Tags Michael Casey

30 posts

Six Signposts on the Way

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens We recently presented a workshop in London at Internet Librarian International, based on our writings here, and realized that throughout the columns we’ve identified a set of mile markers for the journey toward transparency. Give everyone an avenue to talk. Offer online and real-world mechanisms for all of the library’s stakeholders, staff and users, to talk, react, and suggest solutions. A good start is a suggestion box and a way to share the answers with everyone. Add an online forum or blog and “town hall meetings,” and the stage is set. Your goal is […]

Library PR 2.0

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens The rules of marketing have changed. Do libraries know that? Corporate PR-types used to control the message. Sitting behind a desk, they’d write a carefully crafted press release and then send it off to newspapers and upload it to their web site. The attention the company got might barely justify the salary of the PR professional. Today’s world is fundamentally different. Neither news nor brand identity are controlled through press releases or carefully choreographed newspaper articles. Brands are molded and shaped by the audience-and the audience is everyone. People talk. And people listen. Social […]

When Worlds Collide

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens As the buzz around social networking continues, consider that author Kevin Kelly has called the emerging web “One Machine” and predicts that “total personalization in this new world will require total transparency.” So, where do we fit in? Where do we position ourselves as professionals? We two don’t completely agree, so we thought we’d try to tease out the relationship between personal/social transparency and library transparency. MS: I think the line between the personal and the professional online has blurred so much recently that it’s impossible to separate them. MC: Our worlds are colliding-I […]

Let’s All Lighten Up

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens Sometimes, it’s simply not easy. When life throws us $4-a-gallon gasoline, rising unemployment, a housing credit crunch, and tight local, state, and federal budgets, libraries feel the pinch. It’s natural for work morale to suffer. Boards and administrators feel pressure to make cuts and increase staff efficiency. Front-line staffers get hit from both sides–supervisors who expect more (and sometimes give less) and users who expect the same services they’re used to, plus a smiling face. During times like this, the natural inclination is to “get serious,” push your staff harder, and make every dollar […]

Check Your Ego at the Door

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens Egos can insidiously prevent us from doing what we could do best. Recently, in a late-night conversation, a few trusted librarian colleagues told us how much damage an inflated ego can do to a library’s culture. One in that small circle had clashed with a department member and been called out by the administration for “only thinking of herself” in planning and implementing a new project. Another had been recognized in a national forum as a rising talent, only to have that accolade ignored by employers. A third led a well-regarded project but was […]

How to Find the Right Fit

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens Dear MLS grad (and others who may be looking for a new position), We’re glad you are ready for the first (or next) step in your career. We know that the job market can be tight and that most newly minted librarians are happy to get their foot in the door, recognizing that no one library will conform to your workplace ideal. Still, we’d like to offer some pointers for a good fit. First, look at “In Search of an Emotionally Healthy Library,” by Nancy Cunningham (now director of the Learning Resources Center at […]

Embracing Service to Teens

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens When did it become an acceptable customer service response to try and push out an entire age group of users? Never, but that’s happening at too many libraries. Can we remain transparent, open, and focused on the core value of access and still tell young people to find another place to be social online? MC: I still get emails from librarians who endure meetings where administrators bemoan having to accommodate teens. One even said her director thought stats showing lower senior citizen library use reflected the increased teen presence. Banning MySpace MS: My hometown […]

Measuring Progress

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens The most difficult part of 2.0 librarianship is not the creation of new services nor even the job of convincing those in charge to let you try those new ideas. No, the hardest part is often the reexamination of ideas. It’s a key factor of any library service and part of the definition of Library 2.0 that sometimes gets overlooked. The evaluation of newer and existing services is critical for any successful library. It can be accomplished via vertical teams or a mix of internal and external evaluators; either way, you must look at […]

Cheers & Jeers

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens We’ve been writing the Transparent Library for a year, so it’s time for some thumbs up and thumbs down. Cheers to the widespread librarians, library staff, administrators, trustees, and others from libraries small and large who have participated in localized versions of Helene Blowers’s Learning 2.0 program. As we write, the entire state of Minnesota is running the program for all interested parties, reinforcing the idea that inclusive, self-directed learning applied to emerging tools can bring people together and get them talking. Cheers to the State Library of South Carolina for its engaging, personalized […]

Insights from the Front Line

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens This column is directed to front-line librarians and staff, who deliver customer service and have damn good ideas for what can be done to improve things. It’s often a hurdle to get library administrators and managers to listen to your concerns and views. But there are ways. And we believe this advice holds true for everyone on the desk, from reference librarians to support staff. Be vocal but not obnoxious. You know the story probably better than anyone as to how your users perceive the library. You know how they use (or don’t use) […]