Well done Bobbi & Robin!
I am the guest columnist for RUSQ’s Accidental Technologist this summer. The very cool thing is the full text of the piece is up and online at the RUSQ blog. Please take a look and let me know what you think. I wrote this last January while the snow and wind were raging outside my window – I’m glad it doesn’t seem super dated by now.
Here are some of my favorite parts:
A fact: new technologies will not save your library. New tech cannot be the center of your mission as an institution. I’m still taken aback when I hear of libraries spending money for technologies without careful planning, an environmental scan of the current landscape, and a complete road map for training, roll out, buy in, and evaluation. When the latest technology hits, are you keen to add it to your library, boosting the coolness factor? For example, buying every librarian on your staff an iPhone as a way to improve reference services is probably not going to be a wise solution. You may have some happy librarians, but that type of technolust does not well serve the organization.
Some of the Ten Steps:
3. Be transparent. Communicate and make decisions via open meetings and weblogs. Michael Casey and I advocate for transparent libraries based on open communication, a true learning organization structure, and quick and hon-est responses to emerging opportunities. “Transparency–putting our cards on the table–allows us to learn and grow, and it lets our community see us for all we are, including our vulnerabilities.”4 This is incredibly important for management and administration. You are the ones that need to set the standard for open communication within your institution—walk the walk and talk the talk. I’m reminded of a talk I did at a larger, well-known library system, where five minutes in the director stood up and slipped out the back door. The staff took me out for drinks the night before and one said “we hope she stays to hear you. We can’t do anything without her approval and everything we put out on the Web is vetted through three departments.”
Pilots and prototypes are great if they are just that. Don’t call it a pilot project if it’s already a done deal: signed contracts, “behind the scenes” decisions to go forward, or a “this is the way it’s going to be” attitude will crush any sense of collaborative planning and exploration for the library. It’s a slippery slope to losing good people to other institutions.
5. Spot trends and make them opportunities. Scan the horizon for how technology is changing our world. What does it mean for your AV area if iTunes and Apple are offering downloaded rental movies? What does it mean for your reference desk if thriving online answer sites are helping your students? What does it mean when Starbucks or Panera Bread becomes the wi-fi hangout in town for folks looking for access? Read outside the field—be voracious with tech magazines like Wired and Fast Company. Monitor some tech and culture blogs. Read responses to such technologies as Amazon’s Kindle, and ponder if it’s a fit for your users and your mission. Being a successful trendspotter is one of the most important traits of the twenty-first-century librarian. Be aware, for example, that thriving, helpful virtual communities, open-source software platforms, and a growing irritation with what integrated library system and database vendors provide libraries could converge into a sea change for projects like Koha and Evergreen. Who knows how close we are to that tipping point, but trendspotting librarians will be far ahead of the game.
8. Plan to plan. Instead of willy nilly emerging technology projects, plan to plan. Create timelines and audit progress. This takes project management skills, something LIS educators (like me) should be teaching in depth! We need expertise in bringing projects to completion. Your “Digital Strategies Librarian” or “Director of Innovation and User Experience” should have impeccable management skills and be able to see the big picture. How do you find that person if you don’t have one? Evaluate current jobs and duties of your library staff. What can be done to streamline workflows and free up hours for new duties and new titles. Find who is suitable, then guide projects and people well. Have effective meetings with action items and follow up. I spent more time in meetings when I became a manager in my former job than practically anything else. Planning projects focuses creativity. Meandering meetings sap creativity.
Yes, it is CeLIBration time again. Our annual welcome event for freshmen the Saturday before the Fall semester starts. Past CeLIBrations
I have to be honest– I wasn’t really feeling it this year. Don’t get be wrong, we’ve had some great events over the years, but with the wedding and book deadline in September, my heart wasn’t into it. But then I looked at the line up and we have a lot of cool games. This might actually be our best one yet. I am totally in now.
- Dodgeball Tournament
- Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament (there are actually leagues: video)
- Speed Dating
- Poker (not one, not two, but three tournaments this time!)
- Team Trivia
- Project Runway
- DDR & Guitar Hero
- Pizza, Soda, Popcorn
That’s just a taste. Other activities we’re still pulling together include the student Improv group, a live band, student radio station DJ, board games, and a logic competition. Of course I’ll have a full recap later, but I am getting hyped for next weekend.
An interesting note—when this started many years ago it was all about the LAN Party concept—all about video games. We’ve evolved from that. There will still be some videos games, but that’s a very minor part of the attraction. Those appealed to a particular niche but we aim for the whole pie, not just a piece.
What we’ve arrived at is that students enjoy interacting with each other in the physical world too—throwing balls around, laughing, playing cards, etc. A lot of librarians out there are geeked on gaming, but don’t forget about real world games as well.
Great stuff from the LiB! I especially like her focus on planning, budgets and getting things done!
Palestrant rattled off his ideas...The pair made sense of Palestrant’s fuzzy ideas…Diagrams in hand, Palestrant went to venture-capital funds and returned with $40 million in start-up money. Firms like Humantific, whose founders are designers, apply the same process used in designing sleek MP3 players and ergonomic teakettles to unwieldy intangibles like cell-phone promotions and hospital organization, transforming their effectiveness. Along the way, the field is creating some unusual teamwork between designers and business people.
“Kamille Friis, a PhD student at Learning Lab in Denmark, … thesis focused on “Conscious Design Practice as a Strategic Tool.”
Under the direction of the Director, and in cooperation with the Website Coordinator and Manager of Public Information, the Virtual Services Coordinator develops strategies for implementing and delivery of virtual services to the public. The Virtual Services Coordinator works to integrate the Library’s web offerings and to guide the Library’s virtual services efforts toward user-centered services, incorporating new creative approaches that optimize the customer experience, manage content, and provide customer support.
Duties and responsibilities:
- Ensures that all our web services and virtual resources are integrated and designed for ease of use and convenience of patrons
- Provides leadership to engage the user in effective interaction with the Library’s resources. Considers the Skokie Public Library website, SkokieNet, the catalog, databases, eBooks, other online resources, opportunities for Library 2.0, social networking, and enriched content
- Serves on the executive team to develop and integrate virtual services strategies into the overall strategic plan of the Library
- Works in project management capacity in support of Library virtual service objectives
- Works with Library Director and Department Heads to organize workgroups to accomplish objectives
- Assesses use of virtual resources
- Utilizes analytical tools and accesses research to understand customer behaviors and increase the number and length of visits to virtual library resources
- Provides service at public desks
- May promote and participate in staff and patron training for new virtual services and strategies
- May develop content for the Library’s websites
a library employee. everyone i saw minus one was on the OUTSIDE of these desks, not hidden behind.
I am so happy to see this. It’s a perfect example of the evolving library and evolving reference desk. Three cheers to this forward thinking library in Holland.
I’m reminded of recent retail experiences where I stood beside the person helping me as we designed our new front door. I’m reminded of checking into a hotel where the check in desk had been replaces with individual kiosks/stations, where I stood beside the hotel staff checking me in.
Have you tried this in your libraries? Do you want to? Is there resistance to new ways of thinking? Have you “always done it this way.” Look to other countries folks. Look to other businesses and organizations.
Please comment if you are trying this user-friendly, open model at your library.
The nanoHUB takes advantage of several Web 2.0 technologies:
Like YouTube and Digg, nanoHUB consists of user-supplied content.
On the site, users find software, podcasts, PowerPoint lectures and even Flash-based video tutorials.
Here’s a 1:00 screencast for utipu.com; it’s that easy to download and fire up.
2. After download, run executable.
3. Launch and press record.
4. Goto http://www.youtube.com/my_videos_upload and upload your video
All together took about 8 minutes from download to upload. This is an easier way, perhaps, than saying:
“Okayyyy….first click on…“
Sorry. No Mac version -but you probably don’t need one. I imagine this killer app already exists in iMovie? in something else?
TTW: Lee LeBlanc
On May 6th, I presented “The Hyperlinked Library” at North Suburban Library System. After the session, I was invited to record a podcast with Sarah Long, the director of NSLS. We also spoke a bit in interview format for her weekly column in The Daily Herald.