15 September 2009

Another Transition for Ms. OPL

As another step toward real retirement, I have decided to close this blog.

I've been busy organizing the One-Person Librarian archives at the University of Illinois (a project almost done, but still open to new contributions) and planning the Special Libraries course that I am co-teaching in the Spring (with Lian Ruan of the Illinois Fire Service Institute). So you can see that I still have my hand in the OPL waters. I just am not blogging much. So, this is as good a time as any to close it.

Also, I have closed my company, Information Bridges International, and am discontinuing its website at http://www.ibi-opl.com. However, I have take much of the information on those pages and created a new, personal, website at http://sites.google.com/site/foropls. And, finally, I am changing my email address from jsiess@ibi-opl.com to jsiess1@gmail.com.

I'll still be around, just in different places, so feel free to contact me with questions, problems, success stories, and contributions for the archives.

Thank you all SO much for all the years of help and support. I couldn't have done it without you!

Keep on keeping on--and enjoy!

Judith Siess
(formerly known as Ms. OPL)

22 August 2009

Can You Describe What You Do in Three Words?

Mary Ellen Bates lists some great answers to this question on her blog, Librarian of Fortune. Read the whole post, then see what you can come up with to describe what you do. Here are some of the ones I liked best:

Making clients smarter (her answer)
Strategic information solutions
Better decisions faster
Helping organizations thrive
Informing client decisions.
Encourage knowledge sharing

What was mine? Solutions to problems.


21 August 2009

An OPL Shows How to Survive a Recession

Penny Sympson, OPL at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, Illinois, was mentioned in “Saving Special Libraries in a Recession: Business Strategies for Survival and Success,” a Contributed Paper at the 2009 Special Libraries Association Annual Conference. The paper was written by five graduate students and a professor in the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park.

There is a summary of a survey of special libraries and four case studies: a long one on KMPG’s National Tax Library, and shorter ones Wiss Janney, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Apple Computer. It concludes with lessons learned: Market Yourself Aggressively, Know Your Audience, Be a Part of the Organization, and Prepare Metrics and Justifications.

This is a good article that all librarians should read—and implement its suggestions. Way to go, Penny!

URL: http://www.sla.org/pdfs/sla2009/SavingSL.pdf

18 August 2009

Dow Jones on the Hidden Cost of "Free" Information

Dow Jones has released the e-book, Pay Now or Pay Later: Exposing the Hidden Cost of “Free” Information. It was written by Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, VP & MD, Dow Jones Enterprise Media Group, with the acknowledged help of SLA members Stephen Abram and Mary Ellen Bates.

It is well worth a read. Here are some excerpts:
“An unlimited amount of free information misleads us into thinking that there is no cost at all. In reality the opposite is true.” “The real issue is value.”

There are 7 sections:
1. The Power of One: Centralize, organize and unify your information resources.
2. The Magic of Me: Customize information to the needs of the individual.
3. Follow the Leader: Establish rules and administrative controls in the organization.
4. A Matter of Trust: Encourage confidence and understand context.
5. The Lost Month: Improve search productivity.
6. People Are Talking: Manage your reputation in a social world.
7. Freedom of Information: Embrace copyrights and protect your organization

Also included is a checklist of resources [from Dow Jones, of course] “to ensure your information sources are truly productive.”

However, the only places it mentions something like a librarian are: (emphasis mine except in the last line)

“Without a guiding intelligence, knowledge does not ‘know’ where to go…. Expert research specialists, however, can help users direct data sources into the appropriate channels….” (item 2)

Professionals [in what not stated] prescreen information to weed out material that’s extraneous to their readership.” (number 4)

Bur when it does mention us, it is good PR: “In any information-intensive enterprise, librarians and other information professionals are a key resource for reducing costs and improving organizational efficiency. According to a study by Outsell, Inc., …in-house librarians save an average of nine hours and $2,128 per each request for information.” (point 5)


06 August 2009

Three Lists of Must Reads

100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future
The folks at Bachelor’s Degree Online (whoever they are) have compiled of list of blogs to follow. Divided into Technology and Education, School and Academic Librarians, Library Issues and Advocacy, Research and Reference, Innovation and Information, Reading and Literature, and Professional categories, they include most of the ones I follow and some I have to look at. A good place to start if you’re looking to keep up with the ever-changing library world. (Find more at http://globeofblogs.com by searching on “library.”)

URL: http://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2009/100-best-blogs-for-librarians-of-the-future/

25 Predictions for the University of the Future
On Associate Degree (which seems to be a site similar to Bachelor’s Degree Online), site administrator Emily Thomas goes out on a limb to predict “how the university of the future will operate.” The ones focusing on libraries:
“Libraries will continue to become more tech-focused”
“Learning resources will shift online”
“There will be an increase in the variety of educational resources and materials”
and many interesting predictions for other facets of higher education.

Definitely worth a read.

URL: http://associatedegree.org/2009/07/29/25-predictions-for-the-university-of-the-future/

Best Practices for Government Libraries 2009. Change: Managing it, Surviving it and Thriving on it.
LexisNexis’s Marie Kaddel has compiled over 60 articles by librarians, association leaders, and LexisNexis consultants. Included are federal standards, actual library case studies, LexisNexis presentations, press releases, and think pieces. And all this is available for free! Download it and learn. (PS. Not just for government librarians….)

URL: http://www.lexisnexis.com/tsg/gov/Best_Practices_2009.pdf

05 August 2009

Resources on the Generations

Sidney Lowe and Susie Skarl [University of Nevada-Las Vegas] have put together a great list of resources on dealing with the upcoming generations (X, Y, Millennials, etc.). Thanks to Stephen Abram for pointing it out on his blog, Stephen's Lighthouse.

"Talking 'bout my generation: Exploring age-related resources" http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/2009/jul/agerelate.cfm

Stephen's Lighthouse: http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com

03 August 2009

Top 10 Reasons to Use Your Library

These came from the brochure “Library Services for Primary Care Standards,” published by the Virginia Library Network and "based on recent studies of library user patterns." I don't think it's a particularly great list, but a top-ten list is a good idea--especially in a brochure. And this idea is not limited to medical libraries--any library can do this.

I'm sure if you work on it, you can come up with 10 reasons specific to your organization and your library and are better than these. Go to it!

10. Get valuable information to help make decisions.
9. Get more accurate information.
8. Make better decisions.
7. Save time.
6. Be more productive.
5. Get your work done.
4. Do better work.
3. Be a “fast-tracker.”
2. Contribute to knowledge sharing within your organization
1. Save money.

URL: http://www.mlanet.org/pix/nmlm_07/large/valnet.jpg

Need Help in Writing Your Library Brochure?

Tanya Feddern-Bekcan [University of Miami (FL) School of Medicine] asked members of the MEDLIB-L electronic list for suggestions for what should (or could) be included in a library brochure. Here is a summary of the replies she received.

Note: You don't need to put all of these into every brochure. You should have a basic brochure with numbers 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,13 (just the who can use the library part), 33, and a selection of 18 and 21. Adding 27 and 28 would be good, too.
Other brochures could have more specialized information, such as "More About the Library" with the basic information plus 1, 9,13,14, and 20; "Library Services" with the basic information 16,17, and 18; "The Library: Wherever You Want It" with the basic informaton plus 15,22,23,30 and 32. You can think of others, I'm sure.

1. Library Mission/Vision Statement
2. Hours
3. Main phone number
4. Physical address
5. Post Office address with campus locator code (for interoffice mail)
6. Main email address
7. Website address
8. Director’s name
9. Librarians’ names (with/without email addresses or phone number extensions)
10. Campus map showing library location
11. Layout map of the library (indicating location of study rooms, stacks, etc.)
12. NLM Classifications
13. Library Rules (who can access library in person or online, children accompanied by adult, no food/drink, computer usage rules, badge worn inside the library, etc.) - only the "who can access the library" is necessary
14. Library Policies & Procedures (checkout, donating materials, renewal, placing a hold, fines, etc.)
15. Website URLs or databases: with or without annotations (PubMed, MEDLINEplus, etc.)
16. Listing of the number of books, electronic resources, databases, etc.
17. Listing of number of computers and other library equipment (copiers, scanners, paper cutter, etc.)
18. Listing of library services (training, ILL, designing/printing professional posters, document delivery, copying, providing guidance relating to copyright and the ethical use of information, teaching curriculum-related information skills with you, etc.)
19. Listing of librarian duties (part of healthcare team, contribute to patient care and safety, serve on hospital committees, share new resources & ideas, etc.)
20. Referring to librarians as masters-prepared, certified, faculty, professional medical librarians, etc.
21. Quotes by pleased patrons identified as “Molecular Biologist,” “Assistant Professor of Medicine,” etc.
22. Instructions for Remote Access
23. Search tips
24. Description of the EBM/Research process
25. Funded/Donated items and the name of the donor/funding source
26. Awards the library has received
27. “Coupon” for a free library service or candy
28. Tear-off bookmark that lists the library contact info, hours, and services
29. Information prescription form
30. Training request form
31. Top 10 Reasons to Use Your Library
32. Image of the library homepage with its features pointed out and annotated
33. Date the brochure was last revised

Tips for Working Smarter

Cynthia L. Smith [Barley Snyder LLC, Richmond, VA] and Julia E. Hughes [McGuireWoods LLP, Harrisburg, PA] presented a session on “Working Smart: Innovative Ways to Do More with Your Day” at the recent conference of the American Association of Law Libraries in Washington DC. The session was sponsored by the OPL Section of the Private Law Libraries Section.

It looks to have been a very good session. You can get the following online: the outline, downloads of the slides, a bibliography and list of resources (with links to screencasts), and the original proposal.

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/e5workingsmart/

27 July 2009

Great Marketing Idea! Digital Picture Frames Lure Potential Users

Amber Draksler and Melinda Byrns of Inova Fairfax Health Sciences Library, Falls Church, Virginia, have a great marketing idea. Load your presentation on a digital picture frame and take it to your potential customers.

Read all about it in National Network 34(1):12, July 2009 published by the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Libraries Association. NN is available online, but you have to have the password. Write Amy Frey, editor, at amyfre@hfsc.org to get it.

21 July 2009

Promote the Nexus

Peter Persic, Public Relations and Marketing Director, Los Angeles (California) Public Library, presented this marketing/advocacy idea at the annual conference of the American Library Association.

Libraries are known for Information. This need is also filled by Google.
Libraries are known for Reading. This need is also filled by Barnes & Noble.
Libraries are known as Cultural Centers. This need is also filled by museums.
Libraries are know as Community Centers. This need is also filled by Starbucks.

However, the library "is uniquely positioned at the nexus of all four needs." So he encouraged listeners to "promote the nexus."

As reported by Kathy Dempsey [Libraries Are Essential/editor MLS: Marketing Library Services] on The “M” Word: Marketing Libraries, 20 July 2009, http://themwordblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/im-finally-getting-back-to-blogging.html

14 July 2009

Designing web pages for "mature" users

As a "mature" user myself (I am almost 62 and now have to set documents in Word to 150% to read them), this was an interesting article. I've summarized the main points by Eric Schaffer [founder and CEO, Human Factors International, Fairfield, Iowa, USA], UI Design Newsletter, March 2007. You can read the whole thing at http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/mar07.asp#kath

According to a study by the Annenberg School at USC, American Internet users include 75% of adults aged 56-65 and 41% of adults over 66. If we want to design for the bulk of our users, we had best consider the more mature user groups.

According to a recent study, the top reasons older people don’t use computers are lack of motivation or reason to use the computer, lack of experience with current technology, and cognitive differences and age-related declines. So it’s not that they don’t want to use your site—it’s that they find it too tricky or intimidating to be worth that effort at this point in their lives. As usability practitioners, we need to change this!!!

By tradition we must design for at least 90 percent of our users. So we see that age will be a factor for all but a few youth-oriented sites. He adds, “I also expect that the need to accommodate age will grow as the already technically savvy users grow old. I already buy watches based on my ability to read the dial at night without my glasses, and dump any news site that wiggles or pops making reading extra difficult. And they better keep redesigning PDAs to keep up with my rheumatism.”

You will need to overcome mature users’ slowly deteriorating vision, not being able to retain as much information in their working memory, and difficulty in processing information as fast as they once could.

What can you do?
**Make navigation menus and action buttons bigger and use mouse-over effects and other methods to show where to click.
**Use a sans serif type font such as Helvetica, Arial or Verdana and type of at least 12 or 14-point size.
**Use double or 1.5 spacing to make it easier for the eye to track from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. As always for the Web, keep text short and use bulletized lists to facilitate scanning.
**Use very little, and preferably no animation. Animation and scrolling text and graphics are the most distracting visual elements to humans overall. In addition, icons should be simple and should include a descriptive label so that your older users will not have to “guess” their meaning.
**Avoid use of pull-down menus.
**Use auto-suggest for likely misspellings to automatically show what a correct spelling would be. Then the user can click the suggested link without having to reenter their search terms.

Zaphiris, P., Kurniawan, S., Research-derived Web Design Guidelines for Older People, Assets ‘05, Baltimore, MD USA. ACM 1-595593-159-7/05/0010 (2005), http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/%7Ezaphiri/Papers/assets2005.pdf.

Chaparro, B., Minnaert, G. and Phipps, C., Mouse-over vs. Point-and-Click: It Depends! Usability News 1(2), February 1999,

Making Your Web Site Senior Friendly checklist, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/checklist.pdf

BOOK REVIEW: The Accidental Library Marketer

Kathy Dempsey, the long-time editor of the newsletter MLS: Marketing Library Services, has written a great book on library marketing. It is designed for the librarian who, for any of many reasons, has become the go-to person for marketing in his or her library. Of course for solos, the library marketer is you.

Dempsey really gets marketing. She defines it as “the process where the ultimate goal is moving goods and/or services from the producer and provider to a consumer….True marketing always involved a number of steps that ensure that the consumer will end up with those goods and services.” (13) It starts with finding out about your customers/patrons/users/students and ends with evaluating feedback from them. That’s right—marketing is not the same as publicity or PR or promotion. It is much more than that.

Therefore, she starts with communication, goes on to evaluating your current situation (environment), and discusses using demographic or other data. There’s a chapter on marketing mistakes, getting management and staff buyin, making evidence-based decisions, and statistics. Then it’s on to the writing of a marketing plan, rules for good promotional materials, communication tips, and using your website for outreach. The last chapter is called “Finally, the Fun Stuff” and has success stories, wow factor ideas, “snappy comebacks for that awful question, ‘Now that we have the Internet, why do we still need libraries?’” and a final lesson. What’s that? “you should always be ready to respond to anyone, anytime, anywhere if you hear people question the existence of libraries. You understand their value—heck, you live their value. All you need to do to help in a big way is to have a sentence of two in mind so you’re always ready to spring into action. You don’t need a special occasion.” Well said.

The book is oriented mostly toward public and academic libraries, but there are a few mentions of school and—amazingly—special libraries. She even quotes me (page 91). But all of her book is useful for every kind of librarian. Read this and put it into action.

There is an index and three appendixes, all articles from MLS: Marketing Library Services: A: Improving our media relations via strategic communications planning, by Marsha Iverson [King County (Washington) Library System]; B: Designing promo materials that are legible, by Pat Wagner [Pattern Research, Denver, Colorado]; and C: Promotion is not the same as marketing, by Christie Koontz [Florida State University, Tallahassee]. I’d have liked to see a bibliography or list of readings, but there is a list of links, chapter by chapter, on the website for Dempsey consulting firm, http://www.librariesareessential.com/the-accidental-library-marketer/chapter-by-chapter/

Bibliographic Information:
Dempsey, Kathy, The Accidental Library Marketer, Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2009, ISBN 978-1-57387-368-0, US$29.50. Order at http://infotoday.stores.yahoo.net/aclima.html

Signs for the Reference Desk

Cindy Rosser [Waco-McLennan County (Texas) Library] collected these neat ideas for signs at the reference desk.

"Pay no attention to those other guys, we're the ones with all the answers!”

"IT knows about computers, Reference knows about everything.” (use with caution if you ever want IT to work on your computer again)

For school libraries, “We know the answers to your assignments.”

And if you have a lot of online research databases, “Talk to us and never have to come to the library again.”

Nine things not to have on your Web site

Jeff Wuorio posted the following suggestions on ConnectIT USA. Most are common sense, but some may not have occurred to you.

1. Your photo on the home page: It can detract from why the visitor should be there in the first place. “Your Web site should be all about the viewer, not about you.” (Larina Kase, Performance and Success Coaching, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
2. Visual (and audio) overkill: Can be confusing, unprofessional, take too long to load, and definitely distracting.
3. Too many confusing menu options: Offer a variety of content, but keep the site structure simple.
4. Information that could lead to privacy or security breaches: Leave employee photos, e-mail addresses and personal details about them off the site. “Confine details [on products] to what is absolutely needed to attract and entice customers into buying, and to not give away the company store.”
5. Information that could tip off competitors: “Certain bits of information might seem innocuous on their own, but when pieced together could reveal more than you want about your business practices, strategic partners, corporate clients, and your internal organization.”
6. Undue jargon and techno-speak: “Keep your copy and content straightforward—I if need be, have a non-expert review it for clarity.”
7. Content that makes your business sound too good to be true: “Don’t make your Web site an ad. Make it an interactive conversation with your audience.”
8. Unsupervised chat rooms: Moderate to avoid spam, off-color comments, potential security breaches, etc.
9. Bad links and outdated material: Outdated content or broken links will turn customers off—fast.

URL: http://www.connectitnews.com/usa/story.cfm?item=3483

03 July 2009

Networking Tip of the Day—Business Card Poker

Next time you attend a networking event (meeting of your local library association or consortium, for instance), be sure to take a nice stack of your business cards. If your employer doesn’t provide them or if you’re unemployed—especially if you’re out of a job—make your own on your computer or at your local print shop.

When you sit down at the table, deal out one business card to each person or place setting at the table—just like in poker. The idea is for everyone to follow suit (or is this business card bridge?) so that each person will have the business card of everyone at the table. During the meal, write a note on the back of each card so that you will remember 1) at what event you collected the card and 2) something that the person wore, said, or did that was memorable.

You should, of course, continue to collect business cards the old-fashioned way, when you meet someone formally or informally. This is just an additional idea.

When you get back to the office or back home, enter the information on both sides of the card into a database. In no time you will build up a database of contacts that you can use when you have a tough reference question, need an ILL fast, are looking for a job, or just want to connect with a colleague. (I use AskSam because it’s super easy to set up and use and searches all fields of the entries lightning fast. I’ve had databases with nearly 2000 entries and the response is instantaneous. See http://www.asksam.com/brochure.asp for more information. )

So, play a “game” of business card poker at the next networking opportunity and be a winner!

30 June 2009

Lessons for Corporate Libraries--and Others

“When the Internet as a popular research tool began affecting the lives of librarians and information professionals and their clients, accountability for contributing to the mission (i.e., bottom line) of one’s parent organization—whether a for-profit or not-for-profit—became the most critical driver behind the survival of corporate libraries.”

Thus begins a great article by special library gurus Toby Pearlstein (retired from Bain & Co., Inc., Boston, Massachusetts) and James Matarazzo (retired Dean, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston). They outline the ways corporate librarians can—and, in fact, must—make their value known to the decision-makers in their organizations.

What happens to an organization when the library is closed? The authors answer this with the case study of the “Caveat Publishing Co.” The librarian had not seen the signs of a change in the wind and it was too late to make a case for keeping the library open. Senior management had hired consultants to make cost-cutting recommendations. “Since they were never asked for any data from the library manager,” the decisions didn’t take into account how or if the library was used. They conclude that if the decision to close the library is made by top management, “resistance is futile.” The head librarian had 4 months to train the staff to meet their information needs with the resources on their desktops. However, ‘is it reasonable to expect that they [the writers] can do the job of a researcher as well?” (I see a double meaning for “as well:” in addition to their own jobs and as well as the librarian did.) The answer is unknown, but probably not. “In similar publishing environments where the library has been cut, one writer noted that he never heard anyone say it was a good thing….”

Pearlstein and Matarazzo conclude, “Perhaps there was a disconnect between the library and the divisional heads or their bosses at Caveat that made it easier or at least less controversial for them to drastically reduce library services.” The moral? Know what’s going on in your organization, make sure top management knows the value your library brings to the organization’s bottom line, and act proactively. As networking guru Harvey McKay says (in the title of one of his books, which you should read, by the way)—Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty—because if you wait until the axe falls, it’s too late.

Read, understand, internalize, and implement the message in this article—before it’s too late for you!

Pearlstein, Toby and James Matarazzo, Survival Lessons for Librarians: Corporate Libraries—A Soft Analysis and a Warning, Searcher 17(6):12-17,52, June 2009, available for US$2.95 at http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/jun09/index.shtml

26 June 2009

How to Influence Decision-Makers

In a post on his blog, Stephen’s Lighthouse, Stephen Abram quotes the following from an article in Business Week.

“1. Every decision that affects our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision, not the ‘right’ person or the ‘smartest’ person or the ‘best’ person. Make peace with this fact…
2. When presenting ideas to decision-makers, realize that it is your responsibility to sell, not their responsibility to buy…
3. Focus on contribution to the larger good—not just the achievement of your objectives…
4. Strive to win the big battles. Don’t waste your energy and psychological capital on trivial points…
5. Present a realistic ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of your ideas—don’t just sell benefits…
6. ‘Challenge up’ on issues involving ethics or integrity—never remain silent on ethics violations…
7. Realize that powerful people are just as human as you are. Don’t say, ‘I am amazed that someone at this level…’…
8. Treat decision-makers with the same courtesy that you would treat customers—don’t be disrespectful…
9. Support the final decision of the organization. Don’t tell direct reports, ‘They made me tell you.’…
10. Make a positive difference—don’t just try to ‘win’ or ‘be right’…
11. Focus on the future—let go of the past…”

Abram post: http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/archives/2009/06/managing_influe.html
Original article: Goldsmith, Marshall, Effectively Influencing Decision-Makers: These eleven rules about how you can influence decision-makers to adopt your ideas will benefit your career—and the organization you work for, Business Week, 19 June 2009,

New Zealand Study Finds That Healthcare Workers Don’t Use Internet-Based Research Tools

A study by four researchers in Christchurch, New Zealand found that a frightening 37 percent rarely or never consulted Google and 58 percent rarely or never consulted Ovid Medline or PubMed. Medical and dental staff consulted search engines (83 percent) or library resources (63 percent) at least weekly, higher than nursing or allied health staff. All professional groups consulted coworkers or experts more frequently than they did online or library resources. They used Google more often than any other electronic resource (big surprise) and it received the highest value rating (yikes). Almost all searched using keywords; few used MeSH terms. Over 82 percent wanted more training on searching Internet-based resources, so there is still hope for educating them on the value of better sources.

Hider, Philip N., Gemma Griffin, Marg Walker [all of University of Otago-Christchurch], and Edward Coughlan [Christchurch Hospital], The information-seeking behavior of clinical staff in a large health care organization, Journal of the Medical Library Association 97(1):47-50, January 2009, http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2605037

24 June 2009

Things to Think About in These Bad Economic Times

The 15 June issue of Library Journal (v. 134, no. 11) has two columns that you should read.

Be Selfish, Promote Service, The Transparent Library, by Michael Casey and Michael Stephens, p. 23
In these times of diminishing resources, it is more important than ever to provide excellent customer service. “Anyone can shine when money and time are in abundance. It takes a positive and progressive individual to stand out when things are difficult.” The Michaels have some excellent ideas that bear reading—and implementing.

Libraries & the Inspiration Business, Backtalk, by Brian Mathews, p. 38
“With federal, state, and county budgets drying up as record numbers of users flock to libraries, now is an excellent time for introspection about our profession. What exactly is our line of work?” “One of the great things about our profession is that we have the chance each day to make a positive impact on our community. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to inspires someone today.”

23 June 2009

Notes from SLA2009/Colin Powell & Solo Diversity Session

It was a wonderful conference. I attended lots of sessions, but only took notes on two. Here they are.

BTW: This was my last SLA Conference. I have to draw the line somewhere--so I don't continue to volunteer for things. (I'm now archivist for Solo and List and Wiki Mistress for the Retired Members Caucus. Neither requires my presence at conferences.)

Keynote: General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.), Sunday, 14 June
He spoke for about 45 minutes with NO notes at all; no ums, hums, ers, or ands.
Success=preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
This is a new age; we have to change the brainware.
We have to move at the speed of light; faster than anyone else.
It’s a transactional world; we must update at every transaction (not daily, weekly, whatever).
Book recommendation: Shirky, Clay, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, New York: Penguin Press, 2008, ISBN-10: 1594201536, US$24.95.
He is a consultant to Google (among other companies).
“I’m analog. I got a $59 converter and now I’m digital.” His 14-year-old grandson was hardwired digital.
What does he miss most from the State Department? His own plane (a 757), his honor guard presenting him with a Diet Coke on a silver tray. “It was cool.”
“The world is flattening; we have to compete in that world.” Security makes it too hard for foreign students to come to our universities.
“No terrorist can change our free, open society—only we can do it to ourselves.”
On leadership:
“Everything I learned about leadership was at infantry training at Fort Benning.”
“The followers get the work done!” Never forget that.
As a leader, ‘you have to give them a purpose” so they understand. Be passionate, infectious.
Leaders have to invest in people; give them support and what they need.
Congratulate followers. People thrive when you show them their worth to you.
You must also punish or reprimand and “prune the organization.”
“You’ll know when you’re a good leader when your troops follow you—if only out of curiosity.”
They’ll see you’re ready—they trust you. “Trust is the essence of success in an organization.”
“The human connection is essential.”

Diversity in Leadership: Generation X—The Changing Paradigm in a Knowledge-based Society, Julius Jefferson, Jr., Library of Congress, sponsored by the Solo Librarians Division
Although not a solo librarian, he was a solo child and is a drummer (who really solo when they play a solo). Good speaker, well-constructed speech.
The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I." And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say "I." They don't think "I." They think "we"; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we" gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001.
Gen Xers create their own world without boundaries.
Gen Xers are independent; don’t like (or need) to be managed, especially micromanaged.
Words to describe Millennials (another name for Gen X): consensus, ambient intimacy, flexibility, worklife integration (not just worklife balance).
Big no-no: comparing a Gen X professional to your child.
Is there succession planning? Are the managers mentoring or grooming the next generation? Especially in the institutional knowledge they need to know.
Leadership and the paradigm shift
Shift from top down to horizontal leadership.
Leadership: inspiration, trust, advocacy, education, coaching, vision, and courage. Be unafraid to teach. We need leaders at all levels of the organization.
“Management must encourage us—every day!” this is especially true of NextGens.
Solos must inspire ourselves, advocate for ourselves.
“I can’t think of a better time to be a librarian than now.”
Collaboration is critical to success; we may see manager chosen not on seniority but on their ability to lead.
Branding: what do we offer to people? Take from all generations to improve the library, services, and products.
Finally, remember, “leadership is all about ‘We.’”

Recent Website Reviews on InSITE

(from Law Librarian Blog by Joe Hodnicki, Butler County Law Library, Ohio)

Law librarians at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, search the Internet for potentially useful websites, select the most valuable ones, and provide commentary twice a month via their current awareness service, InSITE.

The June 15, 2009 issue includes:

AfriMAP: Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project
American President: an Online Reference Resource
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
and the
Worker Rights Consortium

There's also a searchable database of past reviews and you can browse current and archived issues from the home page. You can subscribe to the RSS feed as well.

InSITE home page: http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/insiteasp/default.asp
Hodnicki's full post: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2009/06/recent-website-reviews-on-insite.html

A Handful of Practice Area Blogs by Lawyers

Joe Hodnicki [Butler County (Ohio) Law Library] called our attention the these blogs in a recent post on his Law Librarian Blog.
See his post at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2009/06/recent-website-reviews-on-insite.html for details and URLs

Military Veteran Attorney Blog
Products Liability and Injury Lawyer Blog
Drug Recall Lawyer Blog
Overtime Lawyer Blog
Lemon Law Lawyer Blog
DUI Attorneys Blog
Securities Fraud Attorney Blog

11 June 2009

NUMBER 1000!! Five Phrases I Hope I Never Hear in Libraries Again

This is my 1000th post! Amazing.

Five Phrases I Hope I Never Hear in Libraries Again (based on a true story)
by Michael Stephens, Tame the Web blog, 8 April 2006, http://tametheweb.com/2006/04/ten_phrases_i_hope_i_never_hea.html

1. We’ve always done it this way.

I think it’s time to red flag any utterance of that phrase in our libraries and make sure it’s not just an excuse to avoid change. It may however, be the best way to do something... so if you say it, add “and we examined other ways, and this way is still the best!”
If you are hiding behind that phrase because you’ve had enough new things or just want to keep things the same, it might be time to move on. Is it anxiety that puts up barriers?

2. He/She is a roadblock for anything to get done.
This is a tough one. It usually comes in a whisper from an exasperated librarian who can’t seem to get anything done because someone on their team or up above stops everything in its tracks to think. What did Abram say...? "When librarians study something to death, we forget that death was not the original goal."
In this climate of rapid change, we can’t take 6 months, form a committee, write agendas, meet, transcribe the minutes, make more agendas, have more meetings and on and on. The best librarians in the future will make good, rapid decisions, based on evidence, experience and a view of the big picture.

3. The IT department won’t let us.

I know there are many reasons why some things simply can’t be done in some libraries, but after many workshops, talks and receptions talking to librarians, this seems to be the number one hit on the Librarian’s Frustration Hit Parade. Thank Goodness we have folks writing about it:

4. I don’t have time for (insert new social tool here).

Ouch. Here’s where a healthy dose of evidence will help. Print some copies of the Newsweek story, The New Wisdom of the Web (http://www.newsweek.com/id/45976), any of the Pew Reports that discuss uses and their online activities and some of the wonderful real life examples we have of librarians using social tools.

5. Our director doesn’t like technology.

Attention library directors! If you don’t like technology, there may be a problem! You do not have to be a tech genius, but you need people under you who aren’t afraid of change, can innovate and will help guide your decisions. And you have to be able to talk to them. Failure to implement technological change can hurt the reputation of a library. Failure to allow your librarians, techie or otherwise, to move forward with improvements and new services in this 2.0 world, will send them running away screaming. (And they will tell their colleagues at conferences all about it! Trust me.)

Want to Get Published?

If you have an article that you’re dying to get published, San Jose State University’s Laurie Putnam has several resources to help you.

Putnam, Laurie L. [San Jose (California) State University], Professional writing and publishing: Resources for librarians, C&RL News 70(4), April 2009, http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/2009/apr/prowritepublish.cfm

Writing and Publishing Resources for Librarians Who Write, San Jose State University Alumni News 11(1), article 5, 2009, http://slisgroups.sjsu.edu/alumni/newsletter/09Spring/alumnewsspring09.htm#article5

San Jose State University Library and Information Science Publications wiki_, http://slisapps.sjsu.edu/wikis/faculty/putnam/index.php/LIS_Publications_Wiki

Laurie Putnam’s LibraryWriting Bookmarks, Delicious, http://delicious.com/LibraryWriting

Compare Search Engines

Phil Bradley lists eight search engine comparison sites in a post on his blog. Enter your search terms and the site runs them against various search engines—you decide which is best. Most compare only two engines, but some do more.

Sites mentioned are: Blind Search, Bingandgoogle, Bingle, Tripleme, GrabAll, Scour, Searchboth, and Soovle. Personally, I like Blind Search best, but you decide.

Bradley’s post: http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2009/06/search-engine-comparisons.html

09 June 2009

What I've Read Lately...and So Should You

Here are a few articles that I think you should be reading. Most are from a great issue of Information Outlook (Special Libraries Association’s magazine) on the future of the profession.

Oder, Norman, MLS: Hire Ground? Library Journal 134(10):44-46, 1 June 2009. Discusses how economics and new technology may lead to fewer degreed librarians being hired and used by libraries. “Consultant Joan Frye Williams tells libraries not to put their most skilled people at the desk requiring the most interaction with the public. ‘We need to separate intake, which does not require a master’s, from execution, which does,’ she says.” But can non-professionals do an adequate reference interview?

Frey, Thomas, Rethinking the Post-Recession Specialty Library, Information Outlook 13(4):15-19, June 2009.
“…libraries will begin to experiment with a version of the digital library I’ve termed ‘the electronic outpost.’ Electronic outposts will evolve over time around the core services most relevant to a particular user group. Here are some examples of new library functions: search command centers, podcast studios, vidcast studios, virtual world stations, gamer stations, mini-theaters, cyber cafes.” Only one of these—the first—is a typical library function of today.

Huffman, Karen, Deborah Hunt, Nerida Hart, and Daniel Lee, Adding Value, Going Global, and Serving Smaller Clients, Information Outlook 134(10):27-31, June 2009.
Four SLA members were asked “to share their views on (a) the most significant developments that will affect the industry and profession and (b) how SLA can best help them and their colleagues prepare for the future.” Hart (Land and Water Australia).“I believe libraries, as we now know them, will not exist; the need for information professionals, however, will grow. They will be co-located with their clients and work side by side with them on projects to obtain better outcomes for their parent organization.” (This is how she works—her organization has no library.) “We need to educate information professionals not to expect to be located in a physical library but to think outside what has been done in the past.”

Abram, Stephen, Blogging as a Special Librarian, Information Outlook 134(10):47-48, June 2009.
Advice for newbies to blogging. “We should all be communicating regularly with our users, colleagues, patrons, markets and just plain folks. Invest part of yourself and your personality in your blog. If you’re real and authentic, people will be attracted to your advice.”

Schacter, Debbie, Adjusting to Changes in User and Client Expectations, Information Outlook 134(10):55-57, June 2009.
“Will the world be without information professionals in the future? I doubt it. Will the nature of the work or our interactions with our customers be different? Undoubtedly.”

Latham, John, Reaching Those Who Search (and Fail) on Their Own, Information Outlook 134(10):59, June 2009.
“Even if you provide excellent service, it will only be apparent to those within your organization who have benefited from it. You have to get the word out to those within your organization who have not used your services—and especially to senior management.” An Outsell survey shows that the search failure of most information workers is nearly 40 percent.

Note: Is it my imagination or are there a lot more articles in Information Outlook from people outside the library world?—regular columns excepted. While it’s good to hear from others, why aren’t there more articles by SLA members? Aren’t we submitting them?

04 June 2009

Law Library Links

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries has put together a nice list of links for law libraries. Among other things, it has links to law library associations in Canada, the USA, the UK, the EU, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

URL: http://www.callacbd.ca/index.php/publisher/articleview/frmArticleID/214/

02 June 2009

Ten Ways to Tell If You Are a Solo Librarian

John Clark [Hartland (Maine) Public Library] wrote this for the initial issue of MLA to Z: The News-to-use-letter of the Maine Library Association (April 2007). You can identify with it even if you don't work in a public library. I love it.

1. People in the checkout line hand you a reserve request written on the back of their grocery list.
2. People tell the town manager you work too much because they saw your car at the library after 9 P.M.
3.You stop at yard sales to buy movies for the library.
4. You have a network of fellow scavengers who save Coke, Pepsi and Powerade caps so you can redeem the points for more stuff for the library.
5. Your fingerprints are on every item in the library.
6. You debate weeding a title you just know cousin Emma will hate you for, but do it anyway.
7. You’re on the delivery service, but drop off an ILL pouch in the next town after hours because you’re going there anyway to do some grocery shopping.
8. You visit other libraries and the first place you go is their used book shelf.
9. There is a bigger library that has adopted you, and you have done the same for a smaller library.
10. You have done story hour while simultaneously checking out books and answering a reference question over the phone.

URL: http://mainelibraries.org/_documents/newsletter/200704newsletter.pdf

29 May 2009

HEARD ON THE LISTS: Are Blogs Replacing Websites?

Barbara Keef [Windham (Maine) Public Library, USA] wrote the following on the LIBREF-L electronic list.
“At a recent local library meeting, the speaker suggested that websites were outdated and being replaced by blogs. The main reason for this change is that ‘People cannot interact and comment on a website. A website simply delivers information. If you are thinking about book groups or any kind of sharing of info, the blog is the way to go. Also in most cases it is much easier to add information to a blog site.’ Are websites being replaced by blogs? Pros? Cons? Comments?”

Scott Peterson responded, “It depends on where you draw the line at; many websites have comments/forums which allow visitors to post their input, such as Slashdot. Effectively these sites have been ‘blogs’ before the term became popular. On the other hand, a blog isn’t the answer to everything, nor does every website need to have a comment section. The assumption is that blogs/comments have the most current or relevant information, but a lot of the time it seems it’s more an endless opinion war. There are times I’d really prefer to read the information from a knowledgeable source than try and draw a consensus from pages of comments.

Dan Lester [Boise, Idaho, USA] had this to say. “Well, first of all, blogs are websites. Yes, they’re ones with particular software for a particular purpose, but that’s true of the website you call your ‘library catalog’ and the website called ‘Amazon’ and the one called ‘Susie’s House’o’porn.’ It isn’t really much different than fiction vs. non-fiction or a zillion other examples. But you’ll find those who think a blog is the way to go. Others prefer ‘forums’ or ‘boards.’ So, the basic question is ‘what is the purpose of what you want to create?’ And, you don’t have to have just one or just the other. Personally, I think you might want a semi-traditional (fixed content, updated as needed) with links to your library catalog website, a blog for what I’d consider to be ‘announcements on which people can comment,’ and perhaps a ‘board or forum’ for discussion on the book-of-the-month. Just look at all the options, join some sites if you’ve not already, and figure out what might be best for your need(s). And whatever the ‘answer’ is today, it may be different in 3 months or 3 years.”

Blogger (Librarian In Black) Sarah Houghton-Jan [San Mateo (California) County Library, USA] commented, “I think what is being targeted here isn’t really blogs vs. websites, but rather making sure that websites are more interactive. My guess is that this is what the speaker was getting at. That indeed is a trend, and an important one for libraries to pay attention to. But you don’t need blogs to make your website interactive. Anything will do it—a discussion board, community calendar, wiki, or just about anything else that allows the public to write content that is posted to your website. Blogs make ‘interactivity’ easy as they have a commenting feature built in. Allowing your website to be a two-way street is essential today. It is what our community expects. If your site is static with just library staff being able to post to it, you will lose a lot of your potential users.

Andrew Heiz [Flushing, New York] added, “As always when a new tool enters the toolbox it is thought that it will replace the entire contents. Web publishers have a new tool that allows a high degree of interactivity and flexibility, the blog. So that blog would be the tool to use if you want the commenting features you mentioned. But it won’t replace every web design tool available to librarians. A library may desire a certain amount of interactivity in their overall web presence. Blogs need a high degree of maintenance to stay current. While it is of little effort to update a web page or a blog, a blog is expected to be updated a minimum of daily and sometimes more frequently than that. A blog or web site is only as useful as the people who feed them. In the end whether you call your site a blog or just a site users will find their way to it if it is the following: current, accurate, easy to navigate, understandable, etc. In a nutshell blogs are not replacing web sites. Take away the personal blogs that are not relevant unless you are related to the blogger, the abandoned blogs, the corporate advertising blogs and I suspect that you’ll find an equal number of useful blogs and web sites.”

How to Succeed by Blogging

Tania P. Bardyn [UCLA, Los Angeles, California] has a very good article in the June 2009 issue of Computers in Libraries—Library Blogs: What’s Most Important for Success Within the Enterprise? (pp. 12-16) She asks if library management should support blogs in the enterprise and answers yes—if adequate software and creative librarians are present.

Five factors influence the implementation and eventual success of library blogs:

1. Develop clear strategies, objectives and plans.

2. Understand the value proposition of a blog. (reducing cost of producing marketing materials, reduction of email spam, more efficient communication, increase in site traffic, for example).

3. Incorporate multiple initiatives in the enterprise.

4. Engage library management in continual improvement of the blog.

5. Invest in IT in the library (by installing appropriate and sufficient technology).

The article and its suggestions are worth a read.

14 May 2009

Key Characteristics of Digital Natives:

Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research reported on his blog, Web Strategist, on a talk at the Corporate Social Networking Conference in Amsterdam. Dr. Urs Gasser of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society spoke on What Companies Should Know About Digital Natives. Gasser coined the term “digital natives.”

They interact with the peers across the globe, they are “always” online (by age 20, kids will have spent 20,000 hours online), extensive disclosure of personal data, a culture of sharing, they are creators not passive users, they often ‘graze’ the headlines and don’t often read the full article, they often experience work with community builders, and are responsive to intrinsic motizations, they learn through browsing and may not be able to identify qualified and expert sources (“If it’s online, it must be true!”)

URL: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2009/05/14/what-companies-should-know-about-digital-natives

13 May 2009

Two Blogs to Help You

Just a quick note on two blogs I just came across.

Designing Better Libraries: "Exploring the application of design innovation and new media to create better libraries and user experiences." With this cast of contributors it has to be great: Steven Bell [Temple University] Brian Mathews [Georgia Tech University], John Shank [Pennsylvania State University], Jill Stover [Virginia Commonwealth University] Jeff Trzeciak [Mc Master University] and Michael Giralo [Princeton University].
URL: http://dbl.lishost.org/

For My Information: I couldn't find out the author, he/she writes "This blog helps me keep a record of the tools I use to teach my patrons - lawyers, legal assistants and other legal professionals - about the sites, sources and techniques used to conduct research...'for my information.'" Lot of good links here.
URL: http://resevoir.wordpress.com/

Good Stuff from Nicole Engard

Nicole Engard [Open Source Evangelist, LibLime, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] has two wonderful resources for librarians.

One is talia679's Feeds on Bloglines. Look at her list of library-related blogs in the following categories. You are sure to find several of interest to you. Business, Cataloging & Metadata, Conferences, Digital Libraries, Education, Gadgets, Law & Law Library, LIS, LIS Associations, LIS Career, LIS Fun, LIS News, Mac, Medical LIS, Open Source, Search Engines, Second Life Library, Tech News & Tips, Web 2.0 Misc., and Web Design

The other is What I Learned Today. She describes it as “Web 2.0 and programming tips from a library technology enthusiast, … covers blogs, RSS, wikis and more as they relate to libraries.”

talia679's Feeds: http://www.bloglines.com/public/talia679
What I Learned Today: http://www.web2learning.net/

12 May 2009

There’s a New Library Journal in Town

The first two issues of Collaborative Librarianship are available online. It looks to fill an overlooked niche in the library management field. From the site: “Now more than ever, libraries exist and thrive through collaboration and partnerships. Building on an impressive history of collaborative library experience, Collaborative Librarianship will add to the professional literature a wide scope of thought and writing that is: creative, evaluative, and scholarly.”

The journal is sponsored by the Colorado Academic Library Consortium, the Colorado Library Consortium, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, Regis University, and the University of Denver. The editor is Ivan Gaetz [Dean of Libraries, Regis University, Denver, Colorado] and the editorial board includes, among others: Stephen Abram [SirsiDynix, Toronto, Ontario, Canada], Camila Alire [President Elect, American Library Association, Sedalia, Colorado], Christie Brandau [Kansas State Librarian, Topeka], and Jesús Lau [President-Elect, Mexican Library Association Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, Mexico].

If you register at the home page, you will receive the Table of Contents of each new issue by email. There is also an RSS feed.

Welcome, Collaborative Librarianship!

URL: http://www.collaborativelibrarianship.org/index.php/jocl

The Library Rebooted--Lessons for Library Leaders

Scott Corwin, Elisabeth Hartley, and Harry Hawkes of Booz & Company in New York have written very thoughtful article on the new library in the Google age. It appears in strategy+business, a publication of Booz. You have to register to read it, but it is free.

The best part are the seven imperatives for library leadership:

1. “Rethink the operating model. Many of the old assumptions about running a library—that the measure of a library’s quality is the size of its book collection, that there’s value in keeping even infrequently loaned books on the shelves, that library staffing questions shouldn’t be questioned—are outmoded and need to be set aside.”

2. “Understand and respond to user needs. Libraries have only the most general information about their users—how many of them there are, what they do when they are at the library, and what they borrow.” “Libraries should develop advanced capabilities to build aggregated profiles of users….”

3. “Embrace the concept of continuous innovation. …approach the innovation challenge with an entrepreneurial mind-set: test measure, refine.”

4. “Forge a digital identity. …some experimentation is in order.”

5. Connect with stakeholders in ways pure Internet companies cannot. …take advantage of [the libraries’] local strength and on the research library side share their service-oriented expertise in new ways and through new channels.”

6. “Expand the metrics. As they refine their mission, libraries will also have to change how they measure success. …online-specific metrics will have to be added.”

7. “Be courageous. The library’s underlying promise hasn’t changed…but the environment in which libraries operate has certainly shifted, and the challenge for those running them is to figure out the evolutionary path they should follow. There is no one answer…nothing at all is written in stone.”

URL: http://www.strategy-business.com/media/file/sb54_09108.pdf

08 May 2009

"I Love My Library" says band Lunch Money

Tony Tallent [Boulder (Colorado) Public Library], posted the lyrics to I Love My Library by the South Carolina band, Lunch Money. Here they are:

I Love My Library
I’m going to the library…to see my librarian…who’ll send me home with 60 things…as if I could carry them (I’ll bring my red wagon)…Passing out the picture books like my granny hands out food…”Leggi, leggi, take all of these…And you might like this one too”…and my brain’s getting fat on stories and facts…and it feels like love…All the librarians…they say come follow me…They’re looking straight at me….They take me seriously….and all the things that I’d never have picked….become my new favorites…I show them to my friends at school…and they get addicted too (to Nancy Drew)…I feel so understood when a story’s this good…Oh, it feels like love…All the things that I could ever wonder about are waiting here for me…All the places I could ever wander to…I have a ticket for free…and guess who tossed me the keys?…Books about boys and girls and magic worlds…Heroic dogs, a toad, a frog…Sleuthing teens and big machines…Hippo friends and astronauts…Freight trains and snowy days…Wind-up mice and caps for sale…Lightning and wild things…I love my library.


Lunch Money: http://www.lunchmoneymusic.com/
Tallent’s post: http://yestoknow.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/lunch-money-loves-libraries/

07 May 2009

Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies Report Available Free

An ACRL report, Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University, by Char Booth, is available as a free download. If you're in an academic setting, this could be very enlightening. You can also purchase it in softcover for US$46 at http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=2704

Download at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/digital/

Considerations for a New or Re-designed Library Space

Jody H. Kelley of McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP, Los Angeles, California asked the members of the Private Law Libraries Section of the American Association of Law Libraries for suggestions for her new library space. The following are in no order (except for #1).

1. LIGHTING! The #1 suggestion was about lighting. Besides the universal wish for windows, I was also counseled to make sure I see the lighting plan before the space is built. You would think designers know that lighting is important in a library, but that appears to be an erroneous assumption.
2. Adequate staff/workroom space.
3. Comfortable chairs. One librarian suggested that I have a Partner sit in a chair for 15 minutes before buying them!
4. Waist-high countertops or pull-out shelves so library users can easily look through an index or do some quick research. I must say, this is high on my list.
5. Public access computer, training computer, sufficient outlets and data ports for laptops.
6. Ventilation! Control over heat and air.
6. Central library, in an open environment. Not shelves scattered around the firm.

06 May 2009

ALL CAPS or Upper and Lower?

the post just before this one, I put the title in upper and lower case instead of ALL CAPS like I've been doing. This is because Walt Crawford asked me to "stop shouting" with ALL CAPS.

Now, I'd like you to let me know if you like this change or want me to go back to ALL CAPS. Vote by sending me a comment on the blog.

Continuing Education Opportunity

My friend Larry Cooperman is teaching a month-long course, Managing the One-Person Library, at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts in July. It is only US$250 ($200 for Simmons library school alumni), which is a great price for this much continuing education. I am very happy that Larry is taking up the OPL workshop mantle from me, now that I’ve retired.

Larry is the library director at the Orlando, Florida campus of Everglades University, a four-year college providing baccalaureate degrees in construction management, aviation management, alternative medicine, and business administration. He is a 2002 graduate of Simmons and was library director at ITT Technical Institute (Jacksonville, FL) and media specialist at Seminole High School, Sanford, FL. He has presented a half-day workshop, IT Resources on the Internet for Librarians, at various locations; he also writes book reviews for School Library Journal, Reference & User Services Quarterly, and College & Research Libraries News.

Here is the course description from the Simmons Continuing Education website.

“Solo librarians will learn how to effectively and efficiently manage a one-person library of numerous types (e.g., academic, public, school) by learning operational, organizational, and marketing skills to ensure that their library grows, thrives and becomes an integral part of their school and their community. Solo library managers will also learn networking and professional development skills to enhance their experience and maintain their connections to the library community. Format will be weekly modules of reading assignments and written projects, with instructor assessment and student-instructor feedback and class participation. Students will be expected to actively participate in online discussions as an important complement to their written class work.

"Not all librarians work in groups; many work as a manager or director of one library, whether it be a small public library, rural library, or academic library. The work is challenging, yet very rewarding. These libraries may serve different patrons and have different operational and organizational methods, but there are many methods and operations that are similar to these libraries. This four week course will cover how to successfully manage a one-person library to serve patrons effectively and efficiently. Through discussion and exercises, attendees will learn and understand how to improve their library management."


05 May 2009


Kathryn Greenhill [Emerging Technologies Specialist, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia] has written wonderful piece on 21 reasons why learning about emerging technologies is part of every librarian’s job. She writes, “This list is designed to provide context and motivation for library workers to find time in their day for their own learning – either as part of a formal workplace learning programme or as self-directed professional development.”

1. Performing core business better: Our core business is linking information and people. There are new and better ways to do this and we need to know how.

2. Increased productivity: [Our work] can be made easier using emerging technologies, but you need to know how to use them.

3. Gaining international perspective: Your network of professional contacts does not have to be restricted to your own country. New tools make “communities of interest” easier to form.

4. Finding out what other libraries are doing: Printed journals and conferences are no longer the best way to find out about the successes and failures in other libraries. With blogs, wikis, podcasts--all harnessed into your aggregator via a subject search, you can keep up and have an avenue to discuss these things with professional colleagues.

5. Understanding all formats of information: Users will ask us about these information sources. Are we serving them well if we say “sorry I only know about information in some formats?”

6. Trend watching: Tools are constantly evolving and changing. What starts as a seemingly pointless diversion can become a potent information source when it reaches critical mass or people discover a new use for it. (eg. twitter). We need to be there watching this and understanding it.

7. Repurposing our traditional skills: Tagging, metadata, data-mining, indexing - new technologies need our skills.

8. Understanding technical background when dealing with vendors: If we don’t know what can be done, for free, using new tools, then library software vendors can continue to sell us “solutions” that are inflexible and costly.

9. Being prepared for when a tool moves out of early adoption phase: What a few early adopters are using now, others will use in 18 months time. If we learn about them in their early phase, we will have a good understanding how to use them when our users expect our services to incorporate these.

10. Understanding the redefinition of our core business: The definitions of some core concerns of librarianship are being re-negotiated - copyright, plagiarism, scholarship, authority, privacy and recreation. We need to be in among the conversations on sites where this is happening.

11. Managing our tech-savvy workers: We need young, tech-savvy, passionate, clever library staff to deal with the changes, and we need to know enough to manage these people and get the best out of their new skills.

12. No-one else knows your users as well as you do: Many new web tools are very simple to use and learn. A thorough knowledge or your clients – their needs, preferences and ability tends is not easily learned. Nobody but you will be able to assess how these new tools can serve your clients – but you need to know what the tools can do and how they work to do this.

13. Fun: If staff are given permission to have fun and be creative as they learn in a supportive environment, it can lift workplace morale.

14. Providing better service to our clients: If we know how, we can offer better service to our users, where they are and using their preferred tools. (e.g., SMS output of item location records to their mobile device via Bluetooth)

15. So we can tell the IT department what we want: If we feel overwhelmed by web-based technologies that are now only available in beta, imagine how it feels if your job has been to set up software, protect a network and standardise operating environments.

16. Our professional users are required to keep up: In academic and special libraries, our users are required by our organization to keep up to date with technology in their fields. To support them, we need to know what that is.

17. Many user interfaces have become “pseudo-standards:” The tools we will use from now on aren’t old standards like AACR2 and LCSH. The best tool for the job shifts and changes daily with our users’ needs. We need to learn general flexibility and skills to adapt to this.

18. Can’t predict the future–-so experimentation is insurance: Without crystal balls, we don’t know for sure what will be widely used. We need to try and assess many services to find what works for our users.

19. Crowds are fickle: Good quality tools with easy user interfaces may not be favoured over early established tools with a critical mass of users…and the crowd may switch. This happened when a mass of people migrated from bloglines to Google reader as their preferred aggregator. Today’s unused startup may be the Next Big Thing.

20. Collaborate better: Libraries have a culture of sharing resources and ideas with each other. Emerging technologies enhance this.

21. Experimenting increases skills: When Windows was first released, it came packaged with a game of Solitaire. People needed to learn how to use the mouse interface and to put in several hours of repetitive movements to get good at it. Solitaire turned out to be the fastest, most efficient way to educate the workforce. Some seemingly pointless sites teach us new interfaces.

Download the paper from http://librariansmatter.com/blog/2009/05/05/why-learning-about-emerging-technologies-is-part-of-every-librarians-job-educause-australasia-2009-presentation/