IPL Talk - From Libraries to Lifebraries

Visiting innovative public libraries and talking with passionate library staff are among my favorite “professional extracurricular” activities.  I always come away inspired by what I see and proud to work in such a honorable profession.   Two weeks ago, my travels, afforded me the opportunity to speak with staff from the Indianapolis Public Library on their annual Staff Day.   I had heard so much about the Central Library expansion that has happened several years ago, but had never had the chance to see the space in person.    The Learning Curve, with its dynamic collaboration spaces, rich media centers and interactive tech/qr codes kiosks was my favorite. 

My talk for IPL centered on making the shift from consumption to knowledge production activities.   After visiting the Learning Curve, it was clearly apparent that IPL was a leader in this service philosophy.     My talk is archived here:  

Sorry IPL that it took me so long to get this posted!


Moving News

Ok, so I’ve been holding onto this information for over a week now and busting at the gut to share the news more publicly.   After 5 years here at the Columbus Metropolitan Library I’m moving onto a new chapter in my career – helping libraries continue to innovate services in  a) a position that aligns more closely to product development and strategy and b) in a role that will allow me to work with and be a stronger active advocate for the library community.   

I won’t be moving far, since OCLC's corporate headquarters is physically located in Ohio right in my own back yard.  But I will be realigning my efforts to continually evolve library services in a new role that will provide impact and leadership beyond just the community of central Ohio.  

Curious about what I’ll be doing…  here’s the short announcement from OCLC  :-) 



Measuring Social Media

My column for this month’s Computer in Libraries magazine  on measuring digital media is available this month as a free html.  Since this doesn’t happen very often, I thought it was worth noting :-)

  • Measuring Social Media and the Greater Digital Landscape

    Remember the good old days of the internet, when the measurement of your organization’s digital landscape was merely tracked in page hits, site visits, and unique visitors? The tools used for tracking and reporting website usage were simple and straightforward then. Data always came from the same primary source, the server’s log files.

    If you were into detailed analytics, you could extract a huge mountain of data from these files—everything from tracking what sites provided the most traffic through referrals (i.e., links) and what pages were the entry points to the most popular content pages and average time per session. Keeping track of the digital world was definitely easier back then, before Facebook, Twitter, and an explosion of new mobile apps ripped through this simple-to-measure bits and bytes landscape. Today, understanding your organization’s digital impact requires analyzing multiple sets of analytics from a variety of sources. With measurement rulers seldom the same, it’s a challenge to pull it all together.



International Young Librarians Academy

It’s been a fast few weeks since I flew to Latvia to participate as an instructor in the International Young Librarians Academy.  Although my schedule didn’t allow for me to stay for all of the weeklong event, my time in Yentspils with over 50 young librarians from all over Eastern Europe was memorable and enlightening.  So much enthusiasm, fresh ideas and energy! I was indeed sorry to leave when I had to.

Anyway,  here are the slides from my main presentation on modern libraries.  As one young librarian from Prague commented afterwards…  “what I like most about your message from you talk was that it isn’t technology that makes a library modern, it’s the philosophy”

PS:  Thanks Dara for blogging this summary of the talk.  You hit the key points well. 



6 Years of 23 Things

It's been six years ago this month since I created and launched the 23 Things program while I was at Charlotte Mecklneburg Library.   Although the time has gone by fast, it still blows my mind away at just how far and  vast reaching this program has had on the library community world wide.   Even now, years later I still get emails almost weekly from library staff requesting permission to duplicate or asking questions about the program.   This past week I heard from a colleague that the program has been highlighted at IFLA and through another program done by the Oxford University Libraries in England. 

I've long lost the ability to track the number of programs replicated worldwide.  For a while,  I had unknown benefactor who kept up with the program for the first year or so via a google map. But once Minerva Shelved (the alias for someone I still don't know who thank or attribute to) stopped adding links, I only had a rough Delicious tag to keep up with the global growth.

Occasionally, whenever someone sends me an email or link to a new program, I still tag in my old Delicious account.  The tag is up to 487 individual programs at the moment, with many of the programs designed to support multiple libraries and/or multiple library systems.   At  one time I  had officially counted that the program had been replicated in 15 different languages and if I tried to count all the national and state library run programs done all over the globe, the impact was easliy somewhere around 700+ orgnaizations.

Here's a few links about IFLA programs that talked about 23 Things:

Yup, even after 6 years, the impact of this program worldwide still amazes me !


Innovation Conference Keynote

This past week I had the pleasure to speak on a topic that I'm pretty passionate about at the Innovation Conference hosted by FSU & PLAN.    For those in attendance, here's my slide deck as promised:

Side note:  I think the funniest compliments I've ever recieved as a keynote speaker came out of this conference...  while standing in the foyer area of the conference center, a young man approached me to thank me for my keynote and told me  "Your the quite the talk of the men's restroom"  to which he added   "I mean you talk that is... all in a good way"   :)


YouMedia Centers for Teens

Picture source
For the past 6 months I've been working with an awesome set of creative poeple (from also very creative institutions) as we tackle the planning for network of Learning Labs across the city to ignite teens and help them discover and explore their passions through digital media.  

With five cultural insitutions coming together, its been an interesting process.  I've added a tom to my knowledge about creating and merging logic models, connected learning theory and informal learning environments for teens.  All great stuff, really inspiring that actually makes me sometimes wish I could go back to being 15 again :-)

The MacArthur Foundation is the catalyst for this huge informal learning movement aimed at connecting teens and digital media.  YouMedia in Chicago, was among the first successful programs, but there are others that are equally exciting.  Here's the latest MacArthur piece worth reading:

YOUmedia Expansions Offer Teens Student-Centered Learning Opportunities with Digital Media

Can't wait til we get to the pilot stage in our planning.  With institutions partnering on our planning, there will definitely soon be some new amazing places for teens in Columbus.


When Values & Behaviors Collide

I discovered this downloaded image in a forgotten “pictures” folder tonight and though I can’t remember where I pilfered it from, I found my response to the message just a strong as when I first encountered it and was influenced to save it in the first place. 

Over the past years, I heard a lot of rants and arguments against the creation of “rules.” This image (&message) does a great job of nailing the rub and root cause – the conflict between behaviors and values.

Think about it… instead or creating rules to curtail unwanted behaviors,  how can your organization use and promote values to encourage positive interactions.  It's got me thinking, how about you?

PS:  If you know the source of this image, please let me know.  I need to provide them appropriate credit.


Supply & Demand in the "Just Because"

“The 20th century was all about sorting out supply. The 21st century will be all about sorting out demand”Gavin Potter

This quote written on the whiteboard in my office has been haunting me in a way for over year.  Not in a scary or bad way “haunting”, but rather in the sense that it’s continuously occupied my thinking about service delivery -- especially in a world that has become dominated by a supply and demand chain that has become predominately driven by the “just because”    NetFlix and Amazon were really among the first to capitalize on the digital (& not neccessarily physical) longtail by creating and pairing massive universal catalogs with a robust user recommendation engine.  The result is a profound shift in supply chain model, that eliminates the need to physically create “supply”  first for a service model that is merely triggered  by a “just because demand.”      
For the past century, supply model economics (including those in building library collections) have effectively shifted from “just in case”  (creating and building inventories for a future use)  to a “just in time” (acquiring inventory to meet forecasted and actual demand).  But in a world, where inventory and product can literally be manufactured on the fly,  the supply chain process becomes less and less important to having systems and processes in place to react and provide on demand transactions for services that are trigger by a  “just because.”

Here's a simple slide from my  Big Things talk that I delivered at CIL this past year that adds a bit more to this thinking.

And just last week, this thought came up again in an interview I did with Dquarium's Bibliotech webcast, also appropriately titled "Just Because"


Ten Faces of Innovation

Rediscovered these slides from a presentation that I pulled together over two years ago.  Repackaged,  I think they provide a nice overview of the skill sets/personality traits that foster innovation. Hopefully you can see yourself and colleagues among these:   

View more PowerPoint from hblowers


Digital Media Labs in Libraries

Along with the recent announcement from IMLS & MacArthur foundation seeking 2nd round grant applications for 21st Century Learning Labs, there’s been a lot of news lately about libraries moving forward with this new service model.  Here at CML, we’re also moving forward with our planning in the digital media creation space and are working with four other prominent Columbus cultural organizations to create a network of learning labs for teens across the city.  I can share more on this in the future as our planning progresses. 

Anyway, there’s a lot learning organizations can learn from each other as we look to support new models for community learning involving digital media. YouMedia Chicago has of course received lots of national attention for the model they successfully launched.  But there was also an early prototype of this digital learning model with ImaginOn’s Studio I -- a space/facility that I had the pleasure to be involved with in developing when I was at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.  I know there are others, but at the moment I don't have a very complete list to draw from:  

Here are few that I know of outside of the 12 awarded in the first round of IMLS/MacArthur Learning Labs grant:
If you know of more (beyond the list of 12 already awarded) please add to my comments.


It's good to be back

It’s been quite a hiatus since I’ve posted anything here. A divorce tends to do that to a person... halts you in dead in your tracks, forces you to re-prioritize your life and once you’re finally through what looks like at first is a very dark transition tunnel, actually makes you glad that it all happened. :)

Yup, life is funny that way.

Over the past two years – has it really been two years already? – I’ve had many people ask me if I plan to finally get back to my blog. Well, I guess if you’re reading this post, then you know the answer is “yes” … It’s just taken me a bit longer than I like. :)

You may have also noted with this visit, that I’ve decided to change my URL. has served me well in the past, but as I move forward I’ll be changing up this site a bit. Not sure how just yet, but I’m pretty sure it will start with some minor tweaking to design and then who knows?

Thanks for finding me and my blog again. It’s good to be back. :)

PS: Please excuse the missing images and broken links for the time being. I still have lots of cleanup to do after 24 months of ignoring this site. :)