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 :)