WJ hosts 23 Things Summit

I’m a little bit bummed that my schedule on Tuesday (March 3rd) won’t permit me to be online for the full event. But I’m happy I will be able to participate in the first half hour and even more pleased to know that WebJunction will be archiving it so I can catch what I have to miss later. :)

"23 Things" is a revolutionary staff development learning concept centered on social collaboration tools. Helene Blowers successfully created the first program while at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Thousands of libraries and library organizations of every size and type have adapted the idea for their staff. Hands-on, self-directed, and innovative, 23 Things style programs have introduced many, many library staff, volunteers, trustees, and others to 2.0 tools like blogs and wikis.

During this 2 hour Summit, organizers from several successful programs around the nation will share best practices and lessons learned. Participants will be able to ask questions and seek advice to help in implementing a similar program.

Who should attend? If you are involved with library training, if you are thinking about implementing a 23 things style program, or if you have already implemented a 23 things style program and want to share what you've learned, then this session is for you!

WebJunction, MaintainIT, the State Library of Kansas, and the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library are collaborating to create this event.

23 Things Summit, Tuesday March 3rd 2-4 EST. FREE (but registration is required)

BTW: I'm yet again blown away to see the impact that this program has had world wide. Just the other day I received an email from a library organization in South Africa inquiring about adopting 23 Things. By my rough count, that means the impact of the program has reached over 15 countries across the globe.

Don't ask me the number of libraries or organizations? With programs having been run by the National Library of Norway, the State Library of Victoria, Maryland public libraries statewide, 23 Things on a Stick for multiple libraries and organizations, I really have no way of knowing the total impact or number of organizations that have adopted the program. But from my delicious links and growing communications folder I can tell you this... the number is definitively over 700 and more then likely hovers somewhere just under 1000 organizations worldwide. Yup, it blows me away too!


ICE 2009 Talks

My 6 am flight to Chicago for the Illinois Computing Educators conference this morning came far earlier then I anticipated -- Good news is that a double dose of Starbucks did the trick. :) -- but I managed to keep my energy level up for my three back-to-back spotlight sessions.

Fortunately for me a) the talks were all on topics that I have spoken several times on and b) one of the talks I was scheduled as a repeater. The audience at the ICE conference included lots of media specialists, teachers and school educators. So although the talks were familiar to me, the focus of each talk was slightly different. I had several of those, but I also enjoyed a little bit of eavesdropping this morning at the continental breakfast listening to a few school educators consider whether or not they should attend one of my talks. (follow links to see my tweets) :)

For those in attendance, here's a presentation pack of my slides:


Facebook promotes policy participation

It seems that after a flurry of backlash these past few weeks over Facebook's recent changes to their user information policy (which FB reversed last week), Mark Zuckerberg and team have decided to turn the tables and opened up Facebook's guiding policies for public participation.

Beginning today, we are giving you a greater opportunity to voice your opinion over how Facebook is governed. We're starting this off by publishing two new documents for your review and comment. The first is the Facebook Principles, which defines your rights and will serve as the guiding framework behind any policy we'll consider—or the reason we won't consider others. The second document is the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which will replace the existing Terms of Use. With both documents, we tried hard to simplify the language so you have a clear understanding of how Facebook will be run. We've created separate groups for each document so you can read them and provide comments and feedback. You can find the Facebook Principles here and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities here. Before these new proposals go into effect, you'll also have the ability to vote for or against proposed changes.

I believe these steps are unprecedented in promoting understanding and enabling participation on the web. I hope you will take a look at these documents, read them carefully, and share your thoughts.

For me this another step in the evolution of the ideals of participation and transparency. And it's so interesting to see these type of social experiments being explored. I applaud Facebook for a) admitting they made a mistake and b) for taking the risk in opening up their policies and principles for open debate. You can bet this one development that'll be watching carefully. But for now, I'm off to review FB's proposed documents to see what I think.


A little lesson from Pandora

A Pandora fan I have been for nearly two years now. So when I recently got an iTouch, I knew I’d be downloading and playing with their iPhone app. This morning I finally got around to installing it and as I had anticipated I luv this mobile app. In fact, I think I like Pandora’s iPhone app even more then their web presence. The interface is simple, direct and easy to navigate.

Anyway, I didn’t mean for the this post to start off as a luvfest for the P, but what triggered to post was the immediate email follow-up I received from Pandora founder Tim Westergren. I know, I know … Tim really didn’t send it. It was generated by a script. But that’s really what’s not important to me. What is … is that the senders email address wasn't masked by prescribed anonymity like “welcome@”, "news@" or worse yet “no_reply@” The email came from a name … an actual person … Tim.Westergren! Who just also happened to also be Pandora’s founder.

Tim’s email got me thinking about how many emails libraries send out each day to customers in the format of email newsletters, welcome messages, even reserves and overdues notices. And how many of these are sent from an impersonal sender id? And as a result how many opportunities do we miss to make a customer connection and create even more passionate fans for our services?

The truth is when I saw Pandora’s email in my box two thoughts ran immediately through my head … 1) “Wow, I got an email my an actual member of their web team” Imagine my surprise to see it was the founder and after reading the context of the brief welcome message 2) “How smart of to engage your customer in way that acknowledges their contributions to your services”

Indeed, I think libraries can learn a lot from Pandora and this new breed of web applications. But in my mind what’s important to pay attention to isn’t so much embedded in the social networking or open api architecture. It’s in how these new models are humanizing the online experience, especially in small ways.


Twittering isn’t just for the birds …

The lastest Pew report, Twittering & Status Updating, summarizes some interesting Twitter finds and trends. Here’s a few statements that caught my eye.

“11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.”

“Twitter users are overwhelmingly young. However, unlike the majority of other applications with a similarly large percentage of youth, Twitter use is not dominated by the youngest of young adults. Indeed, the median age of a Twitter user is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, Facebook user is 26 and LinkedIn user is 40.” (note: emphasis mine)

“More than three-quarters (76%) of Twitter users use the internet wirelessly – either on a laptop with a wireless connection, or via PDA, handheld or cell phone. In comparison, 57% of those who go online but do not use Twitter, and 59% of internet users as a whole connect to the internet wirelessly.”

See the full report, Twitter & Status Updating, Feb 12, 2009

2/27 Update: Just discovered this slideshare deck that visualizes this report.

U Game U Learn & Next Library

With spring just around the corner, my excitement is beginning to build around these two upcoming international opportunities to exchange ideas with some great innovators and thinkers within the library profession. I have pleasure to be attending both events (and speaking) and every time I look a list of attendees and speakers, I find myself wishing that I could fit my entire team in my suitcase so that they could also participate.

Alas, I know that everyone can't afford to travel in these tight budget times. But if you’re in or near either Aarhus, Denmark or Delft in the Netherlands for these dates, I’d highly recommend joining in these events. IMHO the conversation alone will be worth the trip.


Congratulations Library Stars

It's been interesting to me to see how libraries either embraced or disregard the HAPLR rankings for public libraries. from my personal experience it all seems to be contingent on whether or not your library falls within the top ten. So with this new ranking index from Library Journal, I'm happy too see that there is no limit (ie top ten) in the number libraries highlighted. All libraries earning a 3 star ranking + are highlighted which accounts for amazing number of exceptional libraries – in fact over 250 library systems. :)

America's Star Libraries: LJ Index for Public Library Service

Oh... & I'd be remiss if I didn't also salute CML's staff, board, friends, and most importantly, the community for helping to distinguish CML as a 5 star library. As you might have guessed, this was nice surprise to come home too!

Congrats to all 256 libraries who made the index !!!

Australia 09

It's feels like ages since I've added anything here on LibraryBytes. Truth is time slips by fast when you're seeped into learning and enjoying a new culture, but even faster when you're culture indulgence cuts you off from internet access.

For the last week and half, I've spent most of my time in the Otways (aka the western forests) of Victoria, Australia with my family. The escape to the rainforests and the Great Ocean Road of Australia was wonderful, but was also deeply sadden by the bushfire tragedies that stuck this area of the globe on February 8th. At present time, I think the number that loss their lives to the wild fires that spread rapidly in 100km winds is still hovering at just under 200. But with nearly 5000 homes lost to the fires as well, I couldn't help but think about the importance of libraries in times like these.

When I visited Australia in 07, I had the pleasure of meeting and traveling a bit with Denise Sippo, an outreach librarian with the Gippsland Library Service. The Gippsland forest region has been devastated by fires as well as has many smaller communities near and around Whitllsea, one of the council areas for the Yarra Plenty Regional Library. When I visited with Denise two years ago, i was totally struck by the stories she relaid to me about how libraries helped the community process the paperwork for flood damage and relief. Library services were indeed the life-bond for many community members and also for the councils themselves that didn't have government presence in many small communities.

Indeed libraries are vital not only in good times, but more importantly in needy times. Denise, if you're reading this, please send along a quick hello to let me know you're ok. And to Christine and the staff at YPRL, thanks again for your hospitality on my most recent trip. I know that with Whittlesea as part of your council, your libraries must be flooded with those who have lost everything in this tragedy.

My thoughts and prayers are with all you in Victoria who have not only been affected by these horrific fires but to also all those who are helping so many displaced to rebuild their lives.