About Michael Stephens

Libraries and librarians are faced with a technological  and societal wave of change that is ever increasing as we move farther into the 21st century. Preparing new graduates to deal with constant change, use current and emerging technology tools to further the mission of their institutions, and meet the needs of communities of library users while never losing sight of our foundational values and principles is of utmost importance to me as an LIS educator.

Dr. Michael Stephens is Professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University. His teaching focuses on information communities, evolving library service, and reflective practice for librarians. His teaching has garnered awards for delivery and engagement in the online environment. Dr. Stephens has delivered keynotes, papers, and workshops throughout the US and internationally on topics related to creative and open uses of technology to support and drive library services and learning. From 2010 – 2020, Dr. Stephens wrote the column “Office Hours” for Library Journalexploring the issues, ideas, and emerging trends in libraries and LIS education. His research focuses on the use of emerging technologies in libraries, professional development and learning programs for librarians, and innovation in information environments. He is inspired by library structures and virtual spaces that support user curiosity, encourage participation, nurture the creation of new knowledge, and encourage the heart. In 2018, Dr. Stephens spent a month in Australia visiting libraries, keynoting a multi-national conference, and serving as a visiting scholar at the University of Southern Queensland. ALA Editions has published two collections of his writings: The Heart of Librarianship (2016) and Wholehearted Librarianship (2019).  Michael resides outside Traverse City, Michigan.

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Full Biography

Originally from Mishawaka, Indiana, Michael received BA and MLIS degrees from Indiana University. He spent over fifteen years working in public libraries at the Saint Joseph County Public Library(SJCPL) in South Bend, Indiana. While engaged in staff training, long-term planning, and management initiatives at SJCPL, Michael developed a passion for the practical application of technology in libraries and the connections technology affords. He published The Library Internet Trainer’s Toolkit in 2001 in the United States and a in the UK in 2002. In 2003 he launched his weblog, Tame the Web. pornoseks

In 2004, Michael was awarded an IMLS fellowship to begin an interdisciplinary information science doctoral program at the University of North Texas, where he conducted research on social software and blogging, including his dissertation “Modeling the Role of Blogging in Librarianship.” Named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal in 2005, he also served as a 2005 Scholar in Residence at Chicago Public Library and as an adjunct instructor at IUPUI and Dominican University. Michael joined Dominican University’s full-time faculty in 2006 and completed his Ph.D. in 2007 while continuing to blog and publish. During his time at DU, he produced two ALA Library Technology Reports on Web 2.0 and also created a graduate seminar on Library 2.0 theory and practice. He left Dominican in 2011 to join the faculty at SJSU School of Information.

Michael’s professional and scholarly writing has appeared in Public Libraries, Library Journal, American Libraries, Computers in Libraries, Library Media Connection, OCLC’s NextSpace, Serials Review, Internet Reference Services Quarterly, Australian Research Journal, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, First Monday, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice and ALA’s TechSource blog. 

From 2007-2009, he wrote a monthly Library Journal column with Michael Casey called “The Transparent Library” (available as a free ebook), which explored how trends and technologies can enhance libraries and can make them participatory and open to change.

By structuring the transparent library for constant and purposeful change we reduce the negative impact that change has on both the staff and user. Incorporating change into the organization through creative teams and open lines of communication allows the transparent library to add new tools, respond to changing community needs, and move ahead with new initiatives without shaking up the foundation.

He also co-authored a column in Digitale Bibliotheek, a Dutch professional journal for librarians and information specialists, with Jan Klerk called “Open Conversation” in 2009. From 2010 – 2020, Michael wrote the column “Office Hours” for Library Journal exploring the issues, ideas, and emerging trends in libraries and LIS education. 

He was named the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar, examining the effect of Learning 2.0 programs in Australian libraries. Spending five weeks researching and working with libraries all around Australia, the research was first presented at the 2010 VALA conference and is published in various journal articles. For 2014-2016, he served as an advisor and faculty instructor for the Loyola Marymount University Research Institute Program, funded by IMLS. This three year grant offered a research-focused institute for academic librarians seeking to publish. He also served as an advisor for the Project Information Literacy (PIL) Lifelong Learning Advisory Board.

He has spoken at numerous state library associations, consortia, and  international conferences and has consulted and presented for U.S. embassies in Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey. Michael presents staff development programs based on his research focus and teaching.



Michael speaks on a variety of topics related to libraries, people, and technology.  Please feel free to contact Michael for more information about speaking at your event or for your professional development workshops. Michael’s speaker bio and promotional photos can be found on the About page. Download Michael’s CV for a full list of presentations. Download Michael’s CV

Speaker Biography

Dr. Michael Stephens is Professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University. He has delivered keynotes and workshops throughout the US and internationally on topics related to creative library services and learning for over 20 years. He has written for major LIS professionals publications, including 13 years with Library Journal as a columnist.  ALA Editions has published two collections of his writings: The Heart of Librarianship (2016) and Wholehearted Librarianship (2019).   Michael resides outside Traverse City, Michigan.

Photos for promotional use