Commit, Already

I attended a vendor presentation last week, and one of the reps said something very interesting about getting a library to 100% self-check. Here’s what he said:

“100% self-check is really easy to get to. You just eliminate any other way. It’s not rocket science.”

For self check and libraries, I know of more than one library “working towards” 90% self check, or they have a goal of a certain percentage. Or they just continue to offer both, with no real goal to stop either of them.

Some questions for you, if you’re in this boat – how much do you want to reach that goal? Is it really a goal? If so, do you know WHY it’s a goal? Is it what your customers want, or does it work better for the organization (not necessarily a bad thing). Is something holding you back? And if so … why?

Obviously, this works with more than just self checkout!

Are you trying to make a change, but you still really have the old way AND the new way still fully functioning? Maybe it’s time to set a deadline for the old process to go away. Maybe you need to rethink the project, ask customers about it, or ask staff how to improve it.

Maybe you simply need to commit, and take that next step.

Pic by Richard Masoner

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.

Enter the Library Market & Drive Sales with Lessons from Patron Profiles #BEA

BEAThis is a presentation all about book research and the library market… could be interesting…

Rebecca Miller, Editor in Chief, School Library Journal

giving an overview/breakdown of public library book budgets

2011 – public libraries carried an average of 4000 ebooks.

ebook budgets spiked in 2011 over 101%

Kelly Gallagher at Bowker Market Research

talking about their Patron Profiles study…

9046 US public library ssytems

16,698 public library buildings

169 million public library users …

Meet the power patron – customers who visit the library at least weekly (physical visits):

  • 61% female, average age – 48
  • average income – $61,000
  • 62% with a college degree or higher
  • 39% with kids under age 18
  • what do they do at the library? 65% borrow books and media. 59% browse shelves. 40% search the catalog. 43% place holds on stuff.
  • clear link between borrowing and buying: 61% – purchased books by an author whose works were previously borrowed from the library. 37% – purchased book previously borrowed fromt he library. 35% – used the library to discover new authors or genres
  • library patrons are also buyers

Ebook users read more.

Ebook users – 67% purchased books by an author whose works were previously borrowed from the library. Wow.

Takeaways – libraries are a win-win system for marketing, sales, and discovery for books and publishers.

Skip Dye (Random House)

wants to encourage discoverability – this research helped them

wants to be format-agnostic

Said it’s up to the consumer how they want to read/listen. However they want to do that, that’s what is important.

future of print – Skip is old-fashioned. Thinks the format will survive, but change.

George something from Baker and Taylor

talking about exploding digital content in libraries

He also said they should be device agnostic

66% of public libraries experienced a “dramatic” increase in ebook requests

average holdes-to-copy ratio target is 6:1, but actual is closer tro 12:1

Hmm – claimed their Access 360 desktop reader is format agnostic. To that I’d say no it’s not. Can you open up a book from Overdrive through it? I’m guessing not.

showed Orange County Library’s Axis 360 ebookstore – an example of buying the book through a library

What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew: We Build Buzz #BEA

BEAA panel with five people… moderator – from earlyword.com

publishers have been talking about libraries as discovery venues

Why? Brick & mortar stores are disappearing, so libraries are a great place to actually still touch stuff.

Modern public library is designed to display books, library websites are just starting to display books

Michael Colford – their catalog

  • they use Bibliocommons
  • Bibliocommons sites sorta share audiences – if you put up a book trailer, it’s shared across all sites
  • interesting comments about books as our brand. He thinks we should embrace that instead of distance ourselves from it
  • discovery – make the book easy to find, make similar books easy to get as a second option, make a buy it now button easy to find too. Have all of this be a complete library experience, rather than sending someone off to an outside store.
  • Reader’s Advisory – reviews, book trailers, aggregation of book blogs – pull all of those together
  • hook events into the catalog – mentions of, other libraries, live stream these from the catalog, etc
  • de-emphasize the best sellers. We build the reader, and are market-makers for books and authors. Connect people with other books besides the best sellers

Sari Feldman, Cuyahoga County Public Library

  • 40% of their materials budget is for print books, 60% for other things
  • They focus more on best sellers than Boston Public does
  • They consulted with Nancy Pearl to help them re-work their readers advisory focus
  • She said there are no bookstores in Cuyahoga County (then she said there are two independent bookstores). They are The Place for books
  • They use their Facebook Page heavily. Readers advisory – tell us three books you love, we’ll tell you three more you will love. Love this idea!
  • People are looking for recommendations on Facebook – people come there to chat about it, and other people answer (the librarians do too).
  • They want their website and catalog to have that energy too

Lynn Wheeler, Director, Carroll County Public Library

  • They chose a book – The Dressmaker – bought a bunch of them and displayed it in all of their branches, promoted it in all branches, held an author talk, did programs around the event, etc. Made the book a local best seller.
  • you can do partnerships – example was a partnership with schools
  • battle of the books – bought a bunch of books, then had kids vote for books. Gave a set of the books to the schools who were competing. Held a trivia type event in the schools. Gave a huge trophy to the winners.

Virginia Stanley, Director, Library Marketing, HarperCollins

  • library marketing
  • do Skype sessions with the authors