My contribution to deep thoughts …

I’ve been working on a new talk on libraries and lifelong learning and it’s occurred to me that in reality all learning experiences are lifelong. That is with the exception of one…

There’s a longer post inherit in this statement, but I'll leave that for the talk. For the time being I’ll just leave this as is. :)

PS: Thanks to Maggie @ Maggie's World for permission to use this amazing photo. There's some photographers who have the natural ability to capture small moments memorably. Maggie is one of them.

Can you guess which phone is mine?

1.0,1.5,2.0 phones
Originally uploaded by tscrobinson
At lunch yesterday Sean grabbed this photo of our work "appendages." Can you guess which one is mine?

Hint: Mine was acquired through erate standards.

Now guess which one is Sean's? ACPL IT Director.

Then guess one is Lynn's (aka the iACPL librarian)?

Yup, Librarians rock... and they have cool toys too!!

PS: Despritely hoping for a new BB soon.


Mega FFT on cognitive surplus, gin & Gillian's island

Wow! THIS is worth the full read. Just take 10 minutes, read and ponder. Makes me 1) wish that I could weave thoughts magically and sensibly together like this 2) can't wait to read Clay Shirkey's new book, Here Comes Everybody, even more.

"I was having dinner with a group of friends about a month ago, and one of them was talking about sitting with his four-year-old daughter watching a DVD. And in the middle of the movie, apropos nothing, she jumps up off the couch and runs around behind the screen. That seems like a cute moment. Maybe she's going back there to see if Dora is really back there or whatever. But that wasn't what she was doing. She started rooting around in the cables. And her dad said, "What you doing?" And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, "Looking for the mouse."

Here's something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here's something four-year-olds know: Media that's targeted at you but doesn't include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change. Because four year olds, the people who are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won't have to go through the trauma that I have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching Gilligan's Island, they just assume that media includes consuming, producing and sharing.

It's also become my motto, when people ask me what we're doing--and when I say "we" I mean the larger society trying to figure out how to deploy this cognitive surplus, but I also mean we, especially, the people in this room, the people who are working hammer and tongs at figuring out the next good idea. From now on, that's what I'm going to tell them: We're looking for the mouse. We're going to look at every place that a reader or a listener or a viewer or a user has been locked out, has been served up passive or a fixed or a canned experience, and ask ourselves, "If we carve out a little bit of the cognitive surplus and deploy it here, could we make a good thing happen?" And I'm betting the answer is yes."

PS: The snippet, albeit long, above is just the condensed version. Read the full post, Gin, Television & Social Surplus. This in itself IMHO offers enough FFT (food for thought) for a whole series of book talks.

PS: Thanks Sam for pointing me to some of the best reading I've had all week.

ACPL Visit

Allen County Public Library has been on my radar to visit ever since I saw the iACPL video series. Today I got my chance and I wasn’t disappointed. The library and staff are just as awesome as I had imagined and I great time talking to them about libraries, learning, perceptions and present trends.

For those in attendance for either of my two talks, here are my slides. I actually ended up doing two different, but related talks. So depending upon whether you attend the 8 or 11 am sessions, only one set of slides of may look familiar. :)

PS: And a HUGE thanks for the very fun L2.0 video. I’ve been ribbed for creating a new gang symbol - LOL ;)

Thanks everyone at ACPL for a great day!

Learning 2.0 completion rates from other libraries?

This request fell into my email today and since I didn't really have a good answer beyond my own experience at PLCMC, I thought pose the question for any other libraries that have adopted or done the Learning 2.0/23 Things program here.

"My Emerging Technologies committee is going to embark on 23 Things this fall, and we’re trying to anticipate how many completion prizes we’ll need to buy. Do you have any data on the average completion rate of the programs that libraries have been doing? We’re planning on offering the program statewide in conjunction with the state library. "

Great question ... here's what I can offer from the PLCMC experience:

If you have any stats for your library's program that you can share, can you please post them in the comments? I'd also love to know.




I’m both keynoting and speaking at my first Ohio library conference tomorrow and am really looking forward to it. It’s a brand new talk, which has actually been a work in progress since last August, but since most of my available time for speaking is booked out months in advance, it’s taken me this long to find the perfect opportunity to test it out.

Anyway, for those of you attending the TechConnections conference tomorrow please be sure to say hello. Here are my slides in advance. And if you're attending, I’d really appreciate your feedback on this new talk.

Passion Quilt Meme

Ok… so it’s been a while since I’ve been tagged in meme. But this one seemed up my alley and after working on slides for a few new presentations this weekend, I knew exactly upon seeing Michael’s challenge which slide I’d use.

Fueling curiosity is perhaps the most important focus I think libraries (& individuals) can have. For from the outcome of feeding a hungry mind, one gains knowledge and acquires wisdom.

Find ways to continually fuel your curiosity & stay young. That’s my motto & passion. Nuf said.

Tagging: Steve Champion, Chrystie Hill,, Tony Tallent, Lori Reed & Aaron Schmidt.

How about you ... what's the passionate message you'd like to send to libraries and its young (and future) users?


New Knowledge

After just spending the last hour and half working on new presentation about lifelong learning in the 21st century, I opened up my RSS feeds and stumbled across this quote from Robert Steele via Will Richardson's Weblogg-ed:

"Published knowledge is old knowledge: The art of intelligence in the 21st Century will be less concerned with integrating old knowledge and more concerned with using published knowledge as a path to exactly the right source or sources that can create new knowledge tailored to a new situation, in real time.”

Wow! There's a lot of food for thought packed into this one statement and it's got me thinking... how do we build libraries, services and collections to support "knowledge creation" in real time?

PS: Attention ACPL - Be prepared to see this quote again. :)


Here Comes Everybody (Shirky talk on video)

I’ve been on the library reserve list for Clay Shirky’s new book, Here Comes Everybody for about three weeks now. And, although my number hasn’t come yet to pick-up the title, I can get a great overview from Shirky himself thanks to this recent video captured and shared on Berkman Center site from Harvard’s Law School.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Event available as both video & audio)

PS: Thanks Michael H. It was a great listen. Looking forward to reading the book as a follow-up.

Free Use Photos

If you haven’t heard about this new Flickr group yet, take a look.

"How often do you need a quick photo to illustrate a point or concept? Are you ever concerned about the copyright restrictions? Well look no further!

Inspired by Michael Casey and his 50 Reasons Not to Change post (and the comments that followed). Tony Tallent and I have created a Flickr group called Free Use Photos where all the photos are free and can be used with no restrictions."

Hats off to Tony Tallent and Lori Reed for seeing a need and starting a group to support the free exchange of images (with or without cc attached to them)


DFW TxLA Presentation

As I sat in the airport waiting for my flight home, I just couldn’t get this song out of my head. I’m a huge Stevie Ray Vaughn fan and one of my favorite albums was the one he cut with his brother, Family Style, just before the crash.

Anyway, enough of Stevie Ray, Jimmie and great Texas rock. My trip to Dallas unfortunately didn’t provide me with exposure to any, but I did have a great time meeting folks at TxLA and talking to them about Learning 2.0.

For those of you in the audience for my 2 hour talk looking for my slides, you can find them HERE. And for those who want a sampling of some great Stevie Ray & Jimmie Vaughn guitar playing, here’s a short track courtesy of LastFM.


Pecha Kucha Revisited

From all accounts the Pecha Kucha Conversation Face-off talk at CIL was huge hit and why wouldn’t it be with such a great line up of speakers? I had personally hoped that someone would video a presentation or two, so I could see what I missed while I was moderating another great talk during the same time frame. UPDATE: I spoke too soon. Thanks Michael Sauers for filming and posting it. :)

If your not familiar with Pecha Kucha, it's a Japanese word for conversation and as presentation format it limits speakers to exactly 20 slides @ 20 secs each for a total of 6 min 40 secs. Pecha Kucha events springing up all over the globe (think Toastmasters for on steroids and add beer) and there is even an event coming up in Columbus, but I’ve yet to try out this style myself or even see it in action.

Thanks to Greg Schwartz, I now have a sampling. Here’s his contribution to the PK Face-off redone as a screencast. (Note: may need to turn up the volume up a little to hear the podcast sampling pieces)

Thanks Greg. Thanks Michael. And thanks Jane Dysart for trying out this wild idea as result of my small suggestion last fall. It's amazing to see how much ground you can cover in only 6 min 40 secs. NTS: Need to try this soon.

A Tax Day distraction ...

I've been enjoying Stefen Bucher's Daily Monster creations for about two months now. He has new book out, but it doesn't compare to watching the videos of his talent at work.

Anyway, since it's Tax Day and Tuesday (& also because I have nothing else to blog about while I sit at the airport) I thought I'd share today's monster #183

PS: Happy Tax Day! Hope your tax preparation woes didn't turn you into a monster, like mine did. :)


Just a few thoughts on sustainability …

In order for libraries to be sustainable, we need to abandon the notion of sustainability.

As I’m sitting here at DCA (& waiting on my flight home) this is the one prevailing thought that I seem to be leaving from the CIL conference with. It’s not that I heard this theme echoed throughout the conference – to the contrary, the theme of change & engagement was much more prevalent -- but rather this was the theme that seemed to be an under tone of many of the conservations I had with participants and colleagues.

The idea that libraries need to abandon this notion of sustainability was made clear to me by one astute and very inquisitive dutch librarian who attended the pre-conference (and follow-up talk) that Michael Porter and I gave. “I think I understand what you’re saying, but how can it be sustained?” she asked in many different ways to me through out the conference, and she wasn’t the only one.

There were others who attended our talk on the use of 2.0 tools in marketing who asked ‘sustainability questions’ too, but just in different ways. “How do you convince management that 2.0 is the right direction that we need to going in the long run?” “Is it wise to promote the use of Flickr in libraries for long term image storage? What happens if Flickr disappears?” “How do get staff to keep up library blogs when no one is commenting?” The answer is simply “You don’t.” Stop focusing on the long-term issues and solutions. Change your thinking and shift the emphasis to trying things out as short-term ideas that have no longevity.

The notion that every idea we plan to test out must be designed for long-term commitment, so that we can sustain it for-eveeeeeeeer, easily paralyzes and keeps us from moving forward. How about replacing our thinking with piloting ideas as simply short campaigns?

Campaigns are ideal because they typically have start and stop dates, measurable outcomes and most importantly the effort is do them is concentrated into a short time frames. With this approach it’s not only easier to test out the use of web 2.0 technologies, it’s also easier to keep test out relevance because campaigns are naturally timely to address the here-and-the-now. So what do campaigns look like? And how do they test the use of social technologies in libraries. Well, here’s a short list of a few that demonstrate this in action:

With each of these small campaigns a new community engagement idea was successfully tested. Whether it attracted and only a handful of customers or engaged an entire community, the short duration of the campaign allowed each library to just test out the viability and functionality of the idea. And in that alone, it was a success!

Yes, in my mind sustainability is really a notion that we just need to abandon. For it keeps us from piloting and building upon smaller campaigns and successes that ensure that libraries remain current, fresh and culturally relevant to our communities.

PS: Thanks M for asking the question so well and so directly. You've really got me thinking. :)


Innovation Starts with "I"

When I saw that the Innovation & Change track that I was moderating was up on the 3rd floor a bit away from the center of the all the other conference activity, I was a little worried. But when you have a great line up of speakers and good topic, it more than makes up for the elevator ride.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who joined me for the part (or the whole day). Tony and I had fun kicking off the track with our talk. Here are our slides.

PS: If you’re looking for the video invitation that we showed in the end I hope to post a link to it soon. Tony did that one, so I’ll defer to him.


From Avatars to Advocacy Pre-conference

Wow! What a great day of ideas bounced around this afternoon during the pre-conference that Michael Porter and I gave on “un-marketing.” And thanks to Nicole Engard and her skillful picture taking, we also have all the post-it note ideas capture on Flickr.

During the break, Michael and I must have had at least a half dozen people run in and ask if our slides were going to be available online, and they weren't even signed up for our pre-con. Anyway, the final merged version of our combined talk isn’t up yet (at least I don’t think) but hopefully will be soon. In the meantime, you can view at least half the slides here from my contribution ...

In all it was a really enjoyable pre-conference full of great discussion and great ideas. Thanks all!


Learning 2.0 Reflections

This post fell into my ego feed this morning -- Yes, I have an ego feed. Everyone should. It’s important to know what people are saying about you -- and I couldn’t help but smile. Not because my name was mentioned, but rather because the blogger, Cathy, shared so eloquently the transformation she experienced through her participation in the California School Library version of the Learning 2.0 program.

Just yesterday, CML had the kick-off planning meeting for this adventure and I’m thrilled that I’ll have the opportunity to experience the program a second time. But this time I'll be supporter and participant - not the coordinator :). Anyway Cathy says so well exactly what I shared with the kick-off team.

“As I review my blog posts of the last nine weeks, I feel a tremendous sense of personal accomplishment and deep gratitude to those who have made this tutorial possible … What a journey! The words I would use to describe the Library 2.0 journey are engaging and empowering. It was fun and quite a challenge.

In the face of many new web tools and so much new web jargon and web content in the form or blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc., I sometimes feel overwhelmed and retreat to the sidelines. This tutorial has enabled me to feel as though I have “caught the wave,” at least for a little while. That feeling is a great motivator for me to continue learning.”

As Cathy eludes, the Learning 2.0 program does more than just expose participants to web 2.0 tools, it transforms attitudes, adds confidence and creates a powerful peer-to-peer learning environment.

To be honest, when I developed the program, these were initially secondary considerations. But after hearing from hundreds of people who have completed the program all over the globe in the last year and half, I’ve changed my thinking. The transformational aptitude that happens when whole groups of staff become more confidence in their skills and take control of their own learning is far more powerful then just gaining exposure to wikis, blogs and RSS feeds… it’s a full frontal embrace of lifelong learning that shifts the entire organization.

PS: Thanks Cathy for posting your thoughts & congrats on finishing the program!

PPS: Can't wait to see what the CML L2.0 project team comes up with to kick the program up a notch.


Innovation & Change Track @ CIL

This year’s CIL is a biggy for me because I’m moderating a track for the very first time. :) The track I’m moderating is one near and dear to my heart “Innovation & Change” and in looking at the stellar line-up seasoned presenters that are speaking (excluding the 1st session. I feel bit strange moderating my own) I know the day is going to a memorable one. If you’re at CIL, please feel free to join me and/or stop and say hello.

INNOVATION & CHANGE - Track E, Tuesday, April 8th

Session E201 – Innovation Starts with “I”

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Helene Blowers, Director, Digital Strategy, Columbus Metropolitan Library
Tony Tallent, Director of Youth & Outreach Services, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC)
Innovation has become such a bandied word these days that in some organizations it’s now an expectation for library staff to be innovative from the ground up. So, where does “innovation” really come from? How do we kickstart something that is, by its very nature, connected to ever elusive waves of creativity? The answer: Innovation starts with “I.” This session will explore how I, YOU, WE are involved in responding to the needs and desires to innovate and change.

Session E202 – Transparency, Planning, & Change: See-Through Libraries
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Michael Casey, Division Director - Technology, Gwinnett Public Library
Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor, Dominican University
Integrating technology, change management and planning, this session focuses on making the right choices for social software, staff training, and the creation of a user-driven environment. Our two leading librarians explore what makes a library transparent; offer a to-do list of strategies to make your library transparent, open, and hyperlinked; and offer a list of best practices for Web 2.0 tools, implementation, and evaluation.

Session E203 – The Library Sandbox: Testing Innovative Ideas
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Barbara Tierney, Science Reference Librarian, University of North Carolina
This session examines the Information Commons as an arena for testing innovative ideas in technology, staffing, and scope of service delivery. It traces the evolution of the Information Commons as it has been driven by changes in user needs, pedagogical theory, technology, and society (from computer lab, to Information Commons, to Learning Commons, to Teaching/ Research Commons). It discusses the vision of the Information Commons as the preferred learning environment for the digital age and looks at “lessons learned” from selected academic libraries as they steer their respective commons into their second Iterations.

Session E204 – Libraries as Laboratories for Innovation
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Matt Gullett, Emerging Technology Manager, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC)
Greg Schwartz, Library Systems Manager, Louisville Free Public Library
This session features libraries that are creating virtual and physical spaces to test, play, work, create, develop, and innovate with the assistance and involvement of their publics. In an age of participative media and software our publics have an increasing desire to take part in creating the library experience for themselves and others, and this provides a great opportunity to work with other community, organizational, and corporate partners in innovating services and programs and creating new experiences. Gullett discusses his library’s game, learning and media lab initiatives that are creating physical and virtual lab spaces for several core experiences, and Schwartz talks about his innovation lab that has created a virtual interactive space that is shared with the library’s public in an effort to test new ideas, software, and services.

Session E205 – Leading Technology in Libraries: Making Time for Web 2.0

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Gina Millsap, Executive Director, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
David Lee King, Digital Branch & Services Manager, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
Millsap explores the digital divide between administration and staff and looks at how leadership is the key and technology the tool. She shares strategies for leading with technology, not in spite of it. King focuses on why libraries need to make time for Web 2.0; why they need to learn about and experiment with new tools; allowing staff the time needed to play with these tools; making time for Web 2.0; and facing change.

>>>> Doesn't this line-up of programs and speakers look awesome? Join me if you can!

My Achilles heel

I totally *heart* Penelope Trunk's post for today - Writing without typos is totally outdated

Yup, try as I might, whenever I freely type ideas, my fingers just don't seem to keep up with my brain. It reflects in my writing. I can get the ideas get out there. But often it's not without one or two small errors. Missing words (especially connectors like and, or, in & the) are my biggest downfall and they are never caught by spell checkers. Neither do they catch the errors created by tired fingers that leave out letters, such as "r". For example, your brain says "your", but your fingers type "you".

Fortunately with blogging, you can easily make corrections. But that also means you need be able to separate yourself from your writing (and ideas) in order to act as your own proofreader - another of my downfalls.

Bottom line, after blogging for years I've come to know my Achiiles heel well. And I'm grateful that those of who read my blog often come back and seem to value conversation and ideas over spelling and missing words. :)

Anyway, read Penelope's post. I think there's a few good thoughts here, primarily related to blogging.

"There is a new economy for writing. The focus has shifted toward taking risks with conversation and ideas, and away from hierarchical input (the editorial process) and perfection."

This quote reminds me a lot of Michael Stephen's point about letting go of the "Culture of Perfect"


Laptops for checkout, MaintainIT & WebJunction

You might ask by looking at the title for this post- what do these three things have in common? A free webinar of course …

“Grab a comfy chair and participate in a 30-minute discussion where contributors to the Cookbooks share their insights, their secrets, and what *you* can do to get started with projects like theirs.

The next Cookbook Webinar is April 16. Be Astengo from Alachua County Library District in Gainesville, Florida shares how her team crafted a successful laptop checkout program.”

For more info on the webniar visit WebJunction. You can also find out more about the MaintainIT project here and even share a small success story of your own if you’re so inclined.

Disclosure: I’m a member of MaintainIT steering committee. But even if I wasn’t, I’d still think the emphasis of this project is very valuable.


Viral-enabling your brand

Via Gavin Heaton over at Servant of Chaos:

"We all debate whether you can intentionally create something that "goes viral". Drew was asking the same question earlier.

My view, for what it is worth, is that we can (and probably should) design our marketing to be virally-enabled. That is, we should make it easy for others to pick up our idea and make it their own -- via links, embedding options, voting/ranking and send-to-friend options etc. BUT it is important to remember that "viral" is not about the brand ... it is actually about the users -- about me and you. If I forward a "viral" piece I will do so, because it says something to you about ME. It provides me with SOCIAL CURRENCY."

I really like these thoughts on viral-enabled branding and in fact talked about this some myself back in June when I spoke at ALA with Michael Stephens and Steven Bell. Providing your customers with opportunities to promote your brand via all the options that Gavin hits upon above, not only creates a personalized bond between your customers and your brand, it also allows them to celebrate themselves.

SHAMELESS PLUG: BTW I'll be speaking on this subject again next week at CIL with Michael Porter in both a pre-conference and regular session:

  • From Avatars to Advocacy: Innovation through Un-marketing (pre-conference, Sunday, April 6th 1:30-4:30pm)
  • Innovative Marketing Using 2.0 Tools (Track E - Wed, April 9 11:30am-12:15).
Join us if you can. It should be a lot of fun!

Lifelong Learning Habits

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said in talks and presentations over the past year, the single most important exercise in all of Learning 2.0 is #2 – Lifelong Learning & Learning 2.0

Yup, I can still remember Lori Reed and I chatting in my office about the idea for the 7 & ½ Habits of highly Effective Lifelong Learners and when I saw the results of her first attempt, I knew the tutorial that she wrote and created were indeed the perfect foundation to set this type of learning adventure.

Since it’s debut I’ve forwarded numerous requests to Lori (somehow many of them get sent to me) to adopt and use the tutorial in everything from elementary in-service days to full blown college doctorate programs. And I’ve been happy to see that so many other libraries have taken advantage of this excellent tutorial also in their adaptation of L2.0

If you have never seen this tutorial, it’s well worth the 14 minutes. Every habit in here is winner, but my personal favorite is 7.5, followed closely by 2 – take responsibly for your own learning. And when you're done, be sure to jump on over to Lori’s blog to see her reflections and advice on creating online tutorials.

Happy Learning!