TTW's Top LRTT List for 2003 (UPDATED Again!)

As part of the year's end, I wanted to take a look back and note the Top Library-related Technology Things (LRTT) that most rocked my world in 2003 and what it means for 2004.

Here's the link for my Top Tech Trends category.

Here's the list:

1. Blogging: I'll say it again, who knew in March 2003 when I trotted off to DC for CIL 2003 that I would come back fired up to blog. I attended Steven Cohen's talk on blogging, accosted him in the hallway of the Hilton while he was gathering himself for another talk, and started reading all of the library-related blogs I could find. Darlene Fichter wrote about libraries and blogs here.

Here is my first ever blog post -- about CIL actually.

Blogging has helped me put thoughts together, remember things, archive cool links to other articles and posts and stay informed about the big things happening in our profession. I also branched off into separate areas for my life away from libraries, my Mac and my iPod . The Sightblog rolls on as well. The blog devoted to my time spent in Traverse City is probably may favorite non-library work, summing up my feelings about time away from work and sharing experiences which received some press coverage!

Will there be a blog backlash? I think blog-style Web pages will become so ubiquitous in 2004 that they'll be as accepted and "second nature" to Web surfers and the name will become less important.

2. Space is important and Space must meet Technology when planning buildings. Libraries are striving to be meeting places now. ..or they should be. Or our users will go to Starbucks, B&N, Panera, etc and connect with wireless or chat or read or whatever. I'm still taken by libraries that utilize space in new, innovative ways. At IL2003, someone in the crowd pointed out that 20,000 people lined up to go through the new San Jose library when it opened. Green? yes please. Sustainable? Undoubtedly. Cerritos PL has become the Experience library for the 21st Century.

3. It's all about People. Wait, isn't it about Technology? No... silly... it's about People and how they use technology to work, play, live, learn and advance. Customer service drives libraries, not the latest coolest gadget.In 2003, I discovered that Apple Stores have got great customer service!

It's also about library staff. I have read so much lately that says "keep your library staff happy, informed and excited about your organization and you will go far!" ">Aaron even shoveled snow from the front of his building! (And I wrote about Customer Service and employees here. ..) If you have an informed, comfortable staff they'll definitely help sell your message. Message?

4. Marketing Libraries for the 21st Century -- From : "Marketing needs to include some basics. The panel agreed that it is more important today for outreach communications to be in the user's language and approachable. A message something like, "Yes, you can really do this," needs to be included when guiding users to library solutions, especially to remote access tools, where a physical librarian is not available to help out. Messaging needs to elucidate benefits—better content and better decisions—rather than a list of URLs and functions." Yes!

Jenny wrote this about being photographed for the Sun-Times article: "The photographer was a gadget guy, so he was particularly interested in hearing about ListenIllinois and wireless access. He was thrilled to learn that the TFML offered free WiFi, and he was even knowledgeable enough to ask why there were no signs highlighting the service, specifically any warchalking symbols. In fact, he said he was willing to sit in his car in the parking lot when the Library is closed to use it because it would save him a trip downtown. "

We need to make sure the services we offer are promoted. A virtual librarian can sit in front of a terminal for hours but if no one in the community knows the librarian is there... what's the use? Same with WiFi... Let's give the coffee shops, hotel lobbies and so many other cool wifi places a run for their money. In my book, Library = wifi access is a good thing...

But we also need to make sure we are doing the right things...and not too much!

Hal Niedzviecki on 10/27/03 wrote this in the Globe and Mail about Canadian libraries doing too much: "By trying to compete with everything from bookstores to community centres to literary awards, public libraries in Canada are in danger of losing their focus at a time when we need them more than ever. The library, and only the library, is in a unique position to help us become citizens capable of grappling with the media-sphere that dominates life in the 21st century. When libraries consolidate their position as free storehouses of information and places where we can learn how to interpret and dispense information in a way that empowers us as a citizenry, we will surely sit up and take notice."

5. RSS: Remember the Kalakala? RSS has become a staple in my daily life: reading all the library-related news and posts every morning, having access to multiple feeds about Apple and the Mac , and news in general... Life is sweet...RSS makes it sweeter.

6. Networking at Conferences: I have been very lucky in my career so far to have the opportunity to attend various library technology conferences. I would recommend this highly for any IT-related library person or, really, anyone whose job it is to be "up" on things tech to attend a conference like CIL or IL ...and chat with people! Not just in the sessions, possibly asking questions, but at the breaks, in the exhibit halls, at the mixers. Don't be shy -- rub some elbows! It's a great way to learn about stuff. "What are you doing at your library about Technology X? Y? Z?" You may be pleased to find other librarians are in the same boat.

I try to be accessible after doing a presentation in case anyone has other questions or points and that carries all the way to the lobby of the hotel, the hotel bar, the health club (or the pier at Fisherman's Wharf!) or wherever you happen to see me.

7. WIFI BABY! How could I forget one of the biggest changes to my digital/tech life. I have become untethered but home, at Panera Bread, at SJCPL , on the road, and anywhere work or leisure takes me! IL2003 really illustrated how far wifi had come when I realized confernce attendees were IMing and blogging INSIDE the Steinbeck Forum during a presentation by Greg Notess.

Posted: Sun - January 11, 2004 at 11:07 AM