Happy Holidays!

Afte receiving three of these this past week, there's no doubt Elf Yourself is the hottest email card around (btw there's also a Scrooge Yourself for bah humbug fans). But for this year's holiday fun, I prefer JibJab.

Now, if I could actually clone myself (like the video), I just might be able to get all my packing for the move done. :)

Have a wonderful holiday everyone !


Good Bye

Today was a difficult day ...

Good Bye

Thank you PLCMC for a wonderful twelve years!
I will miss you all ... lots


#8 most blogging city

Last week Neilsen released their annual Top Ten lists (click on pdf link for the lists) and to my surprise I just discovered that Columbus is listed among the top ten most blogging cities.

Neat! I highly doubt if my moving there will push them to #7 :) But it's nice to learn that the community has a high percentage of the population engaged in social media sites.


Digital Media Goldmine

Talk about a goldmine of reading ... The MacArthur Foundation has recently published a whole series of reports on Digital Media and Learning:

From my quick glance at few of the reports (btw: free pdfs are available for all), there's a lot of good reading here.


Totally *heart* this

Originally uploaded by illustrator_ian
I was totally bummed this week to learn that I missed Family Portrait Day @ the Library last weekend while I was in Columbus - pah!

FPD@L is a the brainchild of Tony Tallent and the result of several talented staff including Emily Little and Ian & Erin Nguyen.

Don’t you just love photos like these… and what a great holiday greetings card. :)

Shift Signs

Wow… between the recent Washington Post article* about how DC Public Library is redefining their staff compliment with “more high-tech savvy employees” who are "very comfortable with change" to the application instructions for the newly reopened Salt Lake City Public Library’s director search -- Your application “package should include a paper resume and directions to your digital presence, blog, or social networking Web site -- you can definitely see a shift is occurring.

SLCPL Director Application instructions

* Why does the press always seem to insist on writing inflamatory headlines? My sense is that with a generous 6 month severance package and the retirement incentives for those that chose the early leave package, that true story about the departure of the eight lies somewhere in between.


A Librarian's Worst Nightmare

Interesting food for thought...

"Even though Yahoo! Answers is so frequently sloppy and inaccurate, it's still the juggernaut in its field. Despite a rapid proliferation of answer-giving sites—'s recently inaugurated Askville just joined a crowded field that includes Answerbag, WikiAnswers, AnswerBank, and Ask Metafilter—Yahoo!'s is still by far the most popular. And in the question-answering game, size matters. While the others have a few clever features (like Answerbag's efforts to separate "educational" and "conversational" questions) or a more specialized community, the sheer magnitude of Yahoo!'s community gives it the upper hand...

The lesson Yahoo! Answers teaches is that, for millions of people on the Web, it's less important to get a good answer than to get someone to listen to your question in the first place."

I think those that work in public services can really relate to the last sentence. It's often not the quality of the answer that's most important to the customer; it's that someone personally took an active interest in helping them and in listening to their information needs. And that, in itself, is a very powerful thing.

Full article here, A Librarian's Worst Nightmare.

PS: Thanks Ed for the link :)

The L Formula

Personally, I've always thought of leadership as something that is inherit to individuals and really isn't one of those skills that can be learned or taught in a management class. But Steven Covey's recent post makes me think differently... sorta.* Perhaps there is a formula for leadership -- or at least a short list of essential ingredients that are common among the most effective ones.

Covey's four imperatives of leadership:

  1. The first is to inspire trust. You build relationships of trust through both your character and competence and you also extend trust to others. You show others that you believe in their capacity to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises, and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second guessing every step people make.
  2. The second is to clarify purpose. Great leaders involve their people in the communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it and you create a situation where people are on the same page about what is really important—mission, vision, values, and goals.
  3. The third is to align systems. This means that you don’t allow there to be conflict between what you say is important and what you measure. For instance, many times organizations claim that people are important but in fact the structures and systems, including accounting, make them an expense or cost center rather than an asset and the most significant resource.
  4. The fourth is the fruit of the other three—unleashed talent. When you inspire trust and share a common purpose with aligned systems, you empower people. Their talent is unleashed so that their capacity, their intelligence, their creativity, and their resourcefulness is utilized.

Think of impact of reaching item #4 - unleashing talent. I've been fortunate to see this happen and it's amazing!! If you can move your organization forward to this level, there is absolutely nothing that you can't do.

* BTW: I've always thought of leadership as a thing that is nurtured (not taught) from raw talent and instinct. Confession - even after Covey, I still do. :)

[hmm... heading off to ponder items 1,2&3 and how to incorporate these in the new job]


Me in my own words ...

Originally uploaded by Dave & Bry
Thanks Dave Pattern for the pleasant surprise. Your talent and creativity always amaze me.

PS: Take a look at the enlarged version to see the actual text from this blog - neat!

PPS: Kinda adds a new meaning to "eating my my own words" (at least a few of them, that is)

More info on how Dave did this here.


10 things I learned during my first week @ CML

  1. The staff at Columbus Metropolitan Library are terrific! Thanks to everyone for the *warm* welcome. It more than made up for Mother Nature’s chilly introduction. :)

  2. The embedded Google map on the CML site is invaluable -- I’m definitely going to be using this a lot as I get to know the branches.

  3. Everything that I need to focus on for my first few months fits on a post it note (thanks Pat). But believe me, those few items are *huge* and cover lots of ground. N2S: don’t loose that piece of paper.

  4. Rental cars don’t come with snow/ice scrappers … they should. Columbus had its first snowfall on Wed with 4 + inches of fluffy stuff followed by a nice freeze and then more snow. BTW: credit cards are a poor substitute.

  5. The growth opportunities at CML are so numerous I don’t where to begin. I can already see that I’m going to benefit and learn a lot from my new colleagues.

  6. CML’s new catalog implementation of aqua browser (to be launched next week it's now live ) is sweet – Can’t wait to see phase II.

  7. Nobody seems to leave CML once they get here. Seriously, the employment longevity among the staff is amazing. I take that as a good sign that it's a wonderful place to work. :)

  8. Columbus is extremely easy to get around in -- I didn’t get lost once -- and the streets don’t change names every 3 or 4 miles (and intersect with themselves) like they do in Charlotte. BTW: My fav in Charlotte is the intersection of Queens Rd. & Queens Rd., which is also the location for the Myers Park branch.

  9. I’m definitely going to need to buy more shoes (what woman doesn't need an excuse for this ? ) The slides and light weight styles that I can get away with in the South’s three season climate just won’t cut it here. In fact, if Mother Nature keeps up, I might even have to buy [cringe] sensible snow boots.

    And last but not least …

  10. My learning curve this past week just grew a whole lot *steeper* … but all in a good way :)

BTW: I'm heading back to Charlotte tomorrow for a few more weeks to wrap up things at PLCMC, finish getting the house ready to go on the market, and to enjoy the holidays. I'll be back at CML permanently starting January 2nd. :)

Thanks again CML for a wonderful welcome!


Teaching vs Learning

In my lessons learned from the Learning 2.0 experience, at the top of the list is "Don't confuse learning with training." Perhaps that's why I find this recent index card from Jessica Hagy so interesting.

On sentence diagrams, innovation and interesting conversations …

Of the many things I’m going to miss about leaving PLCMC, it’s having intriguing conversations and brainstorming sessions with colleagues about ways that libraries are evolving and becoming more innovative.

Oh, I know these type of conversations will happen at CML too. But Tony’s keen talent in drawing connections between foreign ideas and pulling together thoughts so clearly is something I’m definitely going to miss. All I can say is thank goodness he’s blogging. :)

Anyway, here’s a great analogy between writing and sentence diagramming & innovation and dissecting practices
“Diagramming (analyzing or dissecting) a practice or an organization or a job doesn't create any energy or vitality in it. It simply dissects it. The spirit is in the doing. Innovation is doing...

Reading Florey's book reminds me that dissecting takes away the fluid nature--the very spirit--of language, just like peeling apart the layers of a practice to "make it more innovative" stalls out innovation all together. You can't create a diagram for innovation...

Doing does.”

Tony’s so right… Innovation isn’t about diagramming processes, dissecting practices or identifying elements. It’s about taking ideas, creating action plans, teaming up with motivated colleagues, *doing*, and making magic happen.

PS: Thanks Tony for blogging this. I knew the analogy to the book (when you shared it the first time) was one that I wanted to have written down somewhere to remember. Now I don't have to. :)


Suffolk County Library Assoc. Presentation

My first visit to Long Island today to speak at the SCLA CATS annual meeting (& later in the day to the Suffolk County Library Directors) was a cold one. In fact, it was too cold to jump into the pool, let along stick my toes in the water… unless of course, it’s the web 2.0 learning pool. :)

For those in attendance – btw thanks for the warm reception (no pun intended) -- here are my slides: Jumping into the 2.0 Pool

Intro slides from Lynette Webb's Interesting Snippets Flickr set

PS: Outside of my quick trip to LI, I'm in Columbus all this week meeting staff, getting orientated, house hunting etc. It's chilly there as well... but only outside & because of Mother Nature. Inside, the reception is just as warm. I think I'm gonna love it at CML. :)


The latest in library furniture

phone book collage
Originally uploaded by teens_libraryloft
The call to send your old phone books to ImaginOn came out weeks ago and for over a month they've accumulated in the corner of the Teen Loft.

Although I'm not so sure about how comfortable they are, you got give it to the teens... it is a creative way to recycle. :)

Flickr set of the teen project here.

PS: Filed under "Just 4 Fun"


On innovation & transformation

Phil McKinney offers up some interesting thoughts on business models and innovation
"The ultimate objective of any innovation is to transform business and transform lives. How do you know if your innovation is of that transformational kind? Here are my definitions that I use for the different stages/types of business:

  • If you charge for undifferentiated stuff, then you are in the commodity business.
  • If you charge for distinctive/differentiated tangible things, then you are in the goods business.
  • If you charge for the activities you perform, then you are in the service business.
  • If you charge for the time customers spend with you, then and only then are you in the experience business.
  • If you charge for the benefit customers (or "guests") receive as a result of spending that time, you are in the transformation business.
I would argue that to win in the market, you need to aim your innovation efforts towards creating a transformational business."

Although libraries don’t usually “charge” for services, activities or experiences, it’s easy to identify with the business models of goods, services, experiences and transformational. And to echo Phil's thoughts ... I would argue that to excel in the public services market, we need to aim our innovation efforts towards creating transformational libraries.

I had a feeling it wouldn't take long ...

meebo in the catalog
Originally uploaded by davidking
Meebo Chat widget in the catalog ... Yay! :)

Congrats David King! I knew this was an idea that was well within reach of implementing - especially with some of latest free IM tools. It's so great to see it in action.

BTW: That's what I love completely about throwing great ideas out there. You can share 'em (even when they're really not your's -- thanks Lori -- or even when you don't have all the parts figured out). And then someone else, like David, can improve on upon the idea and make it work. :)

Less than just a decade ago, most ideas like this would have taken weeks - or even months -- to bounce around (via the few avenues available like conferences and printed journal publications) before they became anything. But with the blogosphere, etc., you can share ideas and brainstorm out loud and as a result... it only takes a mere 48 hours for someone clever, like David, to figure it out. :)

Thanks Lori for blogging this idea in the 1st place (it's so logical).
And thanks David for so easily demonstrating it in action. Can't wait to hear about the results.


On reinventing reference libraries ...

A year or so ago, I had the pleasure of working with a great team of individuals on a SSP (system- wide strategic priority) project about the Future of Information Services.

FIS for short, this team focused on exploring trends and implementing ideas (IM reference for example) to help keep the library’s information services relevant. At the time a few of our staff also referred to this team as the “reinventing reference” team, but to me this title (which btw imho seems to have been a bit overused in library land) never seemed to fit properly.

[-- fast forward 14 months or so --]

I had completely forgotten about this annoyance until a former colleague sent me a few questions to answer for a visioning project his library system is working on. The questions he posed from the committee really made me think about this word ("reinvent") some more. Here's why ...

How and why have you reinvented yourself or your organization?

I don't think reinvent is the right word. I think of it more as "evolving" to keep up with the information and cultural shift that is already happening. Why? that's easy ... it's *imperative* to remain current and relevant.

As for me personally, I have always viewed "lifelong learning" as a personal pursuit and not a just a library mission moniker. It's a personal responsibility to keep up on trends and be as close to the top of my game as I can. And as public servant, it’s also an expectation and community obligation.

To me the word “reinventing” implies that the model is broken. I don’t think of "it" as being “broken”. But rather “it” (aka, libraries, information services, etc) need to adopt evolving philosophies and practices that ensure they remain relevant.

On a similar note, was also this question -- which makes me wonder that perhaps, sometimes, we really don't ask the right questions …

Do you feel that products and services are determined by need, or do people develop needs based on products and services available?

Hmm... this is loaded question which to me seems based upon some assumptions. It's like the chicken and egg - which came first? The answer lies not in the choices themselves, but rather in realization that products and services are an *evolution* of the constant adjustment to changing customer needs. As users become more savvy and sophisticated (because of their exposure to better products and services) their expectations change and mature and it starts the growth cycle all over again. "

How about you… do you think “reinvent” is the right word we should be using with reference in libraries to talk about the cultural shift and changes in customer expectations that are affecting us? Or is there a better concept than "evolution" to hang this conversation on?


Proof that I work with some great people (& thinkers) …

Earlier this week, PLCMC trainer Lori Reed (who btw is also the mastermind behind the popular online tutorial, 7.5 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners) blogged this:

"Earlier this week I was unable to log in to Bank of America’s site. I thought about calling, but I hate navigating through phone trees (plus there is the fact that I do not sound like my husband–whose account I was trying to log in to–but we won’t go there). I was just about to give up until the following window popped up on my screen:

My first thought was, “How cool, I don’t have to talk to a person!” Yep, I am officially a geek. My second thought was, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we offered a service like this to patrons using our catalog.” After so many attempts to find an item a window would automatically pop up and offer to let the patron chat with a librarian."

Read Lori's full post, Learning from Corporate America.

I absolutely love this idea. There's nothing more frustrating to many of our customers then trying to navigate the online catalog. Imagine if you could easily engage them in a chat session and walk them through the process from inside the catalog itself - connecting with them at their point of need and frustration (& before they are totally disenchanted and disappointed)... Hmmm

Yup, Love it! ... but would love it more to see it implemented... Hmmm [scratches head] :)



New Rules of Innovation

FC magazine is monthly must read on my list and their “expert blogs” aren’t far behind. This week, Richard Watson offers up a post on The New Rules for Innovation:
  1. None of us are as smart of all of us
    ” When it comes to innovation, a collective effort is more usually the norm... innovation is largely a result of networks… Having said all this, the best way to kill a good idea is to involve a committee, so ensure that there’s someone in charge to bang heads together and, if necessary, dislodge the gridlock.

  2. Pioneers get scalped
    “The theory of first mover advantage is bunk according to Nicolas Carr (author of 'Does IT Matter'), who says that when a disruptive technology arrives the real growth opportunities lie in fixing the disruption.”

  3. The more you try, the luckier you get.
    ““The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” Innovation is partly a numbers game. Fail often and fail fast and learn from your mistakes.”

  4. Don’t confuse ideas with innovation.
    “Organizations think they can be great at ideas and innovation, when generally speaking they're either good at one or the other.”

  5. If you love something, give it away
    “Got a good idea? Then give it away. In my experience too many people (especially lone inventors) hide their idea from the world in the belief that someone will steal it. Someone might. But at least if you talk to people it gives you the opportunity to polish the idea by rubbing it between your brain and theirs (see rule #1).”

  6. Innovation is about breaking rules, so ignore any or all of the above.

Full post here.


Closet Conference Bags

dated conference bagsAt the last conference I attended two weeks ago, I told the registration attendant to just keep the bag and only give me the program. Why? Because I’m tired of dated conference bags. They only seem to collect dust in my closet. Here’s proof. And this is just half the stash I pulled out from the top shelve in my continued quest to go through the closets and pare down before the move.

So here’s my question… why do conference totes* always have to have a date on them? To me, this makes the bag undesirable to carry around the minute I step on the plane home. As you can see from my stash, they get such a tremendous amount of use [cough, cough]. In fact, the only time they ever do seem to get pulled out of closet is when my mother visits and needs a disposable bag to carry the girls' art work and “grammie treasures” home in.

Anyway, the asterisk (*) in my question above does have a caveat worth sharing. For when I spoke at the New South Wales Public Library Conference in Australia in July, I actually received a conference tote worth keeping and using. What made this bag a keeper was ...

1) is was not printed with the conference name or date on it.
2) it was designed by a local artist and
3) (perhaps most importantly for the conference sponsors) it contained two small plastic removable slip covers that
    a) allowed the conference sponsor to promote itself &
    b) accommodated a business card so that people in crowded conference room could tell whose bag was whose when they were piled up on the ground.

Photos of the "keeper bag" are here and here.

I don’t know if this is standard for all library conferences in Australia, but I gotta say that this is an approach I’d love to see adopted by conferences over here. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive a bag that was artistically attractive? Or at least one that wasn’t dated the minute you hailed a taxi for airport?

BTW: If you’re wondering what I’m going to do with the 14 bags I hauled out of the closet today, it’s this … I’ve decided to give them to the library’s outreach services department. With all they haul around and leave here and there, I figure they could use a handful of disposable canvas bags.

How about you... how many dated conference bags do you have in your closet?


1st Presentation (aka slide tray skeletons)

Note: Since I've been doing a lot of presentations this past year, I thought I might share my first ...

Slide 1- my 1st presentationGetting ready for a move means going through boxes in deep closets that you haven’t looked at in awhile ... a looooong while. Today’s closet cleaning trip revealed a tray of slides that I had all but forgotten about... and the contents of which contained my very first power point slide presentation.

Yes, I hate to admit it, but I’m old enough to have slide tray skeletons in my closet – literally!

You see, during my junior of high school I received a NSF Youth Grant (with thanks from a little proposal writing guidance from my dad – a college professor and accomplished grants writer himself) to record the stories and experiences of native Scandinavians who had migrated to northern Wisconsin in the early 20th century. It was fun project to work on, but as I recall it really consumed all my free time. In fact, so much so, that I had to give up my position on pom-pom squad – alas, high school days...

Anyway, no regrets giving up that. One of my best friends, Lori, got my slot which made me happy and I also got to keep my “letter” which was even better – although I never did get around to ordering a jacket to put it on. :)

So back to my youth grant … after several months of interviewing, research and spending lots of hours going through microfilm at the local public library (this was in addition to working there as a page), I ended up doing several months of speaking to local groups like the Lions Club, Optimists, School Board and even the Busy Bee Sewing Club – yup, I knew I hit big time when I found myself speaking to a quilting circle. :)

Anyway, if you’re curious to know when all this was … the last slide of the 80 on the tray contains the date. Note: I was shocked myself to realize I’m really that old. :(

Ok, that's all for now. I'm heading back to cleaning out the closet.



From next week's Newsweek (Nov 26th) The Future of Reading:

"Though the Kindle is at heart a reading machine made by a bookseller—and works most impressively when you are buying a book or reading it—it is also something more: a perpetually connected Internet device. A few twitches of the fingers and that zoned-in connection between your mind and an author's machinations can be interrupted—or enhanced—by an avalanche of data. Therein lies the disruptive nature of the Amazon Kindle. It's the first "always-on" book."

Hmmm... like iTunes and iPods, it will be interesting to watch where this development goes.


Just say "Yes"

I grabbed a photo of this image from an ad in Conde Nast's Portfolio magazine tonight. I love it because it reminds me of Lois' golden rule of innovation ... "say YES!"

Say No to No


Webkinz in the Library

Those of you that read my blog on a regular basis might recall that I have at least one daughter (but actually it’s now two) that are Webkinz crazy. So when Tony Tallent, PLCMC’s Youth Services Director told me about the Matthews’ branch latest programming success for kids, I just knew I had to share …

Via Tony @ Yes to Know
“Yesterday was Webkins Day at the Library! This meant a whole bunch of fun, chat and getting to know a group of kids in a very new way. Matthews Branch Library (Thanks, Trish!) here at PLCMC hosted two back-to-back Webkins Club programs for kids…”

Read the full post.

Tony makes some excellent points about opportunities “to meet kids (read: our whole community) where they are by reflecting their delights, their fancies … It creates connections, makes "our" world and theirs collide in meaningful, deeper, and yes, FUN ways.”

Great job Trish & Matthews children’s staff. Let me know when the next Webkidz Day is. I have two young fans that would love to join you.

Thinking Guides

Best stumble of the week ... Exploreatree's Thinking Guides. The design interface for the templates walks you nicely through the "thinking process" and once you create a free user account, you can save, send and collaborate with others all you want.


Feel Good Thoughts

Michelle Mclean’s post a few weeks ago made me smile...

"If it hadn't been for library bloggers I would never have:
- started reading blogs
- started reading the library literature more widely
- started writing book reviews for the library literature
- started reading outside my profession for parallel experiences and new ideas
- started my own blog, to share my own experiences …

I have progressed more professionally in the last 3 years, than I had in the previous 19. Even though my job title hasn't changed much, the work that I do, my love of it and my wider knowledge of the profession has grown exponentially (and there is potential in the job situation, so that may better reflect this development soon too).

And it's all because library bloggers out there unselfishly decided to take the time to share their thoughts, experiences and more. They took a risk, put themselves out there, not knowing whether anyone would read and I again want to say thanks. I am more in love with my profession, my work and the life-long learning process that I am again engaged in, than I have ever been before. They are an inspiration to me, they give me inspiration to make the changes, small and large, to help make my library service better for our users - as a professional, I could not ask for a better gift from my profession."

Thanks Michelle. I feel the same way :)

PS: Four posts in one night... can you tell I’m catching up after two weeks of continuous conference travel? :)

Apple Tuesdays

I love it when I discover neat little customer opportunities that our staff cook up. This one I discovered via a small pink 4x5 flyer at the service desk. Apple Tuesdays …

Apple Tuesdays

“In this exciting collaboration between the Apple Store and the Public Library, an Apple Store representative will present tips and tricks for your Apple products and demo new products.”

PS: Good job Matt :)

Human Sigma

This is the third mention in the last week that I’ve seen regarding Human Sigma, a new book that's only been out about two weeks now. Judging from this except in last week’s Gallup Management Journal ( Yup, the folks that do the polls), I think it’s moving to the top of my list.

Culturing culture

Having a high-performing business culture is a competitive advantage today. Most companies expect every employee to be a builder, because every employee, through his or her actions, either makes the culture stronger or weakens it. Employees, in turn, want to be proud of their organizations and local teams. And, in many countries today, the employer needs the employee more than the other way around. As the world shifts from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy -- and as employees are increasingly valued for what they know as much as for what they produce -- the employer’s power has diminished or evaporated.

So how do we manage people for success and high levels of productivity in the new economy? Too many organizations build management models on the assumption that managers and leaders have the power in the company/employee relationship, but that’s no longer always the case. The answer is employee engagement or the ability to capture the heads, hearts, and souls of your employees to instill an intrinsic desire and passion for excellence. Engaged employees want their organization to succeed because they feel connected emotionally, socially, and even spiritually to its mission, vision, and purpose.”

In age where libraries are looking at and experimenting with new management models to help create cultural change in our organizations, this looks like it offers some interesting thoughts and reading.

Mover & Shaker Revisited

If you haven't heard already ... any 2008 submissions for the LJ Mover & Shaker award made before Nov 5th have been lost. If you submitted someone already, don't forget to submit them again. And if you know someone who is outstanding but you haven't submitted them yet for this wonderful acknowledgment, what's stopping you? .... Do it NOW! :)

New deadline for M&S is November 28th.



Hugh MacLeod's Gapingvoid cartoon widget offers up one today that really makes me think ...

Think about it?

Related thoughts.


Hiring for Management Competencies (or better titled "how to know that you've made a mistake")

At MPOW (the current one) we’re in the process of looking for several good people to head up a new CORE leadership team. The task of hiring the right people for these leaderships positions can be daunting, especially given that there are four of them.

Knowing how to hire the “best” can be difficult, especially if you haven’t had much hiring (and/or mis-hiring) experience. Which I guess is why FastCompany's recent article, Ten Habits of Incompetent Managers, seems to hit so close to home. It’s so important to hire the right people. And when you don’t, how do you know? According to the article, it’s easy to see in these top ten incompetent management warning signs:

  1. Bias against action
  2. Secrecy
  3. Over-sensitivity
  4. Love of procedure
  5. Preference for weak candidates
  6. Focus on small tasks
  7. Allergy to deadlines
  8. Inability to hire former employees
  9. Addiction to consultants
  10. Long hours

Well worth the full read.

BTW: My NPOW (new place of work) is also looking for a Regional/Divisional Manager. It also looks like a great opportunity for the right individual at a great library system. -- Disclosure: I’ll admit it, I have a biased towards this organization - but not “against action” :)

PS: Flight delays suck. But thanks to complimentary wireless at Charlotte Douglas airport, the wait time is manageable.


Super Patron meet Super Teens

Teens make Fine paying machine in Teen Second LifeWhen Kelly Czarnecki first shared this exciting news with me, it wasn’t the fine paying part that blew me away. It was instead the fact that the teens, themselves, had figured out a way to bridge a real life library service process within a virtual world.

The fine paying machine on PLCMC’s Eye4You island in Teen Second Life allows teens to query their library account for over due fines and then converts the amount due to make it payable in Linden dollars. Nexii Malthus (not his IRL name) is one of the teens behind this exciting development who worked for days in solving the puzzle and scripting the solution. It's an impressive little bit of programming that makes currency in TSL just a lit more valuable and usable. :)

In reading the recent article that was published on (Second Life News Network) yesterday by another teen, Storm Basiat (also not his IRL name), I couldn’t help but be reminded of Super Patron Ed Vielmetti.

Like Ed, these teens are using their talents and creativity to develop new library services. But in addition to this (as the article written by Storm also demonstrates) they are also showing us new ways (& worlds) to market our products.

Thanks Nexii and Storm (& Kelly) for all you do. We have a lot to learn, not only from your talents ... but also from your insights and vision for libraries of the future.

PS: Video of the machine in action found here.


SCLA Keynote w/ Michael Casey

Doing the closing keynote for the SCLA conference this morning was fun. And what made it completely enjoyable was that neither Michael nor I had prepared any speaking notes. Instead we decided to "2.0 it" and just share thoughts and reflections related to "Interesting Snippets" created by Lynette Webb.

In retrospect, perhaps the presentation might have been better titled just simply “unplugged” rather then "a blue sky conversation." But either way it was nice break from the pre-rehearsed package and thanks to all the added audience comments it made conversation even more enjoyable.

Thanks to all in attendance for sharing your thoughts and perspectives. If there’s one thing we can't have enough of within the profession ... it’s just conversation and idea sharing. :)

PS: Lynette Webb’s Interesting Snippets Flickr set & Interesting Snippets book (new!)


A fascinating read @ 35,000 feet

I picked up Wired at the airport before boarding the plane. The cover story on Manga was extremely interesting and offered up some excellent thoughts, especially related to copyright, intellectual rights and the rise of dojinshi :
(Note: Emphasis below is mine)

"This odd situation exposes the conflict between what Stanford law professor (and Wired contributor) Lawrence Lessig calls the "read only" culture and the "read/write" culture. Intellectual property laws were crafted for a read-only culture. They prohibit me from running an issue of Captain America through a Xerox DocuColor machine and selling copies on the street. The moral and business logic of this sort of restriction is unassailable. By merely photocopying someone else's work, I'm not creating anything new. And my cheap reproductions would be unfairly harming the commercial interests of Marvel Comics.

But as Lessig and others have argued, and as the dojinshi markets amply confirm, that same copyright regime can be inadequate, and even detrimental, in a read/write culture. Amateur manga remixers aren't merely replicating someone else's work. They're creating something original. And in doing so, they may well be helping, not hindering, the commercial interests of the copyright holders. Yet they're treated no differently from me and my hypothetical Captain America photocopies. The result is a misalignment between the emerging imperatives of smart business and the lagging sensibilities of old laws."

The full article is long, but is well worth reading from a cultural, historical (manga /graphic novels) and even economic standpoint - Japan, Ink: Inside the Magna Industrial Complex

PS: This distinction between the "read-only" and "read/write" cultures is huge! Just think about the impact to libraries... collection development ... services ... etc. when everything has the potential to become participatory and remixable. Hmmm ... [off to think some more]

IL 2007 Presentation

Murphy's Law is notorious for making a showing, especially whenever I do large crowd presentations, so I've learned to just keep on talking and reply on someone else to troubleshoot the technical part. This year at IL 2007 it was no different. The screen went dark 7 minutes into my talk, but thanks to Meredith and Rebecca Jones the audience was visually handicapped for only 3 or 4 minutes.

Anyway, for those is attendance thanks for hanging in while I jabbered. Here are my slides, in case you missed seeing graphics... Lego Building: Learning Through Play!


Change & Changes & CML

In this blog, I talk a lot about the need for change. In fact, I had to laugh several weeks ago when Ryan Deschamps labeled LibraryBytes as blog that best fell into the “Change Dammit” category. And although I'm not sure I agree completely with the superlative, it did, overall, seem like a compliment - Thanks R! :)

Anyway, in the spirit of “change”, I thought I’d enlist Bob Dylan in helping me make a small announcement. Click on the video below to see what Dylan has to share …

Yes, changes are ahead for me… but all in a good way. After twelve wonderful years of growth here at PLCMC, I’m moving on to stretch and challenge my skills in new ways and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the opportunity and the library system.

So where am I going, you ask? Well, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be joining the executive leadership team at the Columbus Metropolitan Library system as the new Director of Web Strategy. And in doing so, I'm looking forward to helping CML build upon their already exceptional reputation.

It feels bittersweet to be leaving PLCMC after so many wonderful years of growth and innovation. But in moving onto new opportunities at CML, I know that there are many more successes ahead for both these institutions. And I'm also very pleased, and honored, to be associated with both of them.

Yes, there's a lot of changes ahead in making this move for both me and my family. But as my fortune cookie stated a few weeks ago, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world..” - how true! :) The official move does take place for several weeks. And that's good because there's so much to do in the "tween time".

In closing this announcement -- Thanks Dylan for helping me -- let me just say this...

Thanks CML for giving me the opportunity to help create new “change” (both personally & professionally)


Thanks PLCMC for giving me 12 great years of “constant change” (we all know what the 2 C's in PLCMC stand for) -- and most importantly friendship -- to build upon.

PS: If you're looking for a change also, PLCMC is looking for great people to fill their four new senior level leadership positions. See more.


Monterey Bound

Somehow I made the mistake of booking my flight on Sunday so that I don't arrive in Monterey for the Internet Librarian conference until 11pm PT (that's 2 am EST) - uggh! And then to further complicate things, my return flight doesn't bring me home until 9:51 pm on Halloween night (3+ hours after prime TorT time) - double uggh! My plans right now are to try and catch an earlier flight on Wednesday on stand-by -- my girls are dying for me to wear my witchy-poo costume again -- so if you believe in the power of positive thoughts, please send some good vibes my way.

Anyway, IL is one of my very favorite conferences, so despite all the flight hassles I'm still pretty psyched. There are always lots of colleagues and friends to catch up with and the location ... well, it doesn't get much better then Fisherman's Wharf. This year I have the pleasure of speaking on the same program with Meredith Farkas (Confession: I've been looking forward to sharing the podium with Meredith since last spring). The program's titled Lego Building: Promoting Play through Online Discovery & is on Tuesday morning at 11:30. So if you happen to be attending IL and this session, please be sure to say "Hello."

And as an added bonus this year, I am pleased to be bringing PLCMC's two Technology Scholars, Tom Cole & Barry Newman along with me. These two are working on some great stuff during their 6 month scholarship term, so if you happen to run into either of them, please be sure to ask them about what they are working on.

Ok, that's all for now. Hope to see you in Monterey. Oh, & BTW I'm still looking to make lunch and dinner plans for Monday. If you're interested, let me know. :)

UPDATE: PS - Be sure to also check out Kelly Czarnecki's program at IL on Tuesday at 4:15 titled Creating Library Services in Teen Second Life. I just returned from having lunch with Kelly and learned about a HUGE Teen SL development that she's going to be unveiling - it's super cool!


Learning Inspiration

There's a story/video on CNN about young woman, Jenn MacNeil, who at the age of 29, decided to do one new thing a day for a year and blog about it. She was highlighted on CNN last week as part of the Young People who Rock series and in looking at her blog is up to thing #219 today.

As you might guess I love this concept. It reminds me of RA Meyer's blog, The Internet can Change your Life, and of course, L2.0 & L2.1 :)

Learning should happen to you every single day and what better way to learn then to challange yourself to learn one new thing a day!

PS: Thanks Frances for the tip. Neat story and inspriation.

Video story here.

On Privacy, Trust, Social Networks & Libraries

OCLC's latest report Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Network World is must read. I've just skimmed it myself, but the Report Highlights section offers lots to think about. Here's a few that stood out to me ...

From On using the Web...

  • The Web community has migrated from using the Internet to building it. In 2005, just 16% of respondents used blogs; today that number approaches 50%. Approximately a quarter of the general public respondents have created Web pages and used chat rooms and social networking sites. The Internet’s readers are rapidly becoming its authors.

  • Web users read more. Approximately a quarter of the general public respondents reported that time spent reading, print or digital, has increased over the last 12 months. In no country surveyed was there an overall decrease in reading time. And respondents who spend time using social networking sites read more than nonsocial site users.
From On Social Networking...

  • The emergence of a new classification of “social” Web sites is changing the construction and culture of the Web. In these shared spaces, users are not only the audience, but they create content, design pages and architect entirely new social networks. We have moved from an Internet built by a few thousand authors to one constructed by millions.

  • The general public respondents are more likely to have used a social networking or social media site (28%) than to have searched for or borrowed items from a library Web site (20%).

  • Much of what takes place on social spaces is motivated by a desire to increase personal interaction. My friends use the same site (66%) is the top criteria in using a social networking site. To network or to meet new people, The Web site is fun and to be part of a group or community are also top social networking site selection criteria.
From On Sharing the Web ...

  • General public respondents are sharing information, including personal information, on a growing number of commercialWeb sites. Approximately threequarters of users of commercial sites have supplied their given/first name, surname/last name, e-mail and street address; about half have provided a phone number, birthday and credit/debit card information.

  • The majority of the respondents (54%) are more comfortable sharing their “true personalities” (feelings, attitudes and interests) in person. Thirty percent (30%) are equally as comfortable online as in person and about 16% are more comfortable sharing their true personalities online.
From On Privacy ...

  • Respondents are split on their views about Internet privacy and security. Twentythree percent (23%) of the general public respondents feel their personal information is kept more private on the Internet than it was two years ago; 27% feel it is kept less private. A roughly equal number, 29%, feel there has been no change in Internet privacy; 21% are not sure.

  • Respondents do not distinguish libraryWeb sites as more private than many other sites they are using. Just 11% of online users surveyed feel that activities done while using a library Web site are extremely or very private, a rating slightly lower than search engines (15%), social networking sites (15%) and online bookstores (12%).

  • While a third or more of users of social, commercial and library sites agree they prefer to remain anonymous while using these sites, most use their real names (65%), real e-mail addresses (80%) and real ages (80%), and over half provide their real telephone numbers when registering at a Web site.
And there's more ... lots more ... on privacy rules & trust, on US Library Directors, on libraries and social networks etc. Access the full report here.

PS: Just imagine what this report, if repeated, will look like 5 years from now?


Mover & Shaker Nominations

I didn't realize until today that the deadline for nominations for Library Journal's Movers & Shakers is coming up so fast.

Do you know of someone that is "shaking" and really making a difference at your library of in the field? Then don't miss this opportunity to nominate them.

Deadline is next week, Oct 29th - yikes! November 15th

UPDATE: Looks like they just extended it - yay! Get your nominations in!

Nomination form


NCLA Presentation & thoughts

One would think that after nearly a year of speaking about Learning 2.0 that I would be tired of the subject -- and in some ways I am -- but like this morning, once I get started talking about the importance of incorporating and encouraging “play” into the work flow, I discover a renewed energy for the subject.

This morning I had the pleasure to speak to a group at the NCLA conference and their questions afterwards were both numerous and familiar. However, I did field one question among the bunch that surprisingly within the last year I have not gotten before. A young librarian in the back asked “What was your rational for allowing non-public service staff to participate in the program and get a MP3 player?”

For a moment the question took me back a bit (perhaps it was the phrasing or the tone). But to me it seemed to imply that libraries have two classes of personal; those up front who work with the public and those in the back who do all the other stuff.

I've encountered this divisional attitude many times in libraries before and to be honest, it irritates me. Everyone in libraries works for “the customer.” In reality we’re all “public services!” regardless of how many steps or doors are between us and the customer. Anyway, nuff said on this front. That's for another post. To end, I'll just share with you my response...

“ Since the program was both voluntary and optional for staff to participate in, and provided a reward, it was important that it not be discriminatory. Besides, it’s not only those that work with the public that need to be familiar with these new tools. In our library system we’ve also incorporated many of these tools in our staff communication on our intranet. For example, our system wide strategic plan is available for all staff via a wiki and many departments use blogs for communication. With this in mind, it would be shortsighted to only think that public service staff could benefit from the program. Everyone who works in libraries should be given the opportunity to learn.”

PS: For those in attendance, my presentation slides are here (sorry the “rocky” montage doesn’t work in Slideshare).


Shanachie Tour @ PLCMC

Geert, Erik & JaapI only had a few short minutes between meetings to meet the terrific threesome (Erik, Jaap & Geert) from the Netherlands that are crossing the country in a 27 foot tour bus and checking out libraries. But I was thrilled to see they were able to hook up with Matt Gullett, PLCMC’s Emerging Tech Manager, as well as Martin House and Mark Engelbrecht, (aka the Gaming Zone leadership team) and interview the three of them.

There’s no video yet posted on their adventure blog,, from their visit yesterday. But I am hopeful that they’ll post of sneak peak before the big unveiling out at that Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey week after next.

In the meantime, the title of their blog post tonight made me smile…

"Matt Gullett is lifting library standards in Charlotte" --- :)

UPDATE: Video is posted and can be found here.


Since I’ve been finding myself talking about the notion of “leadership” a lot lately (both inside my library and in many of my recent talks to others), I thought I’d go out on a limb and share with you my personal philosophy on leadership. I penned this nearly 17 years ago after four years in the hotel management field and still believe it today...


What's your idea of leader? As you can tell, this is a topic that I've always been very interested in.

UPDATE: This seems ironic, but I just had to share. I just went to Slideshare to upload the presentation that I'm giving tomorrow at NCLA and guess what is the Slidecast of the day? ... "The Little Book of Leadership" :)

Good thoughts here as well.


“There is no shelf”

Michael Welsh of the “Machine is Us/ing Us has done it again… Information R/evolution.

"There is no shelf"

PS: Also of interest from Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University is A Vision of Students Today.


Innovations & Extinctions 1950 - 2050

Wish you had a crystal ball to see into the future? Think you can predict the end of email, glaciers or even Google? What’s Next has a few future trend maps that provide some food for thought. And although I’m happy to see that “libraries” aren’t uniquely identified on the Extinction Timeline, the death of “free public spaces” is predicted for 2040 - ouch! Update: I guess my eyesight is worse then I thought. I missed seeing "libraries" at 2018 right under "Size 0"- thanks Anonymous. Double-ouch!

Also of note is the Trend Blend metro map - which having just returned from London, I can easily identify with “Sensory Experiences” (aka Kensington High Street) on the “Retail and Leisure” line (aka Circle Line) -- the location for ILI.


Jack Welch on Leadership

From It's Not About You, Stanford Graduate School of Business:

“The day you become a leader, it becomes about them,” Welch said. “Your job is to walk around with a can of water in one hand and a can of fertilizer in the other hand. Think of your team as seeds and try to build a garden. It’s about building these people,” he insisted. “Only you will know the team.”

That’s right. The minute you move from being a task-oriented professional to being a manager of people, it stops being about your individual talents, your successes, and starts being all about coaching, motivating, teaching, supporting, removing roadblocks, and finding resources for your employees. Leadership is about celebrating their victories and rewarding them; helping them analyze when things don’t go to plan."

Great food for thought and it makes me wonder, do we emphasize nuturing talent enough in libraries?

On a related note, here's a few other thoughts on management vs leadership.

The JAM Desk

JAM - Just ask me greeter deskWell over a week ago, I took a drive down to South County Regional to check out their new circulation desk, but when I arrived I was pleasantly surprise to find that the transformation included much more than just self-check out.

For starters, the new desk is at least 2/3rds smaller in size then its predecessor. But it wasn't the circ desk that made me smile; instead it was the new JAM desk.

The Just Ask Me desk is the first concierge-like desk that our library has embarked on (Don't ask me why 'cause we've talked about it for years) and as I watched the entrance for a few minutes, I saw at least a half dozen people stop and seek assistance.

This past year I've had the pleasure of visiting many other libraries that have implemented similar information stations and as one colleague commented last week, it's nice to see libraries removing big desks and eliminating "barrier services." -- well said!

PS: Full set of pics of SOR's new look (as you can see, things are still in progress)

PPS: Elaine, Tammy, Garrett & SOR staff - great job & great leadership!


Quick ILI Recap

Since the jet lag hasn't kicked in fully yet, I thought I'd get a quick recap in of my ILI experience. All in all it was great one and despite the lack of free wireless access (yes, I inquired. London hotels are funny this way) I'd go again in heartbeat. Met and heard lots of folks from the international scene speak for the first time including Dave Pattern (great talk and demo on Horizon catalog enhancements), Rob Coers and Julio Anges and also got to see a few olderish acquaintances including Patrick Danowski and Ake Nygren.

There were lots of great talks, but if there was one that I wish I could have gone a bit longer, it was Ake's talk about the exciting language exchange program that he has helped set up through the Lifelong Learning program at the Stockhlom Public Library. I was able to get more details during the evening reception, so I wasn't completely disappointed And, as I learned more the program's concept I was very impressed. Titled LiteraTour, the project is a coordination between 5 countries (Belgium, Greece, Germany, Spain, Sweden) who through the use of social networking utilities are connecting different cultures together through the exploration and sharing of literature.
"LiteraTour" is a Grundtvig project within the EU "Programme for Lifelong Learning". Participants will be adult learners and staff in language schools and libraries in Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Greece. Project period: Oct 2007 - Sept 2009"

From what I can find online, it looks like the project has just kicked off. The ning network site supporting the project is currently only open by invitation, but you can find out a bit more about the project from Ake's slides (which fortunately are in English).

As I commented to Ake over a glass of the reception's red wine. I really wish there had been more time in his program track to talk about his program (he was last) because from what I could see his project had a lot of good ideas to offer. It's not the use of social networking tools that make the difference. It's the application that the tool is applied to that is meaningful and offers value in the first place.

So often I think that conference programs focus too much on the "tool" or "application" when in reality what's most important is the innovative program or project idea that connects people together.

Links: LiteraTour presentation


ILI Presentation

Wow, what a full day here at Internet Librarian International. In addition to finally meeting in person several people that I've come to know through either their blogs, Flickr or Facebook, I also attended several great sessions.

What amazed me most about the day (and what I also wasn't prepared for) was finding out just how far the concept of the 23 Things program has spread. Portugal is starting it soon, it was just started in the Netherlands, and it's also being launched on Oct 23rd in Sweden (and their using Ning). There's a project underway in Germany to translate it and it's already been completed in Denmark and now the Danish libraries are working on developing "23 Tings +" for their library users. This truly amazes me and what's most rewarding is seeing the concept of "play" taking hold all over the grid. In my mind, I think it just goes to show how powerful online learning networks can be.

For my part at ILI, I participated in an afternoon program along with Bente Jensen and Sara Jorgensen from the Copenhagen and Henning public libraries and as promised here are my slides and a few links to follow:




What do socks & libraries have in common?

CML - marketing campaignSpringwise ran an item today about Socks with a Story. It seems there’s a customer base for those who love socks, but love the connection to the grannies (and their stories) that knit them better.

Reading this short piece reminded me of the marketing campaign (and newish website) I had seen on my recent trip to Columbus Metropolitan Library which focused not on books, nor on services, but instead highlighted the library’s greatest asset ... their staff!

Those that work in libraries on the front line know and experience "the connection" everyday. The books and programs may bring them in initially. But it’s the personal connection with the staff -- a friendly face, a pleasant inquiry, a chat about good reads or the exchange of a small life story -- that brings them back !

So what do socks and libraries have common? It's easy ... great stories and great people.

As seen at my daughter's school ...

We're growing nerds
Originally uploaded by hblowers

Emerging Tech Newsletter

PLCMC Emerging Tech Newsletter on LetterPop!So I was very excited to see the new format that the Virtual Village had decided to use for the latest installement of the Emerging Technology newsletter. Instead of mocking up a slick pdf version and sending an all staff email like before, they decided to create it using LetterPop!

With so much going on (and so much to keep ontop of) in the area of emerging technologies, it's nice to see staff trying out new tools and playing with options. And although I wouldn't advocate that LetterPop be used as a communication channel for your customers, it does make creating small informal newsletters for staff a breeze.

If you follow the 5 page newsletter, you can easily see we're diving into many new areas. The projects that our Technology Scholars are doing are progressing along at full speed and the construction of the two Learning and Gaming labs and new Discovery Desk begins in the Virtual Village (aka V2) next week.

Anyway, it's a busy month ahead as you can see. So if my posting here decreases... you now know why. :)

PS: Jamie, the newsletter looks great!


Lynetter Images

I'm a big fan of Lynetter's Interesting Snippets images set on Flickr. And in fact, so much so, that I've started using them over the past few months as visionary filler for that 10-15 minute deadspace that occurs as people stumble into the room right before an upcoming presentation.

During my last talk, I had at least three people ask where did "those images come from?" So I thought I'd share one of my best kept secrets... Lynetter.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Experimentarium ... aka FUN!

Last year I had the pleasure to meet Knud Schulz from the Aarhus Public Libraries when a group of librarians and architects from Denmark came to visit ImaginOn.

Their library's Transformation Lab is an amazing space and from what I hear is well worth the trip (BTW: I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that I win the lottery) but when Knud emailed this new video of how they're engaging kids in the library development process, I was more inspired than ever.

Book shelves that you can climb on ... jumping rooms that feel like the moon ... Football on the roof, just to name a few. These are just a sampling of the creative ideas that children wanted in libraries in addition to others.

Anyway, take a look at the video and see if you don't agree that a library like this would be lots of fun! For me the takeaways from all these ideas are the themes of " active spaces", "engaging activities", "fun" and "play" - which when you come to think about it, are really the most important esential elements for creating meaningful learning.

PS: Special note to Melanie Huggins at SPPL. Check out 6:48 - 7:05. It totally made me think of your vision for ImaginOn :)


License to Play

It seems like a day hasn’t gone by within the last 6 months that I haven’t answered at least one Learning 2.0 inquiry. The most common question I’m asked these days is do I know how many libraries have adopted or are doing it? To be honest, I don’t know exact count because so many still have their program in development. But with 182 variations launched that I know about, I’m guessing the actual number hovers a bit closer to 200.

One of all things I love seeing most it's the creativity and fun that other libraries have added to their own programs. Today, I stumbled across the “@ play” signs for Lee County’s Play to Learn program and it totally made me laugh out loud.

How cool is it to get a “License to Play” from the Library Director?

To the creative staff at LCLS and Sheldon Kaye, Library Director ... Thanks for sharing this image. It completely Made. My. Day!!

PS: More fun play signs can be found on the Play to Learn blog.


Students & Social Media

From the National School Board Association's report, CREATING & CONNECTING//Research and Guidelines on Online Social — and Educational — Networking

"Nine- to 17-year-olds report spending almost as much time using social networking services and Web sites as they spend watching television. Among teens, that amounts to about 9 hours a week on social networking activities, compared to about 10 hours a week watching TV...

Overall, an astonishing 96 percent of students with online access report that they have ever used any social networking technologies, such as chatting, text messaging, blogging and visiting online communities, such as Facebook, MySpace and services designed specifically for younger children, such as Webkins and the chat sections of Eighty-one percent say they have visited a social networking Web site within the past three months and 71 percent say they use social networking tools at least weekly."

Three Four Quotes

  • "You can create IT faster than you can create mental acceptance of it." - Greg Lindsay, Terracom

  • "Content is the next killer app ... because it's the content that will keep us engaged, and coming back for more. It's the special sauce that can take a consumer and make them an active participant. " - David Armano, Logic+Emotion

  • "They are getting more entertainment value out of being amateur producers of this stuff than they would purely as consumers." - Douglas Ruskoff

  • From Beyond the Blue Ocean, Jeffer Phillips (DigitALL, Fall 07)



More thoughts on learning libraries

[Note: I've been reviewing nearly 40 posts tonight that somehow I've left hanging in "draft" status. This one stuck out as one of the few with a completed thought. I originally wrote it back in Feb.]

Mark from MB InformationDesign left a comment on my blog post about Libraries in Transformation that I think is just too good not to share ...

In my opinion, this is very true. We have the same discussions over here in Austria and Germany. Where to go? What to do? How to defend against SEs?

I don't think these are the proper questions. The concept of a teaching library is to enable the learn process and to support it. Libraries must find the way back into the learning scenario of students, not the other way. The question is: how can we help students to achieve their (learning) goals?

greetings from Dornbirn, Austria
Mark Buzinkay
MB Informationdesign

I think Mark makes a good point, the concept of a "learning library" should not be about teaching or instructing students about libraries and how to use library offerings (electronic databases, reference materials, etc.). But rather it should be about "enabl(ing) the learn(ing) process." This means providing every means possible to support learning it whatever environment (form, channel and/or technology) that the user is comfortable in.

A learning library should empower users to achieve their goals, not provide libraries with a means to push forward our own personal objectives (and yes, admit it... every organization has personal objectives that sometimes counter customer's needs - it's only natural).

I think the challenge here for many us in libraries is to realize that when we can abandon our own personal agendas in favor of our user's needs (and put them first at the top of the pyramid), we not only make our libraries more valuable to our community, but we also create a cascading effect that saturates the insecurities that drove those personal agendas in the first place.

BTW: The pyramid I see here is inverted with users filling up the the top plateau and library staff at the tiny pointed base, supporting this huge community through a flexible and adaptable balancing act that allows everyone to achieve success.

PS: Thanks Mark for granting me permission to share your comment. Sorry it took me so long to get around to it.