July 30, 2005

So..if students are writing scripts for their podcasts..what can libraries do for them after school?

Just asking:

David Warlick reports on podcasts in the classroom and I'm pondering how libraries can be an extension of this digital content creation thing. I do believe that a "Digital Creation Station" in a library's Teen section might be a hit. Give them a Mac (or PC yeah yeah but Garageband is soooo cool!), a mic, some software and the chance to play!

And don't even let me hear you say "But what if they get loud?" or, heaven forbid, "what if they have FUN in the library making content to share with friends?"

What would the optimal Digital Creation Station include?

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July 29, 2005

David King Reviews AADL Web Site

In my book, David King is at the top of the heap for all things related to the creation of user-centered, usable, friendly and, yes, HOT library web sites..here's his review of AADL:


He's fair..and he points out some strengths and weaknesses... AND awards cups of coffee! Thanks David...

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Demonstrating Flickr

When the BBC is looking at Flickr in their Creative Futures Knowledge Building session, we should take note. Libraries should be looking at how powerful inage sharing can be.


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Congrats to Brian Kenney, New Editor of School Library Journal


School Library Journal has a new editor. Brian Kenney, Library Journal's executive editor, technology & web, has been promoted to editor-in-chief of School Library Journal, effective August 1. He succeeds Evan St. Lifer, who left in June to join Scholastic Library Publishing as VP and general manager.

I have been so lucky to work with Brian these last few months. I have learned a lot from him about writing, libraries and the "big picture." Brian gets libraries big time and he understands the place where libraries and technology meet! Best wishes...

Oh, and:

In 2004, he received a federal Institute of Museum and Libraries Services fellowship for study in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at the University of North Texas, Denton. This Web-enhanced doctoral program supports a cohort group engaged in researching school or public library issues.



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July 28, 2005

How to Use Hot Technologies and Not Get Burned!


Friday, 15 September 2005
9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library

Jessamyn West - Keynote
Scott Pfitzinger, Butler University
Michael Stephens, St. Joseph County Public Library
Kerry Green, Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library

This is the place to go to catch up on the exciting, but daunting, new technologies that are changing how librarians do reference. The conference will let you talk with experts on the technologies that may - or may not - be good for you and your library patrons. Come prepared with your questions and insights. You'll go away with a greater understanding of potential technologies for your library.

PDF of Brochure

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TTW Unplugged

I'm back Up North for 6 days to read, write and plan my research for UNT. I'll be back next week. :-)

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July 26, 2005

Discs are so Dead - Future of Media in Our Libraries


Nice article at WIRED that validates the thinking going on right now about CDs and DVDs. What will our Audio Visual areas look like in the next 5-7 years when we are hurtling toward streaming versions of high-def movies and episodes of "Entourage?" How will we participate in what becomes a transcation between users at home and the vast network of content and community out there?

Eventually, someone will build the sophisticated business plan and technology that will make getting hi-def movies online even easier. The possibilities are myriad. Users, for example, could log onto Amazon, shop for movies, and instead of having them shipped, simply download the title - to own or to rent for a few days - directly to their hard drive. A high-quality piece of streaming-video hardware, developed by some consumer electronics company with foresight (and either built into a television or sitting on top) would then pull the file to the TV. It's not crazy to envision future TiVos or cable DVRs with access to every movie ever made - complete with a community of viewers generating ratings and recommendations - allowing consumers to rent a flick from the couch with a remote. At first there will be download delays, but it will still be faster than renting via US Mail. Service will get better every year, and at some point Hollywood and the major gear makers are going to notice. And then they're going to feel awfully stupid about having stepped into the Thunderdome for yet another format war.

Maybe libraries can hook up with content providers and stream movies and more to card holders. Maybe our presence as SERVER will grow as more people connect to the library for their content. So many obstacles there and not a friendly model to businesses.

Pondering... any thoughts?

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July 25, 2005

Getting Things Done - David Allen (Updated)

My empty inbox this am:

My Inbox 7/25/05

That David Allen is so hot right now! I guess David and his GTD tipped while I was on leave... have you read it? Listened? Thanks to David King for turning me on to Allen and his book "Getting Things Done" back in June. Here are some cool links from our new Coordinator of Information Technology at SJCPL, Nancy Korpal, who totally gets this stuff:



Advanced Workflow PDF: http://www.davidco.com/pdfs/gtd_workflow_advanced.pdf

Cool E-Mail link (A Mac site but useful for all):


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July 23, 2005

Flickr Badge

A diversion after a day of reading Patrick Wilson....

My Flickr Badge

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Rock the Shelves

Check out this set:


These images say alot: library as community meeting place...library as cultural center...library as a place young people would like to be and hang out...and make some music. Well Done Gwinnett County Public Library!

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July 22, 2005

On Training in Libraries....

Training should be viewed as a necessity, not a luxury; as mandatory, not voluntary; and as comprehensive, not superficial. Training should be both theoretical and practical. The consequence of poor training will be that our users will lose confidence in librarians: They will think that librarians have joined the ranks of others that have fallen under the weight of emerging technologies, and they will see libraries as another institution that is threatened with extinction as the 21st century approaches.

Krissoff, A. & Konrad, L. COMPUTER TRAINING FOR STAFF AND PATRONS, Computers in Libraries, Jan1998, Vol. 18, Issue 1

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Libraries that "get" games (p. 45 GOT GAME)

Survey respondents "who had grown up playing games reported sharply different attitudes about the very foundations of business: risk, achievement, the vaule of their experience, their own capabilities....Without question, the game generation is already having business impact far beyond the Internet. The effects of video games in our economic lives will soon be hard to ignore. Firms (substitute LIBRARIES here) that "get" games will unlock assets at every level of their workforces. Firms (LIBRARIES) that don't will wonder where all their best employees (and patrons) went."

This was a big "aha" moment for me.

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Screencast of Wikipedia Edits

I heart the Social Software blog...


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July 21, 2005

A Quick Question about Your Library's Presence (Wikipedia)


Our Library is NOT on the South Bend, Indiana wikipedia entry. It should be (and will)... how about you, gentle reader? This could be an important access point for users to find your web presence. Let's make sure that we are present everywhere we can be!

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Abram on iPod

I am thoroughly enjoying Stephen Abram's blog. Don't miss it.

Today, he posts about iPods in Libraries.

How powerful can digital tools such as an iPod be? The Duke University report has some cool answers...

Stephen writes: But what I enjoyed was seeing the uses by music students to play recordings over and over to learn; to record their own work; and to share music in context of discussion. I liked the stories about language students repeating lectures to get all the nuances of the language, to get pronunciations right and to study. There are many stories like this about the power of these MP3 players in an academic context. There are even quite a few library uses! It's a fairly concise report and worth the read.

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The Library Landscape: What are Libraries doing with technology?

NILBA (Northern Indiana Library Board Association)
Wednesday August 31. 6:30pm
Strongbow Inn, Valparaiso, IN

The Library Landscape: What are Libraries doing with technology?

Surveys the landscape of notable public libraries of all sizes and details what many are doing to meet users needs and expectations, includes wifi, digital music, blogs and more!

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Congrats to Chad!

CIL 2005 from TTW

On his new job!!!!

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One More Reading List: Scholarly Works

Scholarly Summer Reading

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July 19, 2005

Summer Listening

Listening List

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July 17, 2005

Summer Reading

Reading List

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Up North: Library Lane

Day Trip to Boyne City, Harbor Springs & Petoskey, MI July 2005

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July 15, 2005

AADL Web Site (or I have Seen the Future and it's Brilliant)

Read Jenny's post about Ann Arbor. I agree! This is truly an example of cutting edge technology used to make the library a human place with a human face. PLs should look to this model of service, use of technology and sense of community when planning their web presence.

And Panlibus agrees: "Just scanning the site gives you the feeling that there are humans behind it. Great site, and yet another exemplar for what can be done, for the rest of the Library world to aspire towards and beyond."

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July 14, 2005

Got Something to Say? Podcast with Chad!

I'm intrigued by Chad's idea to create a collective podcast - especially the multiple voices on one topic slant. I look forwrad to hearing the 'cast on gaming!

Take a look:


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July 13, 2005

Excellent IM Training Materials via Sherri!


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Stephen's Lighthouse

Go. Now. Subscribe. Read. Learn.


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July 12, 2005

Library Tour: Happy Diversion


I went to the Traverse Area District Library today to print articles to read for my preliminary research. I finally got to meet Jeff, who works in IT there and who has been an IM buddy for over 2 years. He and David, the head of tech services, took me on a tour of their beautiful library and surroundings! What a nice diversion to hang with some library folk.

At flickr, the tag for TADL is tadl:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/tadl/

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July 08, 2005

Conference Presentations by Michael Stephens

Library Presentations

Effective Use of Search Engines - Indiana Library Federation April 1997

Ready Reference on the WWW Indiana Library Federation District 2, September 1997

Search Engine Savvy - Indiana Library Federation April 1998

Training Library Staff for Net Results - Indiana Library Federation April 1998

Developing a WWW-Based Reference Resource - Indiana Library Federation April 1999

Methods for Training Library Staff - Indiana Library Federation April 1999

Developing a WWW-Based Reference Resource - Indiana Library Federation District 2, October 1999

Developing a WWW-Based Reference Resource - Indiana Library Federation District 1 October 1999

The Nuts & Bolts of SJCPL's Training Program - Computers in Libraries, Washington DC, March 2000 (PPT Here)

Bibliographic Instruction in the Age of Technology, FLICC Institute, Library of Congress, Washington DC - July 2000

Evaluating WWW Resources - ILF Reference Division Meeting, November 2000

Bibliographic Instruction in the Age of Technology -Computers in Libraries, Washington DC, March 2001

Evaluating WWW Resources - Indiana Library Federation, April 2001

Bibliographic Instruction in the Age of Technology - Indiana Library Federation, April 2001

Staff In-Service Day: Web Skills for Library Staff - Marian Public Library, Marian, Indiana, April 2001

Mastering a Training Program -Computers in Libraries, Washington DC, March 2001

10 Web Design Tips - Indiana Library Federation District 1 October 2002

Mastering a Training Program - Indiana Library Federation District 2 October 2002

Technology Skills for Live Librarians - Internet Librarian, Palm Springs, CA November 2002

Designing Training Sessions for Libraries - Computers in Libraries Washington DC, March 2003

Kendallville Public Library Staff In-Service Day, August 22, 2003

Reference & Technology - Indiana Library Federation District 1 October 7, 2003

Future Roles of Public Librarians, Endnote, Internet Librarian, Monterey, CA, November 2003

Celebrating Library Staff with Technology, Computers in Libraries, Washington DC, March 2004

SLS Tech Summit : Staff and User Technology Training with Robert Lewandowski, Wedenesday May 19, 2004

Marketing Libraries Via the WWW, Indiana Library Federation District 1, October 5, 2004

Blogs & RSS for Indiana Librarians, Indiana Library Federation District 1, October 5, 2004

Make Learning Stick Pre-conference Workshop, Internet Librarian International, London, England November 2004

Technology Planning for Libraries, Internet Librarian International, London, England October 2004

Top Tech Issues: Cyberclinic, Internet Librarian International, London, England October 2004

Internet Savvy Patrons: Info and Tech Literacy, Internet Librarian 2004, Monterey CA (PPT)

Teaching Weblogs to Staff and Users, Internet Librarian 2004, Monterey CA (PPT), with Steven Cohen

Fast, Easy & Cheap: IM in Libraries, Internet Librarian 2004, Monterey CA (PPT), with Aaron Schmidt

The Library Blogosphere: Toward a Working Taxonomy, Online Social Networks (http://socialnets.org), February 2005 with Aaron Schmidt

Optimizing Technology in Libraries, Computers in Libraries, March 2005

Collaboration & IM: Breaking Down Boundaries, Computers in Libraries, March 2005

IM in Libraries, Indiana Library Federation State Meeting, March 2005

Technolust! Optimizing Technology in Libraries, Indiana Library Federation State Meeting, March 2005

Optimizing Technology in Libraries, New England Chapter of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, Providence, Rhode Island, May 3, 2005

Ten Steps to Effective Web Presence, Indiana Online Users Group, May 20, 2005

Posted by Michael at 03:15 PM

Threads of Conversation at ALA

The best part of ALA for me this year was the tried and true "networking with colleagues" thing. I've attended many ALAs, from my first experience in Chicago in 1995 where everything seemed so huge and librarianship was just oh so new to me, through forays in New Orleans, San Francisco (twice, and yes, one time I actually left my heart there) to a sweaty few days in Orlando, where I spent a tad more time with Mickey and Spiderman than I did with librarians and vendors.

This ALA was all about conversations. I was fortuante to have sit downs with colleagues I believe to be the voices of the future of libraries, and I was amazed at how our threads of conversation wove an intricate and synchronous view of what's to come.

First up was the Blogger's Roundtable, a session I put together with Brian Kenney from Library Journal, bringing together some newer strong voices in LIS blogging. I won't say much here because you'll get to read about it in LJ very soon and these folks covered it very well already:




But these folks, along with the others present, blew me away with their insight, dedication to LIS issues and passion about libraries. I was truly in the presence of folks that will make a big difference in our profession.

Other threads appeared as I sat down to breakfast, lunch, drinks and dinner with various people in various hotels, dining establishments and bars. Here's what I kept on my mental toteboard as the big issues facing us in the future incarnations of libraries.

(I also bumped into Ted Allen from Queer Eye. We talked recipes, haircuts and about Denton, TX where the Fab 5 recently shot a show. He asked "What's ALA?)

User Created Content

There is a movement toward everyday people being the authors of their own content and media. Tools such as Apple's Garageband, iMovie and more (and their PC counterparts) make everyone a creator of digital content. Podcasting is one means of adding content to the great pool of stuff out there.

Podcasting is changing as it grows. Some folks have noticed a slow down amongst early adoptors and maybe the time and technology commitment is different than typing blog entries.

I wonder have many libraries jumped on the podcast bandwagon? There's David Free's podacst work, and the NEW NEW http://www.lispodcasts.com/. The voice of LIS podcasting, Greg Schwartz, recently wrote: "Oh, my apologies for the lack of audio lovin'. I'm just tired and don't have much to comment on at the moment. I haven't forgotten about you." Greg, I understand.

Folks, however, and I mean just plain FOLKS are generating loads of podcasts and more. Apple iTunes just rolled out a new version and embraced user content by offering folks a way to throw their programs in the great big podcast pool: podcasts of all types, topics and lengths abound.

Here's where it gets interesting: over lunch, Jenny and I hit on this and she mentioned her belief that user created content will be more important and maybe libraries can help folks do just that. DING DING. That's when my thoughts/reading about user-centered libraries and the future of content fell into place. Heck yeah, let's give our users a place to generate their own podcasts..and "vid-casts" and "hologram-casts" and whatever other types of "casts" come along.

At Purdue, I did the blog workshops in a place called the Digital Learning Collaboratory. The mission of the DLC is "to support and facilitate integrated learning of information and technology literacy for Purdue University students." Students can create all types of digital content on some pretty spiffy PCS and Macs!

Charlotte-Mecklenberg Library has the Virtual Village where folks can do all sorts of editing, creation and exploration with assistance from staff.

These are models for the future. Look closely at these libraries and others that provide access to state of the art technology as a means of creating user-defined content. This is a far cry from "Can I plug in my USB drive?"

Games and Learning

Jenny has written so much about this, as well as other folks so here is my very small two cents: I also believe libraries that are looking at offering circulating games and hosting tournaments are miles ahead of those that can't see beyond noise and dancing in the library as well as the simple fact that the students in school today are not the ones that were in grade school or junior high with me back in the 70s!

Read "Got Game" now. I'll wait.

I love to read Will Richardson's stuff because he points it out so eloquently: new tech and transitioned tech (such as blogs, podcasting and, in a round about way, gaming) is part of looking at education as collaboration, sharing and creation. He also looks seriously at the issues surrounding such a change in education. Read this post about an educator told not to include students in his podcasts to see what I mean. I would have loved to be generating podcasts (and solving puzzles and reading within games) when I was in school. (I did, however, blow up the Death Star every chance I got at the arcade down the street).

Libraries that Get It & Libraries that Don't

In the conversations at ALA, i heard some wonderful stories about libraries that get it and those that that get how we must look seriously at services and how we meet users needs. For every "we are blogging and IMing and looking at how to improve our web presence" I heard, there were many more "Our director is afraid of technology" and "our board doesn't like computers." Guess what? If that's your library, you are in big trouble. No names here but over a nice lunch I wanted to weep into my hummus and tabouleh for one Illinois library.

Recently, I found a link to a blog post of mine about blogging conferences for transparency and knowledge sharing. Someone posted about it on a staff blog that's open to the world. A comment from someone else on that library's staff was brief but very telling about the state of affairs in many libraries these days" "Sounds like a good idea, but who has the time?"

Rant begins here folks. We have the time -- if we make it. What about all those processes that we spend oh so much time on that don't really matter to our users or do not carry a lasting ROI for services. What tasks are we doing, that we have been doing for YEARS even, that don't serve a purpose anymore. Can we streamline proccesses? Look at procedures? Stephen Abram touched on this as we had breakfast and made a brilliant point about cataloging: "Who else in the WORLD cares that a book a user wants is 17cm in size? Not the user...they just want the book!" I'd never thought of it that way. I have many moments like that talking to Abram)

At Darien Library in June, staff told me that if folks ask for a book and it's waiting to be processed, they run back, add it to the system and get it in the hands of the users. How many libraries do this? How many have to say "It will be one to two weeks, would you like to place a hold?"

End rant.

"This IMing Thing" (or "When will you retire?")

A librarian took me aside as I loitered outside the exhibit hall. I have a question, she said. "My director sent out an e-mail wondering if we need to inform users about how dangerous 'this IMIng' is..." She described a missive that made my tummy ache. She concluded: "How do I educate my staff? How do i tell them what's happening in other libraries so we can do stuff too?"

Dear lady! The sarcastic answer is "wait for them to retire!" but that's not a good answer. (It may be the answer that solves a lot of problems I hear about here and out and about though...sorry, but it's true) What I might do, I explained, is came back from the conference filled with good ideas and evidence. Look at all the cool librarians who are promoting IM and its uses: Aaron, Sarah and Sherri's great survey stuff. (Sherri - you have the makings of an article there! I'm just sayin). I would also look at "Born with the Chip" and other pieces about how our users are using IM, especially PEW and the AOL survey.

In general, though, we need to find ways to shift the thinking of the folks that might be standing in the way of newer library services and changing library services. It's not just "IMing," it's the whole big picture. There are some outstanding change agents working on just that... in fact, I got to rub elbows with many of them at the Blogger's Salon.

The Blogger's Salon (or OCLC Gets It Big Time!)

This part isn't actually a thread of conversation but it brings a lot of the above together. The OCLC bloggers at "It's All Good" opened the OCLC Blue Suite to LIS Blogger's and friends for a reception that was probably the most fascinatiing bit of ALA for ma (the Blogger's Roundtable is tied for the top spot though).

I met bloggers I read and appreciate, bantered about some of our like issues and came away with the feeling that no matter what folks like You Know Who and his academic counterpart have to say, LIS Bloggers get it and will change the face of librarianship.

As to OCLC, meeting the authors of the Scan was a big deal for me. I was certainly starstruck as well. The fact that OCLC opened its suite's doors to the bloggers speaks volumes. I even told them that.

The Age of the Heart

Finally, with all this talk about services and librarianship and the future, I have to mention this: we are moving toward what some folks call "The Age of the Heart" (Kusek and Leohnard in "The Future of Music" for two) and what will be a time of "experience" for people as they move through the world.

Music will rain down via wifi networks everywhere. News, info and media will as well. We will seek out spaces that delight us or provoke emotion. Will we seek out the library?

In my mind: Libraries will be headed by directors who grew up as gamers and got their degrees in new permutations of MLS programs. Librarians, I hope, will be visible and relevant and have presence. We won't be hiding behind a reference desk or a mental wall of technophobia.

David King is posting some absolutely fascinating stuff looking at experience and the library Web site. Check it out and do some thinking on this stuff..it's going to be important.


Overall, ALA Chicago 2005 gave me much food for thought, some incredible experiences interacting with "the Blog People" and the chance to ask some people I really admire some questions. It also offered a chance to sit across from a dear librarian friend I greatly admire and just TALK. Not libraries...not tech..but the chance to get caught up and spend some time on the bigger picture: life...and the heart.

Thanks to all!

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With That, Friends...TTW is Unplugged

Sunset Cruise on Spider Lake

I've caught up a bit with that ALA post so i am unplugging to focus on school and relaxation during the next week and a half. I am writing up my preliminary research proposal, working on a group project and pondering a web survey I'll tell you about soon. I'm Up North until the 20th of July.

Be well. I'll be back to blogging around the 20th.

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Article: iPod to the Rescue: Can Digital Audio Save Publishing?


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July 07, 2005

Blogging at Work


Meredith writes an insightful post about blogging at work. I was intrigued to read/hear about her interviews recently. Library folk who hire: if you are not looking at a potential employees online presence, you should be! And if you don't know how blogging, wikis and sites such as flickr are changing the profession, you better learn. You never know what types of questions interviewees may ask. For example:

Do you have a blogging policy at the library?
Does blogging count as publishing/contributing to the field at evaluation time?
What collaboration tools does the library use to enhance work?
What tools does the library use for its online presence?

AND speaking of, library administrators, have you looked at this lately? http://www.liscareer.com/cunningham_eiq.htm

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London...Thoughts & Prayers

Thoughts and prayers go out to colleagues and friends in London, England.

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July 06, 2005

LibSuccess Wiki (Or Run Don't Walk to the Wiki - Quick!)

I am tickled to report Meredith Farkas has mounted a Library Best Practices wiki!


Quick! Zip over there and check out the incredible resources being gathered by US - librarians oparticiupating in this big beautiful community of practice found here in cyberspace.

I have to spend more time, but I have already found sections devoted to training, blogs and more. Woohoo. Meredith, as I said at the Blogger's Roundtable, this idea is HOT X 3.

Folks, let's go forth and build this thing....

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Congrats Techman!

CIL 2005 from TTW

Just heard that my colleague, workshop collaborator, and DDR player D. Scott Brandt, has been named Associate Dean for Research at the Purdue Libraries! Hooray!

Congrats to Scott!

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July 02, 2005

Feel Good Librarian on the Future (and our Library Present)

I heart this:

We think of ourselves differently, too, I am finding. We are a scared bunch these days, frightened that we won't find jobs, now or ever. We're scared that libraries won't keep their place in society. Or that they will, and we won't like it. We're scared that the generations who are clashing on our staffs won't ever get along. That the techno-terrified will hold all the rest of us up, or the techies will drag us all kicking and screaming into a future where we will be replaced by machines.

And, like many of the librarians I hung with this weekend, I heart The Feel Good Librarian!

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