Libraries & 2019?

Via Trends in the Living Networks: Will libraries disappear in 2019?

"Slate magazine has published a very nice slideshow titled "Borrowed Time" about the past and future of libraries. On the final slide it refers to the Extinction Timeline created by What's Next and Future Exploration Network, where we had put 2019 for the extinction of libraries."

My take on Slate's 9 image slide show is that it focuses far too much on form and function (aka buildings and design) and NOT at all on interaction and impact. But fortunately the lack of engaging images --I wanna see people, programs and the community in library photos, not buildings and interiors -- doesn't stop the author from concluding on the final slide that libraries still hold a tremendous amount of value in the way of community and "human contact."

View the slide show here: Borrowed Time
Note: The forward buttons are found at the bottom of the screen and only appear after the 20 sec ad.

What are your thoughts?

The Free Economy

“Every industry that becomes digital, eventually becomes FREE” - Chris Anderson

Wired's cover story for March by editor Chris Anderson is well worth reading. Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

I think it's interesting to note that public libraries have always operated on the "free" premise. But in a world where digital business models are also shifting to "free", I wonder what this mean for libraries? Can we compete by maintaining not-for-profit models and organizational structures? Or do we need to shift to (or invent) new models in order to be sustainable in an abundant and "free economy" ?

BTW: If you don't feel like reading the full article, you can get the highlights from Chris Anderson's 3 minute video.

Chris Anderson discusses "Free."

Video produced by Annaliza Savage and edited by Michael Lennon.

PS: Is anyone sensing a follow-up book to Anderson's best seller, The Long Tail?

PSS: Yup, I thought so. Post note at the end of the article "Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail. His next book, FREE, will be published in 2009 by Hyperion."


An image that needs no introduction…

I tagged this image for sharing a while ago, but forgot to blog about it.

From Biocultural Science & Management:

Nuff said.

PS: Even though I hate to admit it, there’s even one or two phrases in there that I’ve heard myself say before - yikes!

NTS: Enlarge for display in new office.


Monday's blast from the past

From the UCLA Library Digital Collection:

Oh, if only library clerk Carolyn Folmer had just been instructed to turn the book "charging" machine around... then the Los Angeles Public Library could have claimed being the first library to offer a patron self-check out machine. :)

Hmmm... on 2nd thought, maybe LAPL was the first. I really don't know. But I bet someone out there does. If you know who was the first PL to offer patron self-check, please leave me a comment. I'm curious now... Thx.

Discovered via Librarian in Black.


Congratulations Glenn Peterson

I just discovered this little gem of news via the LITA website …

“Glenn Peterson is the 2008 recipient of the LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award for his development of provides low-cost and free website services for public libraries. The site went live in May, 2006, enabling even small- and medium-sized libraries the ability to offer high-quality web services to their patrons, services they most would otherwise be unable to provide.”

Congrats Glenn. It’s so well deserved!


CML Power Tools

I'm really excited to see this page with the new CML toolbar in beta:

Very cool! :)

Kid-geek book (or marketing invades picture books)

Even being a semi-geek mom, this book's focus -- which btw is clearly marketing for Windows Home Server-- really disturbs me. But even so, I have to admit, the tongue-n-cheek prose does amuse me.

You can view the entire book online here.

PS: It's also on Amazon - scary!


1st Monthly CML Report

Apparently, as I've heard from many CML staff, item 3 on my top ten list from my first week at CML back in December created a lot of interest and conjecturing. So in the spirit of revealing its contents, I'd thought I'd just share my first monthly CML report for those staff that have been wondering (& who may not look extensively at the board package once it's posted on the intranet either). :)


“You know you have your work cut out for you when your new boss delivers your work plan for your first few months to you on a post it note. :) ”

In many ways the small blue square 2.5 X 2.5 piece paper that I’ve attached to the inside cover of my “CML Bible” is a great reminder of what’s truly important in this new position as Digital Strategy Director. And, as I’ve learned over the past few weeks, the most brilliant marketing messages (i.e. big broad objectives on my work plan) are often best delivered in the smallest and most concise packages. :)

Indeed "Values, Relationships, Plan – Vision, Strategy" have been my focus over the my first few weeks here at CML and in drafting my first board report, I thought I'd just share a few of the insights I’ve gained as I've worked towards gaining a fuller understanding of these on-going focus areas:

  • Values: CML's four core values are easy to remember using the word “pert” (short for pertinent, as in extremely important). Passion, Excellence, Respect and Trust form the foundation of everything that we do at CML and it’s been easy to see as I’ve started to visit the branch locations this month, that staff also take these to heart in all that they do.

  • Relationships: Even though it seems to me that an unusually large portion of staff have substantial long-term relationships with CML -- I still am blown away by the average employment longevity of the staff. All good signs BTW -- every staff member that I have encountered has been wonderfully receptive to building new relationships and willing to share their thoughts and ideas. I’ve also discovered that my personal blog provides a great advantage in this area. Many staff members have told me over the last month that they read my blog and feel they know me in a way. That's good, but it also makes me wish that every library employee had one of these, so I could get a leg up on what makes them tick as well. :)

  • Vision: From a digital strategy perspective, CML's current vision couldn’t be any better worded or positioned then it is already. With the changing digital emphasis over the past few years from web 1.0 (information & access) to web 2.0 (community & engagement), "A thriving community where wisdom prevails" melds perfectly with where the online and digitally connected world is moving.

  • Strategy: CML's three external focus areas (young minds, powers users & virtual users) and two internal areas (expand capacity & engage team) provides a great structure for what I have suggested as a framework for moving forward with developing future deliverables for CML's digital strategies. These framework elements will guide CML Digital Services in answering the question, "what elements need to be present in our strategies and tactical plan items in order to have the greatest impact on our virtual users?"

    • Engage - To enable our customers to connect with library staff, its services and with each other in meaningful ways.
    • Enrich - To provide our customers with a rich online experience that enhances their local branch experience & daily lives.
    • Empower - To enable our customers to personalize their library experience and to allow our community to celebrate themselves.

So that’s all for my first report. This first full month has really been about that small blue post it note. And although I imagine that my actual work plan will expand over the coming months to be much larger in both physical size, scope and content, I can’t imagine that the importance of this high level focus will ever be any more succinct and clear.


Drupal powers Fast Company’s new site

I’ve been an avid fan of Fast Company for years and this month’s relaunch of makes the site entirely social (& built on Drupal, an open source solution none the less). Not social like Facebook, which I think of as “friends social”. Or LinkedIn, which to me is “networking social”. No, it’s more like “exchange ideas social" where connections and resume matter less, and ideas and shared thoughts matter more.

Member blogs (which you can create for free – see my test blog here.) are featured on the site, even on the homepage, along side magazine features, expert and staff blogs, fast talk items, etc. It’s an interesting approach that is very edgy for major magazine and I for one will be interested to see how this model expands and/or is adopted by other traditional publishing players.

Filed under: Watch this site!

Are customers also "containers"?

In a meeting today I heard a colleague talk eloquently about “information containers” and how over the last dozen or so years (actually it was span of over 100 years) the “containers” have changed, but really “information” (and the core service of information provision) really has not. In so many ways, I completely agreed with what he said, but it also got me thinking … and wondering … not so much so about the “information” part, but rather the container part…

Are not our customers also “containers” (ie community containers) and shouldn’t we be building tools and creating spaces within our libraries to harvest and allow customers to actively share their collective knowledge for the benefit of our communities as well?

Just a question… what are your thoughts?

PS: I know, I don't like the word "harvest" either -- it sounds so Stephen Kingish -- in the sentence above. But at the moment, I couldn't think of anything better.


Digital Themed Bookstores

Via USA Today, Borders opens bookshelves to digital services

"At the Borders concept store, new themed book islands are built around lifestyle genres, including travel, cooking and health. The digital centers, meantime, are geared to welcome people of all levels of tech know-how. Staffers will guide customers through the process of burning music to CDs, downloading songs to most digital music players (except iPods, which, for now, work only with Apple software) or books to a Sony digital reader. They'll even print the cover art and fold it into a CD cover for you."


PS: Thanks Matt for forwarding.


Buzzword Blunder?

The web-based word processing apps market just got little bit more crowded. Adobe has recently released their long anticipated free flash-based word processing application, Buzzword.

My first reaction to Buzzword is that its slick and pretty easy to use. But there’s one big thing that has me a perplexed … it’s an Adobe app. right? Yet it doesn’t seem to allow me to “Save as” in a .pdf format?

Seriously, it's not there. Take a look for yourself.

FYI: For those who are wondering, the option’s not found under the “Document/print” either. Yup, it’s got me wondering how an Adobe company could miss this opportunity. IMHO, the lack of this popular and useful option definitely makes Google Docs and Zoho Writer look even.


Blitzing branches (or at least trying to)

I’ve been trying to blitz the branch locations here at CML during the month of February, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating much lately. But for the have dozen or so visits that I have gotten in, I have already learned so much.

One of the biggest impacts that’s apparent whenever I walk through a door, is just how busy our locations are… there never is down time of activity and the higher the buzz, the more energized the staff is. The Homework Help Centers are amazing and with dozens of kids receiving much needed assistance every weekday afternoon, the impact that CML is making will last these kids a lifetime.

I wish I had taken my camera along during my visits last week so I could have captured the activity. And my search on the CML site doesn’t reveal much either. In fact, the only photo I could find was this one from an article in the Columbus Dispatch. NTS: Need to fix that.

Anyway, it’s been a whirlwind these past two weeks and from what I can gather, the constant buzz of activity never slows down – not even for those of us in support functions. In fact I’ve been so busy here in Columbus since I arrived, that I haven’t even had one full day yet with even 2 consecutive hours of just office time. Don’t get wrong, I’m not complaining. Given my druthers, being busy is always better then being bored. but what I am gaining most through my visits is a great appreciation for all our staff in branches do & juggle … oh, so excellently.

Paint the town READ

Originally uploaded by jblyberg
I can still recall what I was drinking at Caribou Coffee in the BofA atrium when I first heard the inspiration for this new family literacy campaign - Paint the town “Read”

Family reading time is just so important for young minds (heck, from experience I can tell you it benefits old minds like mine too) so seeing a campaign like this come from a small idea born over coffee into a huge system-wide (and city-wide) effort just makes me smile.

You can find more about this campaign both here. The kickoff is tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, which seems appropriate, no? And during the campaign there are all sorts of fun red/read hallmark events planned.

Congrats to the entire Library in Action team! I’ll be wearing red in your honor and plan to spend the part of evening with my girls painting our new home here in Columbus “read” as well.

BTW: ICYC the drink was a hazelnut latte :)

PS: Thanks John for capturing this great photo of 3000 yard signs ready to go.


7 Habits of Highly Innovative People

Can you tell I’m on an innovation trend tonight? Yup, I’ve been thinking about the big i-word a lot lately and trying to get some new talking points together for an upcoming talk at CIL08. Anyway, this list recent list from ThinkSimpleNow on 7 Habits of Highly Innovative People made me smile. I love item 7, which marketing guru, Seth Godin, recently offered some great thoughts on video about as well.

  1. Persistence
  2. Remove Self-Limiting Inhibitions
  3. Take Risks, Make Mistakes
  4. Escape
  5. Writing Things Down
  6. Find Patterns & Create Combinations
  7. Curiosity

And if you’re looking for more thoughts alone these, check out Innovating to Win's additional list.

Innovation. It's all about interactions baby!

I’m finally diving into a great book, Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate, that a good friend and colleague recommended to me before Christmas. I’m only on page 35 and I’ve already I’ve dog-eared nearly a half dozen pages, so I know already that this one title that I would just be better off purchasing now and adding to my private library.

The intro alone offered up a lot great food for thought and although I’m going to refrain from quoting the book just yet, I did want to jot down my own bit of paraphrasing on this one particular thought:

Innovation is not about creating new ideas; it’s about creating new interactions.

Innovation … from inspiration… to ideas … to implementation … to new interactions. That’s really what the big “i word” is all about. Creating connections that never really existed before and transforming relationships in the process.


Don’t have a cheer? Then just share a story …

When Margaret Miles, from Plumus County Library, did an encore presentation of her infamous Library Cheer during the MaintainIT project's annual meeting this past month in SF, I was completely enthralled. I mean any librarian that puts that much energy and kick into in the L word is standout in my book.

For those that don't know already, the MaintainIT project has cooked up some wonderful resources to help libraries with technology issues. The first book, A Cookbook for Small & Rural Libraries, I can honestly say that I've read from cover to cover. Inside the cover (or free pdfs)it offers many tips on maintaining public computers and provides some great cost savings charts and maintenance schedules for both making strong business cases and following through on technology support.

Cookbook #2, Recipes for a 5 Star Library, just came out weeks ago and builds upon the first and covers everything from setting up wireless access to print and pc reservation to laptop check out services. What makes both cookbooks better then most library technology guides are the in-the-field stories from the front lines and as the project moves forward with the next book in the series, there is lots of opportunity for libraries of every size to share success stories.

If you have a success story or even a small technology tip that has made difference at your library. Don't be shy, let the folks at the MaintainIT project know. And being a member of the project's steering committee, I'm also happy to receive and forward a story. Not to worry, you don't need to make up cheer like Margaret to get notice. A simple story or quote will go just as far. :)


On Learning vs Training

Having been a called a "trainer" in many former professional capacities during my career, I can totally relate to the bullet points in this post on TwoPointOuch.

  • "People nowadays don’t have jobs or even careers for life. We have these portfolio careers and we’re all entrepreneurial about those careers. The average in-house marketer stays in a job for four years; it’s even lower in agency land.

  • Our employers don’t have our individual agenda at heart when they design training or development programmes. They have the company’s interests in mind.

  • Employers also tend to confuse training and learning. Training gets done to you. Learning is something an individual does themselves. Companies tend to think of training as their responsibility, rather than learning. They also think (62% of them - HROs - do) that “done to” training is the most effective way to deliver education for the job, according to survey results."

During many of my talks about the 23 Things program (not to be confused with the Learning 2.0 report that Ian writes about in his post) I always advocate loudly to "not confuse training with learning." They are indeed two very different ideas which in the best of circumstances have a direct link between the two, but more often then not have totally no impact on each other.

The best learning happens by self-discovery, when two very important elements are present. In order for anyone to truly learn, they must be

a) engaged in their own discovery process and
b) be motivated to learn.

and neither of these really require a "trainer." :)

Children's Transformation Lab

The Aarhus Public Library has released another video about their innovative experiments in the Children's Interactive Library. I still hope to visit this unique library and space on day so that I can see experience it in person. But in the meantime, the videos are a good substitute. Here's their latest:

View other Transformation Lab videos here.


Top Business Issues for 2008

Deloitte recently released their top business issues that matter most in 2008 and in looking at the list, I can easily see many of these as major issues for libraries too!

“The business issues that resonated across multiple industry sectors and could have a dramatic impact this year include:
  • Globalization
  • Convergence
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Rising Energy & Health Care Costs
  • Transparency
  • Technology Use & Integration
  • The 2008 Presidential Election
  • Talent Management
Note: Emphasis is mine.

If I had to rank these in terms of importance, I’d definitely place Talent Management and Transparency at the top. To me these not only have the greatest impact on the success of libraries. But they will also be, at least in my mind, be the determining factors for the 2008 Presidential Election outcome. ok, nuff said :)

A complimentary copy of the full report (note 50 page pdf) 2008 Industry Outlook: A Look Around the Corner is accessible here.


Book Video Widget

This seems like a natural for libraries to copy, steal or adopt … BookVideos.TV widget from Simon & Schuster.

The only thing that could make this widget better (well 2 things actually)...

1) it allowed for library branding/ co-branding

2) "Reserve a copy" was listed as a menu option.

More @