Fall Assembly – Joan Frye Williams – woot

Oct 21, 2010 | Kansas State Historical Society | Topeka

  • Keynote Speaker: Library futurist Joan Frye William | http://georgeandjoan.com
    “Make it count: Where to put your energy in the coming years”
  • “NEKLS State of the System” – Jim Minges
  • Discussion Groups
  • Lunch and visit from Nancy Pickard

Joan Frye William (update: Two Podcasts from 2/2009 on iTunes and there are some here, too.)

  • Here to raise issues and cause conversations…make you ‘entertain ideas, without necessarily accepting them’
  • We can’t do everything | Some things we do now have passed their ‘use-by’ date
  • Image: Spock doing a mind-meld “We need to get inside civilians’ heads” and learn what is true for them and hear what they are telling us.
  • When they tell us something we don’t agree with…we do NOT need to “straighten them out”.  We need to understand them, not the other way around.  Their reality drives their behavior.
    • Civilians are stressed for time – time is valuable. Impression is that the library is slow and takes time to use it.  Folks don’t have time for a slower place
    • Civilians think that information is just floating around in the Cloud – it’s just lying around.  Believe info is an unlimited, free commodity.  Librarians think information is precious…it’s love to us – we give info to people we like 😉  Our relationship with information is NOT the same one people have.
    • Civilians are confident in their own skills and are self-reliant.  “I can do it myself.”  Is the seat by the reference desk perceived as “the seat of shame”??  Desire to feel competent. Does it run counter to our desire to feel useful?  When someone says “I know this is a stupid question”
    • Civilians want to use the device they are comfortable with – they’re packing ‘heat’ and don’t want to switch over to yours…integrates with their life and makes them feel confident.  Smart phones are the bridge to the digital divide. More cell phones than housing.  Serve up what we do to as many smart phones as possible.
    • Deliver services instantly – whenever and wherever – real time!
    • Civilians have reunited learning and pleasure – “I learn more when it’s fun”  We are enjoying ‘free choice learning‘ – we OWN this.  Need to overcome negative stereotypes
  • Where’s the smart money going? (Scrooge McDuck)
    • Re-balance our portfolio…
    • Hospitality – “Welcome to the Library” – How do people come when they come to us?  Front door full of rules, a messy desk, the back of a computer, armed guards, creepy greeters?  That first impression is pass/fail! Lights, clean bathrooms, unfriendly staff – VERY important
    • Multigenerational destinations – welcome ALL generations – They can Hang Together and that’s a good thing.  We still have people who say, “Those children are enjoying themselves in the library…Smite Them!”  Programming is pleasurable in a multi-generational setting – adults like the programs the kids like, too!  Family learning experience – niche we have for the future
    • All staff are first responders and everyone needs to engage – Civilians are alarmed when staff don’t know how to use the technology and tools THEY are suppose to be able to use! Staff = civilians.  Don’t need to go to some specialized staff member.
    • Ubiquity – You need to be everywhere – here, now, information all around them – have to be where the people are.
    • Reading and learning evangelism – we are expected to be proactive.  Beat the bushes to help people ‘get smarter and better read’ – show some energy.  Reading is an elective, now. Futurists believe in 50 years we will be back in an oral society – what would that mean for libraries??  If we believe reading is good for us and builds brains and strong communities – then we need to spread the word.  All librarians should think like childrens’ librarians.  Developmental approach.
    • Be available around the clock – automatic book dispensers “Library a-go-go.  Used in urban environments, but also in rural areas where library hours are limited ($80,000, but how does that compare to opening a satellite branch?).  People who connect with the ATM, then find the bricks and mortar library (gateway drug).  Proves that libraries “get it” – they fill a need and people respond favorably to them.
    • 24/7 Programs – Capture and re-purpose programming  – podcast, excerpt sample with permission from presenters – Civilians say they want the library to “have a web site” (good lord) – put the programming on YouTube, Facebook – put it where the people are…then they can find it 24/7.  Again, they’ll beat a path back to your door.
    • Mobile services – Agonize about apps, not ILSs.  Phones…phones…phones.  Library apps a better investment for your technology access dollars.  Growing market, consumer fueled, trickle-up.  See what people are getting for Christmas – that’s the trend to watch (ebook readers, ipads).  See how we align.
    • Embedded services – take the library on the road, “have laptop, will travel”.  More exposed, somewhat uncomfortable, but helps Civilians understand better who we are AND what we do.  Story: student died in a research trial at John Hopkins because important information about her childhood asthma was published pre-MedLine.  After the death, all research teams have a medical librarian on the team.  Take our service with us where we go.
    • “It’s a better investment of your resources to be in somebody else’s conversation in one of these social media than to begin your own.”  Don’t set up a separate silo – missing part of the potential – join the existing conversations.  Add your $.02 to the YouTube/Twitter/Flickr/Facebook conversations.  Information added at the point of need is the MOST valuable.  Example, find the new parents group on Facebook.  Conversation rather than Publication (and leave electronic breadcrumbs back to your site.
    • Independence – looking stuff up is no a civilian task, not a professional task.  All politics are personal.  All discovery, learning, etc. is personal and independent.  “EverQuest” slide – you are self-reliant, you choose your tools and your alliances.  There’s more than one way to ‘get it right’ – we need to be more tolerant.  Librarians are orderly and like to control our environment…need to overcome this.
    • Use mainstream tools – Google scholar – use mainstream for the civilians and keep the specialized tools for us.  Stores don’t show us their inventory system and sku numbers!  Tools have become too simple for librarians and too complicated for civilians
    • Situational signs – “Pay here” or “circulation” or no sign at all?  If you want someone to DO something, tell them what to do and where.  Burger joint:  “Ask” and “Get”  Say what they’re suppose to do, not what we call it.
    • Services keyed to predictable life passages – for example, a lot of people will get preggers for the first time.  Where is that information?  Health, redecorating, finance – all in different locations – or we can pull that information together and be ready to help that person when they go through that experience.  Be about the People, not about the Collection. Topical/information neighborhoods (a good start), but the situation of choosing a sport because of a medical diagnosis or because of a desire to begin exercising.  How will the information be used?  Tremendous value added!  (Read the article in the Oct 2010 Public Libraries by Paula Brehm-Heeger and the re-purposing of the Main library of Cincinnati)  What are people trying to accomplish?  How can we help?  Job seekers
    • Zoning by activity, not age group – Styling by age group is a trend that is softening.  Manga is read by all ages – so is the collection sequestered by age??  Not a smart idea.  Teens will take over any area of the library with diner-style seating and technology.  Zone by noise level.  Zone by time of day.  Merged congregation and activity areas.
    • Cardholder-defined privileges. Like with credit cards, you set your payment date.  Library cards come with set rules “this is the deal we are offering” – if loan periods do NOT match a person’s reading style…that makes it difficult to be a library patron.  If it’s OK to take 10 books for 3 weeks, why not take 3 books for 10 weeks?  Same economics.  Pick a plan to fit your style.  (check box on application – ILS systems can provide this flexibility.)  Let people manage their accounts and pick their due dates.  Can ILS allow hold queue list can be ranked personally? Quit petting the inventory and pay attention to how it’s going to be used.  Orange County Florida is testing this with Joan.
    • Hyperlocalism – Why one library in one locale?  Because that locale is unique.  Library used to be the window on the world (now google and amazon take care of that), but they don’t know what it’s like to be in that location.  The stories, the history, unique local content put together in unique ways.  “Content that speaks to the story of where we are.”  Collect stories – cookbooks, yearbooks, local photographs, ‘hunger for local identity’  What brought people to your location?  How is that reflected in your library?
    • Patron versus Customer controversy.  Joan interviewed 227 people and asked, “writing an annual report, need a respectful term” – Members!  It’s about community, not the individual.  Hunger for place – we can serve something people don’t even know they need – pride in local identity.
    • Community convening – Candidate School at TSCPL.  Neutral ground, no political agenda – get the ideas out in a civil environment.
    • Support Creative Economy and the “new creatives” – Big box retail stores and commodities industries are unstable.  Creative endeavors can’t be sent offshore.  Build small businesses – cooking, writing – brain-power is the commodity.  Well-positioned to serve these enterprises.  Get out of the house and still work…AT the Library.  Provide stimulating environment, smart people, information, tools, meeting space, technology, bandwidth – a need to be social, even when working alone.  Economic development issue.
    • Sustainability – rethink longstanding library traditions – be scalable, can’t just grow and expand
    • Service life cycles – Rise, plateau and then tail off.  Shouldn’t be surprised or worried – it’s normal to ebb and flow.  Plan for it.  Plan for failure AND success.  Don’t ration!  More demand = more supply, not less! We don’t get supply and demand and don’t plan for success.
    • Behavioral metrics – how do people use our stuff?  Measure what the people are doing, along with what the collection is doing?  Would it be useful to know HOW people use your resources?  “We should not chose ignorance in the name of confidentiality” – aggregate, ask, watch and learn.  Predict work load, service success – look at both sides of the equation.
    • Surprising new alliances – (Nixon and Mao image) – Have a customer or service community in common.  Know where your people are when they are not with you…and use that to your advantage.  Alliance, not sponsor/partner/donor.  What can we do to advance their mission and vice versa?  If not on the table, on the menu.  If you are part of someone elses success, you have a strategic value for service and funding.
    • Carbon positive facilities – sell energy back to the grid.  Solar roof at Fayetteville.  What is the difference between lending materials (books) and buying them.  Greener to borrow than to buy books.  Carbon credit!
  • When in doubt, choose:
    • Simplicity (the easy button) – invest in simple services, technologies, policies
    • Generosity – opposite of perfectionism.  Put own work out there and allow colleagues to strengthen it with you.  Suggestions, not criticism.  Be open to collaboration.  Shares feedback without getting personal
    • Flexibility – roll with challenges (think Gumby) – what are MULTIPLE good outcomes?
    • Urgency – John cotter – Doing nothing is taking a risk.  The gap between “I can’t believe the library has this” to “I can’t believe the library doesn’t have this” is shrinking.  Have fast failures
    • Relationships – values people and ongoing connections to them.  Book back v. person back – get the person back.  The relationship is more important than the transaction.  Solid working relationships improve innovation. Don’t sacrifice that to be right.
    • Trust – develop trust, earn trust – go into the situation looking for an outcome of trust.
    • Show the passion! – Find something about the work that you can be passionate about.  Passionate library worker can sway a vote in favor of the library…OCLC study.  Childrens librarians are known for it.  Harley plant – 3/4 of the workers had the company logo tattooed on their body – made it a great place to work.
    • Libraries won’t tank on my watch – her 6 word biography!

State of the System with Jim

  • System finances – Things are better than they looked 6 months ago.  Budget in good shape.  Thank the good folks in Brown and Nemaha county and their pipeline.
  • Priorities – CE and Advocacy issues.
    • Brenda’s job one – reviewing and seriously reconstructing and needed our CE program to meet the needs of our members and introducing new ideas.
    • Discussion questions will center on CE.
    • Telling library stories through advocacy – state and local.  Statewide library promotion campaign – I wonder if we’re geeking??
    • Meet with local legislators before the session starts.  KLA Push Card 2011 (pdf)
    • Appointment of a lobbyist to help with KLA.
    • Advocacy page on the Web site (which we need to add more stuff too)
    • Trustee workshops – early Spring, budget workshops – beginning of the budget process, when it matters for promotion to local funding bodies.
    • Advocacy presentation at Spring Assembly – emphasize nuts and bolts of advocacy at local level
    • Accreditation/standards – early next year will re-examine those with committee.
    • Significant changes to Resource Sharing program (NExpress and Courier).  Moving to a new support company.  (WOOT!!)
    • Courier will eventually connect to Colorado courier (OCLC ILL first, then Kicknet later)
    • Examine and Upgrade Internet Bandwidth – Gates Grant/Broadband – T-1 is no longer a minimally adequate Internet service.  State Library spear-heading the committee.  “Challenging effort to deal with how to fund and obtain Internet service that will be adequate into the future.”
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