What a Year! 2006 in Posts, Presentations, Permutations, and … PARTICIPATION! (Updated)

A lot of folks have been looking back at 2006. I realized today what a year it’s been: more library and librarian blogs, RSS gains even more ground, Wikis rule the school (and ALA), IM is embedded directly in pages where our users may find themselves, YouTube offers a way to share a “Ray of Light” and other library content, comments in the catalog, and innovations such as the WPopac offer a view of a bright, open future… wowza…

Who knew that 2006 would shake out to be a year of “participatory culture,” to borrow a phrase from Henry Jenkins. Who knew how quickly these 2.0 changes would come at us? Who knew that the conversations about trust, collaboration and transparency would reach as far and wide as they did?

2006 was certainly a year of constant change in Library Land. It was also a year of personal change for many folks we know here in the Biblioblogosphere. How many people did I write “Reinvention” posts for or comment on their own “I’m changing jobs” posts? Did you change jobs? Go back to school? Sign a book contract? Write a dissertation? Get your PhD? Wowza is right.

My first semester full time at Dominican GSLIS has been incredible. The students are engaged, curious and passionate about libraries. I wish I could bottle all the disscussions we had about library futures, our foundations, and the skills needed to move forward — they were thought-provoking and, frankly, I learned a lot. A big shout out to the faculty, staff and, most of all, the stufents at Dom!

I also want to say thanks to all the folks that had me in to speak this year. I met a lot of great librarians and traveled to some cool places. I appreciate the hospitality.

Last year, I collected a few of my all time favorite TTW posts as a way to look back, re-evaluate and scrutinize my writing. This year, inspired by this post at Copyblogger, I’ll offer the best of TTW for 2006 as determined by YOU. These are the posts that were the most visited, trackbacked and commented on. More importantly, I also want to point to some touchstone blog posts from the Biblioblogosphere that spoke to me, moved me and inspired me.

TTW Favorites 2006

Five Factors for User-Centered Service: Born from hearing about a librarian-centered decision in a nearby library that put up a barrier between users and the services they use.

Ten Techie Things for Librarians 2006: My favorite part: We can’t forget to take care of ourselves and each other. No ILS, RSS feed, blog, iPod or Treo is going to take care of our physical, emotional and spiritual selves. That’s up to us and those we love. Don’t miss out on that part too. Just sayin’. I still believe this and hope that you all have that spiritual, emotional center to balance your lives and work.

Selling RSS to Medical Librarians: Thanks to David Rothman for allowing me to post his detailed email he sent to TTW here. I’m glad he started his own blog! Rock On!

Ten Ways to Lose Your Techie Librarians: How about those timelines? 7. Plan project timelines that extend so long the planned service or tech innovation is out of date before it launches. Folks carried the meme forward with more posts.

Weblogs & Libraries: Notes from a SirsiDynix Webinar: One of my favorite presentations this year took place with me in my loungewear with my dogs at my feet, talking to an assembled group in a SirsiDynix Webinar. This posts wraps up and shares some data from that talk.

An IM Reference Report: Facts and numbers from looking at my former library’s IM reference stats.

Five Phrases I Hope I Never Hear in Libraries Agaoin: So, “we’ve always done it this way?” 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… so if you say it, add “and we examined other ways, and this way is still the best!” If you are hiding behind that phrase because you’ve had enough new things or just want to keep things the same, it might be time to move on.

Ten Rules for New Librarians: Listen to the seasoned librarians you encounter. They know things. Good things. Listen and they may inform your future decisions and planning. Learn from every conversation, meeting or water cooler chat. (And seasoned folk, listen to your new hires! You do the same: listen, learn and share… break down the generational divide present in some organizations…you’ll be happy you did!)

Ten Signs I hope I never See in Libraries Again: That pesky cell phone sign post! Thanks to all of the photographers who let me blog their pictures. I was amazed at the range of comments, thoughts and opiunions about this topic. Here’s the post about the table at KCPL that got this comment: “This is a great picture that goes along with a current assignment that I have in library class, “How do your libraries look to your patrons” I included a copy of this in my blog. Thanks for sharing.”

Why don’t CEOs (Library Directors) Blog? An unintended benefit? According to Darien Library Director Louise Berry: “One of the unexpected benefits of the “directors blog”: the library staff reads it!”

Ten Things I Know About Libraries:#6 Libraries will benefit from the next wave of MLIS grads. I am invigorated by my students. By their questions — and some of them ask HARD questions. I don’t know they answers to all of them, so I’m learning too. I hope I always will be. I do know – when these folks hit the door of your library to interview, be ready! Versed in our foundations, core values and, hopefully, a good dose of technology, social tools and user-centered planning, these graduates will take your library farther and into spaces that might surprise you. Let the breathe. Let them play. And encourage them. Oh, and rememeber: it’s still up to us.

TTW Biblioblog Posts of Note 2006

Karen Schneider The User is Not Broken

The user is not broken.

Your system is broken until proven otherwise.

That vendor who just sold you the million-dollar system because “librarians need to help people” doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, and his system is broken, too.

Most of your most passionate users will never meet you face to face.

This is a milestone. Excellent on all counts. The ripples in the Biblioblogosphere that this post created are still moving outward. I’ve used it at school and urged all the groups I’ve spoken with to take a look as well. Thanks Karen.

Helene Blowers Learning 2.0 Blog

This is more of an idea than a specific post but the launch of PLCMC’s Learning 2.0 initiative for staff — all library staff– is a huge step forward in creating an open, participatory library. Encouraging learning and the responsibility that goes with ot, a snazzy prize for those who finished, and the positive buzz surrounding this innovation is far-reaching as well. Hurrah for Helene and PLCMC and hurrah for those libraries adopting the same initiative for thier organizations.

Also: Six Trends Driving the Future of Libraries: A classic post that takes an article from the popular press and applies it to libraries. I’m fascinated by this type of thinking. I used this post and the article its based on for a trendspotting exercise just recently.

David King Making Time for Web 2.0: The classic 2.0 question when I speak: “How do we have time to do any of this new stuff?” is answered mist succinctly and with insight from David Lee King. David writes: ““We don’t have enough staff to do these new things.” When I hear this excuse (because that’s really what it is), I think back to the NEKLS Technology Day I attended. I was on a discussion panel with a librarian at a small library. She is the ONLY staff member at her library, and yet she has time for a library blog and console gaming nights. If a one-librarian library can do these things, then you can, too. Sometimes it’s not really a staffing change that’s needed; instead, a mental change, or a change in focus, is what’s needed.” Amen Mr. King!

Jessamyn West The A List (on Bibliobloggers Ethics): Rules to live and blog by:

  • be gracious with everyone
  • be consistent
  • lead by example
  • encourage, nurture, read and link to newer bloggers
  • meet bloggers in person whenever possible
  • keep pissing matches and whining off your blog, take grudges offline
  • read constantly, offline and online
  • know what you are talking about and admit when you don’t
  • make your content presentable and accessible and findable
  • don’t turn down other opportunities to get your message out and make a good impression
  • accept the power and the responsibility that comes with where you are, and use it for good


David King Are You Blogging This?”: Watch it. It speaks volumes about our participatory culture and the tools we use. 🙂

Michael Porter on Netflix taking Libraries to School:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Oh Netflix, why can’t you just be a library? Oh, wait…you ARE a library! Sure, you’re wrapped up in a company and a series of web services and efficient delivery, but your product really IS a library. An engaging and thorough look at the Netflix model and libraries from this summer that rings oh so true. Another reading for staff dicussion? Yes!

Michael Casey Evolutionary Technology and the Emerging Divide Casey writes: “Where does this leave an Emerging Technology Team? Clearly we need to remove the expectation that technology will always offer sensational new tools that can be inserted into library operations and result in exceptional returns. While the pace of new technology may increase again in a few years, for now it appears that both hardware and software advances will be more evolutionary in nature. We need to educate those in positions of power that this does not mean that these evolutionary tools cannot result in revolutionary outcomes.” Probably one of the most important ideas to ponder: it’s about people, not technology and it’s about buy in from up top. How many times this year did you say: “Why isn’t(aren’t) my director/board/trustees/school board, etc here for this presentation” at some Web 2.0 talk or another.

Jenny Levine Library 2.0 in the Real World: Introduced many readers to the incredible work of Casey Bisson and took the thinking about Library 2.0 to the real world. “One of Casey’s theories that resonates with me is a fundamental mistake librarians make: assuming that the OPAC has to be part of the Integrated Library System (ILS). In other words, if you buy a specific vendor’s product with which to do your cataloging, acquisitions, serials, etc., then you are stuck using that vendor’s online catalog. Unless, of course, you have one or more programmers to completely rewrite the catalog—and let’s face it, there just aren’t that many libraries with those kinds of resources.” This is a trend to watch closely. If you haven’t already, schedule a demo of the WPopac at your January staff meeting just as an FYI for your staff. Be aware. Watch what happens. It’s going to be big.

Also, following blogs outside of Libraryland was useful and thought-provoking. Take a look at edublogger David Warlick’s Information as Science & Why Libraries Are Important.

Update: Run don’t walk to Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 2006 wrap up: http://web2.wsj2.com/the_web_20_zeitgeist_2006_edition.htm

There were so many more wonderful posts and so many wonderful bibliobloggers, it’s impossible to note them all, but please keep writing and sharing.