October 04, 2005

This Morning's Presentation

This morning I'm speaking at the District 1 meeting of the Indiana Library Federation. I love to meet with Indiana Librarians and I'm especially happy because these folks are from my "hometown" -- District 1 includes all of my county and the counties across northern Indiana.

Here's the talk, a new version of "Optimizing Tech" today:

PPT File as 6 slides per page


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September 21, 2005

Travels around Indiana: ILF Meeting

ILF Reference Division Fall Meeting

I was tickled to be on the docket for the Indiana Library Federation Reference Division meeting last Friday with Jessamyn West and some most cool Indiana Librarians. Thanks to Kerry, Scott, Evan and everyone who helped make it such a wonderful experience! Here's Scott's take on the day too!


In the drama of the day I didn't really get to blog, but Marydee Ojala did! Here are some of her posts:

Jessamyn in Indiana: http://www.onlineinsider.net/2005/09/jessamyn-west-in-indiana.html

Hot New Communication Tools for Reference: http://www.onlineinsider.net/2005/09/hot-new-communication-tools-for.html

This is where it got interesting. Flickr seemed to engage the audience. I clicked, tagged, noted and uploaded on flickr while Jessamyn explained and commented. It was the best part of the day for me: http://www.onlineinsider.net/2005/09/still-more-ways-to-have-fun-at-work.html

Finally, I mentioned podcasting when discussing syndicated content: http://www.onlineinsider.net/2005/09/podcasting.html

Oh! And the Cluetrain!

Thanks Marydee! (be sure to take a look at Online Insider...Marydee covers other conferences and will be blogging from London soon!)

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September 17, 2005

Indiana Library Federation Reference Division Presentations



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July 08, 2005

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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June 29, 2005

Polaroids from ALA

Meredith and Adam
Walking paper and Schwagbag
Michael @ ALA

Courtesy of http://polaroidonizer.nl.eu.org/

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May 25, 2005

Indiana Online User Group Meeting Wrap Up

Wrap Up by Eric Lease Morgan: http://dewey.library.nd.edu/morgan/travel/iolug-2005/

Glenn Peterson's PPT: http://www.hclib.org/extranet/IOLUG2005/IOLUG.pps

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May 16, 2005

Bibliography for Today's Talk

I spoke today at a meeting of the Northern Indiana Library Computer Consortium. It was picked up via video to Columbia City, IN and Indianapolis as well. Here's the bibliography:

Download file

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May 11, 2005

Back in Kokomo, IN for Reinventing Libraries 2

Workshop 2

More in a bit... It's so nice to be back here...

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May 10, 2005

ATTN: Podcasters


The Portable Media Expo looks intriguing AND it's in Ontario, California - where my good buddy MP works! Two good reasons to head out there...

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April 14, 2005

Conference Woes 2006

I was sad to realize PLA and CIL are scheduled for the same time next year! I just got a mailing from PLA and went to enter the dates in iCal - and OH!

I know plans are made for such big conferences years in advance... but this is too bad for folks that might want to attend both!

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April 13, 2005

NE ASIS&T Program

Here's an updated page for the talk I'm doing in May!


"Optimizing your Technology: Sharing your TechnoLust and Knowing When to Quit"

Is it okay I always talk about lust? :-)

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April 06, 2005

Exhausted...but WOW

Great day in Kokomo, I learned so much! I'll post about it soon, but I'm tired now... Thanks to Sharon, Dan, Steve and Ida for a great day -- and thanks to the folks who attended!


Here's a set at flickr:http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsphotos/sets/215227/

Here's my PPT: Trends for 21st Century Libraries

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In Kokomo, Preparing


I made GOOD TIME -- with an hour to spare so I'm at Panera looking at my materials.

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There's a Place Called Kokomo

I am on my way to Kokomo, Indiana for the first of three workshops "Reinventing Libraries." I'm co-presenting with Sharon and Dan Wiseman.


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March 23, 2005

TTW Meets Michael Gorman


(Shaking hands)

Me: Mr. Gorman, I'm Michael Stephens. I write the Tame the Web Blog for Libraries and technology. I wrote a response to your piece, I hope you got to read it or will.

Gorman: Ahh, some of those people were so thin-skinned. I hope you're not.

Me: No, sir, I am not thin-skinned. Thank you. Nice to meet you. Take a look at my blog sometime.

Marydee blogs Gorman's talk here: http://www.onlineinsider.net/2005/03/gawking-at-gorman.html

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Gearing Up for Another Presentation

I'm about to do my "Technolust/Planning" talk here in Indianapolis..

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In Indianapolis for Indiana Library Federation

More CIL to come but right now I'm languishing in my suite at the Embassy -- Embassy Suites Indianapolis!

Today: Two presentations for Hoosier librarians on IM and Optimizing Tech. And a chance to meet Michael Gorman who is keynoting??

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March 13, 2005

PLA Symposium: Lead by Example: Work, Change, Self & Others

Lead by Example: Work, Change, Self & Others

Al Gini, Loyola University Chicago, author of "The Importance of Being Lazy" spent a lively session discussing how to better manage our lives: on and off the job beacuse so few of us are happy with work. He illustrated points with numerous Dilbert cartoonms featuring the evil head of Human Resources and the unfortunate employees who encounter "Catbert." Gini pointed out that happy staff must experience the four Rs of working: Recognition, Respect, Relationship and Rewards from supervisors and colleagues.

Dealing with change is a concern, he stressed. Librarians sometimes resist change because of a fear of innovation, thier own personal habits, social customs, peer pressure and fear of leaving their comfort zones.

He also gave a gentle reminder to the room that the MLS they received is not the MLS new library school gradutes are getting as well as stressing the importance of technology to today's library professional. "If you got your MLS more than 15 years ago, the program is much different," he said. The first thing you'd do if you went back was to get a laptop. "This is your laptop, learn to love it."

To reinvent your job and yourself, Gini urged the librarians to seek out learning opportunities, get a mentor or be a mentor, attend seminars, attend classes, conferences, and make yourself more marketable in the profession, without losing sight of our passions. "It's about loving what you do and doing what you love."

Note from MS:

It was interesting for me to compare the 6 hours I spent in workshops with Stephen Abram to Gini's session. I must admit when I saw he was using an overhead projector and transperancies, I clucked. BUT he was engaging, on the money and got the whole idea of PEOPLE being a library's number one resource. He also got the idea that all librarians must embrace technology: "Here's a laptop, learn to love it!" NICE!

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March 12, 2005

Conference Bags!

Library Conference Bags

Wow! I just got to thinking about 5 trips to CIL and 3 to IL, as well as ALA annual, ILI and PLA... you can really collect a lot of bags!

Library Conference Bags

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March 09, 2005



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PLA Symposium at flickr

Opening sessionOZPowerbooks at PLAAbram

PLA Symposioum images by MS

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Abram on Millennial Users


Note from MS: I have distributed copies of "Born With the Chip" to the managers and admin on retreat at SJCPL, discussed it with my classes at IUSB as well as with the cohorty at UNT. This talk expanded the concepts, made a room full of people think about their services and provided some great conversation over dinner last night!

Download the Article Here! Or display the article at Library Journal here.

Millennial Users: Different? You Bet!

Stephen Abram, March 8, 2005, Palmer House Hotel - PLA Symposium

"We are looking for leadership outside of librarianship when we should be looking for it inside the profession."

The trouble with most organization's responses to turbulent times is that they tend to overmanage and underlead.

We are about to get hit with a huge wave of innovation: we are way behind the rest of the world. Just look to the Pacific Rim.

Building Blocks:

What are libraries worried about:

Millennial User behaviours
Diversity - e.g. Parkdale PL in Toronto reflects the community it serves
E-learning and Distance Education
Justifying growth and projects - Measures not Stats
Understanding mutating (not changing) usage patterns - info not data
Building community alliance but bringing gravitas to the table
Building for the future and not repairing the present
Productivity and shifting staff resources

Looking at our Users:

Information Engagement Levels: Dr. Thomas Davenport

Learning Styles


-Piaget, Bloom, Gardner, etc.

How are we designing our web presence for each of these types of learners?

How is the reference interview conducted virtually?

"If you are looking to align your services with a technology that is actually being used, look at iPods."

Welsh word: place where all my knowledge comes -- Cynefin

"Inflection Point" - when things shift


Born 1978-1994
Ages 9 to 25
If you haven't yet, download the article here!

The Millennials are/have:

Confident: they know what the want and how it should be delivered
High Expectations: will have a as good a life as when they grew up, they want it to be easy and they want it now
More Choices - Millennials are brand loyal
More Diverse
Healthy Lifestyle
More Friends - 120 IM messages! 3000 names on a buddy list
Internet Natives
Gamers: Mark Prensky "Use Their Tools Speak Their Language"
Collaborative - Your IM buddy list is people you TRUST, are there teachers in it? Librarians?
Format Agnostic

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March 08, 2005

PLA: Finding OZ: Discovering a Bright Future for Libraries


Slides will be on Abram's Web site at SIRSI where he will also be launching a blog!

Stephen Abram, Monday March 7, Palmer House Hilton

"Favorite thing is to figure out where users, libraries and our communities are going to be..."

Some building blocks of info:

Florida study from Midwinter: ROI on library services in the state

Free=Unfettered Access:
http://arl.cni.org/sparc/meetings/ala05mw Shame on us for not allowing walk in users

Why are we using these technologies? How do we transform our users with them?

How does one person persuade many?

Charts? Rational Argument? Dialogue?

Storytelling? = HIGH efficacy

For more: http://www.stevedenning.com/Slide-show.html

Stories can...change organizations!

Abram's CEO "The best way to discover the future is to invent it."

DON"T MISS: googlezon

"You can always tell the culture of the library by how high and how thick the reference desk is."

Some Innovations:

Google Scholar Toolbar for Firefox

Picasa offers photo storage online

Toolbars: OCLC, Google,

Google Local: Every business in your community mapped out -- is your library listed? (Is SJCPL in Google Local?)

How and Why questions are the ones that are important

Google gets questions in two hours equal to all the libraries and all the reference departments in 2.5 years

So what do we do?

Reinvent the Librarian

Virtual Reference: is not the perfect solution yet but if you got on the bandwagon early you are better off. It improves ref work because you get a transcript of every transaction. Then you can evaluate them.

IM: Aaron Schmidt is reaching Millennial users with IM at his library.

Know Your Market

Normative Data Project

PL world should look at the data and use it for planning. Look at the way humans are behaving: gather stories

Rethink the Repository

What areas/users do your collections serve?

Push stuff to them when they want it: RSS! Get on the Wagon Early! SIRSI does it from the ILS.

Federated Identity Managaement

RFID - Not ready for Prime Time, meant to be used once not circulated.
Biometrics - Fingerprints as library card (Buffalo/Erie County PL)
Smartrcards - card with a chip, stripe, barcode and image
U of Toronto and ADA - Access to DBs for folks that are blind, etc.

Libraries circulating iPods with books on them. These first few libraries will learn how this works.

Invent Targeted Search

Teaching users to know WHERE to search as well as HOW to search.

Lead the Wireless Revolution

Offer wifi...look for that mi=unicipal dome of free wifi in the future!

How does your library's website look on a Treo 650?

What homepage do your wireless users get when they access your wifi network?

Get into the Community

BLOG! Blog all of your announcements!

Kids blog...Teens blog... feed out RSS for all!

RSS: The other side of push. Get clubs and other local websites to stream RSS feeds from your catalog on their pages. Be relevant in your community!!! This can be "one of our biggest opportunities in wedding ourselves and being relevant in our communities."

Make the Library Discoverable

Search Engine Optimization:

Your library should be on the top page. Use keywords, tags etc.

Toolbars! Harris County Public Library

Build Context First

Usability vs., Satisfaction
Real Needs
Transactions and Transformations

Don't just measure statitics -- measure IMPACT!

Next wave: by 2006

Broadband across the US
Low-Power Consumption mobile display devoice
Real time infrastuructrure
Transition to service oriented architecture


Connected Society
Connected Objects and Places
Connected Enterprises

This was an incredible talk. The audienece of over 200 was engaged for over 3 hours!

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Greetings from the Palmer House!

Greetings from PLA Symposium! I have no connection in the meeting rooms but I am making notes to post here. Yesterday I spent 3 hours with 200 librarians listening to Stephen Abram's talk "Finding Oz." It was incredible.

Jenny wrote: Also, I've decided that Stephen Abram is the library world’s Jeff Jarvis. He “gets” everything - the whole enchilada – and he’s incredibly good at articulating it! When Stephen talks, you’d better listen!

I wholeheartedly agree. I wrote on my evaluation that every PLA member should hear Abram's message. This is the future folks...get ready!

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March 06, 2005

See you at PLA Symposium!


I'm off tomorrow morning for three days in Chicago with some SJCPL colleagues. I'm attending 4 3-hour sessions, including 2 presented by Stephen Abram!! Look for some posts as time and connection permit.

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