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.


One Child, Two Laptops

Via NYTimes, Buy a Laptop for a Child, Get Another Laptop Free

"The marketing program, to be announced today, is called “Give 1 Get 1,” in which Americans and Canadians can buy two laptops for $399.

One of the machines will be given to a child in a developing nation, and the other one will be shipped to the purchaser by Christmas. The donated computer is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. The program will run for two weeks, with orders accepted from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26.

Just what Americans will do with the slender green-and-white laptops is uncertain. Some people may donate them to local schools or youth organizations, said Walter Bender, president of the laptop project, while others will keep them for their own family or their own use."

Hmmm... don't forget about libraries. :)


Libraries in 2017 ...

"These cards are from a campaign run by the National Library of New Zealand at LIANZA Conference 2007: TRANZFORM - Te TÄ«nihanga (9-12 September)."

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Complete Flickr set found here.


Pondering the "Blurr"

Note: Since penning this last week on the flight home from Santa Cruz (forgot to post it until now), my oldest acquired not one... but three webkinz darlings at the Roller Skating party. Yup! guess where she's been asking to go daily?

My daughter turned eight last week and although she was thrilled with her new watch, the junior sewing machine and the pink lava lamp, she was the missing "asked for" gift of the moment -- a Webkinz-- that she so desperately longed for.

Have you heard about this virtual world, yet, that is cleverly disguised as a cuddly stuffed animal? I say this tongue and cheek of course, but it's true. The animal comes with a code that unlocks your child's stuff animal's very own virtual world. The Wikipedia entry for Webkinz offers a good description of what kids can do with their virtual animal online:
"When a user adopts their first Webkinz pet, they give it a name, gender, and enter its secret code. The user is then given basic items such as a room and 2000 kinzcash. Upon the adoption of the pet, certain items are considered unique to the pet - such as "exclusive" food or "exclusive" items. After the tenth adoption, the user will receive a Super Bed.[5]

Much of the game play involves the earning and spending of Kinzcash. Earning Kinzcash involves playing multiple minigames, including quizzes and arcade games. This virtual currency can then be used to purchase items for the virtual pet."
From my perspective, what's most interesting about this (and other similar toys attached to virtual worlds) is the blurring that's occurring in the marketing of entertainment objects between IRL (in real life) and IVW (in virtual worlds). My daughters are growing up both in an on this blurr. To them it is completely normal; they don't have (nor will ever have) any historical perspective that tells them differently.

As a parent, I may not be completely comfortable with the blurr - yet, but I realize that it's an important perspective that will affect ... well, everything !

But as a trend watcher, I find it fascinating. For from a purely business standpoint, I can see that this is an emerging trend and future perspective that libraries (and all organizations) will have to deal with.

Right now, it's got me wondering this ...

How do we begin to develop future library services that offer and support the "blurr" between IRL and IVW?

I don't have the answer, but I think it's definitely something worth thinking about ...

How about you?

BTW: She doesn't have a Webkidz-- yet! But we still have to make it through the weekend's upcoming rollerskating birthday party. :)


CML Tour & Presentation

I’ve always wanted to see the Columbus Metropolitan Library system and Tuesday I got my chance. After talking to a great crowd of staff about 2.0 stuff for two hours, I received a fast (but fantastic) world wind tour of four of their branches (Linden, Gahanna, Northern Lights & New Albany).

What impressed me most about the tour was how jammed packed almost every location was. In the first two branches we visited, I don’t think there was a spare open seat in the whole house.

Homework Help centers, recently opened in at least 8 libraries over the last two weeks, were jamming and the centers, in addition to having school supplies on hand for kids, even have copies of all the local schools' text books.

Anyway, I know elementary school homework doesn’t actually fit in with the topic I delivered that afternoon. But for me, it was seeing these libraries nearly busting at the seams with kids, parents and tutors working on the basics, that made the biggest impact.

For those at CML, thanks so much for the warm reception. Here’s my slides and links to the videos as promised, and even the little video I captured off my camera of a CML staff wave.

Presentation: 2.0 isn't a "thing" It's a shift & a ... (pdf)
Videos: Shift Happens (Note: better version then the one I used last week @SC)
        Librarian 2.0 Manifesto
        CML Wave on Youtube

Flickr photos from CML.

PS: Oh, I forgot to mention... the space in CML's Operations Center is to die for.


The Way I See It #200

The Way I See It #200
Originally uploaded by pebblechen*

Except for what seems like my twice monthly trips through Charlotte Douglas airport, I always grab my leaded fix from Caribou (cause it's closer). But after reading some of the latest "The Way I See It" cups, I think these may make it worth my time to walk the extra two blocks. :)


Santa Cruz presentation

By east coast time it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon, but here in Santa Cruz it’s still morning and I’ve just finished talking to staff members from both the SCPL and UCSC about web stuff, library stuff and 2.0 stuff - yup! "things" :)

Up right now is Dale Poor, a Certified Google Teacher (note: He doesn’t work for Google, but rather is a certified teacher and high school multimedia educator - neat!) who is showing us Picasa, Google Docs, Google Pages, Google Earth, Google Reader and Google Labs. Lots to play with and lots to have fun with here.

Anyway, as promised, here are my slides to my presentation and the links to the two videos:

Presentation: 2.0 isn't a "thing" It's a "shift" & a ..." (pdf)
Videos: Did you know? (aka Shift Happens)
           A Librarians 2.0 Manifesto

Thanks to everyone from SCPL and UCSC for a wonderful reception and best of luck on your Learning 2.0 journeys.


Does your library blog tell a story?

Great post by Emily Clasper over at Library Revolution today. From My story about telling stories:

"I’ve heard the “Library Blog Blues” many times before. Unfortunately, there isn’t one single answer. Does blogging work for businesses and libraries? Yes. Is it easy? NO. Creating a “successful” blog is an extremely complex endeavor, and I think that too many libraries are suckered by the myth that if you put a blog together for your organization, the right people will just find it and use it. But in real life it’s not nearly that easy.

We discussed this, and talked about some of the thing she might experiment with to jump start things a little. We talked about the blogs we personally liked to read, the things we perceive as making a blog “successful.” We talked about some of the things other libraries are doing that they felt were really working for them. She still seemed daunted.

Then I mentioned marketers and how they always talk about “telling a story.” You know, presenting something authentic and compelling that your readers can identify with. Not necessarily a narrative (or maybe so!), but writing something your readers can connect with emotionally and that will engage people.

“We don’t really tell stories,” She said with a thoughtful expression, “We just tell people what’s new in the library. Maybe there’s something to that…”

Read the full post, to find out the end of this great story. :)

On the importance of Play!

Reading David King's posted thoughts to Ryan Deschamps discussion on Facebook and libraries got me thinking about the importance of entertainment value in creating library services.

I think Ryan makes some excellent points about making sure new services and products that we develop have an element that customers can identify with. But in looking at popular Facebook apps (as well as other successful web apps), it occurs to me that what makes these applications attractive to users is that a) they're useful b) easy to use and c) have an element of fun!

Entertainment value or "play" often seems to be an important element that is often overlooked in the development of library services. In developing our products and services, we tend to only focus on the first two, ease of use and utility. Seldom do we build in "experiences" to our products that allow our users to "play" -- unless, of course we're aiming to attract only the under 4 foot crowd.

Experience is the key word here -- and I know this topic is close to David's heart as well -- and it seems to me that this is an element of online development that most libraries really don't have a good handle on yet.

Ryan points out that in developing online apps "we need to give something with which the user will identify" and provides an example of how this translate in a library-like Facebook application:

"Off the top of my head, how about an application that provides a cartoony-like character that identifies the user as a certain kind of geek, according to a specific discipline? Then, the cartoon offers a series of articles, books and websites that display the geeky interest? For instance, an Anthro geek would have a series of citations related to Anthropology. This avenue is cheekier, more likely to be applied to a user’s page, and, in the end, a totally foreign approach to service for librarians."
"Cartoony-like character" & "cheeky"? These attributes of this popular library-like Facebook app seem to scream that entertainment value was (and is) a huge part in the design and appeal of this online application.

There's a lot to pay attention in this area, but I see this element of "play" creeping up everywhere in online development, even on "file not found -404 error" screens.

Entertainment value -- even the smallest elements of fun -- make a world of difference and as we move into new areas of product and service developement, we need to pay closer attention to "play" in order to compete and provide customers with meaningful experiences!


Best practice or fresh practice?

From my new favorite blog, the Idea Sandbox:

Hmmm... gives you something to think about in terms of innovation.

Blogging big ideas

Seth Godin’s post today about Big Ideas really resonates …
“I responded that ideas are easy, doing stuff is hard.

My feeling is that the more often you create and share ideas, the better you get at it.

The process of manipulating and ultimately spreading ideas improves both the quality and the quantity of what you create, at least it does for me.

History is littered with inventors who had "great" ideas but kept them quiet and then poorly executed them. And history is lit up with do-ers who took ideas that were floating around in the ether and actually made something happen. In fact, just about every successful venture is based on an unoriginal idea, beautifully executed.

So, if you've got ideas, let them go. They're probably holding you back from the hard work of actually executing.”

I guess this why I enjoy putting my thoughts out here on my blog. I know that they are often unrefined and unfinished, but it gives me a place to park them while I'm still working out the details.

And the best part about blogging is that every once in awhile someone adds a comment or perspective that pushes my thought or idea to a whole new level. :)


Filed Under... Truly Amazing!!

What if every single public library in the State of Victoria…
Launched an optional learning program for all library staff all on the same day…
Would it work?
Would staff join it?

The answer is OMG … AMAZING!!

The program was launched today, September 10th
and already over
1000 library personal
have jumped on board!!!!!

Congrats Victoria Public Libraries for successful launch of your L2.0 program.

And hats off to Lynette Lewis and Leslie Sharples of YPRL for spearheading the effort (including the creation of over 45 different library versions). You two have clearly earned the title L2 Divas!

PS: And just think of the amazing results that can happen as result of moving 1000 + library staff through the program all at the same time. Well done SLV & VICLINK for supporting such a massive learning effort... Yes, Well Done!

I work on the web

I work on the web

This is me. I work on the Web (see also

In 1993, I purchased my first computer – an Acer 256.
In 1995, I created my first website, The Beans & Fritzer Holiday Home Page. It became our annual Christmas card extra until 2001, when our dogs (you guessed it, B & F) retired and I took up blogging.
In 2004, I started blogging professionally at
In 2006, I created Learning 2.0 and things have taken off from there.

I work on the web daily - @ work, @ home and @ play!

The web:
  • keeps me connected with people and ideas that inspire me to innovate and bring greater value to my 9 to 5 workplace.
  • keeps me connected to family and friends all over globe.
  • gives me a medium to share and test my ideas, thoughts and hypothesis with others.
  • offers a place for dialogue, conversation and reflection. It compliments my irl discussions.
  • is an integral part of my career and daily habit.
I work on the web. How about you?

PS: Thanks Kathryn & Michael for providing the inspiration.

UPDATE: Add your profile to Flickr and then machine tag it to include it on Machine tag directions --> here.


L2.1 - Thing 39 Animoto

Easy … fun … and look at the results. It took me less than 5 minutes to render this short video montage and the hardest part was creating a user account. Animoto does indeed make simple music video creation easy. Here’s my first take at playing with the 30 second short clip option.

Thanks Serena over at Learning 2.1 for making the recommendation and giving me something new to play with. :)


10 Unlearning Items

In my travels the other day, I stumbled across this great post on Weblogg-ed about the "unlearning curve." In it Will Richardson outlines a list of ten things that any person trying to figure out how to move education forward in a systemic way needs to “unlearn.”

In reviewing Will's excellent list, is easy to see that these “unlearning” items also parallel many of the educational experiences we offer in libraries. All you need to do is substitute a few nouns and stretch the concept of the classroom to the library’s learning environment and there’s a lot of great food for thought here ...

  • We need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom, because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching.

  • We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.

  • We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.

  • We need to unlearn the strategy that collaborative work inside the classroom is enough and understand that cooperating with students from around the globe can teach relevant and powerful negotiation and team-building skills.

  • We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.

  • We need to unlearn the notion that our students don’t need to see and understand how we ourselves learn.

  • We need to unlearn our fear of putting ourselves and our students “out there” for we’ve proven we can do it in safe, relevant and effective ways.

  • We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace?

  • We need to unlearn the idea that we can teach our students to be literate in this world by continually blocking and filtering access to the sites and experiences they need our help to navigate.

  • We need to unlearn the premise that real change can happen just by rethinking what happens inside the school walls and understand that education is now a community undertaking on many different levels.
Read the full post, “The Steep Unlearning Curve

I’ve bolded my three favorites, what’s yours?


Andy will know ...

How to break down stereotypes? Hmmm... maybe Andy will know ...

"Librarians have appeared in pop culture as shushers, spinsters, even sex symbols. What about solvers of great conundrums, masters and mistresses of organization, purveyors of intellectual freedom?!

"Addy Will Know" avoids the stereotypes. Serving as a musical tribute to the modern librarian, it is about a real librarian who leads a lost patron to the four books he is looking for. The names of the books are never mentioned, but as a kind of puzzle, the song itself includes call numbers that correspond to the books hinted at in the verses.

Since "Addy Will Know" is essentially a song about you, the modern librarian, we want you to participate!"

Read more --> Andy will know

PS: Thanks Matt & Jessi for forwarding this one. :)


Become a trend spotter

Wanna know how to be a trend spotter? Try these five tips from

  1. Know why you’re tracking trends
    “Tracking consumer trends is one way (and there are many ways!) to gain inspiration, helping you dream up profitable new goods, services and experiences for (and with) your customers. So trend watching should ultimately lead to profitable innovation” See great list of misconceptions.

  2. Have a point of view
    “Make sure you acquire a point of view about the world around you. The more trends you spot and track, and the more skilled you are at putting these trends into context, the more guidance you'll have. When you have a broad point of view, even tiny observations start to make sense.”

  3. Weave your web of resources
    "Stop bitching about information overload and instead celebrate the incredible wealth of trend resources at your fingertips, many of them free or dirt cheap! Surely there’s never been a more exciting time for eager trend watchers to be in business, soaking up the insights, the spottings, the reports, the live dispatches from the global consumer arena.”

  4. Fine-tune your trend network
    ”The easiest way to start building your own Trend Framework is to copy consumer trends from existing trend curators…Then add your own findings. Your framework will expand quickly, meaning fewer surprises every time you spot something of interest: the bigger the framework, the easier it is to categorize your findings.”

  5. Embed and apply
    ”Every company should have its own Trend Group. Even if that ‘group’ is just you. The Trend Group is not some multi-million dollar/euro/pound affair. It doesn't have to employ a dozen staff (though that would be nice ;-). It's more a state of mind”

Read the full text here, trendwatching .com


Via NYT: The Next Generation of Online Shorthand
* GI -- Google it
* MOP -- Mac or PC?
* FCAO -- five conversations at once
* IIOYT -- is it on YouTube?
* DYFH -- did you Facebook him/her?
* BIOI -- buy it on iTunes
* CMOS -- call me on Skype
* GGNUDP -- gotta go, no unlimited data plan
... more here.

PS: My personal fav from the list - JUOC!

Gmail Video

The only way this video could have been better is if the red outlined envelope was a giant library card or book (think Harry Potter) instead ...

I loved this marketing idea when I first saw it announced on Gmail last month, but think the end result is even more fun.

BTW: All the submissions can be found where else? ... on YouTube.


Another innovation thought ...

Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself and work outside of your job description (ie comfort zone). It’s often where the most personal success and innovation can be found.

PS: Thanks Jesscia Hagy for this insightful index card.


Innovation Killers

I think I'd really enjoy meeting and having a dinner conversation with Steven Collins. Here's a slide that I pulled from a recent presentation that he did on Knowledge Worker 2.0

There's a lot of food for thought here and even a few "killers" that really hit home.