Category Archives: Librarian 2.0

LIS768 Group Projects Day 1

It’s that time again! The semester in LIS768 always ends with group projects. The students self-select their topics and groups and design a presentation or prototype.

Exploring Second Life

Two students who had never visited Second Life explored and created a presentation on their findings.


Privacy and the Internet

This group presented an overview of privacy issues and social networking.

First, an Animoto on privacy:

Library & Business 2.0

This group examined ways that business are using 2.0 tools and thinking and applied them to libraries.


Group blog is here:

Media and Information Literacy/Education

Created as a presentation for school librarians, this presentation explores the importance of media literacy:

Quoted by this group: “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn.” – Alvin Toffler

They made this Animoto for the Caudill Nominees

LIS768 Context Book Report Videos

This semester I added the option for my students in LIS768 to make a video or other media presentation instead of writing a blog post for the context book assignment. A few folks tried it out. Here are the results:

Setting the Table: Danny Meyer

Born Digital: John Palfrey & Urs Gasser

Blink: Malcolm Gladwell

A Whole New Mind: Daniel Pink

The Ecology of Information: A Future in a Library Without Walls

Don’t miss John Blyberg’s LITACamp keynote. It really got me thinking!

He asks some important questions – is our profession sustainable? – and posits that 21st Century Librarianship will be akin to the work of information architects. I think I need to check in with John about these thoughts. Great stuff!

Hyperlinked Libraries, Org Charts & the Human Voice: Ten Years of the Cluetrain Manifesto

bookcover50. Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority.

Today, bloggers from all over the world are responding to the 95 points of the Cluetrain Manifesto, which is ten years old: “Cluetrainplus10 is a project to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the manifesto. On Tuesday April 28, 95 bloggers around the world will each write a blog post on one of the 95 theses.”

I chose #50, above, as one I might comment on because it speaks to the model I’ve been working on in my talks “The Hyperlinked Library” and because it makes me question how we staff and manage our libraries. In fact, it also speaks to LIS education.

Way back in 2006 (years ago in Internet time), I wrote about the Cluetrain often. I was usually commenting on using The Cluetrain Manifesto in my teaching at Dominican and in presentations. I’m still using my “Cluetrain slides” in long versions of “The Hyperlinked Library.”  Looking at the worn volume next to me, it strikes me as funny and brilliant that ten years ago Levine, Locke, Searles and Weinberger locked on to a perfect vision of the future – of where we were headed because of the Internet. The impact on business rings so true these days. And words like transparency, conversation, community, communication and the like were here long before a line up of bloggers at CIL. Flipping through the pages, with multi-colored highlights and scribbled notes to self (oh Lord, can my students even read what I write on their papers?), it strikes me how much this book has influenced my path and lead me to folks like Rheingold, Godin and further works by Weinberger.

The emphasis in the Cluetrain on being human sticks with me as well. “The human voice sounds human.” Stories and storytelling are extensions of this. Sharing is part as well. These things create connections and brings people closer.  Godin says in Tribes that people WANT to belong. People want to connect. I want to hear the story of the lady sitting next to me having tea at Hermit’s Rest at Grand Canyon who strikes up conversation. Turns out her son, who joins us, is director of the Sedona Public Library. The world is tiny, sometimes flat and is full of human stories and human connections.


Thesis #50 has been with me for sometime too. A post I revisited for this anniversary is one of mine at ALA TechSource called “The Hyperlinked Organization: Radical Transparency, Crummy Meetings & Micromanagement” where I urged librarians to do this:

Flatten that Chart Folks

One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is “The company org chart… is a map of whom to avoid.” I worked in the public library a long time and soon realized who you went to in order to get things done and who could take care of something that needed to be fixed. Sometimes, we adapt and seek out those people, and then when they transfer or leave the organization, everyone realizes all the knowledge went out the door with them. 

The best libraries will flatten their organizational charts, break down the layers of “permission” and “channels” to get things done, and look for ways to streamline processes, procedures, and the dreaded policies. These libraries will also have a plan for succession management and knowledge transfer—and not just use these terms as buzzwords to hide behind.

I’m anxious to see more libraries flatten the chart and move toward a more team-based structure. In the model, people might work out of a certain area – reference, technology – but might move to teams or groups, or even locations, as projects demand. The pyramid shape of the org chart would be different – probably still pointy because someone has to ultimately be in charge – but do we really need layers and layers of managers, coordinators, and director positions between our front liners and the decision makers. In this model – very much related to what Michael Casey and I have done in “The Transparent Library” – admin types are hands-on involved not just issuing edicts from an office somewhere in the library. 

networkedconversationsCommunication flows up and down, via all the methods you’ve seen discussed here and in our literature, including good old face to face. Conversations flows in and out of the library space, involving all staff, users, non-users and everyone else. Meetings WORK, they don’t just exist to give the higher ups something to do. Admit it to yourself only: have you ever let the meeting drone on because it’s almost 5pm?

And – experts and specialists thrive and work hand in hand with librarians. They learn from each other via knowledge exchange and planning. Alan Gray of the Darien library wrote a TTW guest post, including this insight into the library’s structure: “We need great people to make our library a success — we just don’t have any preconditions about who they are, or what degree they do or do not have, just what they stand for, and what they can do.”

What scares me is my JOB is to teach people to be librarians – to get the degree so they can go off and work in libraries. Job security is good right? Libraries without librarians is a scary proposition for many of us!  The model – and I think Darien is a good example of it in the field – has space for all not just librarians. We’ll need coders, marketing gurus, customer service stars and business managers, not just a bunch of folks who went to library school. 

Does this de-value the degree? I think not. Librarians will carry the core values and ethics of the profession. They will convey the mission of what we’ve done in libraries forever to all: staff, user, supporters, governing bodies. But they will also understand that nothing stays the same and innovation should be part of this library’s mission. What’s been called “my mantra” I guess is truly that: Learn to Learn, Adapt to Change, Scan the Horizon, Be Curious, & Bring your Heart with You.

So I guess part of the charge is also back on me – to teach the best I can, to point out the changes in our world since the Cluetrain was published, and to work with my colleagues in LIS edu to change curriculum to create more nimble, flexible learning environments for the librarians who will guide projects and manage collections in this model library.

But the charge is also on you, dear readers. What can you do today to start flattening and changing the chart? What can you do via your long range plan to realign services and people to better serve the interests and needs of your communities?

If you haven’t read The Cluetrain Manifesto – take a look. Or re-read it in 2009 with a new lens. Use it for staff book discussion or your strategic plan. LIS Students, please read it before you graduate. I’m counting on you.


Further Reading:

The Cluetrain is Leaving the Station: A TTW Guest Post by Kay Jacobson

Into a New World of Librarianship

TTW posts tagged Cluetrain 

TechSource Post

Screenshots from “The Hyperlinked Library”  Creative Commons License

The Hyperlinked Library by Michael Stephens is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Measuring the Value and Effect of Learning 2.0 Programs in Libraries

This is from the proposal. It frames what we’ll be investigating:

“I believe that this has been one of the most transformational and viral activities to happen globally to libraries in decades.”   Stephen Abram., Stephen’s Lighthouse, February 5, 2008

The genesis of Learning 2.0 began with an article by library futurist Stephen Abram. “Helene Blowers of PLCMC took the article “Things You (or I) Might Want To Do This Year” by SirsiDynix’s Stephen Abram and distilled it down to 23 things that she wanted her staff to understand through hands-on experience,” Hastings noted in a 2007 Library Journal article. Blowers recognized “that librarians need to know how to participate in the new media mix if libraries are to remain relevant,” In Wired magazine’s online companion, Hanly (2007) reported the plan was to include all staff in learning. “Blowers challenged her 550 staffers to become more web savvy. Using free web tools, she designed the program and gave staff members three months to do 23 things.” 

Since 2006, libraries around the world have offered variations of the “23 Things” for their staff based on the all-staff inclusive learning program developed at the Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenberg County. At last count, program creator Helene Blowers, now Director of Digital Strategy at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, reported in School Library Journal “the program had easily reached more than 500 libraries in 15 countries in just two short years” (2008b). Recently, Blowers (2009) estimated close to 1000 libraries and organizations have used the program:

Don’t ask me the number of libraries or organizations? With programs having been run by the National Library of Norway, the State Library of Victoria, Maryland public libraries statewide, 23 Things on a Stick for multiple libraries and organizations, I really have no way of knowing the total impact or number of organizations that have adopted the program. But from my delicious links and growing communications folder I can tell you this… the number is definitively over 700 and more then likely hovers somewhere just under 1000 organizations worldwide. 

Created to introduce staff to the emerging “Web 2.0” tools of the day, the programs have evolved as new tools are introduced and various practitioners report on successful implementations of the course. Some have called the program transformational (Abram, 2008) while others have lauded its ability to bring staff together in a common goal: learning emerging technologies. Lewis (2008) noted “the Learning 2.0 program had a great impact on staff, who now know they are capable of learning new technologies.” Gross and Leslie (2008) reported success with the program in an academic library setting but noted “to our knowledge, no formal evaluation of Learning 2.0 has been conducted.  However, the take-up rate among libraries worldwide has been impressive and stands as an endorsement of the program. The accolades from enthusiastic library staff who  have undertaken Learning 2.0, mainly in the USA, can be found on the  biblioblogosphere.”

Replicated across the globe, the program has been touted as a means to not only educate staff about emerging social technologies but as a method of moving libraries forward into a future of 21st century innovation (Lewis, 2008), openness and transparency (Casey & Stephens, 2008). The purpose of this study is to quantify and evaluate the effectiveness of such programs in Australian libraries, focusing on the public library and academic library setting to develop an exemplary model for more libraries to use for staff education.

Abram, S. (2006). 43 Things I might want to do this year. Information Outlook. Retrieved February 26, 2009 from

Abram, S. (2008). The 23 Things – Learning 2.0. Stephen’s Lighthouse. Retrieved February 28, 2009 from

Blowers, H. (2006). Learning 2.0 Powerpoint presented at Internet Librarian, Monterey, CA.

Blowers, H. (2008a). Learning 2.0: Lessons Learned from “Play” Retrieved from

Blowers, H. (2008b). “Ten tips about 23 things.” School Library Journal. Retrieved February 14, 2009 from

Blowers, H. (2009). WJ hosts 23 Things summit. LibraryBytes. Retrieved March 5, 2009 from

Casey, M. & Stephens, M. (2008) “Cheers and Jeers.” Library Journal. Retrieved February 26, 2008 from

Gross, J. & Leslie, L (2008). “Twenty-three steps to learning Web 2.0 technologies in an academic library.” The Electronic Library, 26:6 p790 – 802 

Hanly, B. (2007) Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stacks. Retrieved February 12, 2009 from

Hastings, R. (2007). “Journey to Library 2.0.” Library Journal. Retrieved February 15, 2009 from

Lewis, L. (2008). Library 2.0: taking it to the street. Retrieved February 16, 2009 from

Marketing Today’s Academic Library by Brian Mathews


I am eager to get my hands on a copy of Brian’s new book. I think it may be a perfect fit for use in LIS768. I was glad to see his reflective post about the process: (emphasis mine)

I am very grateful that ALA didn’t pressure me to write a 2.0 or social technology book. It would have been a disaster. While those elements are included in the text, the scope is much wider. I worked (struggled) on and off for 2 years on this project. It is very personal. Writing a book is very draining. You feel vulnerable—or at least I do. I spent so many mornings up at 4am gulping down Jone’s Soda, trying to get the words right. This book is really my personal handbook, my personal approach. I feel like I am in a defensive position now, waiting for all the bad reviews to come in. (I’m sure the annoyed librarian will hate it.) Oh and just a note, if you’re looking for a nice cookie-cutter, paint-by-numbers approach to marketing, this isn’t the book for you. In fact, in many ways it isn’t a marketing book at all, but a vision for public service. Here is the final paragraph that really encapsulates the spirit:

The academic library can become a place for experiences. It is not just for research and reflection, but also for creation, collaboration, design, and display. The library functions as a workshop, a gallery, a museum, a canvas, a stage, a lecture hall, a platform, a case study, and a showcase of student work. The future of libraries isn’t simply about digitizing all of our collections, but rather, it is about providing, encouraging, and staging new types of learning encounters. Instead of using marketing to try to persuade students to use our services, the library becomes the natural setting for academic activities–an environment where scholarship happens.”

I am happy we have good folks like Brian actively working to create this vision of the library of the future.

Fostering Creativity

As a soon-to-be graduate of Dominican’s GSLIS program and in need and want of a new job, I watch the job lists pretty closely.  My interest was piqued quickly as I came across a posting for a “Creativity Library Manager” at the University of Nebrask at Omaha.  Part of the post reads:

This newly created position is responsible for developing and operating a unique, experimental library to support creativity in all fields of endeavor. The successful candidate: will identify and select library materials that inspire new ways of thinking; will assist users with materials and extensive, leading-edge technological resources; will provide outreach and promotional programming…

To me it’s outstanding to see libraries proactively seeking to transform their spaces to stimulate the creative processes of students and users.  I know many libraries are taking into consideration what types of environments kindle the innovative spirit and they, too, like the Univeristy of Nebraska at Omaha should be given credit for recognizing the importance of the library as a creative place.

~TTW Contributor Kyle Jones

The Cluetrain is leaving the station – who’s on board? – A TTW Guest Post by Kay Jacobson

Kay wrote a paper for LIS768 on the Cluetrain ten years later. She graciously allowed me to post an edit here. Thanks Kay! Michael

Today’s economic situation would seemingly make libraries indispensible.  Yet with budget cuts, many libraries are threatened with cut backs and closings.  The natural reaction, based on fear, would be to go into preservation mode.  Instead, libraries need to be moving into innovation mode, viewing this time as a chance to move ahead and connect with the public that hasn’t been using them.  The disenfranchised public wants to know how the library will be relevant to them and what the library is doing to stay relevant.  Why make changes if what you’re doing is good enough?  This seems to have been an attitude of many businesses and libraries in the past decade.  I say that without constant innovation and renewal we end up in a state where fear drives our decisions.

I recently read The Cluetrain Manifesto ( and it opened my eyes to why our economy is in the shape it’s in.  Written nine years ago, The Cluetrain Manifesto might seem like common sense to those of us who read it now, but if you really look at what they’re saying you realize how few companies have adapted or are only now steering their ship on this course.  This is just as evident in the attitude of libraries and librarians today.  Some have hopped on the Cluetrain and others, well – if they’re not careful, they might find themselves with no trains stopping at their station anymore.

My main focus will be libraries, but I thought it was important to stop for a moment and look at a business that truly understands what the Cluetrain is about.  The Cluetrain Manifesto is about more than using the latest social media tools; it is about a fundamental shift in how an organization thinks and acts.  One company that is on board the Cluetrain is (www.zapposcom)  is an online retailer whose About Us page states:  Internally, we have a saying:
We are a service company that happens to sell ________.  Their top 10 principles are listed under their Core Values on their website. 

#2 is Embrace and Drive Change. 

#4 is to be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-minded. 

#6 Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication. 

Does a company like this emerge by chance?  No, first there has to be a commitment to an idea and someone who inspires this idea in others.  For, that person is CEO Tony Hsieh.  Transparency is a fundamental concept to Hsieh.  He not only admits to mistakes, he posts them on his blog, Twitters about them, and speaks about them at conferences.  One thing he feels strongly about is managing company culture, this means having the employees buy in to the core values.  And buy in they do, just looking at their website can show you how much.  There are several blogs one can access (including the CEO and COO’s).  There is a link to find out what Zappos employees are doing right now which takes you to their Twitter page.  They have videos and the Zappos Library of recommended business reading.  

Another thing they have is customer buy in.  Zappos doesn’t advertise.  They are a word of mouth grown company, and that word was created by their customers.  They are invited to post testimonials on the website – video or written.  The main reason for customer loyalty – the customer service representatives are encouraged to take as long as they need to help the customer.  They engage in real conversation – not scripts.  Wow, what a concept and they even use an old fashioned tool – the phone.  Zappos is employing many tools to generate the conversation, but without the Cultural Revolution in how they think about their business, they would just be tools taking up space in the tool box

The many changes that Web 2.0 brought about include the awareness that change is happening.  That is what the Cluetrain is all about and while it was written for businesses, the lessons learned are easily adapted for libraries.  Library 2.0 then is the manifestation of these ideas.  

John Blyberg writes of L2 as “a vital and very real movement” and “an ever-changing amalgam of ideas, dreams, and visions.”  Does he say that L2 is social media?  No, those are some of the tools that can be used, but they are not the only thing that drives L2.   L2 as described by Blyberg is a change in the way libraries do their business.  This includes internal changes, a change in interacting with patrons, with vendors, with other libraries.  And how will these changes occur?  By creating a vision of what your library can be and starting conversations with the people you need to buy into that vision.  Once that vision is shared then action needs to happen and as Blyberg says, “L2 is partially an articulation of the action that is already happening.”

In my own experience serving on short and long range planning committees, I would have to side with Blyberg.  Unless an organization continually renews itself through transformation and/or revolution, it will follow the bell curve into obscurity.  The farther down the curve an organization gets the harder and longer the journey to revitalization.  If libraries are going to be relevant, then they need a vision that continuously embraces and drives change.  They need to be adventurous, creative and open-minded.  Now where have I heard that before?  That’s right; they are some of’s core values.

The libraries of today that are active in vision and conversation are on a journey of transformation. Others are not. Now these libraries might have a mission, but if they have no vision giving them a direction in which to travel, then they will be left at the station when the Cluetrain pulls out.  

Is it fear of change that paralyzes some libraries?  Are they so hide bound in traditions that they don’t realize we’re not asking them to change their mission?  Instead we’re asking them to envision how they foresee carrying that mission out in today’s environment.  Then how do they envision carrying it out in tomorrows?  L2 might be the name of what’s happening today, and tomorrow’s vision could be called something else, but the main point of L2 is to keep moving towards a new future.  

Librarians are the Ultimate Community Managers

I had breakfast with Meg Canada last weekend, while finishing my teaching duties in St. Paul. She shared with me a post she wrote at her blog called “How Librarians can be the Ultimate Community Managers.”

Meg writes:

What is a Community Manager? My friend, Connie Bensen introduced me to the concept at my first social media gathering. I know she has collaborated on the wikipedia definition, and as a librarian herself, and I hope she agrees with my assertion. Community managers help shape online spaces by representing organizations through starting and/or contributing to discussions. They are social media mavens and power users. Community managers solve problems, offer the best customer service, and give organizations a human face.

I’ll be adding this to the list of emerging LIS jobs. How are we training new librarians to be Community Managers? Did you ever think that might be a role you’d play?

Later she tape into that important bit about the ongoing conversation:

Not enough of us tweet outside our community or seek out our users in other social media. Some success with MySpace and Facebook is promising, but we can’t just friend and fan eachother. We need to connect with our patrons, customers and users in online communities. Historically we may not be known for savvy communication skills, but here’s another opportunity.

Gathering community input is also a key role of librarians. As we plan services, build new facilities, and evolve into our 21st century selves, libraries have to listen to what our community needs. Let’s face it Gen x and y aren’t attending community meetings at the library. The meetings are happening online. Do you Google alerts point to blogs, microblogs, or comments that reflect how patrons feel about the library? Are you listening and responding?

This so ties in to what Cliff Landis and I discussed over on ALA TechSource this summer:

MS: That brings up something that has been on my mind for the past few months as I watch more libraries diving into creating Facebook pages and other sites. What do you think about the Facebook pages for libraries that have a bunch of other librarians as fans? Frankly, it disappoints me. I’ve actually curtailed some of my “fan-ing” of pages lately. I’d rather leave the fandom to the users and watch to see how it goes from outside. How do the users find and adopt the page. What are the patterns of use and what types of outreach builds the community. Tapping into that is most important for understanding user needs.

CL: This is another symptom of librarians talking to each other, saying “Hey! Look at this neat thing I did!” and never involving the users. What do you suppose would happen if the person managing the library page wasn’t a librarian, but a student? (I can already hear the gasps of thousands of librarians.) Let’s face it–we’re control freaks.

And what David Lee King blogged about here.

Wouldn’t you rather be a community manager instead of a control freak? :-)

Taming Technolust: Planning in a Hyperlinked World

I am particularly enjoying this slide this morning. :-)

Here are the slides as PDF from the original keynote file.

Links for the presentation today:

Technoplans Vs Technolust at Library Journal 2004

Taming Technolust article at RUSQ:


ACRL Changing Roles

“Let Go of Control” Cell Phone Sign:

Brian Herzog’s Signs:

The Cluetrain Manifesto:

Emerging Technology Committee @ TTW

Michelle Boule on Beta

Prototyping from Brian Mathews

Transparency: The Open Door Director

Trend Map:

Open Source Software:

Learning 2.0 & Learn & Play @CML

Be Curious