PLA: Finding OZ: Discovering a Bright Future for Libraries


Slides will be on Abram’s Web site at SIRSI where he will also be launching a blog!

Stephen Abram, Monday March 7, Palmer House Hilton

“Favorite thing is to figure out where users, libraries and our communities are going to be…”

Some building blocks of info:

Florida study from Midwinter: ROI on library services in the state

Free=Unfettered Access: Shame on us for not allowing walk in users

Why are we using these technologies? How do we transform our users with them?

How does one person persuade many?

Charts? Rational Argument? Dialogue?

Storytelling? = HIGH efficacy

For more:

Stories can…change organizations!

Abram’s CEO “The best way to discover the future is to invent it.”

DON”T MISS: googlezon

“You can always tell the culture of the library by how high and how thick the reference desk is.”

Some Innovations:

Google Scholar Toolbar for Firefox

Picasa offers photo storage online

Toolbars: OCLC, Google,

Google Local: Every business in your community mapped out — is your library listed? (Is SJCPL in Google Local?)

How and Why questions are the ones that are important

Google gets questions in two hours equal to all the libraries and all the reference departments in 2.5 years

So what do we do?

Reinvent the Librarian

Virtual Reference: is not the perfect solution yet but if you got on the bandwagon early you are better off. It improves ref work because you get a transcript of every transaction. Then you can evaluate them.

IM: Aaron Schmidt is reaching Millennial users with IM at his library.

Know Your Market

Normative Data Project

PL world should look at the data and use it for planning. Look at the way humans are behaving: gather stories

Rethink the Repository

What areas/users do your collections serve?

Push stuff to them when they want it: RSS! Get on the Wagon Early! SIRSI does it from the ILS.

Federated Identity Managaement

RFID – Not ready for Prime Time, meant to be used once not circulated.
Biometrics – Fingerprints as library card (Buffalo/Erie County PL)
Smartrcards – card with a chip, stripe, barcode and image
U of Toronto and ADA – Access to DBs for folks that are blind, etc.

Libraries circulating iPods with books on them. These first few libraries will learn how this works.

Invent Targeted Search

Teaching users to know WHERE to search as well as HOW to search.

Lead the Wireless Revolution

Offer wifi…look for that mi=unicipal dome of free wifi in the future!

How does your library’s website look on a Treo 650?

What homepage do your wireless users get when they access your wifi network?

Get into the Community

BLOG! Blog all of your announcements!

Kids blog…Teens blog… feed out RSS for all!

RSS: The other side of push. Get clubs and other local websites to stream RSS feeds from your catalog on their pages. Be relevant in your community!!! This can be “one of our biggest opportunities in wedding ourselves and being relevant in our communities.”

Make the Library Discoverable

Search Engine Optimization:

Your library should be on the top page. Use keywords, tags etc.

Toolbars! Harris County Public Library

Build Context First

Usability vs., Satisfaction
Real Needs
Transactions and Transformations

Don’t just measure statitics — measure IMPACT!

Next wave: by 2006

Broadband across the US
Low-Power Consumption mobile display devoice
Real time infrastuructrure
Transition to service oriented architecture


Connected Society
Connected Objects and Places
Connected Enterprises

This was an incredible talk. The audienece of over 200 was engaged for over 3 hours!