Random Thoughts about the Hyperlinked Library at CML

Yesterday was a great day at Columbus Metropolitan Library. I did two sessions of a customized version of the Hyperlinked Library to help launch the Learn & Play program. The staff seemed very excited to begin and some had already ramped up their blogs. I talked to some good folks over the wonderful vegetarian-friendly lunch, including Nick, who shared the following from my morning talk at his blog he’ll be using for the program. I like the fact that he’s capturing ideas, actions and things to ponder further and putting it out there.


Anytime I go to one of these sorts of presentations I always come across with a whole bunch of random thoughts and notes that I want to follow up on or do something with, even if I don’t know what right away. So here’s a sample of random thoughts from today’s presentation.

  • It’s all about the user experience, both at the library and online. If we create a great experience, people will want to come to both our site and our buildings. But this only works if the experience is seamless. We can’t put up a site and wait for people to find us, we need to put ourselves where people already are so that they trip over us. Don’t make silos!
  • What are we doing that restricts/controls customers/staff/spaces/web? Why do we do it? what do we lose by doing it? If a customer has a choice of going to the library where they can’t do x/y/z or a bookstore where they can, which place will they go?
  • Need to start taking down signs.
  • Need to edit the CML wikipedia entry
  • Know what groups you’re trying to reach and find ways to engage them.
  • Transparency: why do we lock down everything and keep everyone from making content? Most people are well-intentioned, and if someone decides to do something nasty we can deal with it as it comes up. Or for that matter, make the community self-policing. Let users flag objectionable material or otherwise notify us that there’s a problem.
  • We need to use our staff from top to bottom. Everyone has expertise, how do we mine all that knowledge for our customers? Let them read the staff blogs?
  • I can’t believe how many tweets are out there about the library! Why aren’t we already watching this? If someone tweets about the library, we should be answering!
  • We’re putting so much effort into launching chat reference, and all we really need to do is embed a Meebo widget in the catalog! Let’s do it!
  • “To be curious means to explore first.”
  • Why can’t we send a bluetooth message to enabled phones as soon as they walk in our buildings? “Welcome to the library, here’s what’s going on.”
  • Don’t let fear prevent you from trying something. There’s always reasons not to do something, why not just try it?
  • The time to act is now. We don’t have to proofread every memo for 3 hours. Last night a customer said to me that customers he knows have been asking for more computers for 3 years. We’ve got a committee working on it now, but why did it take 3 years? What’s been holding us back?
  • Why do we worry about kids using Myspace and FaceBook on the library computers? This is how they communicate! How is it different from the group of teens sitting in the Teen area talking? They’re still at the library!
The quote “To be curious means to explore first.” comes from Seth Godin, in a video that John blyberg blogged about a few months ago. I’ve incorporated it into the talk. Slides forthcoming.