Coming off of IL05 and reading over "Listening to You," I must ask:
Are you listening to your users?
You should be.
A companion to a presentation I'm giving at Internet Librarian 2005.
Ten Steps to Insure Staff Buy-In for the Technology Projects
"Why are we doing this?"
A few months ago the Reference staff at SJCPL trained the librarians who would be using IM at their service desks. Katie, who was doing the particular session I heard about, asked the group: "Why are we doing this training?"
"IM is cool" Someone said..."IM is so hot right now," said another (who may read my blog too much!)
"Nope," Katie said. "We are doing this because it is a way to reach a good segment of our users...." She went on to cite some of the recent articles, studies and surveys out there that make the case for IM.
"Why are we doing this?" may be asked more than you think at your library as more and more projects center around technology. If the question is there, you may be missing a perfect opportunity to create staff buy-in for such projects. What follows are ten hints to Insure buy-in..
#1 Listen to Your Staff
Cluetrain time folks. There are conversations going on in your libraries..some in person ("Elevator talk") and some via electronic means. What's beeing said? Are people unhappy? Have you suprised the staff with yet another big project that just seemes to be spending money and time for no discernible ROI? When you meet with folks, listen. The message may come through if you want to hear it: communicate..keep us in the know.,..let us plan with you....
#2 Involve Staff in Planning
From the get go, convene a team to plan whatever new thing you are doing made up of staff from all areas of your organization -- focusing on the key players and the stakeholders. If they are engaged, heard and actively researching, discussing and decided in stuff, they are wedded to the project. This is particularly true for new buildings.
#3 Tell Stories
I've talked about this alot: one way for libraries to promote their value and relevance is to tell the library's story every chance you get. Beyond daunting columns of statistics, users -- and staff -- might benefit from a story about "how the library helped its users today?" Ponder a staff exchange where internal stories can be told. You may find a lot of answers to the question: "Why are we doing this?"
#4 Be Transparent
Don't be secretive about projects. Don't ambush staff with a new computer on the reference desk no one was told about. Be transparent with you users and your staff as well. Staff intranets cry out to be used as a means to announce and discuss new projects, with facts figures, COST and outcomes. Staff wikis scream to be used to develop plans and timelines for all staff to access and review.
#5 Report and Debrief
I love this example of the post-conference debrief we did at SJCPL. Staff often wonder what folks are doing trooping off to Seattle or Washington DC or . Reporting from the conference via a blog or posting reports upon returning to work let's folks see that those attending conference were gathering knowledge to bring back.
#6 Do your Research
There is no excuse in 2005 not to be "in the know" on whatever technology initiative you are planning. there's no excuse not to have done a literature search for articles in our professional litertaure that will help the discussion and inform the participants of strategy meetings.
#7 Manage Projects Well
There are some great books out there that bloggers have pointed to and discusssed!
#8 Offer training for All technologies you Roll Out
One of my soapbox topics. You know how important it is to train staff. To keep them in the know. Training doesn't have to be the formal in a room variety, but you might use any number of method to deliver instrruction about new stuff or changes to current systems.
#9 Let them Play
In our Training Workshop yesterday, one of the participants stressed the need for a "playground" where staff could put their hands on new technologies: terminals running a newe OS, a new ILS or updated software, or new gadgets and devices the library might be evaluating. I love this idea. We also went so far to theorize that the playground might be virtual as well as physical.
For that gaming initiative, take folks out to the arcade or set up the consoles in the staff lounge and do some DDR! Let them expwerience first!
#10 Celebrate Successes
Do you do this? Do you stop amidst all of your ongoing tech projects and celebrate the launch of the new Web site? The new service? Do you congratulate each other?
Sometimes we rely too heavily on rules, protocols and procedures. The best policies and practices in libraries are those that can be bent or ignored when the situation calls for it. I admire those managers and administrators that get that and see the difference between micro-management/never break the rules and those that realize we are all in this big thing called life together and yes stuff happens.
Thanks FGL for the reminder.
Hopefully, many more universities will follow with similar programs!
From the Rambling Librarian:
We should go out there and engage potential users in the forums, chatrooms etc. As I wrote in my other blog:"... the presence that librarians project can no longer be the “Thou knoweth more than you-eth” attitude. To connect with our average information-customer, we need to show them that we’re as human as they are; as fallible, and there’s nothing to be fear from us."
In providing our service, be it answering reference enquiries or Readers' Advisory, or checking a reader's loan record, PLS librarians can distinguish themselves by engaging in conversations with the reader. In a real conversation, we don't go "Dear Mr Lee, with regards to your enquiry..." but we say things like "Hi Mr Lee, that's a most interesting question. It's something new to me but I've checked with my colleagues and...". Our tone (written or verbal) should be informal, approachable, human.
Heck yeah! The "voice" of the library should be human. It should resonate with emotion, interest and sincerity -- on the web, via IM, on the phone and in person.
I interviewed Wanda Bruchis for my technology planning article last year. I emailed shortly after Hurricane Katrina and was glad to hear she's fine. She sent along a link to local coverage of the hurricane and her library.
Stephen Abram links to two articles he has written for SirsiDynix One Source:
Go. Read. Now.
My colleague and cohort chum Joyce Valenza sent me a message this morning:
Dr. Laurel Anne Clyde, a professor of Social Science at the University of Icelandin Reykjavík, Iceland, suffered a fatal heart attack on Sunday, September 18, 2005. I have read many of Dr. Clyde's scholarly papers, presentations and articles on social software. She authored Weblogs & libraries last year, the first scholarly work on the topic!
I had hoped she and I would meet at some future info science conference because I she was certainly a source of inspiration for my research and writing.
Here is her page at the University of Iceland:
I'll link to an obituary as soon as I find one.
From Blake, who rocks my web-hosting world, comes "10 Ways To Make The Internet A Better Place." Well done and we all should take note.
This was my first time hearing Jessamyn speak and she did a great job looking at how libraries make choices about services and technology. There were SLIS Bloggers in the room as well: here's a transcript, some photos and more.
Last night, from 6pm to 7pm, I gave a talk with a group of 60 librarians at the State Library of Victoria, Australia. It was 9am today for them... so as I was nearing the end of my day, sitting in front of my Mac with my boys on the floor beside me, those folks were at work, probably enjoying coffee or tea and planning for the day's activities. ( There was actually a test of the fire alarm system about halfway through!)
We used a combination of Skyp and Jybe to do the "Virtual Visit," which was planned by librarian Anne Beaumont from the library down there. Anne arranged for the session and we worked up a list of web pages she asked me to visit and tell the stories related to each page.
We talked about my experiences at TADL, my thoughts on iPods and devices, flickr and tagging, and about libraries actually having a VOICE and conversations with their users, which in my book is the most important thing librarian web folk should be looking at as they create Web presence.
I thoroughly enjoyed this chance to chat with folk on the other side of the world. Once again, I realize we are facing many of the same things as libraries evolve and change with users.
Sometimes it's good to return to an article/blog post/presentation and see how it stacks up after some time has passed. For example, I just found a print of this from a 2001 LJ:
Roy Tennant writes in April 2001 about building agile organizations and suggests three key factors to have a grip on: Communication, management and staffing.
Through my late 2005 lens, this resonates:
Good communication within the organization - both from above and below - is essential. Communication should not be stifled by overcontrolling management or by resentful staff. An agile organization offers many avenues of communication. Line staff must have ways to bring issues to management's attention, and managers must promulgate decisions without delay to all staff.
Nothing harms the esprit de corps of an organization quicker, or with worse effect, than regularly hearing about an internal decision from an external source. Similarly, management should not have to discover front-line problems from customers.
Yes. Indeed. This is Cluetrain stuff as well. Businesses -- and organizations like libraries -- should be having internal conversations at all levels and with no roadblocks or barriers. How do you communicate in your library? I'm all about new tools, so yes an internal blog or wiki might work wonders. I'm also about the face to face. How effective are your meetings? Are they tangential, crowded affairs that seem to disentegrate?
Tennant writes: "Librarians are better consensus builders than leaders. That makes us inclusive, cooperative, and willing to build on the work of others. However, we don't always rise to the occasion on an individual basis. In an attempt to include everyone in decision-making, we end up watering down the decision."
Read Death by Meeting. Now. I'll wait.
Finally, Tennant urges librarians to examine staffing issues, creatively as possible and to look at funding options for new endeavors. This is a good read. Give it a look through your '05 glasses and let me know what you think.
Here's the page of all photos tagged happybirthdayjess:
I use the Traverse Area District Library a lot when I'm Up North. Yesterday was one such time where everything was so smooth, so perfect as a library experience, I need to write about it. I had to print some documents to overnight to Texas for my research project, so off I went to TADL. I must admit I was in a little time crunch because I needed to print and get to the post office before it closed.
A note: other than my IM chum Jeff, none of the folks there know I'm a librarian so I was in pure "patron mode."
1. Thoughtful staff. I sat in the Reference Area for a bit with my PowerBook. A librarian came over and asked "Did you find the outlet?" motioning to a hidden outlet in the table top I had not noticed. "Feel free to plug in."
2. Streamlined access to PCs and printers, no muss, no fuss. I was able sign my name on a sheet, plug in an ethernet cable at a nice desk facing a window and immediately begin printing.
3. Receipts for printouts, no worries. I printed 50 pages so a receipt is useful for my recordkeeping for school. The librarainas at the computing center were quick to give me a snazzy printed receipt (and two paperclips!).
4.Sunny skies. Well, no, TADL didn't provide me with sunny skies but the television monitors in the AV area tuned into the Weather Channel offered a quick look at what to expect for my last weekend up here for a long while! :-(
5. Great Spaces lead to Great Experience? Maybe it's the beautiful building, the local artwork in the gallery space, or the Children's Garden I passed through on the way to my car, but what could have been a series of hurdles to get my documents printed turned out to be a poerfect library experience. "Thanks" said the staffer at the circ desk as I left..."have a nice weekend."
Take away: Visit another library sometime and make use of their services...see how the experience goes. Then: ponder how your own library creates experiences like the above. Is your staff going the extra mile for customer service?
My heart aches today for everyone in the southland but particularly for librarians and libraries in those states affected by the hurricane. I hope we can come together and help in anyway possible as the clean up and healing begins.
I just emailed a colleague down in Terrebonne Parish to see how she is. I hope I hear back soon.
I can't help wonder: will ALA meet in New Orleans as planned? I hope so..to bring our ranks, our money and our support to this most unique of American cities.
Thoughts and prayers to the folks in the Southland.
Congrats to both families from TTW!
Anyone who reads TTW..please make room in your aggregator for FGL...
We need to remember why we do what we do folks... just saying...
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...
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.
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!
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/
Thoughts and prayers go out to colleagues and friends in London, England.
Congrats to Scott!
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!
Via Blake...thx!... and what I want to know is who put this wiki up?
I need to add a number eleven to my list of ten things I learned at ALA:
I am truly excited about being a librarian.
I can say without hyperbole that going into this field is the best decision I’ve ever made. I won’t make as much money as I would in the IT sector, but I get to actually meet and help real human beings - on a minute to minute basis. I get to make their lives just a little bit easier. And I get to love what I’ll do!
I haven’t always been quite so excited. But once I started blogging, once I started making connections outside the classroom I quickly reached critical mass....... OK, so maybe I didn’t learn this just at ALA. But it sure was reaffirmed. I met and re-met so many wonderful people, and I can’t wait to join you all as a full colleague.
Sigh. Chad..you are totally a colleague! Well done!
On an envelope from Alan at Darien Public Library...nice touch.
I was just thinking this am whilst getting ready for work that I am a busy guy the next 2 weeks: workshops in Indiana, Connecticut and school in Texas. On the way to work, a good friend who works with me called to say one our SJCPL employees had died suddenly Monday night. It's like a blow to the stomach, friends.
It makes me realize how fragile everything is and how we shouldn't get so caught up in buzz buzz business and "drama" in our workplaces. I just "shot the breeze" yesterday afternoon with this employee..and now he is gone.
So..do this.. stop for a minute at your desks, in your offices..wherever... and breathe and look around you..and listen to what your inner voice says is important. Balance... renewal...life...love. Take care of yourselves and the people around you.
Check it out:
Glenn peterson pointed me to this site to check out his full PPT from IOLUG. What strikes me is this is an excellent example of presence and transparency!
The page reads in part: "Welcome to Hennepin County Library's extranet. Here we offer a sampling of resources from our staff intranet and public web site to the broader library community. We welcome your comments and suggestions."
How wonderful is it to share stuff on the system level with other libraries and librarians! Not only does this promote staff achievement but it promotes the library as an active member in the online LIS community! It also shows Hennpin's users what the library does with staff time and resources!
To the folks at HCPL - I say "Well Done!"
Via Alice at the Scan Blog: http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2005/05/economic-value-of-libraries.html
For librarians who plan, ponder or just want to get a grip on the big picture, Stephen Abram writes about the value of libraries - Read this Now!
I enjoy Michael Porter's (aka Libraryman) blog and his view on the world of libraries. He works at OCLC now and he's busy, after many months of teaching tech on cruiseships and working as a Gates Trainer! His posts are pretty darn cool, grab his feed!
Michael gets it and gets it well. On Mission Statements:
A librarian's professional mission statement would be pretty darn impressive. Sure, Google says they want to "do no evil" but we library professionals are really striving hard to "do only good" while swimming in an increasingly Googlefied information world. Because of this, my professional mission statement is in what seems to be a permanent state of flux. I like it like this, even though I get dizzy on occasion. Like many of the fine folks reading this, most of the flux in mission is due to technological changes and the speculations that can be extrapolated from reading a great deal and talking with smart library and technology professionals.
I have written about blogger's missions... but the idea of a personal mission statement for me as a libraraian intrigues me. What are my values? Goals? I think though, we can have some core values that never change: maybe one goal for me is to serve library users the best way I can. Because I don't do as much public service I have to find other ways, such as training staff to blog, use new technological tools and showing them what is within their reach as librarians.
MP notes he discusses stuff with colleagues. OH yeah! You know, dear readers, that I am all about the rubbing of elbows and exchanging knowledge and experience. Just a couple of days ago, my cell rang and it was MP to shoot the breeze for a sec about some cool development in libraryland. Nice.
Look into MP's crystal ball:
My readings and watching and discussions and thoughts tell me libraries will be drastically different than what they are now. My gut tells me a lot of folks reading this won't have a job in libraries in 20 years if we aren't very, very careful, active, thoughtful, creative and hard working. What will libraries do and be in 20 years? They will be all about technology (however small and portable), resource sharing, partnerships, training, and acting as physical spaces to play, learn, share and develop community. Yep, those are all words in my professional mission statement. I hope they are in yours too.
So, shall we ponder our mission statements? Is this like Planning for Results for Librarians? What goals and objectibves do you have?
Interesting reading about Minneapolis and their ad campaign. I do like the Batgirl version!
Jessamyn is quoted as well!
IOLUG's Spring Meeting was held here:
From the new Information Today (May 2005), a piece called "In the Beginning, there was Content" that features some cool folks discussing presence and the Web -- as well as adapting to the rapid pace of change in our professional lives.
Roy Tennant discusses content, creation and change:
"In this world of ubiquitous and fluid content creation and distribution opportunities, only the flexible will survive. Those who can effectively use new modes of communication will be the primary creators of content...and librarians who can make sense of it all on behalf of their clientele will remain treasured assets to society. In such a world, those who thrive on change are king."
Roy, you rock my world. Librarians need to be riding the crest of this wave: the blogging wave, the social software wave, the web catalog innovations wave. It's time.
3 Public Library Websites that ROCK my World
For the INCOLSA workshops I'm presenting with Sharon and Dan Wiseman, I've been looking at some of the best user-centered, community-centric, forward thinking PL web sites there are. If you asked me to name a couple today, out of many many excellent sites, I might mention:
And guess what? At NE-ASIST, three speakers: Megan Fox, Jenny Levine and I, all mentioned these libraries in our presentations as on the cutting edge of what PLs can do with web presence without consulting with each other. That says a lot! Take a look...
Check out Will Richardson's post:
Good stuff and it inspires me. He concludes:
I'm going to bet that most bloggers who stick with it do so because they are fearless learners. We want to know more, push our thinking, exchange ideas. We have found teachers that inspire us and move us with their own intelligence or creativity or sense of possibility, and they teach us daily.
As I do with many of Will's incredible posts, I substitute the word librarian for teacher. Have you found a librarian to learn from? A librarian blogger? A mentor in library school or in your library? Are we still learning to learn? Are our organizations still learning? I think some folks in libraryland may not be...and that scares me.
My interviews have offered me more insight into this problem. I've been to libraries that were passionate about user-centered innovation and were looking at how every bleeding edge technology could be used to improve services to patrons. These libraries tried to stay just ahead of their patrons and anticipate their needs rather than being reactive to patron demands. I've been to libraries that weren't particularly tech-forward, but that were at least trying to keep up with their patrons. The librarians there may not have known what RSS was, but they were willing to learn if it could help their patrons. Then there were the libraries where change seemed to be a dirty word. For every question I asked (have you thought about wifi?, what do you think about your current web presence?, etc.) there was an excuse for why they haven't kept up. And while I obviously didn't call them on it in a job interview, these excuses sounded pretty hollow to me. Obviously not every library's service population is super tech-savvy, but at some of the libraries, I've felt a palpable disinterest in learning new things and trying new things. It's the we've always done it this way and it's worked fine so far so why rock the boat mentality. Unfortunately, they don't seem to realize that their service population has changed right under their noses, and with that change comes new requirements to meet patrons' needs.
This is absolutely incredible and most telling. While interviewing, Meredith has encountered all sorts of libraries. Read that bit again -- and read Meredith's blog -- and honestly answer this question: what type of library is yours? What type do you want your library to be? Not sure how to answer? Try this on for size:
I worked in a library where the front-end of the ILS was completely outmoded and unusable by patrons, but it was not changed because the back-end was comfortable and familiar to the staff.
In chat lingo that merits an OMG! But stuff like this happens: We've always had this ILS. We always see ID before anyone uses a computer. We can't have IM on our Public PCS -- people might use it! Those kids can't play that game in here. Why does anyone want a book on iPod? Why would a librarian want to BLOG - it takes too much time???
We have always had the pencil sharpener on the right side of the desk. :-)
Okay..I must stop quoting this, but one more:
I feel for librarians who are full of ideas for improving services to patrons but are stymied at every turn by either their colleagues or the powers that be. I think it is probably the biggest problem libraries have in retaining young/new librarians (with pay being a close second). And more than losing passionate, tech-savvy new-ish librarians, these libraries are alienating entire generations of potential library users - people who believe that libraries are dinosaurs of the pre-digital era, because those are the only libraries they've known.
It breaks my heart to get email from a young librarian that is already disillusioned in their job because of narrow views, colleagues refusing to shift, micro-management and what I perceive to be an unwillingness to dive in and take a chance with new services, new ideas and new technologies. There's this beautiful space in the middle - it's not all tech and it's not all tradition and the "way we have always done it." It's collaboration. It's learning from each other. It's what we did during our debrief last week - all levels and years of experience staff meeting to discuss learning and change.
There is much food for thought here and it is right up TTW's alley. More soon... and I can't wait to meet Meredith at ALA. Oh, have you seen her ALA Wiki? ALA should fall at her feet for such innovation.
And give this a read through as well: http://webjunction.lishost.org/?p=5
At the Chronicle:
(Gorman's in there too... do with that what you will...)
Last night, I was almost in bed and I stopped to check a couple of things on the Mac. Suddenly I had 4 IMs even with an away message. I just told folks I was off to bed and we'd talk today. Balance. Breathe. Nice.
Intriguing article in the Indy Star:
The IMCCPL is changing as the new Main Library is renovated. Changes include more best sellers, more libraries open on Sundays (and the elimination of overtime pay for Sundays) and changes to the way the librarians do their jobs:
Librarians themselves will morph:
• A clerical worker with a college degree will answer reference questions -- basically taking over the role for which a librarian went to college to get a master's degree.
• Librarians with expertise in a particular field no longer will order books for their area.
• Users will do more self-service.
Wow. This intrigues me. It spotlights what is happening in many libraries across the country: budget constraints, services changing, and "transitions."But what intrigues me more is Dr. Danny Callison's open letter to the author that has been posted on many of the Indiana Librarian's lists. I e-mailed him and he said I could quote him here:
Although IMCPL faces what we understand to be very difficult financial decisions, a dramatic shift away from professionals in key management, subject expertise and service positions can result in deterioration of public services regardless of how efficient support staff may be. The expectations for professional librarians today have increased in these areas:
Evaluation of services so that needs of specific groups in the community can be identified and addressed.
Development and coordination of outreach services so that the most effective means can be used to get resources to special groups such as the elderly, the disabled, and others who may be underserved for meeting their information needs.
Advancing full civic engagement so that the public library, including its departments and branches, becomes more collaborative with other community organizations to address the information needs for all local citizens and organizations – whether nonprofit or for profit.
Taking steps that encourage philanthropic efforts for fund-raising and grant-writing that help to improve services and reduce the tax burden.
Creation of special programs in cooperation with the public schools, community organizations for adults and other agencies so that information can be presented by experts at community library locations around the county.
Instructional sessions, conducted by knowledgeable library professionals, in the methods to search new electronic information databases and how to make wise information selection and use decisions. The Information Age demands that all citizens, young to elderly, become wise information consumers and professional librarians, as teachers of information literacy, can help achieve this goal.
The IMCPL director and her excellent staff face some very difficult decisions. Perhaps choices have been made and there is no turning back. Perhaps the quality of public services will be monitored so that meaningful information education and delivery will not be lost in this new community structure we all look forward to using. It is our hope that a high quality staff of professionals will be part of the future showcase as well as the structure itself.
Daniel Callison, Professor
Executive Associate Dean
Jean Preer, Associate Professor
Marilyn Irwin, Associate Professor
School of Library and Information Science – Indianapolis
Well put! User-centered...that local flavor...and info literacy for all. There's a lot to be considered with the article and Dr. Callison's reply. This is a good dialogue to entertain: where is your library at on the continuum of change? Have you transitioned? Are you transparent? Are you User-centered?
My name is Cynthia Wilson. I received my Masters Degree in library science from Clarion University and I am a photographer. I have been looking for librarians and library school students in the United States who would be willing to get their picture taken, and answer a short interview for a book that I am working on, titled “I am a Librarian!”
Cynthia took my picture one sweltering day in Orlando last June with my beloved PowerBook. Here's the image, which is one of many on display at the University of West Florida, Fort Walton Beach campus library for National Library Week 2005:http://www.iamalibrarian.com/gal2.html
Thanks FGL for such a nice bit to ponder this am.
Are you reading this most cool Front Line Blog?
Wow! The Library supporter posts some learning objectives, a reference to a cool Neal Schuman title, AND a PPT of a presentation up called "Defusing the Angry Patron" on the blog today. I have been reading this blog all week and had it in my "to be blogged" folder. There's some good stuff here.
Talk about "ready to go content!" Thanks Library Supporter!
Take a minute or three and visit Karen's survey! She reports: "I have been informed LII would like to get a good response from the bloggier side of librarianship."
Reinventing Libraries: People, Place and Purpose
This was the first of three workshops co-taught with Sharon and Dan Wiseman of Wiseman Consulting. We began the day with some ground rules -- one conversation, suffering is optional, etc -- and then Sharon presented some groundwork on the roots and traditions of libraries, librarians and our collective history. Sharon noted it's amazing how many libraries started as Ladies' Libraries back in the day.
Then we worked through these questions:
What is happening in Libraries (down the street and around the block)
What is true and not true about Libraries (Our roots, traditions, and assumptions)
How do we design libraries for a changing world
Where must we change
What actions can or should I take
I did my "Trends for 21st Century Libraries" talk, based in part on the OCLC Pattern Recgnotion Report. The group had some great questions. I touched a bit on Technology, but most of that will be in Part 3.
The afternoon was sopent with Dan presenting the "Sacred Cow Round Up" -- and this is where it got very interesting!
SACRED COW ROUND-UP
What are aspects of our profession or institution that we need to look at? What are some really new ways of looking at these aspects of library service? What is absolutely essential?
We placed flip chart pages labeled with the "Sacred Cows," including Board Relations, Publicity, Financing and Technology, all around the room and the folks broke into groups to go around and brainstorm at each one. They would write what they thought on each one. This was absolutely incredible! The air of collaboration in the room was tangible.
The group then identified by voting with a dot or a line the most important bits on each one. Then, the folks were told to stand by the "Sacred Cow" they were most passionate about. Is that cool or what? If you are passionate about something, I think you may be in a better spot to create change. Nice!
We concluded by discussing Best Practices for each of the items that received the most votes and debriefed.
Steve Martin, from INCOLSA, has posted pictures:
The Workshop in Action: http://www.khswildkats.com/pictures/pictures.asp?id=IMI200504Class
I am really looking forward to getting back together with this forward-thinking group of Indiana Librarians. Have I mentioned here that Indiana Librarians Rock?
This is an important one...one to ponder...
But it's not just about giving people what they want. Leadership is about creating a vision that you can share with the board, with elected officials and business people, with the library's clients, and most of all, with the library staff. (One of our side discussions during this meeting was about the importance of not blaming the staff for not being willing to change. If the leaders cannot explain the change and provide a reason for it, the problem lies not with the staff, but with their leaders.)
Thus, the importance of staff buy-in for projects, initiatives and change (with technology or otherwise). Pardon me, but adminstrators must be able to make the case for changes and COMMUNICATE them. We discussed this during the "Reinventing Libraries" workshop. One director told me he wanted to be as open and honest with his staff as possible, would ask them to change with him and would stand up for each and everyone of them and "take the blame" if something didn't work out. Nice.
Am I a broken record? In our planning meetings, are we asking the right questions? How does it serve our users? How does it improve services? Are we sending the right message to the staff ij the right ways?
Watch blogs like "It's All Good" -- this is good stuff and cannot be ignored.
"...we all know libraries are changing. The library workforce is changing and the nature of the job is changing. The more librarians know the lingo of the new tech world of fee-for-service models instead of you-bought-it-you-own-it models of yore, the better we will be able to advocate for our patrons to provide the best service for them and the best return for their investment in us. You don’t have to live on IM to understand why IM might be a good alternative to 24/7 ref. You don’t have to check your email 100 times a day to know why email is a good way to increase patron contact options. You don’t have to podcast to understand why podcasts are an interesting and homegrown alternative to increasingly centralized and depersonalized audio content.
In the same way we don’t all have to be graphic novel fans to select them and realize their value for our patrons, we don’t all have to become cyborgs to realize the value of technology to our patrons, and the way technology can change lives, whether people access it in libraries or not. I’ll be presenting a lot of ideas librarians should, in my opinion, be learning about not as a way to say “Hey dork, if you don’t know about this you’re falling behind!” or even “All libraries should have this!” but as a way to say “When the time comes for you to decide if your library needs this, and that time will come, here are the things you’ll need to help you make that decision.” Smart librarians make smart choices and I’d like to help all of you get smart, no foolin’."
Word of the day: resonate. This resonates deeply with me. the first paragraph is all about being "in the know." When I write about those meetings that take place in libraries where people talk tech someone needs to be in the know! That doesn't mean you all have to be geeks BUT I want knowledgable people around my meeting room table. The second paragraphs dances with one of my favorite terms: technolust! "All libraries should have this! Uh, guess what? No, they shouldn't. All libraries should use the tools of technology to meet their mission and fulfill their users needs. Just sayin'.
Libraries could use part of their home page to highcell phones, send simple text-message queries to library catalogs or databases, or check library hours via text messaging. Such services might be particularly valuable for students who live off campus. How will we conceive and design these new services?
Net Gen Info Services include:
Use students on teams that design new services and environments
Integrate services into course management systems
Explore services for mobile devices
Represent services and instruction visually and in multimedia modes
Focus on partnership models
Emphasize how to evaluate information resources
Emphasize information policy issues
Lippincott's piece is aimed at academic settings but guess what? These same insights and service directions fit for public libraries and school media centers too. Is your information policy up to date for new methods of delivery and inquiry, Public Librarian? Does your School Media Center offer collaborative blogging for various research assignments, School Librarian?
Download this one and give it a read.
Take a look:
Hey! That's Aaron! I think he has the most famous forehead in library land today!
Don't miss this one... maybe Greg can get Scott to do an unplugged version on Open Stacks!
...which was a thread that wound through much of our discussion here at PLA. Don't miss: How Libraries And Librarians Help: A Guide To Identifying User-Centered Outcomes
I want to be a top notch trainer and provide the sort of support that helps libraries grow, thrive and evolve. I also really want to be the sort of “next generation” librarian that “gets it” and has an important role in “making it happen” all the while improving the role of the library in the communities they serve, despite how large the changes and challenges we face might be.
Here's that quote I alluded to in the TTW Podcast:
“Learn all the time without even thinking about it. We are born to learn, but somewhere along the way many of us pick up the idea that we must be taught in order to learn. We think that if someone doesn't stand up in front of us and talk to us with either a chalkboard or PowerPoint slides, we cannot learn. We must regain our sense of wonder and our desire to learn.”
Thank you, Roy Tennant.
How? Be involved on technology listservs. Read the "tech" sections of library publications. Read some good library technology weblogs or online publications. That's where the good ideas have been coming form as of late. Administrators don't have to know every little thing about technology, but at least (pleeeeeease) be familiar with it and discuss it with your staff. If you don't, you are turning a blind eye to a huge area of librarianship. And your staff will know. Believe me.
Sarah also states that admin do not have to live and breathe tech but they should be able to carry on a conversation about trends and practices. I have met with a lot of librarians and more than once has someone taken me aside and said "How do I get my (director, boss, supervisor) to get this stuff?" That's the nice way of putting it. The other side, as I pointed out and Sarah agreed, are the librarians who joke about adminstrator X at the water cooler and the fact that he or she "can't even open an attachment in e-mail" It happens, as LIB wrote... "believe me."
scitech library question linked to my 12 Things and 6 Things and makes a point that I didn't in my writing...
When all of "it" comes at us at such a relentless, never-ending pace, we need to find downtime for processing, without feeling guilty that we will miss something, an important post on one of the 225 blogs we monitor daily. The downtime consideration is perhaps the one thing Michael might consider including in his lists. Without downtime, burnout sneaks up and bites us hard. Oh, and of course, some consideration must be given to our lives away from work. Simply put, we need time to stare at the wall, the sun, the tube, the movie screen, the musician or the actor we are watching perform, read our books, and listen to our CDs. Or go for a bike ride or a walk.
Please library folk... don't live and breathe all the stuff I write about here. UNPLUG. Last fall I was working intensly on SLIS 6700 for UNT, blogging, working, writing and getting ready for two conferences: one in the UK and IL out in Monterey. By late November I was having an MRI because of neck pain... guess what? I had herniated a disc in my neck. NOT FUN. The cause: too much LAPTOP.
Now, I unplug. I take breaks. And I'm doing workouts 4 days a week -- plugging in only to my iPod.
I also think we need to be carerful to pick and choose our interests. I have realized I can't do everything I want to do in libraryland... Choose a handful of your favorite feeds/blogs/news sources... and RELAX!
Here's a post from the OLD tame the Web... it still holds true:
February 9, 2004
Career Development: Seeking Joy & Carpe Diem
Via the Seattle PI:
Still forming my thoughts on this one but it came out of the blue into my aggregator and I gotta tell you, it really hits home. I've been looking at the big picture for a few months now. Talking with valued colleagues and pondering the
Marilyn Gist writes:
Some describe the past two decades as years of rampant commercialism, materialism, and even greed in our country. The stock market rose in a seemingly endless climb, and we believed technology's promise of economic prosperity and improved quality of life. As consumers, we grabbed for the good life as much as we could. Today, we are seeing an important shift. Many have begun asking, "Is this all there is?" We also suspect technology is a mixed blessing. It increases our options and our efficiency, sometimes fueling economic growth. However, technology also intensifies our pace of life so much that we now lack that irreplaceable resource: time. Without time, our quality of life suffers. We feel more stress. We struggle to balance family and work demands. We feel less connected to community, and we have limited opportunity for leisure activities and personal development. Yes, we have been successful, but many of us feel unsatisfied.
Technology is a mixed blessing! I love what I do...love the gadgets and stuff i get to mess with to help people learn and do their jobs better. Librarians have long discussed "technostress" in their work lives.... "infostress" too. I guess what I'm saying is I'm all about the untethered, techno-library type...I'm one myself....but I hope that person also balances out the rest of their life: love, family, spirit, health, joy.
Gist states: Many of us think achievements at work are significant because we work very hard and stay very busy. Sometimes work achievements are significant, but work is a domain in which we can often confuse "success" and "busy-ness" with significance.
Frances Mayes wrote about being busy in Bella Tuscany .
"I'm so busy..." Mayes comments.
"Maybe living life is so important that we shouldn't be busy. At least not busy with that buzz buzz sound. Ed tells his students to figure out how many weekends they have left, given the good fortune of normal life expectancy. Even to the young it's a shock to see there are only 2800 more. That's it. Done for. Carpe Diem, Si, Si. Grab the Days."
WOW! I'm glad I found this today...
(*Spider Lake Sunrise, August 2004 - while unplugged in Michigan!)
Last week I wrote about 12 Techie Things for library folk to be aware of -- to be in the know about in planning meetings and staff meeetings. Nothing pains me more but a bunch of blank looks in a meeting room when someone says they learned about some new technology at a recent conference.
Here's an addendum:
Six Resources Every Techie Librarian Should Use:
1. LIS and technology blogs. Oh yeah! Use these directories of LIS Weblogs to locate useful library and librarian’s weblogs that speak to you or focus on interests.
Library Weblogs - Peter Scott’s directory of LIS Weblogs
blogwithoutalibrary.net -LIS Weblog author Amanda Etches-Johnson’s list of LIS Weblogs
The Internet Courses: Weblogs - Dr. Laurel Clyde’s directory related to her work with LIS Weblogs
2. Use an RSS Reader to gather the above and MORE! I get loads of feeds from libraries, higher education sites, Wired amgazine, all the big newsfeeds, some info literacy resources and some fun stuff from Apple, etc. Choose the ones you like and monitor. Check in once or twice a day.
3. Download and read the Pew Reports! The Search Engine report was just released -- it'll be HOT for the next few days. But take a look at all of the reports. I'd even suggest printing a copy and sending it around the circuit at your library or ask each of your librarians to choose one and report on it at staff meeting. Pew is tapping into OUR USERS folks.
Wouldn't you want your staff to be up on these topics?
4. Participate in Community
This might be online -- WebJunction -- or physical, such as various consortia and organizations that might offer learning opportunities for librarians.
5.Professional publications and Databases
At IL 2004, Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone chatted with me over dinner about "evidence-based decision making" for librarians. That's basing plans, initiatives and new procedures on data -- not "everyone does it this way" or "all of our patyrons expect this..." I like this concept and I think reading the big names in library magazines -- you know what they are -- and searching for cool articles in the literature via online databases is a positive thing to do when planning or making decisions.
Hmmm... searching for articles..it's not just for students anymore!
6. Your Brain: Never stop learning. :-)
David blogs about a project at KCPL. Take a look:
Read the article and check out the talk at CIL 2005... this intrigues me that public libraries are collecting this type of data.
AND: I note that David's library has a couple of project librarians... hey! that's what I am too!
I've been at SJCPL almost 14 years and I've seen a lot of changes. We just posted the Head of Circulation job and it really strikes me how much this particular job has "shifted."
Lok at these excerpted techie duties:
4. Develop and maintain circulation training materials for system-wide use and oversee training procedures of all new Circulation staff.
5. Manage Innovative/Millennium circulation products systemwide, including recommending new products, working to implement software and hardware changes, helping to develop training and communicating changes to library staff.
9. Evaluate trends in circulation services and recommend policy changes as needed.
10. Evaluate technology and electronic resources in the department, making recommendations as needed such as RFID technology to the SJCPL system.
In 1994, stuff like training staff on circulation modules wasn't really included in descriptions -- I'm sure it was done but training was more catch as catch can and "Hey, Trudy, can you spend 20 minutes training the new person before lunch on the catalog?"
Now we write jobs to reflect training duties, "keeping current" duties and define positions as playing a key role in technology planning. How many job descriptions have you all written that seem so DIFFERENT than just a few years ago!
This resonates with me this morning while I pack to go to Texas and await a snowstorm:
Will Richardson writes:
Sometimes I really marvel at how fun this all is. It's fun to:
be almost constantly learning, not only by pushing my limited envelope with the tools but reading and thinking about intruiging ideas from really smart people.
watch the tools evolve in ways that teachers and students can put them to good use without spending hours and hours to master them.
be a part of a really amazing community of educators who are constantly challenging me.
have an audience.
see the ways in which other teachers and students are kicking their own tires with these concepts.
fail, try again, fail, try again, and finally get it right. (Add more failures as necessary.)
watch society and the world change from technology in important ways.
have big ideas.
have relevant information come to me.
know some things a whole bunch of people don't know, at least for now.
think about what the future might hold.
Every now and then I feel the need to bow down and thank whatever is out there for my good fortune, especially when world events rightly remind me just how lucky I am.
Change the "teachers" and "educators" to librarians and this little post fits me to a "T". I am so lucky to work in a progressive public library, to study with a neat group of folks at UNT and to get to present and write about libraries. WOW.
I have a list of posts to get out but I'm taking some time! I have finished another semester at UNT and am ready to unplug!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! to all of my friends and colleagues in library land -- from folks nearby to good friends across tha Atlantic I was glad to meet this year!
Mine did today!
In an IM, Karen just summed so much up in so few words:
"People fall over and die in meetings and no one notices because they're looking at commas."
Oh Lipstick librarian - your insight slays me this am concerning librarians and their need
Okay; it's one thing to be corrected when giving a paper or a speech, or even in a blog entry, but in a casual e-mail?? That little incident crystallized what exactly irks me about socializing with librarians: our incessant--nay, obsessive need to correct others. No matter what the situation or who's involved, we can never let pass the opportunity to be right, no matter how picayune the mistake or perceived mistake (in this instance it was a grammatical controversy of the actor/actress ilk). No wonder we have an image problem.
I hope in the world of our work a typo or grammatical error would be overlooked. For the over-worked, stressed librarian there may be a typo or sentence that's not perfect. The world will not end because of this. My dear mentor of years gone by used to say "It's the library, we are not doing brain surgery here."
I would classify a lot of this "correcting" behaviour as missing the forest for the trees. One of the most frustrating things I hear from librarians I've worked with is too much time is spent perfecting a few sentences that may be read once and then filed. UGH!
With writing for school - every detail counts..every cite ..every reference. But dashing off an e-mail or a brief paragraph about some work-related something to be consumed internally does not have to be picked over. Materials for the public - yes! Intranet posts - oh yeah. Blog posts on the SJCPL Weblog - Yes indeed. A two paragraph summary of a meeting? Spell check and send it on folks...life is too short!
Via Library Stuff:
Cool stuff! Maybe every library will start programming their own toolbar to assist users with searches and locating books!
Courtesy of my friend Rob Coers.
Ik kom nog even op de ILI 2004 terug, omdat Michael Stephens, helemaal doet wat wij wij ook zo graag doen en willen doen :-) As usual geeft hij na afloop van een conferentie een "ten things i've learned".
My article on technology planning is in the new Library Journal! Thanks to all who contributed and offered quotes/insight!
Rachel Singer Gordon has put up an exerpt of her new book The Accidental Library Manager at LISJobs and it is GREAT reading! Rachel's take on all things library always impresses me. I was lucky enough to chat with her over dinner at ALA and we got to cover loads of stuff... including managing and staff morale.
Run..don't walk to this one.
Mary Jo, one of the members of our PhD cohort, asked me for some LIS news sites and blogs that she might look at to get started as an offshoot of my presentation in class this weekend. What I thought I would do is post it here...because it might be helpful to other folks as well.
First up: don't miss LISNews as the perfect starter news clearinghouse.
Then, take a look at:
http://www.hi.is/~anne/weblogs.html (This one is rocking my world right now...)
There's an LIS blog for every interest!
These, from my link list, are faves:
Karen Schneider's Free Range Librarian
The Creative Librarian
Daniel Bazac's Blog
Days and Nights of the Lipstick Librarian
The Librarian in Black
Library Stuff Blog
The Shifted Librarian
Take a look! Dive in!
Steven posts about internal blogs and I totally am in on this one.
We have been using a blog like structure internally at SJCPL for a while now.
It includes nine major categories programmed by the NRDT Web Developer and Computer Specialist based on the Lasso program from Blue World software (http://www.blueworld.com/). All entries for those categories – Admin News, Personnel News, Staff news, etc – build on each other, posting in reverse chronological order just as most blogs do. Each category is assigned to certain staff via IP addresses recognized by the database system.
Secondary “blogs” are in place for each library agency to communicate internally as well as static pages devoted to content every library staff intranet should include: Personnel info, Policies and Manuals, Statistics, and a section devoted to “Working @ SJCPL.”
Usability is also a concern. The interface was developed to echo sites that were favored amongst the team (such as various blogs and news sites) and then tested with small focus groups of staff. Some groups simply were brought into the library training room and shown the site and asked to comment. Others were shown the site and asked a series of questions, such as “Locate the Request for Meeting Attendance” form, and timed while they located the information.
From the experience, here are Ten Guidelines for Developing Your Internal Blog for any type of library that wishes to create an internal communication tool.
Involve Appropriate Staff: Make sure your development team at least consults with your library PR person, the administration and various stakeholders.
Utilize Software that’s Free and Easy: Beyond programming a site internally with database apps, ponder using a program such as Movable Type that can be loaded on an internal server and used to create multiple blogs. Check out Aaron Schmidt’s work using blog software on the incredible Thomas Ford Public Library Web site at http://www.fordlibrary.org/.
Test for Usability and Staff Buy In: Try small focus groups of librarians, support staff, shelvers – anyone who uses your Intranet. They will tell you how you are doing with simple usability tests and they will be the ones to promote buy in. If staff feel involved, they’ll be more excited about the tool. Staff in an online poll conducted over two weeks chose the name of the SJCPL Intranet. The winner was the SJCPL Leaf-let, a meditation on our Web site logo.
Technical Enhancements Count: The SJCPL Leaflet – features a date and time java script on the top right corner and a small icon representing the current weather. A section called Xtras takes staff to a series of useful and fun links such as current South bend weather, a daily recipe and gas prices for Northern Indiana!
Utilize categories and Archives Effectively: Go beyond just using “Library News” and break categories out as mentioned above. Use the archiving feature of your software as well to generate archives of categories. One click might take staff to every post to the “Library Board News” category.
Breadcrumb your Navigation: make it easy for staff to find their way back out of whatever pages they surf to. Utilize the user-friendly text/link syntax found on many sites: Home ? Personnel ? Dress Code Guidelines.
PDFs and Word Documents Rule: Many times, you’ll want to share documents or downloadable forms. PDFs are great for official memos. Plain Word docs are great for forms that might be changed/edited or for meeting minutes. Make them downloadable from your pages and be sure to mark them as such.
Collaborate! One of the most dynamic parts of our Intranet is a “Selection Forum” where staff can request and recommend all materials to our head of selection and he can reply back. Using a commenting feature available in many blogs, it’s truly an online collaboration tool!
Train Staff: Do not forget this important factor. Offer classes that introduce your new Intranet site. Give staff a scavenger hunt and see how they do. Give them reasons to come back and check the news!
Promote and Celebrate:The other side of training. Staff won’t visit if they don’t know it’s there. Make it part of your library’s culture. Ponder a weekly “State of the Library Address” from administration. Highlight staff achievements. Share photos in galleries of library events!
Thanks WebJunction and Bertha Gutsche
here's the Ten Things... post mentioned....
Read this excellent article...and look deep within yourself and your library's culture...
This isn't really a tech article but many of the points could be applied to how your library handles technology -- or doesn't handle it!
Excerpt: These are some great questions to ask in an interview:
Describe the morale in the library. How does the staff socialize together?
What are some of the frustrations of the professional and paraprofessional staff?
How is information communicated in the library?
How are executive decisions made and communicated?
How do departments communicate in the library? Are there mechanisms set up for communication across divisions and departments?
TTW gets a mention as do some great tips for marketing ourselves and the profession. Never miss a chance to tell someone what you do as a librarian!
Aaron and I will also be participating in the Online Social Networks Conference -- discussing blogs in libraries. Note that Howard Rheingold will be there. I've been reading his book on virtual communities for my big UNT class this semester!
From the site:
SN2004 will be a summit meeting where you will have a chance to hear from and interact with many of the pioneers in the field of online social networks as well as some of the current trendsetters now exploring the latest technologies and applications.
In 2001, the first Online Social Networks conference explored the emerging field of online social networks. Since then, there has been an explosion into the mainstream of online social networks. OSN2004 will explore three main areas:
and Political OSNs.
Join Howard Rheingold, Lisa Kimball, Joi Ito, and a host of online social network experts to:
Exchange ideas with experienced pioneers and leading thinkers in OSN development
Gain insights in making better use of social capital, successful collaboration online, and efficient creation and management of knowledge capital
See where social software stands today and where it's going in the future
Make contact with leading solution providers
Yesterday, Aaron of walkingpaper fame and his wife Kate drove over from Illinois. During the day, we worked on our blog article. We write well together and I'm pleased with our results.
We had dinner as well last night: Aaron, Kate, Steve, and I ...outside, with my two dogs and their sweet little Pug Mao cavorting about the yard.
That's what I said to the T-Mobile rep on the phone yesterday... I'm taking the plunge... I've read there should be no problem with the treo and my Mac...we shall see...
I've been thinking a lot these days about technology planning -- for last week's retreat at SJCPL, for articles, etc. I do see how an info cacscade might affect a library as it plans new technology. Cool stuff to ponder...
The time has come. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of complaining to the dear PLA employee on the trolley on I-Drive in Orlando. (while sweating profusely from the heat) This was my tipping point:
My friend CJ over at technobiblio just wrote this in his blog about not finding the PLA Program submission info very easily: "This is a perfect example of why PLA (and all other ALA's divisions - doesn't anyone want to be first?) need a blog..."
We're talking communication..spreading the word. Please take a look at how blog software can disseminate information quickly and easily at the following libraries:
The SJCPL Lifeline: My own library's blog, complete with RSS. People read it...this is how they get their library news. I've heard from them!
Thomas Ford Memorial Library: A site made of blogs!
I could never forget LISNews -- where I get my pertinent daily fix of library and info science news...not at the ALA site..not at the PLA site... but at a grassroots, homegrown blog created by a bunch of dedicated library folk.
Finally, look at all of the blog sites collected at http://www.blogwithoutalibrary.net/links.html and tell me what you think... Fad? Flash in the Cyber Pan? I don't think so.
Tell me, ALA, will you ever join the blogging masses of library folk?
Read this now:
Great posts and I agree wholeheartedly!!!
I love stuff like this! My cyber-friend, Orkut Buddy and librarian Pal Jeff up in TC shared this with me...
Take a look. Ponder starting your own "if everyone in town read the same book" thing!
Tale a look at this... good stuff. Who is in charge of copyright issues at your library?
I'm working on a second dratft of an article on technology planning... I need YOUR HELP! Have you been successful with the art of the tech plan? Have you crashed and burned and don't mind telling me about it?
E-mail me and let's talk!
mstephens7 (at) mac.com
On the way back from Michigan last week I listened to the New Yorker's James Surowiecki's book The Wisdom of Crowds which Steven mentioned a few weeks ago. It was incredibly interesting and the four hour drive flew by.
Surowiecki gathers research from various disciplines concerning the idea that the wisdom of many is usually spot on -- better in fact than the wisdom of say one or two geniuses.
Take a look at this for more: http://reason.com/links/links062804.shtml
An example: folks try plank roads in the 1800s... they seem ok and EVERYONE starts praising plank roads. "Plank roads will change the way of the world!" Some are built... etc and then it turns out they are hard to take care of, fall apart, don't last, etc. That's an information cascade.
Try this on for size: library folks try (insert new tech here -- eBooks, RFID, Virtual reference) and things seem ok and EVERYONE starts praising said tech. You know the rest. Some new technologies roll out ok, others go bust...
That's an information cascade.
As you make decisions for your library... as you attend conferences are hear the speakers praise biobliographic information inbedded on micro-organic chipsets surgically implanted in the brains of our patrons, stop for a second and ask yourself: is this an informatiuon cascade? Is this the future? What might the ROI be on this new tech...
I got to thinking today as I go through my piles of mail about all the renewals for products I handle...which made me think how cool it is that Indiana has INSPIRE -- the statewide intiative through the state library to give all citizens access to databases. I know Michigan does it as well... Tell me this then folks that read my blog... does every state have such a cool thing? What's its address?
Email me! mstephens7(at)mac.com!
CJ let me know about The September Project and he asked me about Indiana Libraries participating. I believe they do not have a representative library yet from Indiana...
Check out the Weeb site for more info!
(That's a line from an obscure Fleetwood Mac song from 1987)
Are you a blogger working in a library? Do write about the comings and goings of library users? Do you blog your interactions with other staff? If so, please take a minute or two and answer some questions for Aaron and I.
We'll thank you for it!
Allow me to say:
Hey Steven! You Rock!!
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Rachel Singer Gordon Saturday night in Orlando! What fun. We fell right into conversation about our libraries, UNT, technology, conferences and writing for the library world.
I appreciate Rachel's writing and view of the library world! thanks for a great time, Rachel!
Walt took a look at my "Ten Things I've learned Presenting at Library Conferences" and added them to his latest issue, with notes of his own and Karen's stuff as well. Very cool.
It's a great issue too!
Have I mentioned I'm off to ALA on Thursday? Probably not with all the school stuff starting.
I'm going down for a few meetings, exhibits and to see some library folk. I am also going to visit Disney and Universal!
I was disappointed in the lack of tech stuff at PLA, so we will see how this plays out. I chose a Hilton property that has FREE wireless throughout the building!
I am travelling with my dear friend Keith, who was my roomate through 2 years of undergrad days in Bloomington "back in the day." We always seem to have a blast no matter where we go.
Shoot me an IM or message if you are going to be there!
...finding David Sedaris' new book Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim on iTunes music store via Audible UNABRIDGED for $16.95!!!!
Life is good.
Check out Rachel Singer Gordon's new piece about NextGen male librarians:
Aaron is amonst them! Rock On!
Steve Oberg, the Family Man Librarian, just put the finishing touches on a new blog for the Zondervan library at Taylor University.
Nice. I especially like the name... catchy AND relevant.
Way to go Steve!
Cite your sources. Link to them. It's what this Web and blog thing is all about.
Post often but have something to say. I'd rather read one or two super good posts than multiple posts that someone puts up because they feel they have to. I've done that here. I used to post everyday, but now I focus on what's really interesting me and what I can comment on.
However: make the commitment though to follow through. It pains me to see a new blog go up, get listed here and there and then never hear from it again. Blogging is an investment of time and energy, commit.
Post about what you're passionate about and don't be afraid to say what you think!
And share yourself. I love learning about folks and how they see the world. Their POV may help me understand or change mine. It also adds to the community that is the blogosphere and more so the Internet. We are people... be yourself!
Never miss an opportunity to show your administration how well an external library blog is working. Did you get a nice email from someone who found your blog helpful? Forward it to all involved. It's feedback of the best kind.
If you are doing a personal blog, don't do it on your library's dime. Breaks? Lunch? Sure! In the speaking I've done about blogging I've had numerous library admin types ask what to do about a blogger on their staff. If it's a library-related blog, discuss what you might do as part of professional development with your supervisor.
Blog unto others as you'd have them blog unto you. In other words, play nice. I don't want to read flames. I do want to read a differing opinion from someone who thought out their points on whatever the topic of the day is.
Read other blogs for inspiration and AHHA moments. Chime in. CITE!
Learn all there is to know about your blog app and make use of its features. These are good skills to have.
(well, that was 11! :) )
Karen let me know she's moved to a new domain (and, like me, she watches The Sopranos which finished its season last night on HBO - GREAT episode!) We also chatted a bit and I realized how helpful she's been with helping me make the decisions about the PhD. Allow me a public moment: THANKS Karen!
Check out http://freerangelibrarian.com/
Nice colors! Nice look! Good stuff.
I am back from 9 days Up North in Traverse City. Memorial Day was rainy so we headed to the theatre. My movie choice was The Day After Tomorrow and I was tickled to see it included some heroic librarians.
Today, I'm getting caught up on my news and blog posts. At LISNews, there's a link to the Lipstick Librarian's post about the movie. I'm going through the links and it's great! Joe Schallon's review is wonderful as well. He got the Capital Records Building reference that rocked my world.
I am totally a disaster film fan -- I've seen em all and own many of my favorites on DVD so this is fun stuff. The fact that the librarians become heroes in a way is a nice touch!
Don't miss TDAT for 2 hours of popcorn-munching, Diet Coke-sipping, "don't want to leave to straighten my tie because I'll miss something" Summer fun!
Within an hour of my posts about wanting a gmail address.... I had two replies!
Jeff Godin, library IT guy, from -- guess where -- TRAVERSE CITY IMed me! Thanks so much Jeff! Our deal? When I'm in TC I'll buy him a coffee and will talk library tech for a bit! Coolness! Jeff also gave me my invitation to Orkut back a few months ago and started a library community there.
I am now available at tametheweb (at) gmail (dot) com
Then I got an e-mail from Susan Vaughn at the Suffolk University Law Library. We chatted via e-mail and worked out a deal so my department at SJCPL can have an address for learning/training/etc. "I would like to donate it in a good cause (although the all you can drink Guinness on gmailswap is very tempting)," she told me....
Thanks to two kind library folk!
The purpose? To show the library staff how differently each of us meets the world and experiences it. We broke up into types (NFs for me) and did an esxercise. It was pretty darn cool.
Library folk -- have an extra gmail account laying around to offer? Check out my swap post at http://www.gmailswap.com/niftyswaps.php
This is a good one. SPL probably is the first library of the 21st century and will set some standards for study and emulation for years to come. Read the piece at the New Yorker. It fired me up big time this am as I sit at Panera!
Lordy! I love libraries!!
Using a PowerBook (YES!), Dr. Rosenbaum took us through a review of a similar talk he gave 6 years ago and then looked to the future.
"Trendspotting: Libraries & Technology (or what do I have to learn now?)
Librarians getting together -- "Community of Practice" - Shared work practices
Six years ago:
The web is becoming a community
Digital Neighborhoods and virtual communities
Current Technical Trends:
*Wireless Libraries - Bluetooth/ 802.11g
*PDAs, Tablets, Cell Phones - Cheaper, more common, wireless and net access. Libraries need to think about a new range of services that serve these devices. Developing web interfaces for devices
*RFID - Making its way into libraries via retail
*Security - Hardware firewalls, Libraries need people who really know what they are doing when setting up security. This will be increasingly important.
*DRM - Controlling content
*Web Services - Standard means of operating amongst different platforms, W3C
*Semantic Web - Interoperable, sharing of information. Agents do things for us: auctions, tickets, etc
*Blogs - used in education, media and business
*RSS - Content delivery
Current Social Trends:
*Security - Preventing and detecting unauthorized use of a computer
*Spam - could clog the e-mail system in the future
What do I have to learn now? A lot - quickly - we have a sociotechnical environment that is changing quickly! What does the future hold?
Developing digital reference services
Developing and managing digital libraries
Creation of complex database driven web sites
Understand and negotiate DRM
Creating & updating a library blog with an RSS Feed
Being able to lock down your library's network
Delivering a range of library services through a wireless network (and to a wrist phone)
When I discovered LISNews, I wanted to teach everyone at SJCPL how cool it was to get all that news and info in one place. I've been evangelizing it for over a year... Now, we need to give back a bit! Blake needs some assistance with server costs. Read about it here and donate what you can!
Back in the day, I was the list owner for Enchanted: the Stevie Nicks Mailing list and I had to ask for donations a few times to pay for server space etc. The support was overwhelming! So I totally understand how important it is to kick in a couple of bucks to keep a good thing going!
(*without breaking the bank)
(Thoughts this am, connected to Panera's WiFi network, an iced tea, and the whole weekend stretched out before me..)
Blog! The tools are free. Blog internally and externally. Promote your stuff to your users. Promote the library to the staff. Bring out your staff's hidden creativity. It's time well spent.
Send out your Web content via RSS. Not everyone may know what's up with RSS but they soon will. That little on your site says a lot!
Use IM to answer patron's questions. The software is free! Publicize your library's screen name and see what happens. A small investment of staff time brings your resources right to people you want to reach.
Investigate WiFi. Implementing a wifi network in most small or medium-sized libraries would not be hugely expensive. Routers etc. are reasonable... We're talking ACCESS...that's what libraries are all about!
Meet and greet with other tech folks and librarians in your city, county, region. Lunch with folks from the local college library and the public library offers loads of knowledge exchange for the price of the meal!
Educate the staff about all the cool new things this post is about. Do they know about blogs, RSS, and WiFi? A tech-savvy staff shows our library users how well a library system is allocating resources. "Do you have WiFi?" a patron asks. "What's that?" should not be the reply!
Conferences are expensive but try to send some folks. Look for ways to send staff that saves money. Some provide free registration for speakers! Some library service agencies offer discounts to big conferences. Grants and scholarships are available as well.
Let your new librarians stretch their wings. New ideas and fresh perspectives about technology come from NextGen'ers...give them some tech projects and watch them thrive!
Visit Web sites like Webjunction to take advantage of all the FREE stuff they offer. Training modules, advice, best practices... oh yeah!
Read your favorite tech magazines but also the mainstream entertainment/computer/lifestyle stuff. That's where the next big things will be discussed - What the 16 year olds are doing now is what we'll be talking about in 5 years! (Video chat anyone? AIM SN mstephens7mac)
Working on the article about "technolust," Chris introduced me electronically to librarian Wanda Bruchis in Louisiana. We spent an hour on the phone talking tech and planning it was just the coolest. Wanda's library was featured in that NYT article I mentioned here.
Thanks Wanda! I look forward to meeting you at a library conference someday!
Nice post at Liz's mamamusings::
I enjoy Liz's stuff a lot. This one I particularly liked.
As a fella who someday would like to teach, this bit was interesting:
The future, I think, is to let go of the traditional approach of teaching how to do things in a specific language, and instead offer a more studio-like environment in which students are given access to resources and tools, and then work on developing a project. (We teach most of our classes in “studio mode,” but in most cases they’re far from real studio approaches—they’re lectures with occasional hands-on exercises.) Surprisingly, it’s the students who are often most resistant to this mode of teaching—we’ve successfully conditioned them to see school as a series of core dumps, and switching gears into a more user-directed model often generates resentment and confusion rather than enthusiasm and creativity.
Librarians are great!
One of the real pleasures of talking about blogging is seeing what people start to invent for themselves with the tools, rather than assuming that the tools are good for some handful of particular things. - Ken Smith
I had lunch yesterday with IUSB Director Michelle Russo. We always have so much to discuss in the realm of librarianship and technology. She told me about a professor at IUSB who blogs and who presented a session for her staff on blogging. Ken Smith teaches in the English Department at IUSB and writes about blogs and higher education.
He has some great things to say about RSS, libraries, etc.
Take a look at his posts about the IUSB Librarians and his Libraries category.
1. Always be prepared. Arm yourself with multiple digital versions of your presentation, a USB storage device, a cable for your laptop to attach it to ANY projector you may encounter and a back up plan if any or all technological links in the presentation chain fail. Could you do the material cold from your notes and handout?
2. If presenting in a track, try to be present for the other speakers. It’s respectful, can be useful in augmenting your talk on the fly with other ideas and examples (i.e. “This morning Person X discussed blogging and using blogs internally for libraries, here's my take on that…”) and it provides a cohesiveness that track-based schedules perpetuate.
3.Share! If co-presenting or presenting with another person on two topics in one session, be mindful of the time frame and make sure folks get to ask questions of both parties – especially if you go second.
4. Have fun!Don’t hide behind a piece of paper reading or stand so straight and stiff that you look uncomfortable. The audience is just folks --library folks -- and we're a pretty encouraging group of people.
5. Know your stuff, yes, but don’t mind or falter if someone asks a question you cannot answer. There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know.” Someone else might or you can chat after the talk.
6. Be mindful of acronyms. Define, even if you think everyone in the place knows what you are talking about. At ILF, I off-handedly mentioned RFID and plowed right on with my talk. Afterward, a nice lady came up and said: “ I have a stupid question: what’s RFID?”
7.There are no stupid questions.
8.Deliver a clear message. If you are explaining some technology, do your best to put it in everyone's terms or help them understand it with analogies, etc. A presenter who can present technology-laden topics to people without putting them off with techno-babble is a good presenter indeed.
9. Humor works, but not at the expense of anyone – our users, our colleagues, ourselves. (Well, a little humor about ourselves is good: “I’m a librarian, I can’t go anywhere without handouts…”)
10. Don’t think: “I could never speak at such-and-such conference.” If you have something good to say – look for ways to say it! InfoToday conferences, ALA, PLA, state meetings, local meetings – look around! Get involved! Propose!
BONUS Remember: It's not ME ME ME... it's "what can we talk about and learn that will help our library users get to information better, faster and in a way they will recognize the great value of libraries?"
And Internet-connected computers are clearly bringing more people into libraries.
Don't miss today's NYT article "Libraries Wired, and Reborn" By Steve Lohr. Lohr explores how libraries, the gates Foundation, and access have helped turn around public libraries. It renewed interest. It gave people a chance to learn and unserstand the online world. How cool!
I love this line, which could be about anywhere public library:
For the library, supplying patrons with access to the Internet and the Web has become central to its mission, an updating of its long tradition of providing information free to the public.
A library in rural Louisiana is highlighted and it's fascinating. The last line is a quote from Mary Cosper LeBouef, Head Librarian, that to me speaks, pardon the pun, volumes:
In Houma, Mrs. LeBoeuf walked through the bustling new library as mothers with toddlers gathered for story time, the staff stocked shelves with books, and people of all ages sat at clusters of flat-panel PC's. Computers and the Internet are changing libraries irrevocably, she said.
"Books are never going away, but the future of libraries is much more as community centers," Mrs. LeBoeuf observed. "I worked here for 22 years and never thought we'd have something like this."
I'm sayin! The future of libraries is all about access and space. It's about building spaces that welcome folks and give them access to stuff that makes them want to stay awhile. It's about planning for our users and the future.
Tame the Web Kudos to Steve Lohr, Mrs. LeBouef and all the folks at the Gates Foundation
Dale Prince, who I blogged about a few days ago, e-mailed this question and I responded:
Dale asks: Hey, do you consider yourself to be a Next Gen librarian? The criteria seems to be Gen X or Gen Y. Coupland, I believe, puts people born between 60 and 72 in Gen X. I tend to agree with that assessment since the 60s and 70s are not watershed times for me. The eighties were my defining moments, I think. What about you?
I have wrestled with this. I will be 39 in a few weeks. Sometimes I think I'm over the Next Gen Librarian Hill...sometimes not. Then again, is it an age thing at all? Maybe it's a state of mind...
Rachel Singer Gordon writes:" A personal relationship with new technology allows NextGen librarians to think of new possibilities and of countless small creative options in a way the big-name trendsetters can't. It's one thing to read about it, to think about it, but it's another to live with it and watch our friends use it."
I like to think I use technology in a personal way and I have a pronounced technolust gene. But I also try to see the big picture for libraries when adding tech stuff.
While in the greater Chicagoland area, after my Dominican lecture, I zipped down to Western Springs, IL and dropped in on Aaron at Thomas Ford Memorial Library.
NICE library. Friendly folks. Cool Technology... or shall I say, they have some sexy wifi and an official library IM presence. Well done.
Aaron and I go to chat about libraries and conferences over dinner with his wife Kate. We had a great time at CIL this year and I hope we are all together for IL this year as well.
(Oh..and I got to meet Mao!)
I met Dale in my pre-conference workshop and he joined us for the big bloggers dinner at CIL. Take a look at his blog:
His frank "Heart of Darkness" piece about a conference trip to Nashville and the Opryland Hotel is a hoot. Describing the "opening of the exhibits reception" he writes:
"They would be a lot less tense about these things if their organization, like all good librarian organizations do, knew that free booze (even if it is cheap-assed Sutter Home) makes for a pleasanter conference. Vendors like free booze, too, I might add."
I know this isn't library-related, but:
I've started adoption proceedings...
I haven't got to post about this yet but on March 17th I was a guest speaker at Professor Bill Cowley's class on Organizational Communication in Libraries at Dominican University GSLIS in River Forest, Ill.
(In my opinion, Dominican ROCKS! The staff I met, students, everyone was were friendly and energetic. The campus is beautiful. And I know some GSLIS grads who are pretty excellent librarians!)
My topic was using to technology to communicate in libraries. I covered e-mail, delivering a library's message vis Web sites, the internal Web presence (Intranets), Instant Messaging, chat-based services, blogging, RSS and future innovations. What fun it was to discuss this stuff with students deep in their Masters studies.
This day came two days after the phone call from Texas about the PhD program so I got to tell Professor Crowley about it and over dinner we had a wonderful discussion about library education.
I'll be back at Dominican on April 12 to speak to another of Prof. Crowley's classes. This time it's Technology in Public Libraries.
Aaron starts a blog... Thanks Jenny for the heads up!
I wrote about Aaron here... pay attention: he's in the trenches and he gets this tech thing! (and that it's about PEOPLE!)
I love this:
"Though Cohen has every intention of staying in a corporate environment, he remains an advocate of public libraries. 'There is nothing in this country, including the right to vote, that transcends the right to walk into any public library, sit down, and read any piece of material in the building."
Rock On Steven!
Barbara Quint's wit and writing send me everytime! I was so happy to be on the panel with her at IL (even though she was just on a speaker phone, she captured the room with her words!)
Looking forward, Quint theorizes that digital libraries (huge digital libraries..) will allow 24/7 access to huge amounts opf easily published materials. How do librarians fit in? "The trick for the future of the profession," she writes, " lies in finding new tasks that need doing, new ways to do them, and ways to convince clients everywhere that they need us."
I love this! (And I was quoted at CIL giving my opinion on Virtual Reference software so this just supports my idea that IM ref could work!) Why not get on a standard system that is deeply ingrained in our techno-culture instead of making our users wade through java-enabled Web pages and chat environements that sometimes do not work the way they should? Give em something they already know. How do we best serve our users? (the PEOPLE part)
After a huge crash of my iBlog software that left me stranded blogless at Computers in Libraries, Tame the Web is back -- running on Movable Type thanks to the hard work of Aaron and Blake! It is now housed at the TTW domain as well!
UPDATE: Still some DNS stuff to work out... please keep checking in and be sure to update links or feeds. I home with a cold/ear thing today... more to come.