Libraries and librarians are faced with a technological and societal wave of change that is ever increasing as we move farther into the 21st century. Preparing new graduates to deal with constant change, use current and emerging technology tools to further the mission of their institutions, and meet the needs of communities of library users while never losing sight of our foundational values and principles is of utmost importance to me as an LIS educator.
Dr. Michael Stephens is Assistant Professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University and designs and conducts the online postgraduate course, The Hyperlinked Library, focused on the powerful emerging trends, tools and processes driving change in library and information communities. He was the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar in Australia, consulted for US Embassies in Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey, and presented to both national and international audiences about emerging technologies, innovation, and libraries. Since 2010, Dr. Stephens has written the monthly column “Office Hours” for Library Journal exploring the issues, ideas, and emerging trends in libraries and LIS education. For more than ten years, his research has focused on the use of emerging technologies in libraries and technology learning programs, and he is inspired by library structures and virtual spaces that support users, participation, creating content, and encouraging the heart. From 2005 to the present, Dr. Stephens has delivered keynotes, papers, and workshops throughout the US and internationally on topics related to creative and open uses of technology to support and drive library services and learning. Dr. Stephens also conducts presentations and trainings on large-scale professional development opportunities in collaborative online environments.
Originally from Mishawaka, Indiana, Michael received BA and MLIS degrees from Indiana University. He spent over fifteen years working in public libraries at the Saint Joseph County Public Library(SJCPL) in South Bend, Indiana. While engaged in staff training, long-term planning, and management initiatives at SJCPL, Michael developed a passion for the practical application of technology in libraries and the connections technology affords. He published The Library Internet Trainer’s Toolkit in 2001 in the United States and a in the UK in 2002. In 2003 he launched his weblog, Tame the Web. Tame the Web (TTW) deals with libraries, technology and people – and the fascinating intersection between all three. TTW focuses on these questions: How do we use technology to further the library’s mission? How do we use technology to learn? What are innovative libraries and librarians doing to explore this realm?
In 2004, Michael was awarded an IMLS fellowship to begin an interdisciplinary information science doctoral program at the University of North Texas, where he conducted research on social software and blogging, including his dissertation “Modeling the Role of Blogging in Librarianship.” Named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal in 2005, he also served as a 2005 Scholar in Residence at Chicago Public Library and as an adjunct instructor at IUPUI and Dominican University. Michael joined Dominican University’s full-time faculty in 2006 and completed his Ph.D. in 2007 while continuing to blog and publish. During his time at DU, he produced two ALA Library Technology Reports on Web 2.0 and also created a graduate seminar on Library 2.0 theory and practice. He left Dominican in 2011 to join the faculty at SJSU School of Information.
Michael’s professional and scholarly writing has appeared in Public Libraries, Library Journal, American Libraries, Computers in Libraries, Library Media Connection, OCLC’s NextSpace, Serials Review, Internet Reference Services Quarterly, Australian Research Journal, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, First Monday, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice and ALA’s TechSource blog. He served on the editorial board of Reference and Users Services Quarterly and currently serves on the board of Internet Reference Services Quarterly. He reviews for the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science.
From 2007-2009, he wrote a monthly Library Journal column with Michael Casey: The Transparent Library (available here as a free ebook), exploring how trends and technologies can enhance libraries and make them participatory and open to change: “By structuring the transparent library for constant and purposeful change we reduce the negative impact that change has on both the staff and user. Incorporating change into the organization through creative teams and open lines of communication allows the transparent library to add new tools, respond to changing community needs, and move ahead with new initiatives without shaking up the foundation.” He also co-authored a column in Digitale Bibliotheek, a Dutch professional journal for librarians and information specialists, with Jan Klerk called “Open Conversation” in 2009. Those columns are now available here at Tame the Web.
He was named the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar, examining the effect of Learning 2.0 programs in Australian libraries. Spending five weeks researching and working with libraries all around Australia, the research was first presented at the 2010 VALA conference and is published in various journal articles. For 2014-2016, he served as an advisor and faculty instructor for the Loyola Marymount University Research Institute Program, funded by IMLS. This three year grant offered a research-focused institute for academic librarians seeking to publish. He also served as an advisor for the Project Information Literacy (PIL) Lifelong Learning Advisory Board.
He has spoken at numerous state library associations, consortia, and international conferences and has consulted and presented for U.S. embassies in Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey. Michael presents staff development programs based on his research focus and teaching. Recent consultancies in this area include an emerging technology presentation for staff and community stakeholders in Sarasota, Florida and staff institutes for Carmel Clay Public Library (Indiana), Prince William Public Library System (Virginia), and Prescott Valley Library System (Arizona). For a full listing of Michael’s presentations please visit the Speaking and Presentations page.
When not traveling, Michael resides in Traverse City, Michigan. Contact Michael via the site form.
- “Conversation with Michael Stephens” with the Allen County Public Library (video)
- “Michael Stephens and DOK Delft” with Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap van de Geer of DOK Delft Public Library (video)
Dr. Michael Stephens is Assistant Professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University. He presents to both national and international audiences about emerging technologies, learning, innovation, and libraries. Since 2010, Dr. Stephens has written the monthly column “Office Hours” for Library Journal exploring the issues, ideas, and emerging trends in libraries and LIS education. To review Dr. Stephen’s archive of work, visit his Tame the Web website and blog http://tametheweb.com.
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