Tags Michael Casey

30 posts

Coping with Anonymity

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens Picture this: your library has launched a visionary long-range reorganization plan that sparks an anonymous, critical blog from staff members. Or your library appears in an anonymous YouTube or Flickr extravaganza that targets your authoritarian signage, unfriendly staff, and dirty public restrooms. Or your soon-to-be-launched web revamp is reviewed on an employee’s personal blog before the library goes public. Hypothetical? No. Such events, which have occurred at various libraries, can make for difficult and stressful times. Are they entirely negative? Can transparency and anonymity coexist? Is it better to turn a blind eye to […]

A Road Map to Transparency

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens In our experiences at a larger public library system and in a university setting (after numerous years in a medium-sized public library), respectively, we often have had access to resources that smaller libraries/systems do not. While that sets our frame of reference, we intend to give advice aimed at libraries of all sizes. No matter the dimensions of the institution, the building blocks of transparency allow a more honest, open flow of ideas, where staff and users are valued. The “To Do” list for transparency is simple but requires commitment from administrators and staff […]

The Technology Storm

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens We’re a far cry from the days when technology was solely the domain of the IT folks at the library. Now, much of what we do is linked to using, planning for, implementing, and evaluating all manner of technologies-from web site design/redesign and the rapidly growing trend of using social tools in the library all the way to finding out what hardware works best for the library and how to implement radio frequency identification (RFID). While teams and committees ponder decisions about how a technology will fit in, the big picture decisions also require […]

Triumphing Over Opacity

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens We recently heard from a ‘librarian in the trenches’ who copied our recent column on transparency (‘The Open Door Director,’ LJ 7/07, p. 29) for colleagues but was chastised by the library director for being too open with ‘lower levels of staff.’ We’ve received several comments like this since The Transparent Library began last April, which indicates that some library managers still prefer opacity. We’d like to share some examples and ideas on how to improve the situation. Michael S.: As an academic, I’ve talked with many librarians this year about these topics. I […]

Going to the Field

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens How many times have decisions been met with resistance and misunderstanding in your library when word reaches the front lines? Sometimes it seems like higher-ups create policy without a feel for what actually happens on desks throughout the library. Often, those higher ups are labeled “out of touch.” And those staffers who are on the front lines or working in the branches-whether they’re public or academic libraries-do know what goes on every day. You know what it’s like. You know how you must juggle immediate customer service needs with longer-term issues such as training, […]

Ask for What You Want

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens When was the last time someone said lawyers or doctors needed to update their images into the 21st century? How many skits on Prairie Home Companion or Saturday Night Live have you seen where doctors appear as outdated, dowdy spinsters in need of love or romance? None. Yet Garrison Keillor’s “Adventures of Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian” parades antiquated and stereotyped images of librarians as humor. Unfortunately, librarians are often portrayed as technologically backward, fearful of teens and loud noises, and overly protective of books to the point of not wanting anyone to “touch our […]

The Open Door Director

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens The job of library director is difficult and often underappreciated. These days, library directors are more like university presidents, needing to build support in the community, raise money, and make a name for themselves and their library. Obviously, this varies by the size of the community, but all library directors need to garner sufficient political and community capital to get budgets approved and expansions funded and to keep door counts high. It’s no longer enough for the library director simply to keep the place running. Today’s director is politician and lobbyist, fundraiser and spokesperson, […]

Living Out Loud

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens You’re “out there” whether you want to be or not. In the March 2007 Wired cover article, “The Naked CEO,” Clive Thompson illustrates that corporate blunders, missteps, and outright lies are exposed every day. One of our favorite examples is Diebold insisting that its voting machines are safe and secure while YouTube hosts a video of how to crack its security. It’s similar to a child standing in front of you and saying he has not eaten a candy bar when you can see chocolate all over his face. We can understand lies from […]

Turning “No” into “Yes”

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens Often times, it’s born at the desk. Staff members think of a new idea, and they want to share it with the decision-makers. They put together a presentation or proposal at the suggestion of their immediate supervisor and take it up to administration. But they receive a cold reception. Not only are they told, “No,” but they were “talked to” by the department head: “How could anyone think such an idea would work? Didn’t they realize that their idea had been tried five years earlier?” Other times it’s born at a rousing conference or […]

Introducing the Michaels

By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens What prevents a library from being transparent? Barriers. Roadblocks. Inability to change. The culture of perfect. The transparent library contains three key elements: open communication, adapting to change, and scanning the horizon. We’ll explore these ideas and offer solutions for those struggling with new models of service, technology, and a decidedly opaque climate. The web has changed the old landscape of top-down decisions. “As the web becomes the greatest word-of-mouth amplifier in history, consumers learn to trust peers more and companies less,” said Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail. “And as the same […]