Future of the Library Discussion

Tomorrow is the NEKLS Webinar on the COSLA reporteBook Feasibility Study for Public Libraries (.pdf).  It’s a great report and public librarians should read it, at least the summaries.

I perked up on the “New Roles: Going beyond content” chapter.  Let’s look at the opportunities – “how should they (libraries) fulfill a noble mission to support a vibrant ‘life of the mind’ in their communities?”  The answers:  performance | programs | storytelling | using physical space for social interactions (or to work in company, rather than alone) | provide ‘curated or mediated’ experiences with information.

These ideas – the people-centered library vs. a book-centered library –  flow with what Joan Frye Williams said at Fall Assembly and with what R. David Lankes talked about at the eBook Summit and writes about in his Atlas of New Librarianship…and this morning, the new role of libraries discussion came up again in a post by a non-librarian, which makes me take notice.  What outsiders say about us means more, sometimes.

Seth Godin, author and marketing expert,  wrote about The Future of the Library this morning and it generated many conversations, both here in the office and online.  Will libraries always be in the book business?  Should we be the ones taking on the challenge of creating tech-savvy and information-wise citizens?  Should library buildings be warehouses or meeting spaces or learning places?

The librarian isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user.

Needless to say, I recommend you that you read Seth’s post and take a few minutes to read the discussion that ensued.  The original set of related posts were compiled by Buffy Hamilton, the Unquiet Librarian, and I’m adding ones I find to the bottom:

I’m looking forward a fruitful conversation tomorrow and hope that we come away with ideas about how to change or improve library services, a better understanding of how eBooks are impacting libraries and a renewed commitment to our noble mission.

Whats, Hows or Whys of Google Fiber

Two part post: TEDxPugetSound with Simon Sinek notes | Info re: Google Fiber project and KCK announcement

Dana Braccia inspired our MPLA work day with this great TED presentation (Technology, Education and Design: TED, Ideas worth sharing)  I re-watched it today, after we met to discuss sponsorship opportunities for the organization and the Leadership Institute (class of 2006).  We are trying to think creatively and unconventionally, while remembering, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”


Simon says – Everybody knows what they do, most know how they do it, but very few know why they do what they do.  Profit is a result.  Why is a cause or belief.  Inspired leaders and organizations all think from the inside out – from the WHY to the What.  For example, Apple communicates like this – “Everything we do, we believe in thinking differently and challenging the status quo, The way we do it is by creating well-designed simple to use and user friendly. We just happne to make great computers – want to buy one?”

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. 

With Apple, this explains why you are comfortable buying a computer from apple, along with a phone, mp3 player, tablet, etc.

Goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.

Grounded in tenets of Biology!  “The part of the brain that controls decision making doesn’t control language” – important if your goal is to hire people who believe what you believe – then they’ll work with their blood, sweat and tears (he gives a great story about the Wright Brothers).

“If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”  Why is that important?

Law of Diffusion of Innovation:  2.5% of the population are Innovators > next 13.5% are Early Adopters > next 34% are Early Majority > next 34% are Late Majority > and last 16% are Laggards or as Simon says, “The only reason these people buy touch-tone phones is because you can’t buy rotary any more.”

If you want mass market acceptance of an idea, you can’t have it until you achieve a tipping point at 15-18% “market penetration.” He gives an example of a Failure (Tivo) and a Success (Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech – not the ‘I have a plan’ speech 😉

Leaders inspire us.  We follow them because we want to.  We follow them not for them, but for ourselves.

Watch the rest – it’s worth 18 minutes of your time.  Makes me ponder..So, why are we librarians?

For additional interesting Ted Talks, Andy recommends some good ones in his TEDucation post.  Heather (Librarian in the Cloud) was fortunate enough to attend TEDxOKC last month and she has a few posts up, with more to come, that are worth viewing/reading/thinking about.

Google Fiber in Kansas City, Kansas

Also read a lot this week about Google Fiber, as this is going to be important at a NEKLS library, namely Kansas City, Kansas Public Library.  My gut tells me this is a game changer for the entire state.  Here’s some background and the announcement and inspiring video is below.

We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

“But I think what it is, it’s a huge bet on human creativity – you just know something special is going to come out of it.”  – Bo Fishback