Read for Life: Library for the Blind

Read for Life: Library for the Blind program on Tuesday, March 18 from 2-3 pm with Aimee Thrasher-Hanson, Outreach Coordinator, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Free Library of Philadelphia, is part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage free mail.

In Pennsylvania, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Philadelphia serves the eastern half of the state and the Carnegie Library for the Blind of Pittsburgh serves the western half of the state.

In addition, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Philadelphia serves the entire Commonwealth, Delaware, and West Virginia with braille materials.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped started in the 1930s with records for the fully-blind and later opened to people with low vision and other disabilities that impede their ability hold or read a print book, and recently opened to people with autism and/or dyslexia.

Digital reader

To be eligible, the application must be signed off on by a nurse, social worker, librarian or other approved expert.  For individuals with autism or dyslexia, a doctor or pediatrician must sign the form.  After signing up, processing takes about two weeks, additional explanations and information is sent and staff beging working with the user to customize reading lists.  Books can be self-selected or computer-selected broadly by genre/subject.

Cassettes have been replaced with a Digital Player that sports braille and big, colorful buttons with high-contrast.  The machine is durable and the USB cartridges (with an embedded flash drive) are “nearly indestructible.”  They are also easy to handle and can be put into the machine with one finger and hold a tremendous amount of text – you can fit the entire Bible on one.

Audiobooks and magazines can both be received and returned for FREE by mail in color-coded cases. All audiobooks are sent from and returned to Pittsburgh.  Braille books are managed by the Philadelphia office. Magazine cartridges are returned for re-loading.  One cartridge will be custom-loaded with the current issues of ALL of a patron’s magazine titles.  Newspapers are also available, but by Telephone through a separate service.  Where the newspaper is computerized text to voice, the audiobooks and magazines are narrated by professionals.  The Library for the Blind has recently started working with Recorded Books to provide access to audiobooks produced for the consumer market (the same ‘version’ as can be found at the library or bookstore).  This partnership is beginning to allow for simultaneous release of new releases.  Other new titles take 6 months before they are available through the service.

Veterans are given priority, Americans living overseas qualify for the service and programs are being provided for children, including braille picture books (we saw The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein).  Aimee shared that most children using their services have been blind from birth and prefer braille, while older adults who are losing or have lost their vision prefer audiobooks.  Her library will be offering Summer Reading for the first time this summer for her younger patrons.

Selection of books starts when a person completes the application form and indicates their reading preferences.  What genres, subjects or reading-level of books are you interested in?  Individuals can also have selections limited by (which is proving to be a slight problem with some of the books provided through an outside source):

  • Strong language
  • Violence
  • Explicit descriptions of sex

The newest development is BARD – Braille and Audio Reading Download.   The cartridge readers have an external USB port that accepts audiobooks downloaded from the BARD database onto an external flash drive.  There is also a BARD App for iOS devices, with an App for Android under development.  While the cartridges are limited by the number of physical copies available, a patron has unlimited access to BARD.  Because of issues and concerns about copyright, this program is closely monitored.

The BARD App is free to download and can navigated with gestures and swipes, linked with sound cues.  Aimee shared that user testing revealed a preference for the iPad app over traditional players.  Some people even add on a braille keyboard (only $2,500) so they can read what it displayed on the screen with dots that feel like braille type on paper.

The Library at 9th and Walnut in Center City has services available for walk-in patrons, such as magnifiers to help read mail, JAWS computer software, a Adaptive Technology computer lab, and Zoomtext software.  The Free Library of Philadelphia has also recently changed its policy so that ANYONE in the State of Pennsylvania can receive the card and access to their databases, including eBooks!  Aimee left applications with us.

Usability or User Experience

From Designing Better Libraries

First, my thanks to Bobbi Newman (@librarianbyday) for tweeting about Designing Better Libraries and this post Usability And User Experience – There Is A Difference which is an overview of this very interesting article by Frank Guo, “More Than Usability: The Four Elements of User Experience, Part I“.  These concepts aren’t completely foreign to me, but I guess I missed that there are entire fields of study dedicated to them (maybe it’s more of an Academic Library issue).  Regardless, I wanted to look at these four elements in terms of a hypothetical user visiting the library for the first time, rather than a person using a digital or online product or Web site for the first time (which is what he’s actually talking about).

The results of that exercise:

  • Usability – is it easy to do what you came to the library to do?  Can you find what you need? How’s the signage? Do the OPACs work? Can you browse non-fiction?  More traditionally, how easy is it for the patron to use your Web site??
  • Value – does the library provide value to the patron?  What do you offer besides books?  How well have you met the patron’s explicit AND implicit needs?  “A product that does not add value by fulfilling user needs does not provide a meaningful user experience—regardless of how well it might be designed.”  Oh look, another reason to do a periodic User Needs Analysis.
  • Adoptability – once a person uses the library, will they come back again and again?  What can we do to encourage the adoption of DATABASE usage in public libraries? I just had a long discussion about this with the new Director at Linwood…  Like Usability – the easier it is to use whatever service or product you hope is adopted, the greater the likelihood that it will be adopted.  Again, this article is talking about Web sites, but what can we do to make the Library be the FIRST place a person goes for information, book suggestions, or Friday night entertainment?
  • Desirability: Is the Experience Fun and Engaging? – Fun and Engaging – I like that in a library.  Guo talks about how Desirability is about “emotional appeal” – that soft squishy thing that motivates us to do business with people who believe what we believe.  Another good point is that “visual appeal drives desirability” – how visually appealing is the library?  Weeds and signs taped to the window, boxes of donations, and messy work areas visible to the public are common in libraries – how does that impact our desirability??   He also makes the point that desirability is dependent on the user’s context – does the library meet the unique needs of various groups (like teens, seniors, children and young families)?

Unrelated – Bobbi also tweeted a great article from Pew Interent about Broadband chocked full of good statistics.  Only 66% of people have broadband, so libraries are still needed to help the remainder!

Also heard this npr article, “Libraries Grapple with the Downside of E-Books,” on my way to work.  No mention of 3M or the Kansas push to own our content, but the rest of it seemed accurate.

Friday Reading

Some of today’s professional reading from Twitter, Facebook and random articles sent by staff is worth sharing:

“Libraries are definitely in the middle of all this [digital] action, both working very hard to provide access to e-reading materials, as well as helping patrons enter into the e-reading marketplace by exposing them to e-reading devices through lending and device petting zoos and helping them learn to use new devices in classes and one-on-one sessions with librarians.”

Crandall said his study found that two-thirds of the library computer users asked a librarian for help in using the technology. “The ability to use the new technology may seem intuitive to many,” he said, “but clearly for many others it is not, and having a community resource that is able to help people understand how to use digital technology and information, and why they might want to use it to improve the quality of their lives is something that libraries have taken on as a transformation of their traditional mission.”

Kickstarter Your Library Project

Thanks to an article link in a NY Times piece about the Barnes and Noble / Microsoft deal for Nook, I discovered Kickstarter.com.  Of course, Heather already knew about it and when I sent the article I’d found to everyone, she replied with a related article and a blog-post featuring several library-related start-ups from this great crowd sourcing grant/investment site.  Figures.  😉

Anyway, interesting reading and I think these community grant/investment projects are awesome and I hope our libraries take the plunge.

Articles:

Spring Assembly: The anythink story

http://www.anythinklibraries.org/ | Spring Assembly | 4/19/2012 | Pam Sandlian-Smith

“It’s more than just transforming libraries, it’s about transforming as an individual and a professional.” – Pam

Headline: “Adams library system worst in state”

Formerly at West Palm Beach (where she made news and presented about Hospitality at PLA), then moved back to Colorado in 2007 to direct Adam county libraries with a new tripled levy…from $4 million to $12 million.  Opportunity to start fresh.  $43 million Capital Campaign at the start of her tenure, built on a typical library program and designed for bookshelves and not much else.

Design libraries for People and make the Books FIT around the PEOPLE!  (So true.)  Had to shift gears quickly and re-design and re-think.

Becoming Anythink: Started with a visioning exercise – staff and board contributed adjectives to describe the kind of library they wanted:  enchanting, friendly, cozy, dynamic, modern, magical – great!  That’s what they wanted to become, but not what they had been.  Opportunity to design a library for the future.

Conventions:  quiet, homework, research, books

Disruptions: community and connection | ideas | creativity | open doors | sparks and fuel

People + Info = Interaction!  70% of people who think about libraries, think about books.  Change the paradigm to the INTERACTIONS between info and people.  Need an outcome.

“We Open Doors for Curious Minds” – Mission of Anythink

Spaces – Same architect, added pizazz to the buildings (and rocking chairs).  Designed spaces around “Why People Shop” ideas.  Give people space to get oriented in the front of the library.  Open space, fire places, and unique personalities at each branch.  Local cabinet maker for wood shelving ($5 a sq ft).  Service desks – 90% self-service – Perches instead – friendly.  Look at these cool Visual Merchandising Guidelines!

Children’s area – Tree house in all of our libraries (it’s not her, it’s her staff – that was an idea from her HR director) – museum quality fake trees.  Experiences that float from the libraries, such as silk leaves they can rake out.  Play ‘fall’!  Provide opportunities for kids to connect with nature in the city, with collaboration with Arbor Day foundation.  Water features, tree cookies, outdoor spaces.

Displays on nice tables, indoor/outdoor spaces (outdoor fireplace), and Book Mobile – brand new (red and shiny – “Anythink in motion”)

Culture – Spaces, self-discovery, home-away-from-home, and all with a moderate budget.  Focus on hospitality, warmth and comfort.  Need happy, helpful staff, too!  Hardworking and Optimistic culture – work and play hard.   Staff Manifesto:

Part Wizard
 Part Genius
Part Explorer

Start of the culture shift to help staff understand the library is MORE than circ.  Re-wrote job descriptions, based on 13 competencies.

I am: customer focused | cooperative and a collaborator | understanding and compassionate | Strong work ethic | flexible | effective communicator | problem solver | responsible and honest | emotionally mature | continuous learner | innovator | leader  I am an Anythinker  

Can train to do a job, but not to love people.

  • Wrangler:  product placement, inventory control, display technician (circ clerk/page)
  • Concierge: customer service, tech assist, RA, product promotion (Circ staff)
  • Guide: Customer education, reference advocate, event planner (librarians)
Barn Raising – TEAMS.  Weeded collection as a team, mostly in one day.  Big party.  They allowed all staff to re-apply for a new job, without the fear of not being re-hired and the new job would have the same pay rate as their current position.  Some went for Wrangler roles that had less involvement with people, while others sought to be Concierge folks.  Many changed branch locations.  GREAT idea.
Disruptions: “SHHH is a Four-Letter Word” – (t-shirt) – Libraries aren’t quiet.  They are changing – libraries as active learning places.
Hospitality – exists when you believe the other person is on your side.” – Danny Meyer Setting the Table   How do people feel when they walk into your library?  Do they feel welcome? smart? feel like the staff are on their side?  “Stand back, I can get technical on you” – t-shirt worn by staff
Disrupting Dewey – abandoned Dewey.  Wordthink – “Travel” or “Cooking” – converted entire collection in one year, with opening day collections and weeding.  Bookstore model.  Cooking > Baking > Alpha by title.  Easy to orient.  In catalog with words.
mySummer – Blew out Summer Reading.  Read about something, think about it, and do something.  Intergenerational and about doing things.  Family programming.  Starts with a summer journal.  Example: Project Runway Experience – brought in fashion designers, designed a dress, constructed without sewing, teams, and a fashion show/runway judging.  The teams ended up helping each other out.
Experiences – Interact.  Tree sculpture at one of the branches.  Joan Frye Williams – library as laboratory.  Tinker, build, learn and communicate.  Make the library the community Kitchen – loud, messy and the center of everything.
Power of Creativity – Creative People ARE:  original, curious, open-minded, risk-takers, connectors, productive 
Example: Zen Garden that turned into sandbox as soon as the kids found it.   Intergenerational Programming and Community Gardens (grant-funded with Denver Urban Gardens)  It’s about growing community, not vegetables.  Gives neighbors an opportunity to get to know each other!
Branding – A brand is more than a logo.  As you think about marketing the library, pay attention to features at the bottom, Benefits in the middle,and Unique Ideas or Value at the Top (most important).  Simon TED Talk again!!!  People need to connect with you on the unique emotional space.   Hired a Marketing company to develop “anythink: A revolution of Rangeview libraries” – logo is a squiggle.  Big risk, but great reward.  Building a Brand – touchpoints include systematic signage – more behind the brand than the logo.  Connector that reenforces the brand and feel of the library.. Spark – newsletter – all have a cohesive link.
Results – People love the libraries and have a pleasant experience | Circ quadrulpled | 1.4 mil visits with 94% self-cehck, from 30,000 to 110,000 cardholders, and 300% increase in public computing.
NATIONAL MEDAL from Museum and Library Service!  Woot!
 Library had to write the application and 7 months later, they won!  December 2010, visited the White House.
What’s Next?
  • YOUMEDIA Project – Expand for all customers, not just Teens [Post about this]  “Hanging around, messing around and geeking out!”
  • Strategic Plan:  learning organization | experience Library | Community | Tech supports creativity | Shift perception of library
The world is changing, so the library must change, too.
Ended with a great video
Associated Articles about Pam:

eContent, Tipping Points and Nimble Staff

For Trustee Training this year, we are talking about the impact of eContent on Libraries.  Jim will talk about the significance of this change and the importance of planning for an eBook-friendly library.  He found a statistic that says the market share of eBooks has hit 20%…

I’m charged with discussing the impact of eContent on library staff.  My working argument is that:

  • Excellent customer service requires nimble, agile, adaptive staff who are comfortable and competent with technology
  • Because library customers believe that library staff are technologically savvy, we should do what we can to support that belief with training in technology competencies.

Abbreviated Presentation Notes (.pdf)

According to Simon Sinek’s inspiring TED Talk on the Law of Diffusion of Innovation:

  • 2.5% of the population are Innovators
  • The next 13.5% are Early Adopters
  • The next 34% are Early Majority
  • The next 34% are Late Majority
  • The 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.”   According to the statistics Jim quoted, eContent, specifically eBooks, have reached that tipping point.  eBooks aren’t an emerging technology, they are an accepted and EXPECTED reality.  Is your library ready for this?

eBooks are simply the next stop in the never-ending journey in providing responsive, innovative and excellent service to our communities.  Change is the only constant – we know this and embrace this – we change our library’s vision and mission and strategic plan, our collections (eBooks), our buildings (laptop work stations), our technologies (wireless), but how do we also ensure that our library’s most significant investment – OUR PEOPLE – are ready to adapt to and support not just a new technology like eBooks, but technology in general?

What is the reality in libraries?

  • Patrons are coming to the library with their new gadgets (eReaders, tablets, smartphones), expecting help.  Sometimes still in the box.  They also want purchase recommendations.
  • In general, those who feel comfortable with eBooks, have an eReader or a tablet they use themselves.
  • The process to find, checkout, download and read/listen to an electronic LIBRARY book is complicated.  It involves multiple pieces of software, knowledge of file management (side-loading), and in our case multiple online accounts.  The process requires several intermediate to advanced skills and competencies.
  • Technology is at the heart of many core library service…not just the online catalog, but mobile smartphone apps, PCs, wireless, PC management, email, hardware/software updates, Office software and the INTERNET — eReaders and Kansas EZ Library are just new library services with a technological heart

So, change is the norm, eBooks are here to stay, and we have patrons asking for assistance.  How do libraries ensure Excellent Customer Service in this environment? Here are 3 ideas.

  • Empower and Support the Director in developing an agile, nimble and resilient staff with Continuing Education.
    • Focus on Meredith Farkas’ “Skills for the 21st Century Librarian” (aka Core Competencies)
      • Ability to embrace change
        “We should fear not providing the best services to our patrons much  more than we should fear change.”
      • Comfort in the online medium
        Able to use the tools and TEACH others to use the tools – internet, search engines, eBook software and eReaders
      • Ability to troubleshoot new technologies
        Skills and knowledge to figure out what’s wrong and fix it – ‘out of order’ = bad customer service
      • Ability to easily learn new technologies
        Learn how to learn, play, and explore.  Experience the technology from the patron’s point of view.
      • Ability to keep up with new ideas in technology and librarianship (enthusiasm for learning)
        “We need to be able to keep up with what’s new in technology and what libraries are (or could be) doing with it.”
    • Encourage and support a Community of Learning or a Learning Organization – notion based on The Fifth Discipline:  The art and practice of the learning organizationby Peter Senge.
      • Possible models: “The C’s of Our Sea Change” in Computers in Libraries by Helene Blowers and Lori Reed – The FIRST 23 Things program – self-paced, yet cooperative tech learning program.
      • Make it a priority – is lifelong learning part of the Library’s mission or vision?
      • Model the behavior – Ask for updates and briefings from the Director – take an active interest, stay informed and be supportive
  • Approve the purchase of an eReader or Tablet for staff to use.
    • Staff can use the hardware internally to explore, learn, and play.
    • Staff can use it with Patrons to troubleshoot issues and demonstrate or teach about this new library service.
    • Create programming around it – great opportunity to be responsive to the Community.
  • Consider the impact of eContent on your library’s Customer Service goals.
    • How would the best possible customer/staff interaction in the library or in the community go?
    • Is everyone – Board, Director and Staff – ready to answer questions about the impact of eContent on the library?
    • What does you library need to do to address this new role of ‘community helpdesk’?

Embracing eBooks is an extension of our mission – we should build on the TRUST the Public already has in the library to be knowledgeable, helpful and patient guides.

  • What? – Support the Director in developing a tech-savvy staff, provide the necessary tools and resources, and make embracing eBooks a strategic priority
  • Why? – It’s expected, it’s Good Customer Service, and it support the Mission/vision of the library
  • How? – Make Continuing education a priority, Support the purchase of eReaders and/or Tablets for the library staff, and Discuss the impact of eBooks and technological change on customer service (and plan accordingly)
  • When? – Now! Change is the only constant and our ability to thrive now and in the future depends on being nimble, agile and resilient – both as a Board and an organization
30 Second speech: “What is the library doing to help me find eContent?” – If this is the question asked by a patron, can every Board and staff member answer it?
Discussion questions:
  1. How do we encourage and support a culture of learning, support the culture of constant change, and embrace new roles for the library in the community?   What is the Board’s role in supporting continuing education?
  2. What can we do to make sure library personnel thrive in a constantly changing (and improving) environment?
  3.  What can the Board do to help foster an open, curious, forward-thinking and ‘yes’ culture in the library?

Resources for Directors:

  • WebJunction’s Competency Index for the Library Field – Tech section covers E-mail, hardware, Internet, Operating systems, Software applications and Web tools
  • 23 Things Kansas – self-directed learning for online tools for community, sharing and productivity (blogging, Flickr, FaceBook, etc.)
  • ALA’s Library Support Staff Certification Technology competencies – For example, support staff will know “basic computer operations needed to access library applications, software, and productivity tools” AND support staff will be able to “adapt to changes in technology
  • PLAY, PLAY, PLAY – learn by doing, ‘put it through its paces’, attend a work day or petting zoo
  • Constant change requires constant learning, be that in a classroom, online, small-group, one-on-one, by networking, buddying up with a fellow newbie, or just sharing what you know with others.
    • WebJunction classes
    • LearningExpress
    • NEKLS Training events
    • Provide time for staff to improve their skills, explore their interests, and play with technology in the library, brought to the library and used by library patrons
    • Make it FUN – my idea is to have merit badges for the various competencies (easy, intermediate, hard) – sort of like girl scouts, but without the cookies.  What could people learn if given 15 minutes a day?
  • How the brain learns – retention after 24 hours is 5% from lecture, but 75% from practice by doing and 90% from teaching others – so create situations that encourage doing and teaching each other
  • Petting Zoo’s
  • Facilitate eReader networking – Nook/Kindle/iPad Play Dates at the Library
  • Just do it – if you schedule it, they will come – 35 at Leavenworth, 35 at Osawatomie, 20 at Richmond (one of our smallest libraries)
  • Reach out to the early adopters in your Community and invite them to help teach and share their skills and enthusiasm –
    • Basehor has a Digital Readers Focus Group who reviewed popular eReaders and posted their findings on the library’s Web site,
    • Osawatomie has had 2 programs, one with the Toy Box and one where she wanted to facilitate informal learning among eReader owners,
    • Richmond’s director got an iPad for Christmas and with it jumped on the 3M bandwagon
  • Make it a Priority
    • Provide training on ‘coping with change’
    • Asses and Re-assess – what skills are ‘good to go,’ hidden, and missing?
    • Support internal tech days – time for staff to use the technology – Task-oriented – For example, download an audiobook to the computer
    • Involve the community with technology-centered programming (Take-Apart-Thursdays to disassemble old hardware and appliances)

Technology Competencies and Training for Librarians by Sarah Houghton

Public Libraries – the E-Books issue (vol. 51, no. 1)

I revised this on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 with much help from Kelly Fann and Mickey Coalwell.

More Edgy Librarian

Edgy Librarian Webinar Archive featuring Gina Millsap, Topeka & Shawnee County Public LibraryAdditional Notes from Feb 1, 2012#edgylib

We finally got the archive, so I can listen and take notes from Gina’s presentation.  Woot!

Tough Times Call for Tough Librarians

  • The Library is about the Staff who serve the people who use the library
  • Reductions: 6% to staff,  55% from the book budget and 80% funding to storytime
  • User fees, discontinued book mailing (after 20 years), and asked for money from Friends
  • 2012 restores collections budget
  • Gweneth A Jones – Daring Librarian Blog – Lady Gaga Librarians!  Have a presence.
  • What makes a librarian tough?
    • Tough: resilient, strong, scrappy, resolute, hardy, able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking
  • That’s our profession – We are all of these things!  We haven’t given up!  We still connect people, transform lives, but the ways we provide services, collections and programs will continue to evolve.
  • Customers– Know our customers – their needs/wants – Hospitality – From transaction to interaction.
    • Be customers and understand what it’s like to to experience the library as a user!
  • Consultants – Information consultants, not mediators.  Gina says we should be experts.
  • Convenience – Make it priority to provide materials/services ‘when, where and how people need them’ – understanding that that will change over time.
    • Branches are expensive and permanent. Dispensers for books, films and games and lock boxes for reserves that people can pick up when it is convenient to them are less expensive and MOBILE.
    • Bookmobiles are also coming back, b/c of flexibility.
  • Communicate– Talk to customers in the way that works for them.  Chat reference.
    • Confer, advice and consult.
  • Create– original content. Show what we can do for them (video, podcast, etc.)
    • Show what we can do AND who we are.
  • Change – Anticipate and manage change with strategic planning and by actively looking for the ‘next big thing.’
    • Our brand is READING, not books.  Audio, eReaders, print books, etc.
    • What is our plan to deal with the library as a living organism?
  • Connect – Share our expertise and personalities.  Make personal connections and share the library as library users.
  • Current– What do we do about Apple, Google and Amazon taking control of eContent?  How do we maintain user privacy?   What’s the impact of leasing v. owning eBooks?
    • Stay current through “Environmental Scanning, Experimenting and providing experiences that mimic and draw on what people like best on the web and in a physical space.” 
    • Be in the content business – content that is important to our local communities.
  • Collaborate – Find Partners and ways to ‘leverage resources to provide better collections, services and programs.’ 200+ community partners. Wisdom of Crowds.
  • Continuous Improvement– Analyze how, what, who and make changes to meet expectations.
    • Reviewing, revising and refocussing.
  • Take ChargeSecrets of Facilitation – Help smart groups of people work together to make good decisions.  Help people solve problems and make tough decisions – start by asking great, hard questions.

Tough Libraries… 

  • Build a shared visionThe Leadership Challenge – 5 practices of leadership – how do you contribute to where we are going?
  • Implement the vision with a Plan.
    • Strategic, has clear goals and sets the task list for the future.  TSCPL’s is written in second person – its about them, not us.
    • “Our Vision: You know us and we know you, you trust us, you are proud of us, you inspire us and you can’t read enough (for us)”
    • Plan outlines what the library WILL do, WON’T do and the resources needed.
  • Collective Wisdom – Lead by drawing of the ‘collective knowledge, creativity and expertise of those around you.’
    • Encourages innovation, leads to effective problem solving, increases productivity, promotes employee engagement/ownership and rewards doing the right thing.
  • Scan the Environment– Know what’s going on locally to internationally!  Know about those things that impact libraries – creates a context for planning and decision making.
  • Listen to Customers and learn all we can about them – Market based on data – Direct customer feedback – market segmentation.
  • Invest in Staff– Need the expertise, skills and authority to fill the library’s mission and vision. Invest in training.
    • Focus learning on core values – customer service, communication, diversity.
    • PLAY and Experiment with technology.
    • Model life-long learning ourselves.
  • Commit to Being the Best – The Fifth Discipline– Benchmark against those they consider the Best.
    • Continuous improvement. Look at how we can do our work better.  Reduce inconsistencies, remove value-less activities, improve satisfaction and grow the customer base.  System’s thinking and Process improvement.  80% of all problems in organizations cased by process, not people.
    • View library as a living organism, interconnected/interrelated. Great people working in flawed systems.
  • Organize Around the Work – Redesign and reallocate based on actual work being done…after you’ve determined goals and standards.  Avoid silo-ing. Discover root causes of problems rather than patch them with technology.

Examples:

  • Children’s Library mural painted by a staff member!  Paints one week per month.  Local artist offered to create planets of the galaxy out of blown glass – only charging for materials!
  • Living Room – Public spaces reorganized – removed big reference desk and replaced with tables and chairs and face-out merchandising.  People use the library as their office. “The big move.”
  • Neighborhoods – Dewey running in the background of ‘browsing havens we call neighborhoods.’  Organized by Topic – Weddings, lawn and garden, health and wellness. New neighborhood = checkouts increase from 25 to 40%…that’s unheard of in adult Non-fiction.  Team effort with corporate sponsorship. Hallmark sponsors the wedding hood
  • The Edge – one of 2 teen spaces, designed by the kids themselves.
  • Make choices based on what is most important for the community.

“Books, buildings and cool technology are all important, but the most important asset of the 21st Century library is its 21st Century librarians.”Gina Millsap

Edgy Librarian

Webinar notes | Edgy Librarian | Gina Millsap, Cheryl Gould | Feb 1, 2012 |#edgylib

I just sat and listened and cheered at Gina’s presentation – I’ll take notes when we get the archive. She was talking about how to be successful in tough times.  Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is a leader in our state and I think her library is doing many things right, like their Non-Fiction neighborhoods, public/private partnerships and giving staff time to play.

While we wait for the next speaker – we’re having a great discussion about changes in the library – how the library is the hub, the library is the ‘happening place’ in small towns, and the library as meeting place.  We talked about using the Library’s calendar as a Community Calendar – put those meetings, sports events and such online as a community resources.  Ha ha – patrons are discovering placing holds online and making more work for libraries!  Oh well, it’s a good problem to have.

Presenter 2:

Cheryl Gould – Culture Shift: How to Create a Library That’s Prepared for the Future (fullyengagedlibraries.com)

  • Poll Results: Yes, libraries need and are ready for a Culture Shift!
  • Her dreams: Library as “the Place” to get connected, make connections – learning opportunities, civic discourse, and embrace change.
  • Our dreams: Adequate building and staff, Community hub, become the 3rd place, and a place that unites the community.  Vital community resource, like Fire and Police.
  • Culture: Shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution.
  • Change the Culture, Change the Game by Roger Connors and Tom Smith.  If you want different results, you’ll need a shift.
  • Kinds of Culture Shifts:
    • reactive to creative
    • individual to team
    • wrong to right
    • expert to collaborator
    • challenges to opportunities
  • What about our Culture do we want to keep?  Image as reliable resources, unbiased, welcoming/open, neutral meeting place
  • What do we NOT want to preserve? Books only, fines and fees, rules, shush/hush, silos, negativity
  • Our culture started with books, then we were digital before the Internet, then we’re on the Internet with its constant changes and ambiguous authority, and now the growth of gadgets/widgets/apps it’s nearly impossible to be the expert or authority.
  • Downside of “Culture of Expertise” – hierarchy can stifle creativity, may stifle community engagement (facilitating discussion doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers).
  • Innovate and Collaborate
    • Unprecedented pace of change means we need to communicate, be flexible, adapt, and collaborate to co-create solutions.
    • Change Resilience – coping with this rapid change
    • Develop staff to cope!
  • Role of the Library  – Value? Five laws of library science by Ranganathan…what else?  Democratization of society? Safe haven for open pursuit of information? Community gathering place?
    • Librarians? resources? buildings? access? computers?
    • engaging learning experiences, community anchors, access to content (IMLS Susan Hildreth)
    • learning, access for all…but the role is no longer clear or simple
  • Shift requires:
    • trust, communication, improvisation, collaboration and engagement
    • libraries have a more muddled mission
    • shift from top-down to collaboration
    • “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”
    • Experiences create belief and people behave based on their beliefs.  So change experience = change behavior
    • How much time do you spend on the foot draggers?  If you spend time on this, you give it value. Instead, spend time on doing, trying, creating!
    • Perform UP to the LEVEL of EXPECTATION!
    • Example is the ONLY thing that influences others (Schweitzer)
    • Model new behaviors – creates trust and belief…and make sure we are AWARE of our own behaviors
  • Global Workforce Study shows barely 1 in 5 employees are engaged!
    • Engaged = passionate and connected. Drive innovation.
    • Not-engaged = checked out
    • Actively disengaged = toxic – undermine engaged coworkers
  • How do you get people to care about their work?
    • Empower, educate, develop passions and interests, fun, listen, pay them, create ideas WITH them, not FOR them.
    • Share the big picture, share the spotlight, have a party
  • Trust – The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey
    • Listen more than you speak – active listening, give nonverbal feedback, ask questions for clarification, think before you respond, don’t interrupt
  • Encourage Creativity and Collaboration – Group Genius by Keith Sawyer
    • Collaboration should be strength based
    • Respect and appreciate others – group results are better
    • It’s a messy process
  • Create a Culture of YES
    • increased trust, improved engagement, fun environment
  • Other Techniques
    • Work through The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
    • Applied improvisation – create a ‘yes, and’ culture
    • reward effort and experimentation
    • Take is seriously – invest time and money in your staff.

Discussion – We’ve been hearing about flattening hierarchies for the last 10 years – Paula remembers a NEST program about this pre-2003.  Regional systems facilitate innovation – the Systems support collaboration, innovation and development. Part of the NEKLS vision is “50 feet from the bleeding edge.”  Community partnerships help the small libraries do stuff with the big-guys – like Independence Public Library winning the Best Small Library.   As the population shifts, are the philanthropic organizations to partner with struggling with membership? Our librarians would like ideas for gathering prizes and partnerships.

Presenter 3:

New York Public Library Labs – David Riordan – How to Make Your Own Library Lab

  • Map Warper – maps.nypl.org – Maps used to be an atlas with indexes.
    • Maps now behave with zoom in/zoom out/stretch forever!
    • They want to connect, not just show, information.
    • Transform paper maps into geo-spacial contemporary maps – stitch together maps
    • Let the map answer questions!
    • Builds a database of geographic history.
    • Digitizing city directories – then overlay – and build a directory of New York lives!  When was a building, not just where a building was…
  • What’s on the Menu?
    • menus.nypl.org
    • library of menus – historical images of the menus (Digital Gallery)
    • Researches wanted to look at data sets – marine biologist tracked price of fish over time – used as an indicator of fish populations
    • People had to review the menus to build the data – built with free time!
    • Crowd-sourced transcribing
  • Stereogranimator
    • stereo.nypl.org
    • Victorian 3D with cards and a viewmaster
    • Stereographs – 40,000 images digitized
    • Without a stereoscope, you can’t see them in 3D
    • Artist ‘raided the archive’ and made incredible animated gifs – captivated the librarians
    • Create a tool to do what Joshua did??
    • Released it last week.
    • Crowd-sourcing again – transform old into new
    • Can you upload your own images??  Will they make the software open source? YES in a couple of months.
    • Kids and Teens? Thinking about 3D printing and maker-bots at the branches…
  • How we can start our own library lab…
    • Start with exciting content – pick verticals and go deep (what excites you – secret treasures)
    • Pay attention to what excites people – and focus on that material first
    • Travel diaries, election documents, valentine’s day cards, etc.
    • LOCAL – matters to YOUR community
    • Get it online – It doesn’t have to be perfect
    • LOVE – love your patrons and community – it’s funding and love
    • Use your community to make these projects happen
    • Team with Colleges & Universities (computer science, art, history, etc. departments as potential partners)
    • Radioactive – Exhibition about Marie Currie and her husband.  http://exhibitions.nypl.org/radioactive/
    • Tech talent – host hack-a-thons, design events, invite technical groups to use the library!
    • Wikipedia, the musical
    • Think long term and get the word out–share them with your community.  Bloggers, leaders, find the public that is interested in the subject-matter.
    • Make sure there is an “interested community of engagement.”
    • Use MLS students as interns – data review, community development and outreach/engagement (build relationships), etc.

Makers in libraries

So, we met at Brenda’s house yesterday morning for our staff inservice and the topic of conversation was: NEKLS Tech Goals for our revised Tech Plan.  To help spark conversation, I asked everyone to read this NPR article by Jon Kalish, “Libraries Make Room for High-Tech “Hackerspaces.

Well, it worked – we had a very interesting discussion that covered everything from our general dislike of the term ‘hacker,’ to what exactly is 3D printing, how the role of library as ‘University for all’ has changed recently, and how libraries can/should help makers/hackers/inventors, like we help job seekers.   (For more about makers and just because it’s cool, visit Make Magazine.)

Libraries are familiar with the maker/hacker crowd – they come in to use the non-fiction collection, the computers and the meeting room for their monthly Guild meetings.   (Unfortunately, they also often leave in disgust because the NF collection is out-of-date or doesn’t meet their needs.)  Regardless, I see a need to share these ideas with our libraries, especially the ones interested in new and innovative roles.  In my mind, 2012 is going to be the Year of Innovation – what with R. David Lankes coming to KLA Conference and someone from the AnyThink library speaking at our Assembly.  I’m excited.

Heather, the researcher of the office, today found and shared these articles.  We take the flood of articles on the topic to be a sign from above:

Interesting reading.  I’ve been following the YouMedia lab and other “Library as creative space” initiatives for awhile, and I’m glad to see these articles and additional discussion on the topic.

YouMedia at Chicago Public Library

This is fantastic!  Exactly where libraries need to be looking – creative spaces for patrons (not just teens, but teens are early adopters).  And look, here’s a way to help make it happen – the IMLS / MacArthur Foundation / Urban Libraries Council Grant “Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums“.  Read more about YouMedia and other cool initiatives from Heather Braum’s Summer Institute for School Librarian’s blog post.

YOUmedia is an innovative, 21st century teen learning space housed at the Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia was created to connect young adults, books, media, mentors, and institutions throughout the city of Chicago in one dynamic space designed to inspire collaboration and creativity.

OK, so I also found this great video from Edutopia about “EAST — A Way Forward: Tech Inspires Self-Directed Learning

Students in the Environmental and Spatial Technology program, at Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, in Little Rock, Arkansas, connect with nature through projects that serve their community.

This video talks about some of the awesome projects these Middle school kids thought up and brought to fruition, including designing and building a greenhouse and locating on GPS and creating a documentary about two Japanese-American internment camps in southern Arkansas.