant to readers and learners.

The discussion then turned to the library’s generation of (and use of) data. In a city that embraced Open Data early on, in an age where data is being created by entities of all types, CPL is a full participant in the civic data space. We went through just a few of the dozens of data sets that the library provides on the City’s open data portal. Notable data sets included:

  • Number of WiFi sessions per month provided at Chicago Public Library locations
  • Visitors by location by year
  • Circulation by location by year, which includes new checkouts as well as renewals.
  • Holds placed (where a patron places a hold on desired materials either online or by contacting a CPL location)
  • Holds filled (materials pulled to fulfill patron holds)
  • Number of computer sessions by location by year
  • And, my favorites, lists of popular fiction, non-fiction, teen, and kids titles

Aside from generating data, Frisque discussed some of the insights the library was able to glean from that data. For example, looking at circulation numbers revealed that Chicago’s Summer of Learning program drove up circulation significantly in the summer months, implying that students were staying engaged and continuing to read during the break. Or looking at computer usage and wifi sessions reveals that the highest usage will be in the areas of lowest digital access.

I walked away very energized and excited to reorient myself with an institution that had been in the background of my life for as long as I could remember. Getting to know this “new” library will be like going back to a hometown that I remember the context of an earlier time that has evolved “almost” beyond recognition. Now, where did they put the card catalog?