I’ll take fries and a movie, please …

There was one installed at my local Harris Teeter over a month ago and it’s only taken me two weekends to become a fan. I’m at the grocery store it seems nearly twice every weekend, so why not grab a new release for only $1.

What I love about RedBox is that they stock the new releases. And even though I work in the library, I appreciate not having to wait for my number to come up on the holds list for popular titles. Anyway, in looking for a photos on Flickr, I discovered this image… apparently RedBox has compact kiosks in every McDonald’s in Denver.

Wow! I thought Netflix was hard to beat. But RedBox scores high on my list on terms of convenience, hot titles and instant gratification. RedBox hits the “impulse” movie renter crowd (Yup, that's me) and rented DVDs can be return to any RedBox location.

As the supply and demand market becomes more and more crowded with low cost and convenient alternatives, libraries need to take notice. What can we do to compete? Or do we need to find other ways to promote our value to our communities?

PS: I love the message on their return cases.

Conversation Starter ...

From the cover of the this months Futurist, this looks like an issue worth picking up ...
"The End of the Written Word?

People in the developed world are spending less time reading books and more time interacting with visual mediatelevision, Podcasts and video gamesthan ever before. According to the National Assessment of Education, the proportion of 17-year-olds who read for enjoyment "almost every day" fell from 31% to 22% between the years 1984 and 2004. Meanwhile, television watching continues to rise about 3% year after year, and almost 87% of kids aged 8 to 17 now have a video game player in their home.

What do these evolving trends mean for the future? In this special section, Mind Set! author John Naisbitt, along with Michael Rogers, William Crossman, Edward N. Luttwak, Joe Lambert, Peter Wagschal, and Christine Rosen, explore what our emerging visual culture means for the written word and the future of civilization."

Looks like a great resource to share with colleages and staff to start a conversation.


Leadership Skills: Moving beyond Management

The parallels between libraries and newsrooms are many. This preview (on PressThink) of a new book from Michelle McLellan and Tim Porter, News, Improved: How America’s Newsrooms are Learning to Change, offers up some great thoughts on leadership, culture and change.

Here's short list of key skills shared by successful leaders:
  • Developing vision: Setting a course for the newsroom and keeping it on track (or, changing course as internal and external conditions change.)
  • Communication: Reinforcing direction through continual conversation. Saying over and over and over - in as many ways as possible - “this is where we’re going.”
  • Putting muscle behind the mouth: Backing up vision and communication with resources; putting enough money and enough bodies in place to give goals a fair chance of being achieved.
  • Letting go: Empowering staff, involving them in both strategic and operational decisions, such as setting direction, providing training, and implementing innovation.

Yup, this title is definitely going on my must read list.

On today...

As you might guess I did a little happy dance when I saw this on the homepage of today. The image came from one of the staff participants in the program. (Who also happens to be the Library's graphic designer. You can tell, cant' you, by looking at her blog?)

Anyways, I just checked the stats for the site and yes, there's is definitely a "Wired effect". To be honest the exciting part of this whole learning thing to me is how other libraries are adopting the program, modifying it, and making it better. Imagine what could happen if libraries together shifted some focused and fostered this type of discovery and organic learning for their communities? I don't have to guess. I know. It would be Amazing !!!!!

Read the full article Public Library Geeks take Web 2.0 to the Stacks.


Don't Waddle ...

Don't Waddle...
Originally uploaded by tryscal.

We've already gotten a few contributions emailed to us for the Foto Fun Gallery for National Library Week (April 17-22), but this is the first on Flickr.

Anyway, I think ALA could champion (hint, hint) a whole new marketing campaign around little fun tools like FD's Flickr Toys. The power of using this type of "campaign" (if you can call it that) is that we get away from "talking about ouselves" and the value that "we think" we add and simply allow our customers to promote libraries by "celebrating themselves."

There's nothing more powerful then making customers feel good about themselves. So why not add your creativity to the NLW motivational poster Flickr pool (tag NLWFotoFun) and share in the fun?

Create your own with FD Toy's Motivator.

Watching Twits ... :)

I'll be honest, the Twitter thing really isn't for me. I'm attached enough to my laptop and other social tools, that I don't really feel the need to document and share my minute to minute activities.

But I can easily see the tool's appeal, and after discovering this new mashup between Google Maps and Twitter, I find Twittervision both fascinating and somewhat entertaining. There's also TwitterMap that let's you specify specific zip codes to follow "twits". I'm trying to imagine how libraries might incorporate this type of chatter-tech. I haven't thought of a good application yet, but still I'm still thinking ...

Hmmm... this brings a whole new meaning to watching twits. :)


The bar gets raised higher

I just finished adding my 2 cents to Dave Pattern’s short and quick survey on OPACs. In it he asks about the relative importance of such items as user tags, suggested titles, comments and reviews and other items that users have grown to expect.

Fast forward two clicks in my Bloglines browser and I stumble across this short post from Seth Godin’s blog. Amazon has recently added new feature that allows you to see what other books are cited within another book's pages.

" Citations is a program that helps customers discover books related to those in which they're interested. Amazon scans every book in the Search Inside!™ program, looking for phrases that match the names of books in our catalog. We make a note of these "citations" and display them to you in one of two ways.

• If a book cites two other books, we show you which two books it cites, and provide links to the pages in the book where the citations first appear.
• If a book is cited by two other books, we show you which two books cite it, and provide links to the pages in those books where the citations appear.

Please note that Citations is not a comprehensive list of all existing citations. For example, an author may cite a book using a form of its name that differs slightly from that which appears in our catalog, or a title may be mentioned in a book that is not yet part of the Search Inside! program. In such cases, we will not find a match. If you are a publisher or author, you can increase your books’ lists of citations by adding them to the Search Inside! program."

Leave it to Amazon to continuously raise the bar higher.

PS: Add your thoughts to Dave's survey if you haven't. He offers great food for thought.

PPS: My one additional wishlist before this discovery item was online fines & fees by debit/credit. Fortunately we do finally have this, but not because it came with "the package." We invested in talent and time to build it ourselves. :) What's yours?


Why not join the fun?

PS: My contribution is the poster on the left. It's of my youngest enjoying a good read while on vacation in Trinidad, CA last year. :)

What motivates you? Feel free to participate in the fun by creating your own motivational poster. And, then be sure to share by tagging it in Flickr as NLWFotoFun.


Learning 2.0 Update

According to the stat meter, the last time the Learning 2.0 blog was accessed this morning was at 12:46am The good news is that it's just six short hours later and I just recieved this friendly email:


Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

The Blogger Team

Thanks Blogger Team! I apreciate the quick turnaround and email -- even if is automated. :)

Learning 2.0 Temporarily Unavailable

Apparantly the main blog for the Learning 2.0 ( has recieved so much redirected traffic over the last few days, that it has been tagged by Blogger's robots as a potential spammer. This is message that I recieved when I logged on:

Your blog is disabled

"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

We received your unlock request on March 23, 2007. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam."

As you can see from the message (This was confirmation after I already notified them), Blogger is now aware of this mistake. I've had this happen once before with Blogger and the good news is that it took them less than 24 hours to unblock the site.

Anyway, for those of you using the exercises on the Learning 2.0 site, I send my apologies. The site will back online soon. I can only assume that this is the price of being profiled in LJ as a mover & shaker, for the usage of the site has spiked dramatically since the issue came out.

BTW: It looks like you can still get access to the About page and the list of Things. But the links to the main blog are still blocked - at least unitl Blogger figures out their mistake.


Five Blogs

It looks like this meme started with Rachel Singer Gordon, but Meredith was the one who tagged me, so here goes...

What are the non-biblioblogs that I enjoy reading? There are many in my RSS feeds, but these 5 are among my current top favorites:

  • Indexed – I wish my brain was as brilliant as Jessica Hacy’s. Her index cards are so amazing (and often thought provoking) that not a day goes by that I miss checking out her blog. From all indications, she’s only been blogging for just over 6 months and in the past month alone she’s been offered a book deal and is being featured weekly on the BBC website.

  • Seth’s Blog – I appreciate Seth Godin’s ability to continuously offer up and challenge the norms of leadership, innovation and marketing. His thoughts are generally short and to the point and always seem to offer me something to think about.

  • Pete Gorman’s blog – It’s no secret that Charlotte’s new school superintendent is fighting an uphill battle. With lagging student performance, redistricting woes, staff shortages and budget cuts, I think he has the most difficult job in the entire metro area. What makes his blog standout is his open and honest approach to communciation and problem solving. I think there’s a lot to learn from this leadership style.

  • PressThink – Jay Rosen has started a new project for Wired called AssignmentZero, which looks like an experimental project/partnership/blend of crowdsourcing and participatory journalism. I’m fascinated by all the changes and new trends that are emerging right now, so I’m eager to see where this project may lead and following Jay’s blog is one way to keep informed.

  • BuzzMachine - Because I love how Jeff Jarvis just stirs up the status quo. His main target is the traditional journalism machine and he’s not afraid to smudge the ink or stop the presses.

Ok. So it’s my turn to pass on the tag. Hmmm, let's see ... how about hearing from Michael Casey, Chystie Hill, Michael Stephens, Michele McLean and Tony Tallent.


"books aren't necessarily the (library's) draw."

Last Thursday's WSJ article really rang home with me. Being the parent of a 5 and 7 year-old, I can attest to the article's point, that "books aren't necessarily the (library's) draw." -- at least for many young users. Despite my own best efforts, neither of my girls like to borrow books from the library. But give them opportunity to own books and they'll bug me for days to spend the last of their piggy bank savings on titles from the twice-annual Scholastic book sale. :)

Next week is the second book sale of year at Katie's school and already she has two series (Cronicles or Narnia & Disney Fairy Series) and three other books on her "must buy" list. What seems most attractive to her is not only the idea of owning the book, but the fact that once she's done with it she can pass it on to friend or donate it to her school. I love that she sees books and reading as a gift that should be shared, so I'm no longer pushing the "borrowing" from the library idea. Instead, I'm taking clues from my children and realizing that library's future is not about books, -- Sorry OCLC Perceptions report, I know your survey indicated that library was about "books, books & more books". But how many actual library users did you survey under the age of 10? -- its about so much more ...

I blogged about this last year in a post title The Library Experience (without even one book) and I still find it amazing that almost every weekend my daughters ask pleed me to take them either to the Library @ ImaginOn or to our local branch at Unversity City. To them the library is a magical place for discovery ... creativity... and FUN!

Yes, it's the "experience" that's important and the ability to engage in creative activities that "bring stories to life." ... And personally, I can't think of better legacy and lasting impression for libraries to leave. Can you?

Read the full article here while you can: (I'm sure it's also available through Ebsco)
Of the Places You'll Go, Is the Library Still One of Them? WJS, 03.15.07

PS: Flickr set of the Library Experience @ ImaginOn

Tax Season & YouTube

Have you seen this yet ... This season, both TurboTax and TaxCut are offering up big bucks for videos of your orginial "tax rap" or how you plan to use "super sweet refund."

Take a look ...

Wow! This just shows you how hot "user-generated" video has become!

Filed under: "observations in between" :)


Movers & Shakers

Every once in awhile something amazing happens… Yup, that’s exactly how I felt when I found out that I’d been selected as one LJ’s 2007 Movers & Shakers. But I was even more elated when I learned that colleague Kelly Czarnecki was also among the ranks. Congrats Kelly! It’s definitely so well deserved!

As co-workers Michele Gorman (’03) and Matt Gullett (’06) remind me, the bar has just been raised higher a bit this week and in looking over the exceptional group of shakers, it’s easy to conclude that they’re not kidding!

Anyway, I ‘m thrilled to see so many bloggers that I admire and enjoy reading also smiling among the folds. Congrats Michael Casey, Chrystie Hill, Nicole Engard, & Amanda Etches-Johnson and all those selected. It’s humbling to find myself in such excellent company.


2.0 Rules

Joyce Valenza offers up a short list of 2.0 rules to live by that’s so great I just have to share ...

"Ask Later: Don’t say, “But I can’t” or “But what about. . .?” Many of us are working ahead of the rules. So, if what you plan to do is instructionally sound, if you are not breaking any rules, and if no children will be hurt in the process, then exercise some academic freedom. Do it. Make it a success. Do it before someone thinks of a reason why you should not. If you wait for explicit permission, you will miss the bus.

Train Thyself: The stuff we are working with is pretty new. Don’t wait till the big expert comes to town with the most convenient workshop. You cannot wait for the annual conference. Visit any conference that interests you via webcast or podcast. Find someone else who wants to learn, who may know a little more and train each other. Seek the training you need and learn it yourself. And this is related to another new rule. . .

You Can’t Punch This Clock
: I can’t even imagine being granted prep or workshop time to learn all I know I need to learn, as well as what I don’t even know I need to learn. No one can really fully teach you how to integrate blogs or wikis in YOUR classroom, for your learners. You cannot learn digital storytelling in a one-hour workshop. You’ve got to expect to invest the time it takes on your own time. Folks who expect release time will absolutely miss the 2.0 bus.

Don’t Make the Beds: Intrepid pioneers don’t worry about clean sheets. Ten years ago when I discovered the impact of what I was doing on the Web, I knew I had to give stuff up. I don’t do inventory every year. I don’t make my beds everyday. My drawers are hopeless, but I am getting to be a way better teacher and librarian.

Delegate Up: You don’t need to know how to do everything. You can be an imposter in some arenas and it is okay to admit it. It is definitely okay to recognize and celebrate the talents of experts who may be 14-years-old. Let them help. Let them lead.

Stop to Smell the Learning: Sniff around. What is really happening? When you do that new project, reflect. Not just on what worked and what didn’t, or on whether you met your expected goals. Were there surprises? Insights? Did you spot any collatoral learning? Did students improve process skills?"

Joyce asks if there’s any rules you would add and at first thought I couldn’t think of any But then it occurred to me…
Pick up your toys later - leave them out & continually PLAY!

PS: Check out Joyce's contribution to new signs for your library. I want to frame these. :)



This made my Monday ...

"Doors tagged as preview to our 23 things learning project. Creativity blossoms at otherwise dull doors of the libraries' administration "

What a great idea to promote any type of library event (staff or public). Image generators rock.

See the full set of photos on Flickr

Wii have a problem

Can't you just see a whole new category of AFV clips from this one?

"Wii have a problem" is a blog focused on bringing you the latest trend in gaming violence. That of damage caused by "window lickers" who should not be participating in activity of any form... yet own a Wii. Why? Because we're fanboys that's why.”

Filed Under: Misc & because it’s Monday


Library 2.0 – It’s about dialogue

From Seth Godin:
“Some organizations are good at listening. Some are good at talking. A few are even good at both.

But having a dialogue is different. It's about engaging in (sometimes) uncomfortable conversations that enable both sides to grow and change.”

Rereading the last sentence a few times really made me think. Right now our library, like many all over the country, is in the process of doing yet another customer satisfaction survey. But this time instead of just paper and the website, we’re using a new nifty free standing touchpoll thing-a-jig.

Since balanced score card and performance measures seem to be the holy grail lately of validating our existence (and need for funding) with county government, our library (probably a lot like yours) is doing these type of “user feedback” assessments more and more often.

But polls and surveys only address the “listening” part of the equation. What we really should be doing more of is engaging our customer in day-to-day informal conversations about how our library can grow and change. This isn’t easy, I know, and it's even more difficult when we just try and have these conversations even among our own staff. For it never fears, ownership and emotions get in the way as soon as any new ideas for growth threaten our personal comfort zones.

Dialogue is truly what we really need to do more. Let’s stop worrying about “marketing” and “branding” our services to death (that’s the "talking" part) and taking poll after poll ("listening") to prove our existence. I don't disagree that these are still important to do, but do it in moderation. How about just talking to folks more (both customers and non-users) one-on-one about how they'd like to see libraries change? I'm guessing the scary part (if you perceive there is one) would dissipate pretty rapidly and we'd be amazed at the ideas created from this more meaningful exchange that would validate, not our existance... but rather our future.    

(& we might just learn how to market ourselves better too!)

PS: Guess what just got moved to the top of my task list?

Emoticontest ;-P

From Lansing Public Library ...

All I have to say is ;-D !!!!!!


Wow! KS Rocks again!

I had to read Karen Schneider’s recent contribution, Dear Library of Congress, to the ALA TechSource blog twice this evening to fully appreciate the message. Karen packs this one with so many great thoughts and insights that’s worth the time to brew up a fresh pot (my choice is decaf this time of the day) and sit down to read it with a hot cup of java.
“It is both ironic and poignant that librarians are still worrying about “bibliographic control,” after ceding so much of the same to the companies that now rent them journal access per annum at usurious rates, digitize their book collections into DRM obscurity, or sell them ponderous, antiquated “management” systems that on close inspection do little more than serve as storehouses for the metadata specific to the formats of bygone eras, bold days when we saw our central roles as defenders and curators of our cultural heritage...

Naturally, users want easy access to information; I furrowed my brow at the observation in the background paper that “users have come to expect that information should be easy to discover,” as I hope this point is not open to debate. Our old tools are not easy or particularly accessible; our old way of doing things is unjustifiably laborious and expensive (and may have contributed to the pickle we are in, by increasing the temptation to agree to less-than-optimal negotiations with content licensors)…

But in the end, after we conclude that the user is not broken, and that the tools we design must reflect this fact, and before the train pulls away forever... “

Thanks Karen! I'd nominate this as the best read of the week!


Shift Happens

Are you familiar with the Chinese proverb "May you live interesting times"? Well, after watching this interesting 6 minute presentation done by Carl Fisch (blog: The Fischbowl) titled "Did you Know?" I think it's apparent that we're also living in exponential times.

On YouTube.


Is your iceberg melting?

Thanks to a recommendation I picked up Our Iceberg is Melting this afternoon and just as George had said, it was an interesting & easy read. (you can read it in an hour)

When a colony of penguins discovers their beloved home is melting, a sense of urgency is created. But how does a colony that’s never know anything but their comfortable frozen turf move forward when presented with this problem? The parable is interesting.

In reading the story, it’s easy to see similarities in every field and profession. Change happens, it’s inevitable. But it’s how people as a group react to it that makes the cultural shift either a success or a failure.

Within MOPW, we’re undergoing a lot of unknown change right now in the form of a pending reorganization. No one knows what the outcome will be, but after reading this short story, I’m beginning to feel a little like Fred (the penguin scanning the horizon) and a lot like one of the “scouts.” (helping the clan search for icebergs that offer something better).

Anyway, for those who are interested in the story in nutshell, here’s the 8 Steps of Leading Change:

PS: Yeah! I earned my Hero of Change medal on my first try - and mastered both levels of the game in only 49 seconds. :)


Things that make you go hmmm ...

I don’t follow Unshelved as much as some staff that I know, but this offering had me really shaking my head. I think there's a great commentary here …

I think the first frame of the cartoon is on the right the track … let’s stop trying to enforce outdated rules and start changing up our environments.

PS: 4 posts in one night - wow! Can you tell I'm catching up after a busy week?

New Educational Technology Standards Drafted

After nearly ten years, the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) has released an updated draft on their National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for students and what makes this updated list even more interesting is that it doesn’t focus on tangible skills, but rather on “what students should know and be able to do to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly digital world.

The draft for the new standard has been posted for feedback and in looking at the list, it seems natural that these aren’t only learning aptitudes that students need to have a firm grasp on, but also anyone involved in education.

  • Creativity and Innovation - Students think creatively, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products using technology.

  • Communication and Collaboration - Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

  • Research and Information Retrieval - Students access, retrieve, manage, and evaluate information using digital tools.

  • Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate technology tools.

  • Digital Citizenship - Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

  • Technology Operations and Concepts - Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

Do these new competencies shout “Libraries & Librarians” at you as much as they do me? There’s great opportunity here… let’s take advantage of it!!

Michael Stephens: Top Ten Trends

Michael Stephen’s offer up some great thoughts on ten trends that are shaping society and libraries:

  1. Conversations: “A new level of conversations are taking place online, with or without you, so find ways to participate and give folks a place to "talk" in your online realm.”

  2. Convergence: [I’m glad to see that I’m not the only to devour Henry Jenkin’s lastest offering :) ] “A thread running through all of these trends is the idea that the general public to some degree has adopted tools and technologies that allow them to interact with media.”

  3. Content: “Today we have YouTube Celebrities famous for their down home content creation. Who knew that launching a blog, podcast, videocast or some other content-producing mechanism could lead to fame in fortune in the converged world?”

  4. Redefining LIS Jobs: “Yes, we've always realigned library jobs to reflect chnages in technology and library services, but this time I think we are seeing an integration of technology, innovation and newer ways to position library jobs for the future.”

  5. Citizen Journalism: “We've entered the age of the citizen journalist who can report from practically anywhere a cellular or wifi signal can reach.”

  6. We’re Human: “This is the social trend. People want to make connections. One way to do that is online. People want to express their humanity.”

  7. Openess & Sharing: “Openness is the new's an open world...are you unable or unwilling to adapt? Sharing content, thoughts and ideas should be the norm."

  8. Participation: “Folks have found that on the Web they can participate in creating content that enhances our lives: rating hotels, noting fabulous dining places, sharing book reviews, etc.”

  9. & 10. Experience & Play: “Hand in hand with experience, comes PLAY. Let's make this stuff fun. Try Second Life for the experience and to FLY folks! It's just plain fun. Ponder how you'll play this coming year”

Read the full post here for lots of other great thought provoking conversation.

Rock the Future Recap

I've been meaning to post a few notes about the awesome event here on Monday that featured George Needham and Patricia Martin.

Since the Rock the Future event, I've been flooded at work with nothing but great feedback about the thoughts and ideas that both George and Patricia shared. George spoke first and offered up many great thoughts from both OCLC's Environmental Scan and the Perceptions report. My favorite slide from George's talk was this one that demonstrate three prominent trends; self service (as in users want the options to do things themselves), disaggregated information (users want it packaged in small easily accessible chunks and in multiple formats), and collaboration (users want to interact with each other and have options that allow them to work together and feed off of other users).

Patricia Martin spoke next about the expectations and needs of the “renaissance generation” and stressed the for building library services that engaged, provided experiences for people and offered opportunities for creativity. Our society is in another renaissance being driven and catapulted by the information channels and creative commons that are bond together by the internet. Today's generation craves experiences and the ability to create, collaborate and connect with other like minded individuals.

I wish I that every member of our staff could have attended the afternoon to hear both of these thought provoking talks. But we did have over 100 there and the great thing is that now both the presentations as well as audio are packaged up neatly and available for all staff on our intranet. :)

In the end the afternoon served it’s purpose in helping to jump start the conversation. And now we’re planning follow-up workshops with staff to continue the exploration.

More flickr photos here. (thanks Ian)