Lot's of nice buzz this am about my talk on New Strategies for Digital Natives. Here are my slides for those that asked. Thanks for attending


It’s all in the averages

According to Neilsen:

  • Average number of hours spent on the internet a month = 74 hrs 45 min
  • Average number of domains visited = 115
  • Average numbers sessions/ person = 62
  • Average duration of web view = 55 secs
  • Average web pages/ person = 2580 (that’s 84 pages/day)

And not surprising to most, usage of career development sites grew more then 20%.


Transforming Vision into Strategy

I came across this image recently in my travels and found it scary how accurate it describes the strategic visioning process -- at least the way my brain thinks. :)



Why I jumped

I know that some staff have heard me say this before, but in seeing this video this week, it reminded me that I've never really blog about it.

Over the past year I've had many people ask me why after so many great years at PLCMC I decided to make the jump to Columbus Metropolitan Library? The truth is that CML's Homework Help Centers left such an huge impression on me when I visited in Sept 07 to give a talk to staff, that I flew back to Charlotte thinking "Wow, this is a library system that knows how to really dive deep (not just delivered stretched and shallow service) and put their resources behind the highest needs of the community."

During my quick two-hour tour of the branches (that's all my flight schedule at the time would allow) that fall, I visited Linden, Northern Lights, New Albany and Gahanna and was blown away by the over flowing (& I mean packed - just like in the vid below) by the number of kids seeking assistance from volunteers and paid HHC coordinators at the Linden & Northern Lights Homework Help Centers. I know that the staff that work at these locations can easily vouch for the standing-room-only status in the library once school gets out, but it's wonderful to see and hear the appreciation from the kids themselves about this most treasured service.

In January, we dove deep again. This time by meeting a pressing community need again and repositioning all branch location's Homework Help space into Job Help Centers from 9-3. Staffed by both volunteers and staff, these centers are helping people hone their resumes, apply for online jobs and develop needy tech skills for today's job market.

Last week, while visiting the Gahanna branch with my daughters one staff member shared a touching story about two job seekers who both came into the library to thank staff after landing jobs as a result of their assistance. What a powerful gift to give to the community and a great compliment to our staff. It's hearing stories like these (and also and seeing videos like the one above) that remind me so clearly - even a year later - why I jumped. :)

PS: And for that follow-up question that you might be thinking ... "No, I haven't regretted jumping. Not once!"


Web 2.0 , Social Media ... what's next?

Personally, I have to confess that I dislike the term "Social Media" almost as much as some people dislike "Web 2.0" In my mind, neither of these two terms really communicate the essence of the impact that these new tools and channels enable - which is really nothing more than human conversations and connections enabled across channels of mass impact and scale.

Five years ago when I started this blog, it was all about "web 2.0" and 2.0 this-n-that. And since only the "techie" people really got it at first, this early moniker fit the crowd well. Today, the term I constantly hear banter around is "social media" (admittedly I used it to, because it's now the popular understood phrase) and the bandwagon is now fully supported by a legion of new marketers who seem to see the "media" potential of these new channels as familiar old marketing approaches as mass communication techniques begin to die off.

To be honest I don't have a term to offer up that's any better then "web 2.0" or "social media" at the present moment. But what I do constantly glob onto in my head is the idea that these channels don't mold well to the "control, conquer and command" approaches forged by the big business communication practices of the past or even the notion of "media" as an entity in itself.

"Media" itself is word that is derived from the Latin word medius, meaning middle or intermediate. In the 1921 the word was first applied to communication to define channels (print, magazines, newspapers) that were designed to reach mass audiences. But if you've spent a large amount of time actually engaged in social networks as I have, then I'm wondering if you may have come to the the similar conclusion. That is ...

...that the power of these tools and channels isn't in being an "intermediary" or in supporting the middle. The power comes from empowering the one-to-one or i-to-i (individual-to-individual) connection and enabling communication and dialogue to happen at the primary source level.

For me, I guess this why the term "social media" still doesn't quite grab me as being right. For now that the channels exist that enable mass access to millions and millions of "primary source" individuals, there's really no longer a need for "media" (aka middle/intermediary). Only the innate need for human contact and connections at a very personal level"

... and you don't need a middle man for personal.

PS: This ramble was inspired by this image from Digital Roam


Shovers & Makers

From the files of "you-can-make-a-difference", "it-takes-a-village" and "brilliant" :
Shovers and Makers 2009: I’m a winner! (So are you.)
"Every year, Library Journal names a group of innovative librarians as “Movers and Shakers.” M&S is a popular feature for a good reason: the profiles of M&S librarians are thought-provoking and inspiring. M&S ends up as something of a snapshot of what the library profession finds innovative and worth of notice, and there is no question that the Movers and Shakers are people to watch.

But at the Library Society of the World, we can’t help but wonder about everyone else in libraryland. While the Movers and Shakers are moving and shaking, what are the rest of us doing? Standing still? Surely not.

So we have come up with our own award that we see as a complement to M&S. Introducing Library Society of the World’s Shovers and Makers.

And there is only one way to become a Shover and Maker: declare yourself one."

To Josh, Steve & Iris and ALL Shovers & Makers... well done!

"We think therefore we are"

A must see ... Twice!

Social Currency

I luv the definition of “social currency” discovered via the Social Customer.

“Social currency is like a good joke. When a bunch of friends sit around and tell jokes, what are they really doing? Entertaining one another? Sure, for a start. But they are also using content -- mostly unoriginal content that they've heard elsewhere -- in order to lubricate a social occasion. And what are most of us doing when we listen to a joke? Trying to memorize it so that we can bring it somewhere else. The joke itself is social currency. "Invite Harry. He tells good jokes. He's the life of the party."
Think of this the next time you curse that onslaught of email jokes cluttering up your inbox. The senders think they've given you a gift, but all they really want is an excuse to interact with you. If the joke is good enough, this means the currency is valuable enough to earn them a response.
That's why the most successful TV shows, web sites, and music recordings are generally the ones that offer the most valuable forms of social currency to their fans. Sometimes, like with mainstream media, the value is its universality. In the US right now, the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" is enjoying tremendous ratings because it gives its viewers something to talk about with one another the next day. It's a form of mass spectacle. And, not coincidentally, what is the object of the game? To demonstrate one's facility with a variety of forms of social currency! Contestants who can answer a long stream of questions about everything from sports and movies to science and history, are rewarded with a million dollars. They are social currency champions.”

It’s got me thinking … what kinds of social currency do libraries offer via their digital presence and how can we create more valuable currency to keep our customers saying “Check out the library. It’s the life of our community.”


Innovation ingredients

I'm working on a few new presentations for CIL coming up later this month and in the process have also created a few "spare-thought" slides that I know I will use somewhere else. Here's one of them:

Innovation ingredients


Teen 2.0 – Beth Gallaway on serving teens in new millennium

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting Beth Gallaway, aka Information Goddess, and hearing her talk on Teen 2.0: Serving Teens in the New Millennium. If your interested in what she had to share, you can find her slides on her blog.

I twitter the talk using the hash tag #bgtalk. Gerald and Joy also contributed to the collective twitter note taking.

Here’s a few on my tweets (and Beth thoughts) that stuck with me:

  • Adults r always chasing kids in cyberspace. Avg of 10 mnth life cycle (tweet)
  • embrace the idea that u'll never catch and engage teens as experts. (tweet)
  • Gamers want strategy guides, not a "boss". Imho this is tru in new learning theories as well (tweet)

Thanks Beth for a great Monday morning.

The leprechauns were busy last night :)

I'm thrilled to see this enhancement live.

Try it out @

PS: Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


A decade forward ...

A vision created by Microsoft Labs for the year 2019.

<a href="" target="_new" title="Future Vision Montage">Video: Future Vision Montage</a>

Access the long version (the full 5 minutes) here.

PS: Thanks Maria for the heads up via twitter

Movers & Shakers 2009

Every March 15th the list comes out... & every March 15th, I'm in awe of all the passion and talent among the library profession.

Congratulations Julie, Lori, Michael, Sarah, the Shanachie trio and to ALL the 2009 Movers & Shakers... and thanks for the inspriation!

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the list from Bobbi Newman's blog which contains a great set of links to all M&S blogs


It's an Alliance

I've added some new thoughts to my innovation talk on management and leadership support (for innovation). It's true there's a lot of ways to distinguish leadership traits from management traits. But the key to cultivating innovation within an organization is utilizing the alliance between the two so that you can successfully move the organization forward while effectively managing to the customer needs of today.


A new reality… a new beginning

Like a lot of folks out there, I’ve been not only thinking about, but also feeling the impact of the current economic crisis. Personally, I’ve started taking a hard look at a lot of the purchased conveniences (cable, pre-packaged dinners, etc) that my family has grown accustomed and have been looking for where we can scale these back or better yet do with out. Professionally, I’ve been running scenarios through my head of how libraries might be able to use this current crisis to help reinvent, revitalize and/ or realign our services with what I hear people describe more and more as the new “norm.”

The market will eventually correct itself, or so all the analysts say. But I think it’s easy to jump to the conclusion the “correct itself” means “return to normal”. Not so ... If past history reigns true, then correcting really doesn’t mean a “return to normal”. It really means a “new reality” and a “new beginning.”

Seth Godin this week has an excellent post that speaks so precisely to this new reality. As I read his thought on pivot points, I couldn’t help but think how these points applied to libraries.

When industry norms start to die, people panic. It's difficult to change when you think that you must change everything in order to succeed. Changing everything is too difficult.

Consider for a minute the pivot points available to you:

• Keep the machines in your factory, but change what they make.
• Keep your customers, but change what you sell to them.
• Keep your providers, but change the profit structure.
• Keep your industry but change where the money comes from.
• Keep your staff, but change what you do.
• Keep your mission, but change your scale.
• Keep your products, but change the way you market them.
• Keep your customers, but change how much you sell each one.

… read the full post here.

In reading Seth's post, I couldn’t help but think how it related to our current climate and economic realities facing many public libraries. At CML we have of course tighten the belt, trimmed all the fat (what little there actually was) and are watching our bottom line extremely closely. And I feel very fortunate that my current system is not anywhere near the current rock-n-a-hard place that my former system, and many others, are now facing. Still I have to think that once the economy starts to rebound, the hard realities that many organizations and businesses will be facing this year will actually create an opportunity for a “new beginning.” Those that can adjust and quickly adapt will not just survive. But once the “market corrects” they will be in the best position to thrive!

That’s where I see libraries of the future, not just surviving, but THRIVING!!! The time is now to think about what are our pivot points and readjust, realign and reinvent ourselves for a “new beginning”*

*Note: Yes, I also know that it’s not going to be easy... but is there really a choice?

Teen Tech Week

It’s Friday, which also means that it’s also the end of Teen Tech Week. In my travels this week, I’ve run across several fun online activities that libraries have created to engage teens with technology online. Here are few that stood out to me.

And, I would be remiss if I didn't also mention, CML's Express Play program, which takes a different twist of 23 things.

I know my list isn't that extensive, so if you've got an interesting online contest or activity for Teen Tech Week to share? Drop me a comment. I’m always interested in new ideas.


It's Spring. Do you hear the birds tweeting about your library?

It been awhile since I checked in over at the Netvibes account I set up to track CML mentions across the social mediaverse. Today I finally took a quick look. Here' a sampling of just the tweets I found from the last week:

"Did you know Columbus has the number one zoo, library and science center in the nation?" (tweet & tweet)

"@myotive Hrm, no Snow Crash at the Columbus Library on audio book. They have Anathem, though." (tweet)

"@weekendmornings a tour of the orange barrells aka road projects! Lol the columbus library downtown it's got great programs for kids!" (tweet)

"Bella had kids read to her today at the Columbus Public Library - Linden Branch:” (tweet)

“i have to hand it to the columbus metropolitan library for fashioning a fine (and warm!) work environment.” (tweet)

“i'm going to my second columbus library in one week! they even let me pick my library card color!” (tweet)

"loves Columbus Metropolitan Library. Rated #1 in the nation. 1 of the reasons living here isn't horrible. Check it out! "(tweet)

Yup, the birds are probably talking about your organization too. Are you listening?


Congrats John Blyberg!

Just received word of this announcement:

2009 LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award winner announced

John Blyberg is the 2009 recipient of the LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award for his development of the Social OPAC application suite (, also known as SOPAC (for Social Online Public Access Catalog). SOPAC is a suite of open source software (OSS) tools that brings the power of social computing and Web 2.0 to the library catalog. The current version of SOPAC (2.0) was developed and implemented by Blyberg at the Darien Library in Connecticut. SOPAC has also successfully been implemented on top of Innovative’s Millennium and the Sirsi ILS at other libraries.

Read more here.

Congratulations John. It's so well deserved.

PS: This marks my 5th post for today. That's a new LB record. Don't count on this pace continuing any time soon. Today was anomaly... fueled only by a head cold that kept me out of the office and gave me the ability to catch up on rss. :)

Nonprofit 2.0: Navigating the Social Media Universe

On the agenda tomorrow is a quick talk for a great local event, Nonprofit 2.0: Navigating the Social Media Universe.

I'm really looking forward to participating in the panel discussion with Marti Post of the Woman's Fund of Central Ohio and Chris Groves of the United Way of Central Ohio. If you take at both of their organization's websites, you can clearly see that they are both helping to set the pace on social media engagement among nonprofits. I'm looking forward to learning lots. Here are my slides ...

Social Media Edge: Ten Steps to Finding Yours

I knew my intuition about fb was right :)

When I twittered this last month, I had a feeling that my hunch was true.

According to this recent study, Global Faces and Networked Spaces just released by Neilson Online this week, I was actually right! :)

Here’s some snippets from the 16 page report:
(Note: emphasis is mine)

“Social Networking has been the global consumer phenomenon of 2008. Two-thirds of the world’s Internet population1 visit a social network or blogging site and the sector now accounts for almost 10% of all internet time. ‘Member Communities’ has overtaken personal Email to become the world’s fourth most popular online sector after search, portals and PC software applications.”

“‘Member Communities’ has taken a foothold in every major market from 50% of the online population in Switzerland and Germany to 80% in Brazil. Facebook has become the largest player on the global stage.”

“A year ago ‘Member Communities’ accounted for one in every 15 online minutes globally – now it accounts for one in every 11.”

"In terms of sheer audience numbers, for example, the greatest growth for Facebook has come from people aged 35-49 years of age (+24.1 million). Furthermore, Facebook has added almost twice as many 50-64 year olds visitors (+13.6 million) than it has added under 18 year old visitors (+7.3 million).

"Facebook has become the most popular social network in the majority of countries measured by Nielsen Online. It has the greatest reach in the UK, being visited by 47% of Britons online, and actually has a greater online reach in both Italy (44%) and Australia (38%) than it does in its country of origin - the USA (33%)."

From the long lost files ...

... of an old package of 3.5" diskettes, I discovered my first website.

Beans and Fritz actually created a holiday homepage for 5 years - that is until my daughters entered the picture. After that they retired their web development antics for a warm sunny spot on the living floor.

First website 1996 Home page

Anyone else still have evidence of their first website? This one was 1996. That's an ice age in web-years. :) If you're curious what the rest of it looked like, second level pages can be found here.

PS: Yes, the lights did twinkle and the little dogs ran back-n-forth. I must have taken hours trying to find the right animated gif for the site (so 90's). The following year when I actually learned to created my own- I thought I was pretty clever. :)

How many of these excuses have you heard before?

Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution, cooked up this brilliant flash animation for this year's Webwise conference. it's so good, I just had to re-share here.

PS: Thanks Stephen for also highlighting.


UX responses to web design

I love my huge whiteboard that covers my south facing wall in my office and often use it to scribble thoughts to trigger my memory later. Since this thought has been up on the board for several months now, I thought it was time to capture it more permanently so I free up the space for future scribbles.

White board thoughts.

Just curious -- Does my scribble make sense to you?


Innovation & Leadership

Yesterday I had the pleasure to speak with participants in SPPL’s Leadership Academy on the subject of innovation -- a topic that has grown even more near and dear to my heart these two past years.

For me, the fundamental element of innovation is not great ideas or brilliant inspiration. It’s “LEADERSHIP.” And in my experience it doesn’t require subordinates to be either a leader or innovative. See if you agree? Here are my slides. :)

Thanks SPPL for a great day! In this current economic climate, we need innovative library leaders more than ever... so press on! :)


Congratulations Meredith

Even though it’s been nearly three weeks since my return to the US, I still feel like I haven’t quite caught up with all the events that happened during my trip Australia. Missing this announcement last month about the recipient of this year’s LITA Hi Tech award is one of the those.

Congratulations Meredith! This nomination and award is so well deserved. The passion and energy that you put into everything that you do continuously inspires me. Your most recent venture in spearheading an ALA Unconference (along with Michelle Boule) is yet another great example of your leadership in moving libraries forward.

Meredith Farkas named 2009 LITA/Library Hi Tech Award winner


Cultivating Innovation: 5 Habits

Tom Kelley ( The Art of Innovation, Ten Faces of Innovation and CEO of IDEO) offers up 5 great habits in cultivating a personal mindset for innovation is this recent talk to Stanford’s Technology Ventures Program. If you have 30 minutes to view his talk, I highly recommend it. But if your interested in the very abridged cliff notes version, here’s the habits:

  1. Think like a traveler: When you travel, especially internationally, your brain goes into a hyper-aware state, and notice little things that you don’t often key into noticing when your day-to-day. The trick is to cultivate this increased alertness in your daily life so that you’re observing more, you’re learning more and your gaining the competitive edge in more creative and innovative. “The real act of discovery consists of not finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes” – Marcel Proust

  2. Treat life as an experiment: You have to be willing to risk and fail in order to experience success. “If you treat life by an experiment you got be prepared for some stuff not to work out.” “Ideally your failing forward. You’re failing forward that has a little bit of learning attached to it.”

  3. Nurture an "attitude of wisdom: “Having a healthy balance between confidence in what you know and distrusting what you what you know just enough that keeps you thirsty for knowledge” It’s not a good idea to to rest on your laurels, especially in respect to learning. Bottom line stay hungry for knowledge - Keep learning!

  4. Use your whole brain: Find opportunities that help fine tune right brain activities. Education systems traditionally help refines the left brain. Find ways to stimulate and use your right brain, intuitive areas more. Also explore your “tortoise mind” – that area in your brain that work in the background for you.

  5. Do what you love: This one seems obvious... “Do what you love, because you’ll be better at it”

Awesome talk! Listen to the full talk here.

PS: Thanks Eric for twittering and leading me to this discovery. Great food for the brain before heading to bed.


How big is your social circle?

An article in the Ecomonist this past week compared Dunbar’s number (a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships) with Facebook findings. The result… Dunbar’s hypothesis* about social circles and social grooming may no be that far off.
“The rise of online social networks, with their troves of data, might shed some light on these matters. So The Economist asked Cameron Marlow, the “in-house sociologist” at Facebook, to crunch some numbers. Dr Marlow found that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with Dr Dunbar’s hypothesis, and that women tend to have somewhat more than men. But the range is large, and some people have networks numbering more than 500, so the hypothesis cannot yet be regarded as proven.”

What also struck Dr Marlow, however, was that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. The more “active” or intimate the interaction, the smaller and more stable the group.

Thus an average man—one with 120 friends—generally responds to the postings of only seven of those friends by leaving comments on the posting individual’s photos, status messages or “wall”. An average woman is slightly more sociable, responding to ten. When it comes to two-way communication such as e-mails or chats, the average man interacts with only four people and the average woman with six. Among those Facebook users with 500 friends, these numbers are somewhat higher, but not hugely so. Men leave comments for 17 friends, women for 26. Men communicate with ten, women with 16.”

*Dunbar used the correlation observed for non-human primates to predict a social group size for humans. Using a regression equation on data for 38 primate genera, Dunbar predicted a human "mean group size" of 148 (casually rounded to 150).