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:

  1. “Think partnerships, not transactions”; use partnerships to scale initiatives more quickly.
  2. “Change how you’re structured”; go flatter with smaller teams.
  3. “Think bigger”; impact more people with solutions to bigger problems.
  4. “Offer experience, not product”; distinguish your organization by delighting people.
  5. “Help Millennials develop”; formally mentor the next generation.

 In post #3: what’s the rock libraries deal with – or must deal with?

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 climb hills or mountains to reach a summit. Some of us do it for the sheer exhilaration of the exercise and traversing tough terrain. Others of us do it to see different horizons and perspectives that can’t be seen from the usual roads or elevations. Whatever our driving force, if we haven’t prepared and don’t have the water, food and equipment to keep us going, we’ll never realize our desired result.

Information Today is the best at providing the equipment (wonderful rooms, tables, wifi, chairs, etc.), water and food to keep us climbing during the Summit. As facilitator I’ll do my best to keep our climb on track and motivating. Together the speakers and participants will create the engagement and encouragement to keep going – especially when the dialogues and topics get tough. And they will get tough. They must get tough. Otherwise we won’t reach the Summit – we won’t have the different views, insights and willingness to make decisions and take actions catalyzed by the climb.

Readying for the Summit.

Here’s an exercise to ready for the Summit or for future-proofing discussions at your library. Consider that the environment or terrain in which libraries exist is not a library environment; rather it is a much broader terrain. And it is an environment in which technology has significant implications and that is increasingly, a digital environment.  With this in mind, read McKinsey Quarterly’s,  “The Seven Decisions that Matter in a Digital Transformation”.  We’ll be considering 3 of the most challenging questions:

  1. Where should the library position itself in the digital ecosystem – or environment?  Think about this question in terms of the library’s position vis a vis other organizations?
  2. How do you decide on governance and escalation rules as your organization is implementing its strategies to allow for inevitable course corrections? In other words, just as form follows function — how is your library’s governance and ways of managing issues helping or hindering the library’s ability to move forward?
  3. How do you, or the leadership team, allocate resources rapidly and dynamically to implement various elements of the strategy – and tactics?
If you can’t attend the Summit, do join us as we prepare – and offer your insights regarding these questions & others that we’ll pose over the next week.

In post #2: future-proofing considerations

Computers in Libraries 2017: Sneak Peek!

cil-logoAs program director for Computers in Libraries 2017, March 28-30 in DC, I have delivered the program to Information Todaythe producer of the conference.  The program with sessions and workshops should be online in a few weeks and you should receive your snail mail copy after that!  In the meantime, our theme is Upping Our Game: Taking Libraries to New Heights with Technology and here’s a few early highlights to peak your interest:

  • new full day Searchers Academy workshop on Mon Mar 27 with many other half day workshops on change management, grant seeking, outcome measures, putting a press room on your website, hands-on video lessons, makerspaces, library tech update, engaging teens, Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure and apps, innovation, fundraising, monitoring tools & dashboards, tech trends, UX, security, and more!
  • popular Games & Gadgets networking & fun evening on Mon Mar 27
  • Opening keynote speaker Gina Milsap, CEO, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Library Journal Library of the Year in 2016 on Tues Mar 28
  • New full day streams/tracks of sessions on funding strategies & practices as well as upping our marketing game
  • a talk about winning with Pokemon Go in a special library
  • co-located Library Leaders Summit on the topic of Future Proofing Libraries with terrific speakers & lots of time for discussion with your colleagues
  • put the dates in your new 2017  calendar & stay tuned for lots more exciting topics and speakers!

Social Media Metrics & Analytics

Frank Cervone on Metrics

Frank Cervone on Metrics

The University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Social Media & Public Libraries, included many interesting discussions and I hope to share many of them here shortly!  In the meantime, I’m hoping you will be able to share more stories about the tools and practices you have with social media metrics and analytics.  Frank Cervone, IT Director, School of Pubic Health, University of Illnois gave a presentation on the topic and you can see his slides here. All our practitioners (from Toronto, Hamilton, East Gwillimbury, Topeka & Shawnee Couny public libraries) shared the tools they used, the most common being those from the social media platforms themselves. TPL uses 11 different platforms including Reddit, SoundCloud, YouTube & Periscope, Tumblr & Instagram. Two other popular tools are Google Analytics, and Hootesuite Dashboard & analytics.  David Lee King mentioned he also uses Tweetbot, Google Alerts, Talkwalker.  What do you use?


Authors, Libraries & Kudos for Baldacci

BaldacciBoth Rebecca and I have written about author David Baldacci.  In 2010, Rebecca wrote a post about supporting libraries, Rock Aid for Libraries:

“So many of our leaders, authors, speakers have known community libraries as a safe haven and education hub that you would think they would step up to the plate to find creative solutions to funding community libraries, the cornerstone of an informed democracy. Author, David Baldacci (I’ve written about him before) is very impressive with his Wish You Well Foundation which has funded many family literacy programs. But we need many, many more foundations and other funding sources for libraries.”

I mentioned him in a 2008 post on project management, “Thanks, David, for a great summer thriller and illustration of how the net can further PM in a nanosecond. Discerning what is true (facts) and finding quality information will always be a challenge and information professionals will always have a role in the process and in teaching others to beware.”

I just read Baldacci’s new novel, The Last Mile, and was pleased to see him include, “…they built a public library.  You know people who read are a lot more tolerant and open-minded than those who don’t.” “Great, so let’s get everybody in the world a library card”!!!  For sure, I agree!!  And of course the librarian added, “Make a reader early, you make one for life.”

Every little bit helps and it was great to I was pleased the see that Knight News Challenge is funding a project to help libraries find funding, increasing understanding of funding sources and tracking funding trends through a data visualization tool!  AND I’m hoping you will hear more about this at Computers in Libraries 2017, March 28-30 in DC!

Internet Literacies & Crap Detection

Just saw this 2010 vid again from Internet Librarian keynote speaker alumni, Howard Rheingold.  I knew him before the early days of the Internet, when he was focused on communities, and always love to listen to his ideas and thoughts.  I love this piece on critical thinking around the Net/or as he calls it, crap detection.

He believed in 2010, and I think still relevant today, that we need to go beyond skills to literacies:

  • attention
  • participation
  • collaboration
  • critical consumption (crap detection)
  • network analysis

Skills, literacies and search engines help to search credibilities, but I think we as librarians, need to push our knowledge of credibility, crap detection, and trust by the public.  I look forward to lots of discussions around this topic at Internet Librarian 2016, Oct 17-19 in Monterey CA especially at our Tues evening program celebrating Internet Librarian’s 20th anniversary and “Looking Forward Retrospectively”.  And watch the conference website for a link to post your favorite Internet Librarian memory, picture, link, etc.

User Experience UX -- Indi Young

Indi Young, IL Keynote

Indi Young, IL Keynote

We are very excited to have Indi Young as a keynote speaker for Internet Librarian 2016 on Monday Oct 17th in Monterey CA.  When I saw Nate Hill at a recent conference, he commented on how lucky we were to have her!  Indi is also leading a workshop on stellar UX at the conference on Sunday Oct 16th!

Indi got her start as a software engineer with a computer science degree.  She was a founder of Adaptive Path in 2001, a pioneer in user experience design.  She has written two booksMental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior and Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work.  She blogs.  Here’s more info about Indi.

Indi does “research for organizations about the people they hope to support. [She] helps them think beyond “users” and beyond “user research,” gaining clarity instead about which problems to solve, which segments of people to support, where the gaps are, and how to branch services and products. [She] helps clients curate and add to this roadmap through the decades.”

Make sure you sign up for her workshop and hear her keynote speech at Internet Librarian 2016!

eBooks: Current State in Libraries

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:

Next up was Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library, to talk about the Fair Ebook Prices campaign, supported by a coalition of public libraries from across Ontario and beyond. The campaign was created to raise awareness of the gap between what publishers charge individuals for ebooks and what they charge libraries, either through higher list prices or through policies that require libraries to purchase popular ebooks more than once based on the number of times they’re used. The campaign was reported on by a variety of media outlets, and the hashtag #FairEbookPrices was shared thousands of times on social media. Ultimately, Penguin Random House switched to a more favourable pricing model after learning about the campaign.

Beth Jefferson, Founder & CEO, Bibliocommons, and Patrick Kennedy, President, Bibliocommons, each gave a talk about the challenges libraries face in growing ebook usage. For example, library catalogues based on Amazon-style lists of “what’s popular” tend to be filled with materials that aren’t currently available, so why not advertise “what’s available now” instead? Discovery issues can also be related to poor MARC records – how can we generate better MARC records to help people find what they’re looking for? And how do we break free from the silos created by vendors offering ebooks on competing platforms?

Christina de Castell, Manager, Policy & Advocacy, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), [now Director, Collections & Technology, Vancouver Public Library] joined us via Skype to talk about how far ebooks in libraries have come since IFLA released its Principles for Library eLending in 2013. We’ve come a long way, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Thankfully, groups like IFLA are working hard on these issues; see Christina’s slides for more:

The Practitioners Panel was an opportunity to hear the perspectives of people in the field in a variety of types of libraries. One of the pain points mentioned was the varying (and changing) restrictions placed on the use of ebooks; as an example, in the Psychiatry Online collection, users can no longer download the ebooks and must read them in the browser instead. All the panelists were in favour of a “blended model” of ebook licensing, where libraries would have the option of buying a certain number of copies of an ebook and temporarily licensing further copies. This would allow libraries to provide more access to books while they’re popular, without ending up with many expensive purchased copies of books that are no longer being used.

The second panel, known as Publishers Perspectives, considered the challenges faced by the publishers of ebooks. For example, how can small university presses stay in business when their home institutions are often cutting their budgets or cutting them loose altogether? And if a particular ebook is only relevant to a handful of researchers across the country, but it’s important from a cultural or scientific point of view, how can the publisher recover the cost of producing it?

Michael Zeoli, Vice President, Strategic eContent Development & Partner Relations, YBP, provided the perspective of an aggregator. In discussing Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA), he explained how libraries are benefiting from giving users access to a wide variety of titles and only paying for the ones that get used; the flip side, of course, is that publishers are unhappy when they provide a large number of records and only get paid for a few titles. This situation is causing publishers to increase the restrictions they place on their ebooks.

Accessibility is a major issue for ebooks in libraries: while ebooks offer great potential for users with print disabilities, this potential can be limited by Digital Rights Management (DRM) and other restrictions. Margaret Williams, Director of Content and Access for the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA), discussed the ways in which ebooks can be made more accessible, from ensuring that sidebar content is included along with the main content on a page to improving findability via search interfaces. It’s true that users with print disabilities can simply ask library staff for help, but true accessibility requires that they be able to access ebooks on their own (besides, as Margaret pointed out, many library staff may not feel comfortable helping a user pick out erotica!).

Michael Ciccone, Bibliotekkie Consulting, Inc., talked about how readers’ advisory can be improved with a tool called Loan Stars. Loan Stars allows library staff from across Canada to vote on their favourite upcoming books before they’re released to the public. Based on a successful model from the United States, this new program provides library staff with electronic reader copies of upcoming books, allows them to vote, and then produces reports on the most highly rated new books. Libraries can use these reports to help their users connect with relevant new reads.

David Ondrik, Research Solutions Manager – Ebooks, Elsevier,  wrapped things up with a look at the state of ebooks in research libraries. More and more researchers are requiring interdisciplinary information at the broad book level (as opposed to the more specific journal level), so libraries need to consider subject areas beyond their core domains. For example, if an engineer wants to build a water filter that works like the human kidney, they’ll need access to biomedical research. This has led to an increase in “turn aways” – instances of researchers finding records for ebooks they need, but not being able to access the full text.

The attendees came for a variety of reasons: some are responsible for the development of their ebook collections, while others want to make the most of the ebooks they already have. But no matter their specific need, I’m sure everyone walked away from this day and a half with an enhanced perspective on the past, present, and future of ebooks in libraries.

IFLA: Connections, Collaboration, Community

President's Meeting in Columbus, Aug 2016

President’s Meeting in Columbus, Aug 2016

Ok, here I am in Columbus, Ohio attending IFLA‘s 82nd World Library & Information Congress and feeling really guilty that I have not posted & connected since February!  Not because I didn’t have things to say, but for various reasons.  So if Andrew Pace can get back to blogging, I felt I better too!  Thanks Andrew for pushing me!  🙂

A lot of great stuff is happening at this IFLA meeting with the theme – Connections, Collaboration & Community.  Here’s a few things:

  • New Continuing Professional Development Guidelines from on of the standing committees I belong to, CDPWL.  And we had a great discussion of those guidelines in our session on Tues.  We’ll be doing another one at next year’s conference in Poland.
  • President’s Meeting with great speakers (session 092) — I tweeted a lot using #IFLAPres & there is also a Facebook page you can like & learn about future meetings.  BTW, in his plenary session this morning David Ferriero, who blogs as AOTUS, mentioned one of my tweets from the Monday morning’s President’s meeting!  I nearly fell off my chair!
  • Knowledge Management section, which I’ve been a member of for many years, just published a book highlighting wonderful speaker presentations over the last number of years — Knowledge Management in Libraries & Organizations

Hope to share more soon!