All posts by Michael

See You at New York Library Association!

I am very excited about this presentation with Brian Kenney this coming Friday at the New York Library Association in Saratoga Springs, NY. Please consider attending!

Program Slots #5 & #6 2:15 PM – 5:00 PM

Hyperlinked Learning Experiences at Public Libraries: MOOCs & Beyond

Sponsor: PLS
This presentation will explore emerging models of connected, open learning – offered for free – with great potential for staff and the public. Can we support students of all kinds in Massive Open Online Courses? What’s the potential for professional development and lifelong learning when courses can gather the best of the best in a field and offer experiences and exploration anywhere? This two part program slot will explore new ideas and thinking about learning at the library.

Michael Stephens, San Jose State University / “Tame the Web”
Brian Kenney, White Plains Public Library


Office Hours: Always Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

New column!

That said, I must comment on some threads of conversation I had at the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Las Vegas. In 2006, I wrote a post at Tame the Web (TTW) entitled “Five Phrases I Hope I Never Hear in Libraries Again.” It got a lot of traction back then, during the heyday of LIS blogging, and I used a slide of the phrases for many years in presentations. One of the phrases was: We’ve always done it this way.

Back then I wrote, “I think it’s time to red flag any utterance of that phrase in our libraries and make sure it’s not just an excuse to avoid change. It may, however, be the best way to do something.” I urged readers to explore alternatives and new ways of working to make sure efficiencies couldn’t be improved. I cautioned: if librarians are hiding behind that phrase because they’ve had enough new things or just want to keep things the same, it might be time to move on. Is it anxiety that puts up these barriers?

Office Hours: In the Moment

Here’s my June column:

More than once, someone in the audience has expressed concern that children and young people are always looking at their mobile device, texting, gaming, or whatever. Recently the comment was this: “I want to take away the iPad and send them outside. They are not in the moment.” My reply was a reminiscence of my mother taking away my Hardy Boys books and sending me out to play one summer day. I was furious! The seminar room vibrated with comments: “It’s the same thing.” “It’s not the same thing!”

Office Hours: Flipping the LIS Classroom

Oops – forgot to post this:

I’m most excited about the requirement for student reflection blogging in this course. Discussion forums, landlocked inside the learning management system, are giving way to a WordPress-enabled blog community that all of our core students will work with for thoughts on the course content. I am a longtime advocate of the power of blogging as a means to foster critical reflection in a safe thinking-out-loud space and promote engagement with other students and faculty via commenting. The Sloan Consortium, devoted to effective online education, recently heralded a similar model: the University of Nevada Las Vegas Journalism School’s use of WordPress and BuddyPress for multiuser blogging was cited as an educational innovation.

Office Hours: Citation Fixation

Here’s last month’s column – all about getting too hung up on citation formatting:

But wait—shouldn’t we be teaching soon-to-be librarians how to cite properly so they in turn can deliver the gospel to their young charges in the university? And grading them down for every missed period or italicized article title? I’d argue that instead of citation fixation we promote reflection and consideration of the ideas presented in our courses. To synthesize is a sometimes overused verb in higher education, but it works in this instance. Students encountering new ideas and voices of any discipline are better served by someone who can nudge them toward critical examination and combining ideas into cohesive structures that help them understand the world. From that understanding should come new ideas, not a perfectly cited reference.

#hyperlibMOOC Update

Together, we’d like to thank everyone who expressed interest in a second iteration of the #hyperlibMOOC.  We believe our MOOC filled an interesting gap in the MOOC phenomenon by providing community-centered, large-scale learning specifically for library and information science professionals.  Our reflections, both scholarly and personal, show that this experience was formative for ourselves as scholars and as a teachers.  But more importantly, we recognize that the #hyperlibMOOC provided a new, engaging way for our students to continue their professional development and lifelong learning.

At this time, we will be unable to offer another iteration of the #hyperlibMOOC.  This is due in part to logistics and professional requirements on our part.  But rest assured, it is our intention to revive the MOOC here shortly.  In fact, we have applied for a Knight Foundation grant to offer and expand the #hyperlibMOOC to reach more professionals and teach more topics related to the hyperlinked library.

Please continue to check back at the #hyperlibMOOC, the Twitter account, and at SJSU’s School of Information MOOC page.  For information about research results regarding the #hyperlibMOOC, see Michael’s dedicated page at Tame The Web.

Many thanks,

Kyle Jones & Michael Stephens

Webcast – Participatory, Continuous, Connected | Top Trends from Library 2.014


Participatory, hyperlinked library services; DIY and maker movements; emerging technology in academic and research libraries; Google Glass—the Library 2.014 conference covered a broad range of topics and these were among the most notable. Join us for this free LJ webcast, where we’ll cover the highlights of each one and offer key takeaways.

  • Michael Stephens will discuss participatory, hyperlinked library services in a connected world of “continuous computing.”
  • Susan Hildreth will reflect on how the DIY and maker movements—particularly as they relate to STEM education (with badges to certify skill development)—place libraries as central learning hubs for their communities.
  • Samantha Adams Becker taught the first online course ever to take place in Facebook. She will explore emerging technology uptake—especially digital communication formats—in various education sectors including academic and research libraries.
  • Ayyoub Ajmi will describe experiences using Google Glass at the UMKC School of Law Library—what they did with it, what they couldn’t do, and what’s for the future.

Join Michael Stephens who will moderate a lively and insightful discussion with our panel of distinguished experts.


Ayyoub Ajmi, Digital Communications & Learning Initiatives Librarian, University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC)

Samantha Adams Becker, Senior Director of Communications, New Media Consortium

Susan Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)


Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor and monthly columnist for Library Journal

register button Participatory, Continuous, Connected | Top Trends from Library 2.014Can’t make it October 30th? No problem! Register now and you will receive an email from Library Journal with the URL to access the archive for this event.

Internet Librarian International is Coming Up!

Shout out to all the fine folks organizing and attending my favorite conference – Internet Librarian International – in London in just 3 weeks. I am so sorry I cannot be there this year!

Folks come from all over the world for this conference and I have always come away inspired and energized.

Here’s a sampling of what delegates will experience:

How are library and information services evolving?
This is what ILI is all about! Technology, content and the methods for delivering it, plus evolving new services and models, all influence our ability to provide the best possible experience for our users. Hear this year’s trends in library tech – including 3D printers, the latest in digital learning materials, apps, the future of documents, library labs and more – plus meaningful social media, marketing and measuring impact, altmetrics, and how search and discovery tools and techniques are revolutionising the library experience.

Which new technologies and business models are the most appropriate for us to pursue now – and where should we focus our attention next?
All three tracks on Day One of ILI – New Blueprints for Libraries, Technology Innovation & Impact, and Content Innovation – are dedicated to technology and service trends and how to harness them now for future gain. Learn from practitioners who have redesigned their services to become key influencers in their organisations; how to create and curate innovative new content; get up to speed on real-world tech and how technology partnerships are driving change; and understand how gaming is building user experiences and encouraging social sharing.

What changes can we make to ensure our organisations and communities thrive?
ILI’s Day Two track, Closer to Communities and Customers, sets out the latest techniques for engaging new audiences, as well as models for developing your communities through co-creation and cooperation programmes. You’ll hear from experts in a range of library environments, each practising what they preach by listening to users and other key stakeholders, and developing services based on their needs.

What new models and roles have emerged to meet the changing demands of end-users?
New Blueprints for Libraries
 comprises a host of discussions on new and innovative models for libraries and librarians. Learn how radical, emerging new roles – from DJ to UX specialist – are inspiring change, plus a look at how libraries from different countries and cultures are responding to the same core issues to transform their communities.

How are libraries – and librarians – changing to ensure they are future-ready?
As information professionals, we’re not unique in our need to constantly evolve our services and roles, but we are fortunate that ILI brings together so many pioneers of library services from all over the world to show us what works, and what doesn’t! We know our libraries must grow with our users, and ILI’s track Closer to Communities and Customers provides plenty of insight into how to engage with existing audiences, and reach new ones too. If you are currently redesigning your services, then ILI’s New Blueprint for Libraries track helps you benefit from the experiences of global library leaders already exploiting multifunctional potential; while the Technology Innovation & Impact track guides you through technology that is going to make a big difference to us all in the future, and how we plan for its implementation and uptake.