Circulating Ideas, Episode Eighteen

Circulating Ideas PodcastI was lucky enough to be on the Circulating Ideas: The Interview Librarian Podcast with Steve Thomas today.

It’s a good show! We talked about my new book, the Internet Librarian 2012 conference, stuff my library is doing, the Ebooks for Libraries website, and probably a whole bunch more stuff that I’m forgetting at the moment.

Give it a listen! Here’s a link to the show page, and to the mp3 file. Enjoy!

PS – why not subscribe to the Circulating Idea podcast while you’re at it? It’s a great show!

Tell your Customers that you have Ebooks

ebookRecently, the Pew Internet & American Life folks released this about ebook lending at public libraries. It’s part of their Libraries, patrons, and E-books report.

Here’s the pull-out quote: “Most Americans are unaware of e-book lending at their local public library.” Then it goes on to the stats: 76% of public libraries lend ebooks … and most Americans really don’t know if their library has them.

I know. There’s a lot in the current ebook/publisher/distributor landscape that you can’t really change at the moment. Yes, yes, together we can and probably will create some ebook changes.

But for now, your single library can’t change the price of an ebook to a fairer price; you can’t get 27 checkouts from HarperCollins books; and you can’t call up Penguin and beg them to sell you ebooks, even though they don’t sell to libraries … and have them cave in and make an exception in your case (well, unless you happen to be a large NYC library, perhaps).

But there is one thing … One Thing! One thing that you CAN do, and we apparently AREN’T DOING IT. And that’s actually telling people that you have ebooks that can be checked out. What’s up with that?

Guys, this is simple stuff … and putting up a link to Overdrive on your website does not count.

What can you do to tell your customers that your library has ebooks? Here are some starter ideas:

  • link on your website
  • big, bold ad on the main page of your site, above the fold
  • a large sign in your library
  • a couple of large signs in your library
  • a billboard on a major road in town
  • mention it in your events newsletter
  • mention it in your enewsletter … with a link
  • mention it in Twitter and Facebook. More than once.
  • Send out a press release
  • Get an interview in the newspaper, at local radio stations, and on the local TV news station.

Then rinse and repeat. You generally have to tell people more than once to make it “stick.”

So – those are some starter ideas. How about you? How have you successfully told your customers that you do, in fact, have ebooks? let’s share, and turn this silly pew statistic – this horribly pathetic Pew statistic – around.

photo by Nikkorsnapper

Reinventing Spaces & Places – Internet Librarian 2012

This was the closing keynote, and had some really cool ideas on reinventing libraries.

Speakers – Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap Van De Geer, Paul Pival, and Jeff Wisniewski

Grand pronouncement: We cannot save libraries by doing more of what we have done before, because the outcome will be the same.

Simple observation – media consumption is very obviously shifting. So we need to shift, too.

Opening random thoughts (random because of me, the notetaker, anyway):

  • Jaap and Erik wanted to have the best library in the world. So they toured the US and collected best practices in libraries.
  • Libraries need a new business model. Don’t focus on books – focus on stories.
  • Showing pictures of a beautiful library … With no people in it. Versus a new Apple Store that is full of people.

Where to start?

Viewsy – tracks people’s cell phones to measure foot traffic in a building. More info from their website:

“We provide a way to digitise an analogue world, turning visitor foot traffic into measurable insights that can be analysed and acted upon. We do this by measuring anonymous phone data from each customer walking past and through your store, data which is then analysed and presented for you on an easy to use online dashboard.”

What are successful spaces doing?

  • Library of 100 Talents – the teens designed their own youth department. Looks like a really fun place
  • Creation spaces –  TFDL digital media commons as example
    • 12 Mac pros with full a/v editing suites
    • 4 soundproof editing suites
    • DJ mixing board
    • Etc.
  • Fountaindale Public Library – 7000 square foot of digital media creation studio
  • Westport CT Public Library’s maker space – Placed in the middle of the library, in the stacks

Learning outside the classroom

  • Providing spaces where students an share ideas in public locations – promotes peer learning
  • Can also serve as formal learning spaces
  • Collaborative spaces can be in wide open areas and should have multiple uses

Renting out spaces

  • Assen public library in the Netherlands
  • They have a television studio
  • They make their own programs, but also rent out the space to professionals to use

Keys to success:

  • Involve the community
  • DOK library as an example
  • UrbanMedia Space Arhus Denmark – another example

What do the users say?

Paul played a video of students talking about the library. They want to collaborate, and want to have quiet study spaces. Go figure.

But the point here? Actually go ask your patrons what they want the library to be, then try to build that.

We don’t know what the future holds….

So create/design with flexibility in mind.

  • Flexible libraries/spaces
  • Flexible teams
  • Flexible furniture
  • Flexible infrastructure (add more wifi than you possibly imagine you’d need)
  • Raised floors – so you can put data and networking in the floor.
    • Me – that’s huge, considering in some parts of my library we have to drill to install more wiring. And that’s pricey.
  • Agile walls (you can move them easily)
  • Flexible technology – iPads replace desktop computers at north shore public library
    • No mediation required – there are check out stations / kiosk that will dispense iPads…
  • Interactive walls and flexible content
  • Marketing your space

What if you don’t have any space?

  • Reclaim that space – kill the large reference desk
  • Get rid of things that aren’t used (ie., 75% of your collection, perhaps)
  • Share space (airport library in Amsterdam)
  • Crossover with museum

Bucharest Metro Digital Library – poster walls of books with QR Codes. Scan and immediately download the book. Nice.

Bring Back the Funny – Internet Librarian 2012

Speaker – Jennifer Koerber, Boston Public Library

Bringing humor back to your job can relieve tension, make work fun, etc.

Mostly work is serious …. but let’s not take ourselves too seriously!

Hillsdale Public Library – being goofy with some signs, pushing limits a bit with them. For example, they put a sign reading “dive into a good book! Sign up for summer reading” by their flooded parking lot.

Craigshead County Jonesboro Public Library – their funny billboards

The idea – take them a bit farther, push the limits

Smartphones – best tool ever for bringing funny into the library. Take photos of funny stuff, use them for inspiration, etc

Don’t just share what’s not allowed in the library. Share what IS allowed, too, in a fun way.

Get a pulse of what will work in your community. Don’t scare people off while pushing the limits. So use humor that works in your local community – not necessarily the humor you would personally use.

That was physical world stuff. What can you do digitally?

April Fools Day jokes on websites as example. Whole Foods did a fun one.

Recycle your ebooks here! Funny one… at free-ebooks.net

Me – Hmm… This could be fun. Thinking…

Kodak – new service – print your own kittens!

Elsewhere on your website:
– Avatars for library staff can be fun
– Fun with titles, 404 pages, etc

Lawrence University changes text on the website to pirate on Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Those moving pictures! Videos…

Craighead’s comedy video series – on YouTube
– Other fun videos mentioned

Laugh at yourself, too!

Be a children’s librarian for one day – you will develop a sense of humor and get used to being the center of attention.

Kick Starting IT Collaborations – Internet Librarian 2012

Title: Kick Starting IT Collaborations
Speakers – Michael Porter, Helene Blowers, and Carson Block

Michael Porter:

It isn’t about the departments, it’s about the library. Our mission. Our patrons.

We sometimes hyper focus on the things we know…

When we see a baby crying, we have empathy.

Sometimes librarians, directors, IT departments … are just fussy.

Emotional intelligence
– The ability to accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others
– Use emotions to facilitate thinking
– Understand emotional meanings and manage emotions

Thinking about & incorporating emotional intelligence helps staff succeed.

So … Ask, listen, understand, empathize, chill, process, and keep perspective. Focus on these things with staff, and focus on our unique missions as libraries. This can help trump people differences and interpersonal struggles.

*****

Helene Blowers

Helene doesn’t have an IT or a librarian background. It’s in organizational communications” that has really helped her in her career.

Strategies – you have to deal with the culture. Organizational culture.

Tie your IT strategies to the library’s mission.

Make it believable!

Tailor to your audience.
– Have to change the message to communicate with higher-ups sometimes.

Create alliances.
– Engage staff at all levels
– Have IT user groups, emerging tech committees, transition teams – let non-IT staff help collaborate on these ideas

Communicate the plan.
– Meek a usual roadmap of IT, web, technology plans and share that with staff.
-It shows staff and leadership teams that you really do have a plan

Be a collaborative leader.

It’s not about showing your knowledge or your expertise. Instead, keep that communication open and be a team player.

******

Carson Block

Collaborations r us
– Libraries are all bout collaboration, so it’s weird when libraries and their IT departments don’t collaborate.

Why is this?

The server room – completely controlled by IT, neat and tidy, etc. In the other IT closets, they are messier.

Often, the library and the IT is separate. This should not be!

Some questions:
– Do you understand your library’s real mission in the community?
– Is your language inclusive or exclusive?
– Do you have trust?
– In your library, is the IT department considered an IT store (just something that other departments pull from)or a strategic partner?

Q&A time: