Outside the Box

I finally remembered to grab my camera this morning so I could snap a decent photo (instead of a fuzzy camera phone image) of this on my way to work...

Outside the box ...
Originally uploaded by hblowers

Obviously, there's lots of ways to interpret the sign, but for those wondering - it's at a construction site. But it got me thinking ... do we build our boxes (ie physical library buildings or services, for that matter) with enough flexibility and adaptability so we (and our customers) can think outside of them?


Suggestions on liberating control freaks ...

Organizational change is difficult no matter what type of business you are in. In my stumblings the other day, I ran accross this simple slideshow that talks about the power of building collaboration, being the elephant in the room and working within the walls to create change.

Over the past weekend at ALA, I know I spoke to at least two young professionals who felt stiffled by either IT or library management staff who supported blocking access to several social network tools. If you're in the same boat, perhaps this short slideshow offers up some suggestions on how to liberate your control freaks.

If anything, it's easy to see after viewing this that there is a lack of knowledge about what these tools offer (in collboration, communication & productivitiy) that is shared by many organizations.

Scrapblog Discoveries

I've been enjoying the discoveries lead by Jamie this month over at Learning 2.1, but her latest discovery and post on Scrapblog demonstrates the potential that this tool can offer. Jamie created a Scrapblog of a few of her favorite books and embedded a multimedia presentation for easy viewing. I'll be honest, I hadn't thought of using this online tool this way (to promote favorite books), but with Jamie's guidance I'm seeing the possibilities.

Anyway, I guess that's what the neat thing about having different people serve as Discovery Guides for the Learning 2.1 project. Discoveries and ideas can come from virtually anyone and the wonderful thing about the Internet is that it offers a playground in which we all can share.

If you haven't taken a look Scrapblog, follow Jamie's suggestions. And if you need some inspiration, her scrapblog slideshow is amazing!!

Thanks Jamie!!!

PS: Interested in taking the Discovery Guide baton for a month on Learning 2.1 yourself? it's easy ... just shoot me an email with a small sample post.


$75 for a session or $199 for the series ... ???

This announcement fell into my email today and for some reason I'm really having mixed feelings about it...

Our technology series can give you the edge you need. The Orange County Library System is a recognized leader in information technology. Grab lunch (or breakfast!), login and join colleagues from around the country for presentations by OCLS staff, discussion and idea sharing online. RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY! $75 per session or $199 for entire series

Why? It's not because OCLS has launched their own webinar series for staff -- OCLS really should indeed do this and share their successes, because they are seriously doing some awesome stuff with e-learning and online training. -- but because in the greater spirit of collaboration and sharing among peers they are charging a hefty (at least for most smaller libraries) sum for it.

PLCMC has been called an innovator too! But we've never charged our peers for information and knowledge sharing from our own staff. In fact, I personally have given persmission to over 100 libraries to use, alter and modify Learning 2.0 anyway they want to (& my library has never even received a dime).

I know I don't normally use this blog to take a stance on something that's not supportive. But come on OCLS! You're a grat library system that is doing some outstanding stuff. Why not offer your webinar series for free (or at least very min. costs) to the library community and then really Stand Out?

Best Conference Bling

Best conference bling
Originally uploaded by hblowers

From the Metropolitan Group. Thanks Sue!


ALA 2007 Presentation

With so many ways to explore the use of web 2.0 technologies as marketing and outreach tools, I decided to focus my 20 minutes at the podium (or rather on the floor) this morning talking and providing examples that related to this one slide:

ALA Presentation

For me, this is really what web 2.0 is all about. Tools that allow users to express themselves, participate in the conversation, and a celebrate and showcase their individual talents. So in looking at web 2.0 and the potential that they hold as marketing tools, it's important to realize that "the library" is really not about us (aka the library, it's staff, and services); it's about our community. And what better way to market to your community and create a sense of ownership then by letting your community members use your brand to celebrete and market themselves.

There's not a lot of text in these slides, but there are several great examples.

ALA 2007 Presentation - Web 2.0: From Avatars to Advocates (.pdf) *

Thanks to everyone who attended the session this morning with Michael Stephens, Steven Bell & I. The conversations and ideas from the group exercise were so excellent. My only regret is that we didn't have PCs at every table, so that each group could have entered their ideas and current uses of "hot technologies" from their libraries in a wiki using the conference's free wireless. Hmmm... perhaps next time. :)

*From panel presentations for LAMA: Ignite your Library's Marketing & Outreach using Hot Technologies, June 25, 2007


Reading Material

Thanks Stephanie

Creating Great User Experiences: A Guide for Museums, Parks, Zoos, Gardens & Libraries

Thanks Stephanie! First chapter down (it's good). I'm looking forward to reading the rest on the plane.

ALA Bound

My flight doesn’t leave until Saturday, so I’ll be missing the Movers & Shakers luncheon, but with so much ground to cover over the next few days at ALA I haven’t tied my schedule down with too much --- yet!.

  • arrive @ 10 am
  • 1:30 - BIGWIG Social Software Showcase
  • 7 pm – Dinner with PLCMC colleagues
  • 10:30 - SirsiDynix Building Better Communities Award Ceremony
  • 6 pm – OCLC Blog Salon
  • 8 pm- 3M reception for IMLS National Award for Library Service Winners
  • 10:30 - Presentation: Ignite your Library’s Public Relations & Outreach Using Hot Technologies (with Michael Stephens & Steven Bell) Room 146C - Washington Convention Center
  • 5 pm – Leave
So as you can see there’s lots of holes in the schedule (I haven't plugged in sessions to attend yet), but if you'd like to meet for lunch, drinks or breakfast, letme know? I’m always up for company and conversation. :)


1:15 AM Thoughts on Learning

--> Note: This post is for personal observation only. Sometimes my genius (cough, choke, cough) befuddles me. :) <--

My husband knows better then to ask where I’m going when I jump out of bed at 1:15 in the morning and head downstairs… inevitability it’s to pen a thought on paper so I can get it out of my head.

In the kitchen there are at least three legal pads full of twilight scratch marks and every once in awhile, I take a thought (those that are coherent enough) and turn them into a post or a chapter.

Tonight, I reread the gibberish of something that I penned over a month ago. The beginning made sense (it still needs a lot of work though), as did the middle… but it was the ending (which I had forgotten about) that made me stop and shake my head …

1:15am notes

“Why is the qualifier "lifelong" needed when you talk about learning? … All learning is lifelong. The only thing that isn’t (lifelong learning) is death.” -- how's that for profound. :)

Note to self: You need to write more less after midnight!

Does anyone else do this?

Get a Clue

What a pleasant surprise to discover this little gem of a video (for PLCMC's Summer reading) in my RSS feeds this evening.

This is awesome! Truly, the untapped talents among our staff abound ...

Thanks Xina for making my day!

Book Hacks

From LifeHacker ----> 13 book hacks for the library crowd

PS: Thanks Frances! :)


On information & how it's changing ...

Almost a year ago, I did a post on the soft information and although my thoughts rambled some (they always do with long posts, don’t they?), I thought I had offered up at least one good point …

“But with information these days being more time sensitive than ever and online networks providing the conduit to transform tiny social grapevines into full-fledged vineyards for mass media consumption, the need to figure out the means to authenticate and validate soft information will become more important.”

Anyway, last week David Warlick added some additional thoughts to this observation on How Information is Changing that I thought were worth noting. To summarize, his points are:
  1. information has become increasingly networked
  2. information is increasingly digital
  3. We are overwhelmed by information

Take a look at his diagram of how these three points relate to Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Literacy.

There's some great food for thought for here.

How about you? How do you see information changing? What role do librarians play in helping our communities adjust to these changes? And how can we assist in users in making informed decisions when information is increasing soft?

I don't have any answers, but I think it's definitely worth thinking about.

And now for your listening pleasure ...

If you somehow missed the Gorman Gate episode hosted by Britannica last week (in two parts no less) , don’t worry – David Lee King has rewritten all the best parts in a song, I'm no Antidigitalist.

Best listening all week – thanks David!


LCPL Staff Day

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in Loudoun County Public Library’s staff day along with Stephen Abram (I never tired of hearing Stephen speak). It was great day of conversation which culminated in an idea and brainstorming session with their entire staff about how to use 2.0 tools to improve library services.

At first when I saw the outline for the day that Deputy Director Cindy Timmerman had outlined, I was a bit worried that we might be pressing our luck to keep staff engaged in a 45 minute session at the end of the day. But I was pleased to see I was wrong. Not only did the staff keep throwing out ideas, but as the ideas started to float around, we learned that one staff member had already provided leadership in developing a library wiki, Loudounpedia, and senior staff had launched the “Ask Away” blog to support internal communication and dialogue! All this in addition to having nearly 50% of their staff completing LCPL's Learning 2.0 - Wow!

Anyway, for those in attendance for my talk, here are my slides (pdf).

And to Doug, Cindy, Mary Lou, Linda, Virginia & everyone at LCPL – thanks for the conversation, hospitality and T-shirt. You guys definitely have the best summer reading t-shirt that I’ve ever seen.

Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service

Somewhere around mile marker 80 on US75 between Lexington and Nashville this past week, I finished reading the last chapter of Michael Casey's & Laura Savastinuk’s thought-provoking and recently published title, Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service.

In reading the 172 page contribution to the field, I was struck most by the book’s overall theme – purposeful change – which ironically seemed to mirror mpow current reorganization process (aka 2010). From chapter 4: A Framework for Change to chapter 8: Maintaining Momentum, I felt as if Casey’s & Savastinuk’s recommendations for creating a participatory library 2.0 climate were already well underway here at PLCMC. And as the date for unveiling of our new org structure approaches, I’m looking forward to embarking on new challenges and new partnerships (both internal & external) that will enable our library to continue to reach, serve, and engage our users in meaningful ways.

In many ways the final chapter summed it up best for me …

“Library 2.0 is about change. It’s about making change in your organization easy and routine. Its about updating services we offer and creating new services that will reach out to community members who do not yet use our great facilities and offerings. Library 2.0 seeks to bring staff on board and include them in decision-making processes…

It is important to remember that changing your organization structure cannot happen overnight. You also need staff, administrators, and possibly members of the governing board to buy into the organizational changes. Although this can be difficult to deal with, it can be done. It may take months to years for your organization to run smoothly under the Library 2.0 model. One thing to consider is, are you really running smoothly now? It is worth a try to make your library more appealing and useful for your users?”

Thanks Michael & Laura for a great read! And to answer your last question above ... from my perspective, Yes! It’s definitely worth it. :)


Calling all libraries ...

As a steering committee member for this valuable project, I was lucky enough to preview the first draft of the "cookbook" and I must say... It looks awesome. Not only is the material well laid out and easy to read (or skim if you're just looking for a quick answer), but it also contains a lot of really valuable stuff as well. I was especially intrigued by the technology cost efficiency charts which outlined savings that both small and large libraries could benefit from with routine maintenance schedules and re-imaging software. The best reading, of course, came from the personal stories that many library staff shared with lots of creative and valuable ideas (both large and small) among the pages.

Anyway, what I reviewed was just the first of several cookbooks and this where the rest of this posts comes in. If you haven't submitted a story or idea yet from your library, this is your opportunity:

Calling all public libraries! Share the good, the bad, and the ugly about how your library maintains public computers.

The MaintainIT Project is crafting guides—called “cookbooks”— that offer practical tips and techniques for keeping public computers available. Share your triumphs, highlights, and daily routines—what’s standard practice for you might just be an “aha!” for someone else. Your experiences will fill Cookbooks with relevant, timely, and practical information, useful for all public libraries. We’d love to spotlight YOUR library!

Please share your story so others can benefit from your experiences. Contact maintainit(at) and we’ll arrange a convenient time to speak with you.


We’re organizing informal chats during the conference, and we’d love to learn about your library. We’ll provide the refreshments, you share your experience. If you’re interested, please get in touch! maintainit(at)

Got a good idea or story share? Why not submit it and help shine a little spotlight on your library? Come on, I know you have one ... why not share :)

PS: You can send them to me too! I'd be happy to pass them along.


3 Months, 3 Bands, 3 ways to ROCK at the Library

For some reason I kinda feel like a proud but quirky aunt showing-off-my-nephew's-baby-photos posting this, but I just can't resist ... because this is so totally fun and innovative! I have totally nothing do with the awesome project other then being a cheerleader. But seriously, does this not ROCK ?!!

Tony Tallent
, PLCMC's Youth Services Director, is the brainchild behind the Tricycle Music Fest summer concert series with Jason Hyatt & Angela Craig lending their exceptional talents to pulling the it all together as well.

The other day Tony gave me a Jellydots cd to listen with my girls and when I picked up the hubby for the drive home that day, even David commented that he liked the band didn't even notice that the lyrics were "kid friendly" until three songs. The Jellydots cover of Schoolhouse Rock's Three is a Magic Number is what clued him in. :)

Anyway, as a mom to both a 5 and 7 year-old, this is perhaps the most exciting and innovative public program that PLCMC has done for my daughters age group all year. You can bet the three of of us will be in the audience rocking out and having a great time at each and every event.

PS: I just noticed the dates for the JellyDots concert series is right during ALA --- pah! I'm bummed! But Dan Zanes & Friends looks and sounds just as fun, as does Lunch Money. :)


Learning 2.1: Passing the torch

It felt great to pass the torch to Jamie this month as the Learning 2.1 guide for June.

Jamie starts off the month with a great little exercise on widgets and introduces yourminis, a site which provides a neat little start page as a playground.


Maryland Libraries Learn Together

Although I’ve known that the Maryland Libraries statewide has been working on this for awhile now, I just have to say that I’m totally impressed with the support that they provided libraries in their state with launching their own learning 2.0 opportunities. The list of participating public libraries is great to see.

Officially the program was launched today and many libraries already have 45, and even 80 and 86 participants on the first day!

Way to go Maryland! What a great way to build collaboration and community statewide!

PS: A big wave to James Kelly at Fredrick County and L2 liaison. To this day, I still believe that you own the award for providing the world'ssmallest training handout.

SMS Marketing

Wouldn't it be cool to get every member on your staff one of these?

I can see creating a variety of messages. Or better yet, why not let each staff member create a shirt and message of their own.

The marketing works like this ... people read your shirt and then send a text message (in this case to 41411 with the keyword message why123 or mybook) and then they recieve a message you've predefined back. Neat!

I can easily see this being used not only to promote library services and events, but also for reader's advisory ... how about you?

Reactee - Cause a Reaction


Unified Messaging

We’re switching to VoIP here at PLCMC and I couldn’t be more excited. Today for the first time I was able to see part of the unified messaging system in action. A message left on my new phone's voice mail was also sent to my Outlook Inbox as a .wav file --- cool!

Unified messaging rocks!!!


Wikis in Plain English

Following in the success of RSS in Plain English, Lee Lefever over at Common Crafts offers up another great short 4 minute video on wikis.

I can easily see these being used in a staff training or public workshop event, can't you?

Leapin Thoughts …

I love to find great new voices within the profession and discover different perspectives that really make me think. Teresa Cummings, aka the Leapin Librarian, is one of the recent and although I’ve had the pleasure to connect with Teresa on a few occasions in person, it’s been through her writing that I feel that I’ve really got to know her.

Anyway, Teresa’s post today really resonates with me because it’s on a topic that I’ve found myself discussing with some fellow colleagues quite a bit lately -- just what is service excellence?

Anyway, take a look at what Teresa has to say. She hits quite a few nails on the head and makes some great points as they relate to library policies and rules. :)