"Third Place" ideas

Since moving to Columbus, my Starbucks addiction has been limited to my infrequent travels through the Port Columbus airport. It’s a good thing, I know - I get enough caffeine as it is with my morning brew. :)

Anyway, why bring this up? Well during my trip last week through CMH (airport code) I picked up a little card with a url ( while waiting on my latte. It got my attention...

My Starbucks Idea

A quick look at the site made me immediately think, "we should be doing this in libraries". Asking customers what they want and providing the means to react and give feedback online. But as I looked through the list of top All-Time suggestions, I realized that there’s an even better bigger opportunity here ... to capitalize on Starbucks already existing data.

I mean libraries have seen themselves in a “third place” (home & work/school being places 1 & 2) competition between Starbucks (& book stores) for years. So why not take a look at what customers are currently telling Starbucks what they want and value in a “third place” relationship.

A few themes standout in my glance at the top twenty … loyalty rewards are high on the list (VIP cards, point card) as is free wifi (many libraries have this one covered), green practices (stop trashing empty cards, reusable sleeves, etc), comfortable furnishings and personalization (auto ordering via swipe card).

There’s a wealth of info in these suggestions that we can use to relook at some of our own offerings in libraries. So if you can’t afford to create your own “My Library Idea” site, why not piggyback on a few of Starbucks' and investigate them.

Cross posted on ULC's Foresight 2020


Collection Development in the age of social captial & reputation?

There’s a very interesting post and thread over at the LibraryThing blog where Tim makes a good point that libraries need to start thinking about how to develop collections in a world where publishers are less influential (replaced by self publishing utilities like and in some cases “books” never even make it to the printed form.

This is a discussion item that I’ve been bringing up more and more in my talks and it’s one of those issues that I believe in a a few more years will really rock the core. As our culture continues to challenge traditional “authority” systems with newer models rooted in social capital and “reputation,” I’ll be curious to see to how it impacts our collection development practices.

Great food for thought… thanks Tim! Read the full discussion, Getting real: Libraries are missing books


A lot of great stuff for the price of a tank of gas ...

Sean Robinson @ CMLToday was one of those days that I wish we did more often in libraries… an exchange of ideas and a bit of show-n-tell among professional colleagues from two completely different library systems.

Sean Robinson, Kay Gregg and Melissa Kiser from Allen County Public County were kind enough to make the 3 hour journey to Columbus and even kinder to share some of their insights into cultural issues that almost every library and IT department struggles with. Sean did a 40 minute talk for the Digital Services team that covered everything from the “enable vs disable” quandary to making work “fun.”

Indeed, conversation and dialogue between colleagues from similar libraries is something that we should do more often. You don’t need conferences or a large travel budget to make this happen. Just pick up the phone and make a call … you’d be amazed at how much you can learn … and share … and benefit from with the simple investment in a half tank of gas.

Thanks again Sean, Kay & Melissa. We need to plan a future date to return the favor (& continue the dialogue). Only this time the tank of gas is our investment … and we might even bring brownies too! :)

3/29 UPDATE: Sean just posted the podcast that we did during their visit. If you're curious and wondered what we chatted about, you can find it here - ACPL's Out of Order podcast - episode 5


CML has a good showing at PLA this year. I believe in part because we have so many staff presenting programs this year (four) and part because of the closer proximity of Columbus to Minneapolis (it's far better then Seattle).

Although I, myself, was only able to attend for one day - in and out to cover lots of ground with vendors – I have been enjoying the ability to follow along with what our team is learning and experiencing through the CML@PLA blog.

What a great application for a quick team blog and a great way to capture at-the-moment impressions for sharing and reflection later.


Exactly why prototyping is so important ...

I stumbled across this great quote the other day in one of Paul Isakson's presentations...

... and it sounded vaguely familiar. If you altered Steve Job's quote a bit to and replace "show it to them" with "provide them with a prototype to react to" then you very quickly have a development philosophy that aids in achieving a better end product.

I don't know how many prototypes, wire frames and mock ups we scratched during my time in web services at mfpow. But I do know this, that is was our goal to develop prototypes that our collaborative development teams and customers would tear apart, for it was the only way to ensure that what we were developing would indeed be useful.

In order for customers to be engaged in your development process, you need to provide them with something to react to. Focus groups are good, but prototyping feedback sessions are better! :)

Best Thoughts

I know I'm guilty of using too many "waffling" words as Seth Godin's eludes to this recent post. But what I found most interesting was his last observation.

"Saying it doesn't make it so. In fact, it probably makes it unso."


Growing the Org Chart

I’ve been thinking a lot about organizational charts -- yup, it’s tied to the fact that some new areas in my library have recently aligned under me -- and in doing so it’s dawned on me that most organizational chart software tools have the structure all wrong in the hierarchy thing. For me the top of the food chain is our customers - for that’s who any organization is designed to support. No matter what business model you follow, we’re all in it for a reason and that reason only exists because of the customer.

In my version of the new org. chart for my area, I put myself as head of the department at the very bottom. It’s my primary responsibility to ensure that my areas are healthy, well watered and fertilized with the right mixture of vision and strategy so that all the folks working within my domain can blossom and grow the organization best in supporting our customer.

“I’m the dirt” I told my new team last month when we met and I meant it quite sincerely. It’s my job to keep the ground fertile and the vision strong, so that those in middle can grow the organization and hold our customers up.

Indeed in my book most org. chart tools have it wrong. The CEO belongs at the bottom (across the entire bottom) and the customer at the very top!

BTW: I call this image my easter egg chart. I look pretty in grassy green don't you think?


A list of misc. quotables

Just a list of interesting quotes that I stumbled across in the last few days. I'm posting them here, so I can find & use them later. :)

"Emotion is the experience in User Experience" - Trevor Van Gorp

"Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself.” - Guy Kawasaki

"It's better to have a rough answer to a right question, then a detail answer to a wrong question" - Lord Kelvin

"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet" - William Gibson

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!” - Joel Arthur Barker

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” - Pablo Picasso

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” – Albert Einstein

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” - Albert Szent-Gyorgyl

“Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.” - W. Somerset Maugham

"The human mind once stretched by a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something." - unknown

Slidecasting vs Screencasting

Polly Farrington has just done a terrific slidecast of the differences between screencasting and slidecasting. I know, there's a lot of "s" words in that sentence. Try saying "screencast, slidecast" fast three times. :)

Anyway, take a look at Polly's terrific slidecast. I've been meaning to play around with slidecasting capabilities on for awhile now and Polly's slidecast is a great introduction.

Thanks Polly!

Moving Mountains

I've been working a lot in the evenings pulling together four new presentations that I'm slated to give over the next 3 weeks. Sometimes, I can kick myself for over committing a bit, but then on the other hand I'm glad, for if forces me do more than just tweak and rework content from my past presentations for just a different audience. This coming month is exciting (and exhausting) because all my content for the four talks is 95% new. I'd forgotten how much effort it takes to create a 60-90 minute presentation from scratch, let along four of them. :)

Anyway, I just finished up with my slides for talk I'm doing at CIL with Tony Tallent titled Innovation Starts with "I". I really like my new format (which is heavy on images) and I especially like this final slide ...

It does take a lot of steady work to move mountains. And from my current perspective, I feel like I'm both building and moving my own small mountains with all this presentation prep. The good news is that I'm 2.75 presentations down. The bad news is that I still have 1.25 (aprox 50-60 slides) left to go. :(


Ulitmate Children's Librarian job

I love to see break out job opportunities for librarians and this recent search for Disney's CMO, Chief Magical Officer has got to be among the best. What's even better is that a children's librarian (& local girl from the Columbus area) Jennifer Sechler is among the ten finalists.

Voting ends tommorrow, March 22nd... so please join me in casting a vote for Jennifer.

I'd love to have this title, wouldn't you?

PS: Having a librarian as Disney's CMO would almost beat having one in white house. :)

DOK Inspiration

Xbox kiosks
Originally uploaded by
The Shifted Librarian
“The first thing we had to let go of when the three collections merged into DOK in 1996 was the idea that the medium we lend out determines what we are.”

The exert above I think says it all … libraries are more then just the materials we lend and at DOK, Holland's Library Concept Center, they’re exploring the power of stories, creation, gaming and more. Here’s the cover story from Marketing Library Services newsletter, Discover Innovation at DOK, Holland's Library Concept Center.

And if want to see more images of this exciting library, check out Jenny Levine's flickr set from her recent visit.

PS: So glad I d the chance to met these guys during their first Shanachie Tour and am looking forward to hearing more about DOK at their keynote at CIL.

PPS: Thanks John S.


AADL Library Camp

Opps, I know this may be late notice for many. But if you're anywhere in the vicinity of Ann Arbor tomorrow (March 20th) you won't want to miss AADL's 2008 Library Camp.

I'm a bit disappointed to not to be able to make myself -- higher priorities at the moment (pah). But am so glad that several members from CML will.

More camp info here.

FYI ... it's also free. :)


Yahoo developing for semantic web

Last week Yahoo announced that they're diving deep into the semantic web.

"In the coming weeks, we'll be releasing more detailed specifications that will describe our support of semantic web standards. Initially, we plan to support a number of microformats, including hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hAtom, and XFN. Yahoo! Search will work with the web community to evolve the vocabulary framework for embedding structured data. For starters, we plan to support vocabulary components from Dublin Core, Creative Commons, FOAF, GeoRSS, MediaRSS, and others based on feedback. And, we will support RDFa and eRDF markup to embed these into existing HTML pages. Finally, we are announcing support for the OpenSearch specification, with extensions for structured queries to deep web data sources."

Wow! Although many of these microformats are foreign to me, I'm personally excited about the support of vocabulary formats like Dublin Core. I can also imagine that this also has digital archivists and catalogers jumping for joy.


On Innovation & Change Agents

Best conference swagI’ve been doing a lot of preparation work lately for a track that I’m moderating on Innovation at CIL in April. In thinking about the topic and what it means to libraries, it occurs to me that we kick around the word of innovation a lot, but for the most part it typically means just one thing … “change.”

In looking at the four stages of innovation (creativity, strategy, implementation & profitability) the stage that I see librarians (especially those that are frustrated by slow change) having the most difficulty with is “strategy.” There are a lot of great ideas out there and energy to implement them, but what’s missing is a smart strategy to move ideas into reality. It’s hard to sell vision and ideas to management on paper and even harder when the idea is put forth as a “permission” item. Instead “vision” needs the enthusiasm from the “visionary” (idea generator) and images for people to grasp. And if you want to provide leadership for your ideas, then you need to show your potential as leader by asking not for "permission", but for “support.”

Bottom line, without a firm grasp on the “strategy” phase of innovation, it’s hard to be a “change agent”

Note: Cross posted at ULC's 2020Foresight

PS: If this subject interests you, be sure join me for the Innovation & Change track at CIL next month.


2008 Movers & Shakers

Congratulations Tony Tallent, David Lee King, Peter Bromberg, Michelle Boule, Chris Harris and the entire 2008 class of Movers & Shakers.

It’s nice to know I can say about some of you (especially you, Tony) “I knew you when…”

2008 Movers & Shakers


NSLS Presentations

Two presentations today, spanning five hours of talking -- that my voice is extremely tired this evening, I don't think should surprise anyone. :)

Anyway, for those of you attending either of my two different sessions at NSLS, here are my slides:

An enjoyable day, but I must admit I'm glad for one thing... silent plane rides home :)


LITA Hi Tech Award

After having three different people in the last 48 hours ask me why I didn’t have anything about the LITA Hi Tech award on my site, I thought perhaps I should post something.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I should be posting here other then to say I feel very, very blessed and humbled by the honor. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever imagined that my name would be attached to such an honor, let alone nominated.

I still don’t know who was the individual(s) behind my nomination. But I do know that I owe them (whoever you are) and LITA a HUGE thanks. For me it’s not so much the actual award that I’m thankful for. It's rather the acknowledgment that a simple idea, like Learning 2.0, when shared freely has the ability to benefit so many.

Anyway Thanks LITA! I'm looking forward to Anaheim. And if you ask me at ALA what I plan to do next? My response will be easy … “I’m going to Disneyland” :)


And the pendulum swings back ... offers a short piece this week that indicates that pendulum powered by user-generated content and the wisdom of the crowd is swinging back around with authoritative, vetted information by experts gaining more ground.

From Revenge of the Experts:

In short, the expert is back. The revival comes amid mounting demand for a more reliable, bankable Web. "People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information," says Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the Minneapolis-based research firm Iconoculture. Beal adds that choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a "perfect storm of demand for expert information."

All good news for libraries and librarians. :)


In-the-Box, shades down & light-offs Thinking

I’ve been busy over the last few days doing a lot prep work for the conference track, Innovation & Change, I’m moderating at the upcoming Computers in Library conference that is only a month away. This year’s conference theme, Innovative Change: Integrating High Tech With High Touch, speaks a lot to many of the subject areas that I’ve been known to both blog and talk about – innovation, change and human (high) touch.

Anyway, in my travels for a few interesting quotes to share during the “I & C” track, I stumbled across this great list of quotable innovation stallers.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
— Charles H. Duell, Director of US Patent Office 1899

"Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."
— Grover Cleveland, 1905

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
— Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros Pictures, 1927

"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
— Robert Miliham, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923

"Heavier than air flying machines are impossible."
— Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895

"Ruth made a big mistake when he gave up pitching."
— Tris Speaker, 1921

"The horse is here today, but the automobile is only a novelty - a fad."
— President of Michigan Savings Bank advising against investing in the Ford Motor Company

"Video won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
— Daryl F. Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, commenting on television in 1946

"What use could the company make of an electric toy?"
— Western Union, when it turned down rights to the telephone in 1878

In reading this list, it's easy to see that these folks (for whatever reason) not only couldn't think outside-the-box; they lived inside it with both the window shades pulled down and light bulbs turned off - both figuratively and mentally. :)


Filed Under: Too snarky & fun to resist

Honestly, its a rare day that my stumblings get much better then this...

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently invited readers to submit their best design for the future George W Bush library on the back of an envelope with the best designs now vying for the grand prize of ipod torch. Cast your vote if you like ...

Personally I can't decide between A Hole in the Ground, the Cruciform Plan or Colt 45. They all have me smiling.

Vote your favorite. Voting closes March 20th.

Flickr for Good

This exciting announcement arrived in my email today ...

“Today, Flickr and TechSoup announced a partnership, Flickr for Good, to offer 1-year Flickr Pro accounts in quantities of two or five accounts for eligible non-profit organizations. These accounts allow unlimited storage, photos up to 10 MB in size, organization into any number of sets and collections of sets, and submission into the pools of up to 60 Flickr groups.”

Read about it here:

TechSoup announcement
Flickr announcement

PS: Thanks Sarah!

Addendum: Be sure to read Sarah's comments below about public library eligibility. :)


WebWise Presentation

Thanks to all in the audience this morning for the WebWise session, Introduction to Web 2.0 for Libraries & Museums. The panel discussion was great, but not long enough (at least IMHO) I really wanted to see more of Holly’s great slides and also hear more thoughts from Rob, Beth & Paul.

Anyway… here are my slides.

PS: For those who think a trip to Miami sounds wonderful this time of year, let me just leave you with this... It was raining when I left Columbus yesterday. It was raining (actually pouring) when I left Maimi this afternoon. :(

Fly with Maisy

My flight down to Maimi for IMLS’s WebWise conference was pretty uneventful… that is accept for the small discovery I almost missed making because I never really pay attention to the in-flight magazines. But the shiny blue cover depicting my youngest daughter’s former favorite board book friend caught my eye and I was pleased to see that USAirways and RIF have teamed up to promote reading.

Come fly wth Maisy Maisy Fly with me - see 5th bullet

The book itself is great and offers a handful of helpful tips for parents on the back cover, including “Take kids to the library: A library card is a free ticket to everywhere “ But even with all the goodness, I couldn’t help but wonder… why is this the type of campaign that public libraries aren’t in on the ground floor (or perhaps I should say "runway") with? Instead of being the 5th (& last) bullet point on the back cover… we should be the primary partner/sponsor on the cover! Don’t ya think?

Between Target, B&N, USAirways, etc. corporate America seems to be dying to spend their community sponsorship dollars on reading and literacy. So why not team up nationally with libraries? [knock, knock ... ALA]

PS: RIF/USAirways website here.


Collaboration with a big "L"

Wow! Community collaboration powered by library collaboration, This really rocks!

"A partnership within the northern region of Melbourne, consisting of Darebin Libraries, Moreland City Libraries and Yarra Plenty Regional Library ... WikiNorthia is an innovative project that will encourage people across five local councils with rich cultural histories and diverse communities to get together and tell their stories providing a snapshot of life in the north of Melbourne now as well as the past. The project is the first of its type in Victoria and in fact Australia."