Category Archives: #TTW10

#TTW10 : Jan Holmquist Interviews Mary Gauthier

michaeljanI am honored to guest write at Tame The Web – a lighthouse for positive librarianship – with Michael’s philosophy of encouraging the heart.

We all have different things that encourage our hearts and give us inspiration to do what we do – and make the world better. For me music is a big inspiration, a shelter and a motivator. Being a library person deep down in my heart, I have a theory that a lot of artists have positive experiences with libraries from their lives and that they have been inspired by libraries in some way when they were starting out. This is the story I would like to tell. The story of how the library makes a difference in the artist’s life.

I decided to make an empirical test of that theory.

Last October I was very fortunate to see the extremely talented Mary Gauthier live in concert in Copenhagen (If you get the chance to go to one of her concerts – do not hesitate!) I know her lyrics and there are literary references. I asked her for a blog interview about libraries and she most kindly said yes.

Mary’s songs inspire me because they are transparent, honest and beautiful and with use of humor she shows the light in dark times. I was lucky to meet Mary before one of her shows and she is an amazingly calm and gracious person, which did not surprise me, because that is how her songs are too. She is a musical as well as a personal inspiration to me.

I ask Mary about her library experiences and I promise you both sugar and salt when you read her answers. I hope to make clear that music encourages the heart just like libraries do. I am glad to present this interview with one of the most amazing artists out there… Ladies and Gentlemen – I proudly present my Mary Gauthier interview: 

Jan Holmquist is a librarian working with library development in South East Denmark at Guldborgsund-bibliotekerne. He is also a global librarian, Zukunftsentwickler, blogger, Tweeter and crowd funder – member and co-founder of the Buy India a Library team and Help This Week in Libraries team.


Image: Michael & Jan in Helsinki for IFLA, August 2012

#TTW10: Happy Happy, Joy, Joy. A Tipping Point for Mindfulness Meditation? by Peter Bromberg

IMG_3815Malcolm Gladwell famously defined the “tipping point” as that magic moment when an idea or practice crosses some invisible threshold, tips, and spreads widely throughout a culture or society.  Lately I’ve been wondering if the practice and benefits of mindfulness meditation are hitting that tipping point.

The many benefits of mindfulness meditation have been known to Buddhist monks and western scientists alike for many years.  But it is only recently that mindfulness seems to be recognized in the workplace as a valuable practice worth promoting and fostering among employees.  In the past few months there have been a flurry of articles in publications ranging from Forbes and the New York Times, to The Chronicle of Higher Education, reporting on the benefits of mindfulness and the increasing adoption of the practice in businesses and organizations across the country.

Show me the Research

Some of the recent media coverage was generated by a study published in March, 2013 in the journal Psychological Science, by researchers who found that a two-week mindfulness training program resulted in decreased mind-wandering and improved memory.  Likewise, a study published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2012 reported that meditation could increase one’s focus and ability to deal with distraction. The NSF research showed that those who received meditation training were more focused in their work, switched tasks less frequently and spent more time on each discrete task, while also seeing a reduction in stress and an improvement in memory.

These experiments only added to the growing body of neuroscientific studies that show that meditation improves emotional regulation, attention, and other aspects of what is known as emotional intelligence, or “EQ.”  And it is this demonstrated improvement in emotional intelligence that has attracted the attention of mainstream businesses and opened the door to more widespread acceptance of mindfulness meditation in the workplace.

Search Inside Yourself: A new kind of leadership institute

Google is perhaps the most notable company to embrace mindfulness meditation, citing improvements in employee EQ and the attendant benefits to the teamwork, creativity, and productivity in the workplace. To what extent has Google embraced mindfulness?  So much so that they’ve created a leadership institute cheekily dubbed, “Search Inside Yourself”, which focuses on developing five key aspects of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Originally conceived as in internal leadership offering, Google is now offereing their institute to the world, putting videos of the curriculum online, and publishing “Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness”, authored by Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s very own “Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny).” How’s that for a job title!?

Keep in mind that Google, for all their California new-age vibe, is at heart a company of engineers; of scientists. They are trained to be highly skeptical, focus on data, and care only about obervable results.  As Tan points out in Search Inside Yourself, Google has gone all-in on mindfulness for one reason: It works. And it’s not just super-rich, California-new-agey, “do no evil” Google that has wrapped its organizational arms around the benefits of mindfulness. In a wide-ranging article published in March, 2013, the Huffington Post reported that one quarter of U.S. companies, including General Mills, Aetna, Apple, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Target, and AOL have instituted mindfulness programs.  William George, Harvard Business School professor and former CEO of Medtronic, explains why businesses across the country are adding meditation rooms and fostering mindfulness.  George says, “The main business case for meditation is that if you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader…you will make better decisions.”

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

So why is mindfulness meditation so effective?  Why does it result in improved emotional intelligence, and therefore improved work relationships, creativity, and problem-solving ability?

In a word, happiness.

In his book, Search Inside Yourself, Google’s Chade-Meng Tan writes, “What I really care about is happiness for my coworkers.  That is why emotional intelligence excites me.  It doesn’t just create conditions for stellar success at work; it also creates the conditions for personal happiness for everyone.”  In his book, The Happiness Advantage: Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Shawn Achor reviews a decade’s worth of research suggesting that happier employees are more also more productive AND more accurate.  (Achor also gives a pretty mean Ted Talk.)

And happy employees are not only more productive and accurate, they are also… wait for it… contagious.  Yes, we actually catch happiness from each other.  Research from the Harvard Medical School and the University of California suggests that happiness spreads through social networks “like a virus” finding a “statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends’ happiness, but between your happiness and your friends’ friends’ friends’ happiness.”  (Researchers find that sadness is contagious too, but not as contagious as happiness.  Yay!)

Since mindfulness meditation leads to happiness, and happiness makes us more focused, productive, and accurate, AND happiness is contagious, it easy to see how a positive, reinforcing loop of happiness and productivity can easily be set in motion by a few people sitting quietly for a few minutes a day.  And I think that’s pretty cool.

Of course, all of this research around the benefits of happiness will likely come as no surprise to librarians considering that as far back as 1899 none other than John Cotton Dana was sharing his view (in A Library Primer) that the public library is a “center of public happiness first.”  And I think that’s pretty darn cool too.

pb_headshotPeter Bromberg is just a simple librarian trying to make it in this crazy world.  He is also the Associate Director and the Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ.  He has meditated on and off for 25 years (currently on.)  He occasionally tweets at @pbromberg and blogs at CuriousKind.  His website is


For information about the beneficial physical effects of meditation on the brain see:

#TTW10 The Central Question of My Career post by TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

tamerWhen I left the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University and entered the profession, the faculty members did not leave me with answers. They left me with a question, which has driven my career. That question was simply, will libraries exist in the future? At the time, the web was fairly new, and many people argued that libraries had been displaced by this technology. As I entered the profession, this question pushed me forward. Based on the needs of my library, I have followed two paths to answer the question.

First, when I started teaching information literacy sessions for many writing classes, I was surprised at the information choices that students made. This sparked my interest in understanding credibility and authority. The searcher’s sophistication in understanding the processes behind and the purposes for creating information directly impact which search tool to select, how search results are interpreted, and ultimately how sources are used. I have written about this on this blog (see Lost Faith: College Students’ Photoshopification and Information Literacy). As I followed this path, I have written on information literacy in the light of critical pedigogy (see A Radical Step: Implementing A Critical Information Literacy Model, 2004) and in the light of personal epistemology from the social psychology literature (see Information Literacy, Personal Epistemology, and Knowledge Construction: Potential and Possibilities from 2006). To me, the future of libraries is clearly tied to a degree of information literacy skills (or a desire for these skills) in the communities we serve. The library as “knowledge center” for the community is tied in a large part (although maybe not entirely) to the credibility of the resources we provide. In so many words, credibility is part of our competitive advantage.

My second answer to the question driving my career has revolved around the effectiveness of the online library. Our physical spaces remain important, but our virtual spaces bring a potential for delivering services that libraries could never have envisioned two decades ago. One of my first jobs as a librarian was redesigning our library’s website. Around 2004 after our first redesign and around the time we were working on a usability study which would eventually take us to our second redesign, I heard about blogs from Jenny Levine (the Shifted Librarian) at a conference. It was not long after this when I met Michael Stephens at Internet Librarian. Jenny and Michael (and Tame the Web) were instrumental in starting my work with social media and libraries. My interest in how we incorporate social media into our organizations and inspiration from Michael took me to my dissertation topic and an eventual book. As a contributor to TTW, I am always honored to be part of Michael’s work. Of course, it is not a stretch to say that Michael and Tame the Web have been an important part of my work!.

swansonphotoI have always been grateful that my library school faculty left me with a question as opposed to giving me their answers. So, will libraries exist in the future? I have to say that this question still drives me today. Over the last decade and a half,, our profession has evolved and demonstrated that we are more than just storehouses for books. We have provided a multitude of answers to this important question, and if we are to remain vital to the people we serve, we must provide a multitude more.


Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book, Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.


#TTW10 : Ukeleles & Love

I love highlighting cool things libraries are doing beyond the norm here on TTW. I’ve done it for years in the “Library Innovators” category. It’s easy to get stuck in our grooves…the same programs, the same services, over and over and over again.

From Justin Hoenke:

All of my love, support, and thanks to Kirsten Cappy and Michael Whittaker.  These people are the future of libraries.

Got Uke?  No?  No worries, your library does.

Portland, Maine library card holders can now check out ukuleles and equally hip young adult books from the Teen Room of the Portland Public Library.

This is so in sync with my new column at Library Journal “Holding Us Back:”

It’s easy to focus on the folks who use our services consistently, the ones who borrow materials, attend programs, and bring children to story time. The next step I would call “radical community engagement,” and it begins with statements like this: “I think our strength is in our ties to the community and the relationships we build with our customers. That should be our focus and should drive how we develop our programs and services in the future.” Golden! The need to be vocal can’t be overemphasized: “We need to change the concept of the library as a restricted, quiet space—we bustle, we rock, we engage, but so many people in the community do not know this.” The Pew report is evidence that tapping in to community needs and interests is paramount for libraries, and active interaction with citizens, business, nonprofits, and other entities is a promising future. Open the doors to local experts and creators to teach and share.

Think beyond the collection, folks… there’s some great things possible! Justin’s work is proof of this.


#TTW10 – It’s Not Easy Being E by Leah White

TTW10_hashtagNote from Michael: I am thrilled to have Leah writing here for TTW. Way back in 2006 when I started at Dom, I taught my very first LIS701 class. There was Leah, smiling on the front row every Monday evening. Watching her study, graduate and do incredible work has been incredibly rewarding to me as an LIS educator. Thanks, Leah!

What do you think of when you hear the word extrovert? Loud, chatty, pushy? Yeah. Me too. It’s funny – the first time I ever took the Myers Briggs was in grad school. I remember my professor asking if anyone in the class was an E. Of course, I shoved my hand up into the air and realized I was the only person with my hand up. At the time, I felt special, and man, that felt awesome. As some may now, us E’s really love feeling special. Years later, the time of the introvert is at hand. Good examples might be the publication of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and of course, other things kicking around the internet…(stares directly at Tumblr).

So after years of being incredibly proud of my extrovertism, I recently re-took the Myers Briggs, and for the first time, I silently crossed my fingers and toes that my score would be a little closer to the middle of the extrovert/introvert divide. But every single time I take it – and yes, I have now taken it multiple times – I end up with over 80% extrovert. Depending on the day, I generally find out I’m an ENFP and occasionally, an ENFJ.

I quickly realized after that class in graduate school that librarians tend to be introverted. Of course, there are other E’s, but on a day to day basis, I tend to interact, be managed by, and work on committees with all you wonderful I’s out there. Here are a few things I have picked up along the way that may help other extroverts swimming the introverted waters of librarianship.

Eventually, after my third time taking the test, I came to terms with it. I like being an E! But what does this mean in regards to being a Librarian?

It’s all about communication

Make an effort to figure out people’s preferred method of contact. As an extrovert, I tend to be the person who bursts into your office with an idea and wants to talk it out. Bouncing ideas off of people is, hands down, my preferred method for working through an idea. However, that doesn’t always work for people, especially some of my introverted co-workers. While I still do this – seriously, just ask my boss – I try to take into consideration how busy the person might be or pick up on any social cues that perhaps they aren’t in the mood for a passionate discussion about makerspaces. When that happens, I look to the internet for my brainstorming needs. (Seriously, Twitter, what would I do without you?)

Find your tribe but keep an open mind

Finding other extroverts in the workplace has always been important to me. It’s great to have someone who feeds off of the same energy that I do. But I also have found that some of my best collaborations are with a mix of all sorts of personality types. Perhaps I’m the one talking during a meeting but it is vital to have the logistical person involved – the one who thinks through the process of actually accomplishing these ideas. The best meetings and committees are a mix of various strengths and weaknesses. That’s how you accomplish all those wonderful and innovative ideas!

Learning to listen and be patient

Honestly, I still struggle with this. While it is a stereotype, we extroverts generally love to do two things: talk and take action. I totally own up to that. The longer I work in libraries, the more I try to be an active listener. Also I have learned the value of giving people time to process ideas and projects. Sometimes when you’re proposing a major change, it’s good to give people the time and space to mull things over and go through the information in their own way. I try to write out proposals for new ideas, which gives people more space to absorb the project and helps me formulate my ideas in a concrete way. A little silence, a little space, and the written word can go a long way in libraries.

All things considered, I love being an extrovert. After all, it’s what makes me, me! But working with a variety of personality types has taught me so much about collaboration. I can’t imagine I would accomplish much if I only surrounded myself with other E’s. And that, in itself, is what makes being a librarian so very awesome. Look at how much we accomplish. It’s pretty amazing.

 LeahLeah White is a Reader Services Librarian at the Northbrook Public Library and a 2012 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. She is a member of the Adult Reading Round Table Steering Committee and the co-chair of the Reference Librarians Association Continuing Education planning committee. Leah graduated from Dominican University with her Master of Library and Information Science in 2008. You can find her on Twitter: @leahlibrarian or check out her website: 

(Photo credit Karina Guico)

#TTW10 : Tame The Web is my Alma Mater by Emily Lloyd


When, in the early 2000s, you were passionate about your work in libraries, full of ideas and eager to hear others’ ideas about how libraries can best serve their communities, excited about what the future holds for libraries, hungry to discuss this stuff with people who shared these interests, and NOT a librarian or enrolled in library school or headed there, there were two great free channels where you could jump into the fray and educate yourself: listservs and blogs. These tools not only flattened geographies–so librarians from far-flung areas could ideashare– they flattened hierarchies: library paraprofessionals who might never get an audience with their own library’s director could comment on posts and engage in conversations with the very librarians their director had hired to speak at Staff Day. In my case, that librarian was Michael Stephens.

In the sense that an alma mater is a place where you are first introduced to a range of exciting ideas and encouraged to engage with them, Tame the Web is my alma mater. I can’t overstate how incredible a gift and opportunity blogs like TTW were and continue to be for library paraprofessionals (joined now by Twitter, SlideShare, and MOOCs) often overlooked by their employers when it comes to sending staff to conferences or tapping staff for local teams. We can keep current; we can participate; we can have a voice, we can even influence the field. That’s a radical, jaw-dropping thing: that staff who may not have any influence or voice in their own workplaces may be able to influence and can have a voice in the field.

There’s another sense to alma mater, which is often translated literally as “fostering mother”. Tame the Web has become this kind of alma mater, too, for me and many others, by offering itself as a platform for guest posts and facilitating (fostering) the spread of guest posters’ ideas. TTW guest posters might be librarians at the height of their careers, new librarians, library school students, library paraprofessionals, or none of the above. I feel very lucky to have been one of them. What we have in common are ideas that Michael thinks will be valuable to TTW’s readers. And I thank him for acknowledging and understanding, as very few do, that valuable ideas may come from folks at all levels of library work. Would that more library systems offered “guest-post like” opportunities to their non-librarian employees.

One way to tame something is to feed it. Tame The Web has been feeding the web with enthusiastic, challenging, and insightful content for ten years. Congrats to you, Michael; happy anniversary, and most importantly, thanks.

fbmeEmily Lloyd is an Associate Librarian with Hennepin County Library and lives in Minneapolis. She writes a library webcomic/blog, Shelf Check, and tweets @poesygalore.





#TTW10 “Tamer” Graphic by Theresa Papaurelis, Graphic Artist at Indian Prairie Public Library. (

#TTW10 : A Space to Show It by TTW contributor Mick Jacobsen

Evan Monkey Bars
A poster displayed outside the DML.

I have written previously about Digital Media Labs and their ilk.  I have also been a small part of helping  a number of libraries starting media labs of one sort or another.

An aspect of DMLs that often gets lost in the shuffle of all the shiny hardware and expensive software is a place to display art.  This space can be a wall in the main lobby of the library for photos, slides, graphic design work and whatever else can be put on a poster.  A LCD screen or something that can be used to show films or a movie festival.  Don’t forget the interwebs!

The posting of digital media creations has been one of the biggest wins I have had in my career as a librarian.  The patrons are honored to be selected and excited to see their work as a poster/on a movie screen and on the LIBRARY website.

We are planning to start using our catalog to bring even more attention to these works in the near future.

Make sure you create a space for your library patrons to display their works as well as create and curate it.


#TTW10: Sharing Our Passion by Stephen Abram

tamerMichael asked me to write a guest post for Tame the Web to celebrate its tenth anniversary.  I’m honoured.  Tame the Web has been in my feeds since the very first day. Secondly, Michael is awesome and is one of the dynamic, positive forces in our profession through his writing, research, speaking and teaching and just being Michael.

This opportunity set me to thinking about the nature of sharing.  My wife, Stephanie, teaches grade four so I know that about age ten you’re in grade four, just like Tame the Web.  Ten-years-old is a critical time as we move from learning to read, to reading to learn and the first great adventures in the skills of critical thinking and learning to share in groups as our personal lives enlarge and we become more aware of a world beyond family and school.  It’s the world where the metaphor of sharing moves beyond sharing physical items, like our toys or candy, to one where the important sharing is about sharing information, or more importantly insights, perspectives, ideas, learning, and knowledge.  That’s definitely a role that Tame the Web has played and that Michael has studied in his doctoral work.

Here’s an imperfect definition from the web:

share 1 (shâr)


1. A part or portion belonging to, distributed to, contributed by, or owed by a person or group.

2. An equitable portion: do one’s share of the work.

3. Any of the equal parts into which the capital stock of a corporation or company is divided.

v. shared, shar·ing, shares

1. To divide and parcel out in shares; apportion.

2. To participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns.

3. To relate (a secret or experience, for example) to another or others.

4. To accord a share in (something) to another or others: shared her chocolate bar with a friend.


1. To have a share or part: shared in the profits.

2. To allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses: Being in daycare taught the child to share.

3. To use or enjoy something jointly or in turns: There is only one computer, so we will have to share.


Why is it imperfect in my opinion?  It underrates the sharing that’s so important and privileges money and items over the more important sharing that libraries support.  Sure libraries lend items but that’s so not what we do.  It might be what we count, but it’s not what counts.  We share knowledge.  We share information.  We share and trade in our skills and people are better for having interacted with us.  We collect in areas that need to preserved, and we protect knowledge for future generations, and, consequently, share with the, as yet, unborn.  We share to support community, learning, creativity, and innovation . . . while protecting the objects of our culture as entertainment until they’re old enough to take on the patina of classics and art.

That’s the role of libraries and the people who lead them.  I like to think of our library spaces 9physical and virtual) as the giant sandboxes where many of us first started practicing sharing on the way to becoming information professionals.


Our politics are liberal and subversive.  We share regardless of anything.  We collect regardless.  We try to destroy and disrupt barriers to sharing – everything from cost, to disorganization, to technology, to digital barriers like DRM.  Stewart Brand is widely quoted:

“Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. …That tension will not go away.”

Free or fee isn’t what’s vital to libraries.  Nothing is free and it’s an unfortunate shallowness of debate in our profession when we attempt to make things merely free – regardless of the long term consequences or additional barriers that might be added.  What is important is that we free information – unfetter it – for all.  That’s the true crucible of value when we organize, collect, and serve.  In the past twenty years we’ve seen an enormous unfettering – and the attendant consequences of content spam, evil, viruses, and more.  We’ve been able to transcend geography through the Internet, transcend the technology divide with cheaper devices and shared resources in libraries.  And, wonder of wonders, sharing books or book recommendations has moved to hitherto unimaginable scale with Amazon, Shelfari, GoodReads, and LibraryThing.  New communities and social networks around books, issues, and information are springing up faster than they can be merely counted.

This has made our profession so much more vital, important and critical to this new Renaissance in this 21st Century.  We play a role in such vital economic and social concerns as:

  • Unfettering knowledge
  • Sharing information
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Sharing ourselves
  • Sharing support and training

So, to celebrate this tenth anniversary year of Tame the Web, I want to reflect on one of the most important phrases that Michael uses.  I think it is core to his being and he lives a life that exemplifies his values.  Michael often tells us that libraries and librarians are adept at encouraging the heart.

I love that.  If we encourage the heart we connect with our clients’ passions and goals, what truly motivates them to read, learn, explore, and grow.  Nothing ever gets done without the heart.  But the rest of the phrase contains the word courage, and things rarely get better without that.  So, as we deal with the challenges facing us, and they can seem overwhelming at times, let’s choose to be bold, be brave, and be strong.  We may not always hear, as often as we should, that we inspired someone to achieve, changed a life, solved a problem, or made a big difference but we do, you do.  Give a librarian a hug today.

Happy 10th Anniversary Tame the Web!

“Sharing matters because by transforming ourselves into sharing beings, we gain the joy and fulfillment that is life’s true purpose.”




Stephen & Michael

With Stephen, Pilanesburg Game Preserve, South Africa, June 2012

#TTW10 “Tamer” Graphic by Theresa Papaurelis, Graphic Artist at Indian Prairie Public Library. (

#TTW10: Let Me Talk to You About ALICE ~ A TTW Guest Post by Jane Cowell



Note from Michael: I look to the State Library of Queensland often for inspiration and examples of participatory engagement for users. I also have a special spot in my heart for the librarians and info professionals of Australia, who welcomed me for two extended visits that I will never forget!image002

ALICE is the colloquial name State Library of Queensland (SLQ) has given to a research project lovingly called Digital Library Project 5! You can see why we needed another name to give us some creative inspiration and as we felt we were heading down the proverbial rabbit hole and did not know whether we would end up at a Mad Hatters Tea Party or have the Queen of Hearts calling for our heads, ALICE, was the nickname chosen.

With this research project we are exploring what a public library could be in 2020 in the virtual realm.  SLQ has just launched its joint Vision paper for Public Libraries Next Horizon: VISION 2017 for Queensland public libraries (Public Libraries Connect) with Queensland Public Libraries Association and we see libraries as creative spaces, connecting people and content, technology trendsetters and incubators for the community. I want to say up front that ALICE is NOT a library management system.  We were not exploring how to organize ‘stuff’.  We wanted to explore the connection to you, the reader, the author, the cinematographer, the editor, the family historian, the researcher, the bookclub member and all the other users of libraries and what that connection could be in the digital world.

We asked Readers, Library users, Library staff, Authors, Writing Centres, Digital publishers, documentary makers, and technology geeks.  And then we checked out what was out there and we determined that the creators of music were much more connected to their consumers, customers and fans in the digital world than the creators of stories.  Readers can connect with readers but not really well to the vast array of content available for free or to compare purchase prices or to really connect to authors.  Creators of content, and yes I am also talking about the self publishing world of family histories, local newsletters, digital zines, also cannot easily access the vast array of publishing tools, editors, designers or an easy distributing channel in the digital realm that could help them to become published.  And where does the community resident find the local digital stuff, and where does the local creator put their stuff for maximum findability?  There was some analysis of the marketplace and the recommended position to be explored for a design solution was the mesh-up of the following:

  • The Mesh – curated solution focused on showcasing the value add services that are Library trusted (i.e. ePublishing, author services, print on demand, etc)
  • eContent upload /eLending Platform
  • Users “area-of-interest customised” solution
  • Discover  – eContent discovery destination, including a ‘local’ connection to the nearest public library

So where is ALICE at now?  We are working with a design company for the design solution and have held a workshop to test what is actually possible. The image above is a very early view of what an ALICE could be with a reading shelf, social feed, search functionality user profile, library bag, connections, and regional library section.  The book shelf could also be used by businesses with all the functionality of a library user but designed for businesses to manage their digital content and connections.  The author gets to have a connection with every reader of their content and can also see the interactive statistics for their content that has been loaded to the platform.  It is also to be designed for all formats of content.  And while content is part of ALICE the design solution is very much around the profile of the user of ALICE.  This is still very much a work in progress and if the design solution is accepted, SLQ will then be determining a business model to be pursued should ALICE get the go ahead. It is still too early to tell if whether we can invite a whole community to join in our tea party, whether ALICE has a future and if anyone else but the library industry has an interest but it is very liberating exploring what could be.

Comments can be directed at Twitter @janecowell8 or email [email protected]

janeTTW10Jane Cowell is the Director of Regional Access and Public Libraries at the State Library of Queensland. Key projects during this appointment are the Library Leadership program for Public Library staff, State Library’s Literacy Framework Libraries for Literacy every day, every way, and The Library Dividend: the socioeconomic value of Queensland Public Libraries. Prior to this role Jane was a Senior Consultant with the AEC Group, working with local governments and State Libraries across Australia on strategic planning, library service models and community consultation in the areas of library and community services. Jane has over 20 years public library management experience, including serving as President of Queensland Public Library Association.

Jane is passionate about public libraries as community hubs and community learning centres, and sees many opportunities for libraries presented by the rapidly changing digital, social and economic environment. as well as some challenges in addressing the stereotype view of the library, especially around collections.



#TTW10 : The Feel-Good Librarian ~ You Can Do Magic

From Michael: Thanks FGL for contributing this guest post! I can’t believe how many years it’s been since I interviewed you for LJ:


Hi, friends – Feel-good Librarian here, with biggest, shiniest congratulations to Michael and the whole Tame the Web community! Ten super years of information sharing and general quality assurance in the library world. Awesome!

TTW has covered so many topics, but the ones that appeal most to me have been about keeping the heart in technology. Most of my interactions are still in person, but many occur through technology: email, internet, IM and texting, as well as the telephone. I’ve experienced feel-goodness at both ends of the spectrum recently.

I still teach internet skills for our homeless shelter. A patron that I taught in the seminar a few sessions ago stopped me in the lobby recently. She said, “You teach the computer seminars!”

I agreed, and she told me the following: “I learned how to do stuff on the computer here so I could fill out applications. I’d never heard of that. I went over to Taco Bell and they said I had to apply on the computer, they didn’t even have paper ones anymore. If it hadn’t been for the library teaching me how to do computers, and the shelter teaching me how to live, I’d still be in the gutter.”


On the other hand, I told a friend at church that the library has online databases she can access from her home computer with her library card number, covering lots of topics. I emailed her the link. She texted me later, after she followed the link and delightedly explored our list.

Friend: There is a whole database for home maintenance! I found gas furnace tune-up instructions for [husband]. And I found the hobbies database!!!!!

FGL: You are the perfect patron! You actually follow directions, use the resources, and then to be so excited about them!

Friend: And YOU are the fairy princess librarian with the magic wand that opens the door to the “Room of All Knowledge.”

Feel-good to fairy princess, folks. Sometimes it may not feel that way to you, since you know the ins and outs of your everyday library processes, but please don’t forget that when it works, YOU can do magic in someone’s life.

Ten great years of technology – and heart. Thanks for the magic, Michael!



#TTW10 “Tamer” Graphic by Theresa Papaurelis, Graphic Artist at Indian Prairie Public Library. (