Libraries Matter. A National Voice Matters. CFLA-FCAB Matters.


Look out. I’m passionate about this. And I’m concerned at the quiet surrounding CFLA-FCAB: Canadian Federation of Library Associations. Quiet means no one is paying attention. Quiet means no one is talking. Quiet means no one is debating, prompting, urging, moving forward. Quiet means those who are louder about certain issues will be heard. Bring your voice.

Alix-Rae Stefanko, new Chair of CFLA-FCAB, is phenomenal, and she’s leading the charge for the National Forum, May 2nd in Regina. Come – join us – inform our national thinking, positioning and policies on intellectual freedom and artificial intelligence.

Join us in Regina, Saskatchewan, for our first National Forum to be held May 1 – 2, 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre, 1975 Broad Street, Regina; the opening reception is the evening of May 1 and the National Forum is May 2. The National Forum program is designed to blend informative sessions with challenging roundtable conversations. It will carefully consider and debate Intellectual Freedom and Artificial Intelligence, and how Canadian libraries sustain their critical value of freedom of information in the evolving societal shifts. The day’s outcome will be a National Forum Paper informing CFLA-FCAB’s positioning.

Contribute with colleagues from across Canada in focussed dialogues that will consider some of the most critical challenges facing libraries. Contribute towards crafting outcomes that will advance the state of libraries and the Federation.

Here’s the program – with an important addition:

Bruce Walsh will be the keynote! Canadian publishing is @ the

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Ethical AI: What Will That Look Like for Libraries?


At a January 2018 Girl Geeks Toronto event on Ethical AI, we listened to 3 articulate, brilliant women discuss the engineering feats and ethical vulnerabilities of current and near-future artificial intelligence. The recording is very high-quality, and I encourage you to grab a hot beverage and watch it – and listen. Listen very carefully. Inmar Givoni (Autonomy Engineering Manager at Uber Advanced Technologies Group), Karen Bennet (VP Engineering at Cerebri AI) and Anna Goldenberg (Member of the Vector Institute, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Department of Computer Science, and Scientist at the Genetics and Genome Biology Lab at SickKids Research Institute), each focus on different areas of engineering and may not share common experiences or opinions. But one thing they do agree on is that it is a problem that ethical and societal policies regarding AI are not keeping pace with the technologies. Not keeping pace! These policies aren’t even in place in Canada. There’s no point in pointing fingers or wringing hands; we need to grasp hands and join in leading the way.

It’s no secret that I am intrigued and concerned about the impact of artificial intelligence on public and academic libraries. It’s one of the reasons I’m involved in planning CFLA-FCAB’s first National Forum in Regina on May 2, 2018. Whether you agree that AI will bring significant shifts to the library landscape, you no doubt think about the shifts AI is and will bring to your communities, your life and our campuses and

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Artificial Intelligence: AI - All In @ #CFLAFCAB2018


Save the date! May 2, 2018 – CFLA-FCAB’s First National Forum @ Saskatchewan’s Libraries Conference! Be a part of history – be a part of informing Canada’s library policies on Intellectual Freedom & Artificial Intelligence. #cflafcab2018

Why #ArtificialIntelligence? #AI stands to impact all parts of our lives, our work, our communities and our education. And since libraries – whether they are in the public, academic, government, school or corporate sectors – are an integral part of people’s lives, work, community and learning – AI is a significant issue with which we in the information and library sector must be involved. We can’t just be impacted by AI. We must use AI.

AI is all about data. Libraries have data. Lots of data. Are we using it? Mining it? Gaining deep insights from it? Using it to build AI tools? C’mon – admit it. We may be using our data in traditional ways, such as for operational decisions or reporting, but we are not mining our data to identify patterns and use for decision-making.

MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s magazine lists the Top 10 Breakthroughs expected for 2018. While all 10 have a ripple effect for libraries, 3 have

significant implications for information-intensive services and work:

Sensing City (see below) AI for Everybody Perfect Online Privacy

Let’s take, for instance, Sensing City. Given that I’m sitting just north of Toronto, and given that Toronto is the city used in the example, this seems reasonable. Quoting from the zine:

“Numerous smart-city

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Logic model: logically……


I’m about to talk about the logic model @ #SLA2017 in Phoenix. Below are the slides, although there are many excellent books, articles, blog posts, webinars and courses that provide superb advice and tools. This is just my perspective having worked with the model since 2000.

Logically (yes, pun intended), those of us designing, developing and delivering information services want those services to positively impact the customers using them (be they students, users, lawyers, you name it). And, for us to have the funding or revenue and resources to deliver those services we must demonstrate the relevance of those customer outcomes for the funders and decision-makers.

And therein lies the issue. The design and development of any information service/program must begin with an understanding of the decision-makers’ goals……and then the customers needs.

Using the Logic Model for Impact & Success; #SLA2017 from Rebecca Jones

Project Management Sanity Savers


I’m talking very candidly about Critical Skills for Project Management today at #SLA2017 in Phoenix. My focus is on what I’ve learned, over 30 years, to be sanity savers for project managers. There are many books, courses, blog posts and presentations on effective project management; these are excellent, and I highly recommend that anyone entering the world of projects seek them out and learn Let’s face it, to keep their sanity project managers need a few tools, specifically a project charter (sometimes called a charge or outline), a RASCI or RACI matrix, and some way to track the project plan, timeline and costs.

Below are the slides, a template you are welcome to consider and edit for a Project Charter, and the ever wonderful RASCI (you can shorten it to a RACI if you want — but do use it.)

Project management: critical skills from Rebecca Jones

Project Management Template This links to the document (honest)

RASCI Responsibility Matrix And this links to the RASCI template; below is a jpeg so that you can see if you are interested.

Leadership Summit: New operating models #4


Library Leaders Summit launches Tuesday morning @ Computers in Libraries 2017. This final post poses some of the ‘prickly topics’ leaders must surface – must handle no matter how prickly or awful those topics are to pick up and manage. What’s a prickly topic? It’s a topic that we must address, vulnerably and honestly — like our operating models. Ewwww……. I can imagine people thinking, “our operating model? the way in which we operate? in which libraries organize and run their locations? services? processes? but we are already lean! we operate on a shoe-string!”

All the more reason for libraries to look through the lens of other organizations to examine the readiness of library operating models to be future-proofed or, really, future-successful. Here’s the last article to consider as you prepare for the Summit reflections, debates and discussion: from McKinsey & Company: How to start building your next-generation operating model. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Since we all agree that the future will be different – how can we not change our operating models to fit future conditions?

McKinsey advises that the successful transformations of operating models rely on these building blocks:

Building Block #1: Autonomous and cross-functional teams anchored in customer journeys, products, and services Building Block #2: Flexible and modular architecture, infrastructure, and software delivery Building Block #3: A management system that cascades clear strategies and goals through the organization, with tight feedback loops Building Block #4: Agile, customer-centric culture demonstrated at all levels and role modeled from

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Ruthless Prioritization


That’s the name of the best blog post I’ve read (and, most importantly intend to use): Ruthless Prioritization. For years I set priorities with various projects, and advised clients to ‘rigourously’ set priorities. Manage priorities. And I will now readily admit that managing priorities in a busy, small consulting firm was relatively straightforward; priorities were set by the size and significance of the client. But now, in library operations, I struggle with priorities day in and day out. Struggle? Ha! I don’t just struggle — I flounder – I fail. Miserably.

So as soon as I saw a post on “ruthless prioritization” I clicked on it! Admittedly, I expected to read a mamby-pamby post on the “importance of focusing on what’s important”, but hallelujah! This post gives a workable framework. Yes, the framework is designed and used by tech firms. But isn’t that perfect for libraries to adopt? Think about it — our products and services need to have the same urgency and life-span as those of tech firms, don’t they? Aren’t we competing with tech firms in many ways — to seize and retain people’s attention? Consider this statement:

Show me a team that has no bugs at launch, and I’ll show you one that should have shipped a long time ago.

Doesn’t that apply to library services and products? Don’t we keep refining, refining, refining to ensure there are no issues, no implications, no problems? Yet the only way to identify issues, implications and problems is to

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Leadership Summit: Readying for the climb #3


This is post #3 in a short series to ready us for the #Summitclimb. Are you working up a sweat yet?

I am…..

The rock we must cut through.

Continuing with the terrain analogy, let’s consider a particularly tough question. And that is about the rock or rocks.

Water is essential for life. The rivers that have helped build countries and have provided the life-nourishing water have had to cut through rocks to flow broader, wider, faster. I see a significant analogy here. We talk of libraries (public, academic, government, corporate, not-for-profit) as essential for democratic life and as life-changing. And yet the growth, flow and abilities of libraries in all types of environment seems perpetually slowed and, in some cases, blocked. There are, indeed, rocks preventing libraries from flowing freely.

Jim Watkin’s quote, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” is appropriate for libraries. Libraries are incredibly persistent. Funds and attention are cut for the library – and yet it forges on and re-surges. Have libraries cut through rocks in the past?

As libraries forge into the future – into the digital environment considered in post #1,

What is the rock that libraries and information service functions must cut through and be persistent?

Leadership Summit: Readying for the Climb #2


This is post #2 in a short series to ready us (channel training….) for the #Summitclimb.

Future-proofing considerations.

Post #1 gave an article that poses some difficult questions leaders must address as they #futureproof their libraries in the digital environment. What Jane wants from this Library Leaders Summit, and I fully agree with, is that the Summit focus more on coaching than on presentations: coaches tell it like it is – and set the bar realistically and high. Sometimes people don’t like what the coach has to say. But a good coach is readying individuals for future moments – future endeavours.

Three respected leaders in the library sector will help kick-start the dialogue regarding future-proofing our organizations: Mary Ann Mavrinac, Gina Millsap, and Mary Lee Kennedy. In the January/February Computers in Libraries we asked them to comment on strategies entrepreneurs use to future-proof their organizations. Read their insights.

Then take these questions to your leadership team, or reflect on them yourself.

Entrepreneur November 2015 proposed 5 ways to future-proof an organization:

“Think partnerships, not transactions”; use partnerships to scale initiatives more quickly. “Change how you’re structured”; go flatter with smaller teams. “Think bigger”; impact more people with solutions to bigger problems. “Offer experience, not product”; distinguish your organization by delighting people. “Help Millennials develop”; formally mentor the next generation. In post #3: what’s the rock libraries deal with – or must deal with?

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Leadership Summit: Worth the Climb


I’ve been away from this blog for 18 months while I’ve focused on my role in the Branch services and operations of a busy, growing, incredible (if i may say so) #publiclibrary (@BramptonLibrary). The opinions I have expressed and will express in this blog are purely mine. I am honoured to work with some of the finest, intelligent individuals – and they may or may not agree with some of my perspectives (which is what makes them so fine and intelligent!).

It is time for me to start writing again as I increasingly consider the issues we in the library sector need to think deeply about – need to think critically about (with critical thinking not criticizing), engage in probing, provocative and perhaps disturbing dialogue, make decisions and take actions. As she has so many times in the past, @jdysart has arranged a venue at which some of this thinking and dialogue can occur. Library Leaders Summit: Future-Proofing Strategies & Tactics, held in conjunction with Computers in Libraries @CrystalCity in Arlington, VA, provides 2 days in which speakers, provocateurs and participants will consider developments, experiences and questions that influence their library’s decisions and actions. Near-term and long-term decisions.

Getting to a ‘#summit’ is not easy.

Yep, it’s easy to actually come to this Leaders Summit. But the point I’m trying to make is for this venue to truly be a ‘summit’ people need to prepare in the same way they would to climb to any summit. Think about it. We

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