Guest Post from Graham Lavender, Associate Librarian, The Michener Institute of Education at University Health Network [well over due for posting, sorry Graham!]
On March 17 & 18, I had the pleasure of attending eBooks Symposium! The Current State of the Art in Libraries at the University of Toronto iSchool. The room was filled with mainly public librarians from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), though some came from as far as Ottawa. There were a number of vendors in attendance (not just including those who gave presentations). The many insights into the world of ebooks wouldn’t all fit into a blog post, but I share some of the highlights.
Stephen Abram, conference co-chair and Executive Director, Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, kicked things off with a fascinating look at the data behind ebook usage in Ontario. For example, 41% of people surveyed indicated they had “checked the library’s online catalogue, downloaded an item, or accessed other materials via the library’s website,” and the top two “specific types of electronic resources used on the library’s website” were fiction ebooks and non-fiction ebooks. Considering that 86% of Ontarians have read at least one book in the past year, it’s no surprise that the demand for ebooks continues to grow, especially in Metro Toronto and other urban parts of the GTA, where ebook usage is most prevalent. Take a look through Stephen’s slides for more data: http://www.slideshare.net/stephenabram1/e-books-symposium-intro
Next up was Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library, to talk about the Fair
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This email hit my desk today and it really resonated with me as I work with and talk with so many who have difficulty proving their value and impact. It also addresses the financial industry where my roots are! The highlights below are mine but the text is not.
Monetizing Information Flows
StreetContxt is a hot, Canadian-based start-up that just raised $8 million from A-list investors, including a number of big banks and brokerage houses. Its mission is simple: to maximize the value of the mountain of investment research that gets generated each year. But what really makes StreetContxt stand out to me is that it offers a very compelling business proposition to both those who create the research and those who use it.
For the sell-side (those who create the content), it’s currently difficult to measure the impact much less the ROI on the huge volume of research they create annually. They send it out to presumably interested and qualified recipients, with no way of knowing if it is acted on, or even viewed.
For the buy-side (those who receive and use the content), it’s impossible to keep up with the blizzard of information being pushed out to them. Even more significantly, some of this research is very good, but a lot of it isn’t. How do you identify the good stuff?
StreetContxt offers the sell-side a powerful intelligence platform. By distributing research through StreetContxt, research producers can learn exactly who viewed their research and whether it was forwarded
Continue reading Learning from Others! Monetizing Information Flows!
Did you know that O’Reilly has published the 4th edition of this seminal work, Information Architecture: for the Web and Beyond, by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld first published in 1998? Terrific! And I just got my copy. The first section introduces IA with definitions and issues then discusses design for finding and for understanding. Part 2 covers the basic principles of IA including organization systems, labeling systems, navigating systems, search systems as well as thesauri, controlled vocabularies & metadata. Peter is a wonderful teacher and speaker about these topics for librarians, info pros, taxonomists, and knowledge managers. He will be participating in Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit at the DC Hilton, March 8-9.
The first day of our University of Toronto symposium, The Future of Libraries, was filled with talks and discussions about challenges for libraries; what boards, provosts and city managers are saying about libraries; what surveys and research are telling us; what our competitors are doing (and how we might partner with them or learn from them); how we can streamline our operations and gain efficiency; how libraries are dealing with change; and more. Here are the top challenges this group articulated:
* Promotion of library services
* Staff competencies, resistance, culture
* Competitors – alignment vs duplication
* Rationalizing services, sacrifice, stop doing
* Making our case in municipalities
* Balancing Act — electronic vs print, staff in or out of the library, service points/back room
* Future of the profession
I found it every interesting that the top challenges weren’t funding or money. We recognize that we have choices, even if they are difficult, but we can choose where we put our resources.
Brandan Howley gave a thought provoking talk and I’m still thinking about his statement, “Future proofing libraries means managing disruption while proving relevancy.” He discussed how libraries are cultural triggers that activate networks — very powerful! He recommended the book, A Pattern Language, about UX (user experience).
“More libraries & their staff “get it”, understand that serious change is necessary, and ask for our help as partners not just vendors” Edmund Salt, President, Whitehots Inc.
Ken Haycock framed the event by starting us off thinking about
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Guest post from Brian Pichman, Director, Strategic Innovation, Evolve Project
There is still time to register at Internet Librarian 2015 in lovely Monterey, California; October 25th – 28th. If you haven’t registered yet, be sure you do to check out some of these Internet Librarian exclusive events:
This year join Nate Hill, Tod Colegrove, and Brian Pichman as they launch an entire interactive workshop on Makerspaces, Idea Labs, and Hackerspaces. Joining them are individuals from littleBits, Hopscotch, LightUp, Twenty One Toys, Brown Dog Gadgets, and more. Get a chance to not only talk about makerspaces, build strategies for success, but also get a chance to play with some leading edge technology that is featured in makerspaces around the world. Learn about code writing, engineering, learning by failure all in this full day jam packed workshop. This workshop offers an opportunity to collaborate with other start-ups and help build your library into an incubation space for start-up culture.
Looking for something to do Sunday night? Join in on the first ever Games and Gadget night hosted in part with Monday Morning’s Opening Keynote Panelists. Get an opportunity to talk to Ilana Ben-Ari, founder of the innovative way to learn empathy and failure from her company called Twenty One Toys. Have a chance to meet Erin Mulcahy who manages the strategic initiatives of littleBits education. Talk to her about prototyping and creating using circuits to help foster innovation in your library space. Explore programming with Liza Conrad, head of community and partnerships
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My “must” reading for the past 15 years has been Harvard Business Review. About 6 years ago I added Rotman from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to the “must” list. To be honest, there’s nothing else on that list. Just these two journals. The articles are often based on solid research, usually incredibly interesting, and frequently force me to think differently. These journals target business and management leaders. Many of the influential stakeholders for libraries in the public, academic, government and profit sectors are business and management leaders. We need to know how they think. And we certainly need to think differently.
Joe Rotman, a highly successful, respected businessman and philanthropist died recently. Roger Martin, renowned management author and thinker, and the 1st dean of the Rotman School, wrote in the Spring 2015 Rotman issue of how Joe Rotman “rewired” Martin’s brain. Given that the library sector is essentially shifting below our feet, it behooves us to consider the 4 fronts on which Rotman changed Martin’s thinking and use these to change our own thinking:
Nothing is Not-doable
There’s 2 parts to this truism: first, that if you want to “do” it, then do it. In 1998 when Martin became dean of Rotman, that management school wasn’t even in the rankings or the radar with its competitors. Joe and Roger envisioned it in the top 5 – which most people thought was crazy – ‘not-doable’ for sure. Yet Joe taught Martin that anything is doable so long as
Continue reading Libraries: Rewiring our Thinking
Such stimulating conversations today around customer service at the University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Customer Service for Libraries: Upping our Game! Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham, started off setting the framework for the event. He talked a lot about our competition in libraries from other video, book, and community services, and also how positive customer service makes a big impact.
Vilayat Ahmed, Store Manager at Starbucks Coffee Canada’s flagship store in the financial district in Toronto talked about the company’s mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. He said they are in the people business and serve coffee, they provide a service and experience. He talked about the 44 year history of the organization and how they create an environment to encourage conversation. Yes, enjoy the coffee but have a sense of community and conversation too! Vilayat talked about customer service as an attitude where workers need to anticipate (drop what they are doing & put the customer first), make it easy for the customer (they are guests!), connect with customers (eye contact, pleasant conversation), personalize the service (name on the cup in Starbucks) and own your experience, take ownership i f you make a mistake and acknowledge with immediate action (oh, I made that wrong, let me get you another one & take this one too). Basically, Starbucks wants to keep loyal customers, keep them coming back. They want to be a third
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Steve Denning gave a great opening keynote today at Computers in Libraries 2015 in DC on Continuous Innovation & Transformation. As he says, with the Internet came a shift from seller to buyer and with that shift came new ways of thinking and doing — a new dynamic. A new dynamic requiring a change in mindset enabled by computers — one where management is all about enablement not control, about continuous improvement. It is also a new dynamic for all in the organization, where everyone in the organization has a clear sight of the customer. Where it’s all about delighting the customer — an outcome not an output. Iterative customer-focused improvements — continuous innovation and transformation.
It’s not easy to make this shift though so there has to be lots of horizontal conversation and storytelling to get to the new mindset. It is very easy to revert back to traditional styles of management which are hierarchical bureaucracies. Bureaucracies are like morphing viruses that keep finding ways to come back!
So what is the future of libraries? It isn’t about computerizing existing services or applying 21st century technology to save money, and it certainly is not about building apps! It is about meeting customer needs, delighting them and enhancing value. Also about asking the right questions: How can we delight our users & customers? How can we manage our libraries and organizations for continuous innovation? What will makes things better, faster, cheaper, more convenient for our users and
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