How do you personally keep current with technology?

That’s a question we asked our Technology Specialist applicants this week, but when I posed that question to myself…I wasn’t happy with the answer!  So, I did what I’ve done for the last few years – I asked the NEKLS Tech team for help!  (They’re the true research and development powerhouse behind NEKLS, not me.)

I spent some time yesterday talking to the R&D team and trolling Google news stories about “public library innovation” and “public library technology”…and here are a few stories and sites I want to share:

Breakout Sessions

Ok, so I realized that my initial blog was going to the klapls blog instead of this blog.  Oops.  So, I’m going to pay more attention now.  Library Camp Kansas 2009 < The ‘official site’

Open Source – Kathryn Greenhill – Doing her thesis on open source pros/cons of open source

  • Out of the box stand alone Koha v. LibLime supported
  • Open source – NOT free and easy, it’s constantly changing and a greater depth of knowledge needed “roll on the waves” – change in the mind set regarding and the evolution of the product
  • user base makes all the difference
  • NExpress – even with additional staffing the project/ILS costs less
  • Adjustment of attitudes – Be flexible, find your own answers, be proactive
  • Linux laptop – mess with the code, new free upgrades, gets easier
  • maturity issue – we are actively adding to the community
  • Open Source Business Model – much more demanding, troubleshooting, administering, etc.
  • Philosophy compatible with the library philosophy – values!  Libraries as a special step-child
  • Patron impact?  “Love it” Easy to use interface, holds
  • Other Open source solutions: KLOW, OpenBiblio, KanGuard (Red Hat) – control blacklist, free ; OpenOffice (Free, easier to use than 2007 and incompatibilities), LiveCDs, etc.
  • Open Source programmers work for community and prestige (ties into library values) says Kathryn’s research.  Programmer passion.  Technology changes from the top down (Heather gives our Prez kudos…shocking).
  • Paradigm change with the old school tech folks with MS certification.  Where does the data reside?  Not ‘secure’ – misnomer b/c they can look for exploits (not true) Phase 3 – everything in the cloud and nothing on your machine.
  • Warnings to a director ‘mad on open source’ – find yourself a good nerd – ‘fiddling and tweaking’ – put it together yourself (out of the box generation) – Part of a community now, have to contribute
  • Which is more compelling – out of the box or open source?  Yes to both – ‘in charge’ and ‘more in control’ compelling and dissatisfaction with out of the box – browser wars, firefox as an example of opensource

Insert Lunch at Hibatchi Hut and a lovely walk to Aggieville

Dead-End Technologies – cooridanted by Eric G.

  • CDs and DVDs – going the way of digital downloads?  Money into digital download service?  Change policies to limit downloads (ex. no iTunes at Joco b/c of bandwidth hogging)  Limits on downloads, stream v. download (student play lists, for example, require CDs).  Who checks out mp3 players?  Are mp3 players a deadend technology themselves?  Music at the public library going away for good?
  • Philosophy discussion – copyright and licensing issues – how will this work in the future?  Online database model for future AV content streaming (with proper bandwidth)
  • VHS – Going away in most small libraries  – what about new technologies like blue ray?  Joco considering starting a new blue ray collection.  Space issues, collection development issues – DVRs
  • Audiobooks – Playaways?
  • Televisions – on demand entertainment, TIVO through commercials
  • What’s the model when there isn’t a physical item to check out?  Audiobooks, music and more creates artificial limitations to make it ‘seem like’ downloads are physical items.
  • Microsoft Office – Open Office to Google Docs (clould computing in the future)
  • PC Computer station going away?  Handhelds and laptops?  CRT monitors going, big CPUs going away
  • Solo stand-alone catalog – a “google” of libraries – with a courier  – change scoping, but it’s all interconnected (Georgia and Evergreen)

Future of Libraries (Kathryn facilitating)

  • Kathryn’s future presentation: People :: Place :: Content :: Community
  • Content: what we stock, Place: physical and virtual, People: library staff, and Community: user influence services – users more involved
  • What is a library now?  Our brand is books, do we tie ourselves to that brand?  What when a ‘book’ is in a different container.
  • MPL – no more VHS or cassettes – what comes next?  Is space needed?  DVD thin v. VHS thick?  Computers v. laptops v. mobile
  • Harry Potter and Star Wars are media neutral – the story is lego, movie, book, videogame
  • Ahead of the curve, but Library has the long-tail – outdated technologies that only a few places have for the late adopters or those who can’t afford the cutting edge technology.  Content over format?  Be container neutral?  If there’s a movie that is only available and popular on VHS, do we have to keep it?
  • Library as the 3rd place – with the bad economy, use is increasing of ALL formats
  • 50 year timeline:  which books will still here?  picture books, smut (but anonymous with iphone), immediate – Need more bandwidth (high speed)  Providing bandwidth – do patrons come for communal computing?  Sometimes…
  • Community centers with rec, pool, library, gym, etc.
  • Teaching and learning – align purpose and expand purpose
  • Academic library running out of space – fight between content and place
  • People – organizational structure as a bottleneck – librarians need to come into the organizaiton with the skills (retirement issues and ‘how’ boomers retire > leave the leadership position in favor of fun jobs they want to do)
  • How do you keep up?  Methodologies to keep up?  23 Things
  • Not really a profession of continuing education – need education on NEW stuff :: How does the profession keep up with the kids?!  Grad students v. undergrads and how the approach technology and databases – Grads are able to adapt and assimilate (and share these lessons with faculty)
  • Are Reference librarians still the BEST finders of answers and information??  Can a librarian do it better than Google?  How can they do it if they can’t ‘play’ with new technology?
  • Staff has a disconnect between ‘knows’ and ‘don’t knows’ with technology – stretched
  • Pace of change is fast, fast, fast.  How do you cope with multiple new technologies?  The More’s Law – rate of technological advancement
  • Changes needed – traditional library stuff, augment with new skills and playtime, and freedom to try and fail (shovers and makers) (MySpace, for example)  Do a tour working with teens, then embarrassment isn’t a fear anymore…

Library Camp Kansas

Today I’m in my home town of Manhattan for the 2009 Unconference hosted by the Hale Library at Kansas State University.  Kudos to Jason, Joshua and Erin for organizing this year’s event.  I’ve put my name in for a lightning round to talk about Jing and our NExpress and KLOW videos.  I’m interested to hear what others talk about. (#libcampks09)

Lightning Rounds:

Libraryh3lp Hale’s IM Reference (Danielle) – looks like Meebo, but allows multiple operators, chat transfers and file transfers.  The State Library uses it, too.  Where could we put this at or

K-state Salina – Animoto 30 sec trailer movies (Heidi) Upload from anywhere, pick your music, transitions.

Pre-proxy links to library databases – Cool Tools link on (LinkIt)  Links work off-campus – keeps authentication intact.

Gloria – StumbleUpon Easy way to find new web sites to visit based on a field of interest.

Jing – Liz and I worked our way through a Jing presentation on the Mac.  Found out it only costs $14.95 for a yearly account and Jason mentioned that when answering chat reference, rather than explain how to navigate a site, you can create a quick video and post the link on

SlideShare (Independence public library) – Easy way to put a ppt on the Web.

Erin – – Free up to 30 people, txt polling and responds in real time.  Set it up, create a web link – make the kids use their cell phones.  Fun for training sessions to get feedback.

Discussion Topics:

23 Things project for Kansas based on the WebJunction/Maintain IT summit – Cindi Hickey (and David King and Brenda Hough)

OpenSource – A librarian from Australia is leading this…how International of us. (Hemi)

iPhone – mobile access now! (Liz jumped up for that one)

Dead End Technologies – Eric Gustafson

Interactive Web sites – Widgetry

PR Campaign – Wyoming example (407)

Go here and buy a shirt: