School Library Journal has a fascinating article about a tween library space in Stockholm. There are several aspects that make this inspiring:
1. No adults are allowed inside except for librarians
2. Tweens have to be ages 10-13 to use the space
3. Spaces were specifically designed for both extroverts and introverts
4. There is a kitchen!
The article has several quotes that embody this philosophy of this library space:
Hoflin “was very clear” about why the library needed a kitchen, she recalls. “The library should be a place where you could smell fresh cinnamon buns when you are reading.” The right smells, tactile features, and visual elements would contribute to a “library that should evoke all kinds of emotions.” In a kitchen, Stenberg adds, people “sit down and talk together and eat and share stories.”
At its heart, TioTretton is “very organic,” notes Stenberg. “One of the biggest things is the philosophy that this is a work in progress that will never be finished. We should always try new things. TioTretton should shape and reshape itself.”
Take a look at the entire article and be inspired!
One of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits, has a new post about how creativity works and how to do it. He offers five ideas on how to do it, many of which I use on a daily basis. So if you want to be coming up with big new ideas for your library, this is a great way to do it:
1. Create time for solitude – this is so very important, especially with public jobs like ours. Librarians have to allow themselves time to think, plan and dream about the services you can provide. Getting past the guilt of claiming solo time is also necessary. You have to put it in the perspective that thinking time leads to better service for patrons. So stop the busy work for a bit and let some of those little fires you spend so much time putting out burn for a little while.
2. Search for interesting ideas – Read, read, read. And not just inside of the library bubble. Read about education, technology, diversity. Read leadership books, creativity blogs, talk with people, connect with others who share your passions and vision.
3. Keep an idea file – Since I’ve been told I move too quickly with new ideas, I started an idea file. When I know that there is capacity to try something new, I turn back to that file and find all of the amazing things I’ve collected. This can be articles ripped from magazines, a Word document filled with cuts and pastes from all over the web, or a tag in Delicious that lets you revisit these ideas.
4. Reflect on ideas, apply them to your field – Take time to reflect and think about how ideas from outside Libraryland can be adapted to fit what we are doing. Dream about what is possible, even if there isn’t a budget, there isn’t staff time, or there isn’t the will to pull it off. Ideas need time to percolate over time. Don’t worry that you can’t do it right now, there may be a way to make it happen that you just haven’t thought of yet.
5. Iterate on what you’ve come up with – Remix, add other thoughts, mix again, ask for input, run it past other staff members, brainstorm with other library leaders, continue to think. Give yourself permission to take time to make the idea the best and also permission to move on to other new ideas instead.
Do you have any creativity tips for librarians? What else do you do to come up with ideas?
As those who work with me will tell you, I’m a little bit crazed about having a neat workspace. Despite the stacks of picture books and children’s books waiting for review, I have only a few things out on my desk that represent current projects.
It wasn’t always this way. When I ran a small library, I was a “piler" not a “filer.” I still have to remind myself to file things away rather than just creating another pile that will sit there and then steadily be buried by other things.
I already have a very blank computer desktop and find it nearly impossible to use one covered in icons. Just like my desk, I keep items on my desktop that I’m currently working on and then either delete them when finished or file them elsewhere. Email is another place simplification works well. I have a system of folders that I sort things into. I’ve tried the auto-filing system but end up missing emails that way.
Having a simpler work space really works for me. Lifehack has a very nice piece about how best to create that Zen-like working environment. In fact, I’m getting inspired to clear even more off of my desk and walls.
Tumblr has a great new blog that offers librarians the ability to share some of their darkest secrets. Subtitled “A place for those of us in Libraryland to come clean,” the photos offer faceless librarians hiding behind signs that tell of their secrets.
It’s a must-follow for librarians and worth a laugh or two too.
The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has issued their first analysis of The State of Small and Rural Libraries in the United States.
The reports states that 77.1% of public libraries in the US can be categorized as small with 15.4 percent of the population, or 46 million people, served by small libraries. Almost half of all public libraries are seen as rural libraries.
Service continues to grow in rural libraries with a 4.2 percent increase in the last three years.
It is also clear the rural libraries serve to bridge the gap for rural residents with access to broadband and technology.
Take a look at the full report for more details.
The award-winning marketers at Jonesboro, AK displayed their humor and willingness to share great ideas at ALA. Amazing stuff!
Video with local movie theater required to show at last 2 minutes before the show starts on 18 screens
"Imagine, create, connect"
Libraries didn’t used to have to market and we are slow to change
Get anywhere on website in 3 clicks
Developed a creative team to market library aggressively
If staff members’ feelings are more important than reaching your community, you are doing something wrong
You must have people with thick skins on this committee
ECards campaign – Dumbledore dies on page…
Words and typography this year
Come from public’s perspective and pull them in
Sell the idea of a library not the specific service
They will find what they want after you generate curiosity
Put it just past the stoplight so they have to pause
Make them laugh or touch their hearts
Not in out of the way locations
On the ends of all of the stacks except they are funny
50 shades of bacon – cookbook section
Put up around town too
Graphics on front, info on back
Respect your audience’s sense of humor, but don’t cross the line
Required registration in adult reading program to attend the murder mystery party
Branded shirts at work
Logo should be everywhere
Stories not ads
Only do ads for Friends book sale twice a year
Radio every other week
Drive time, morning shows and talk radio
Have staff involved from different sections
Talk about everything you are doing
News stories and interviews
Use images you create in house – ecards
Post compelling content
Facebook is a numbers game – you want people to share it because that makes it more visible for everyone
Puts your logo in people’s faces
Evening posts are when they try to be more human
Images are key
Be the George Takei of your community – feel good thing and hip
Prove that you get it
**ALA Think Tank
**Dropbox – 400 libraries using this now – see card
Advertising on Facebook
$10 a day ads – they find that it’s worth it
Build your clientele
Follow other libraries on Facebook and ask how they are doing things
We’re trying to transform an image, not reinforce one
Tell them how cool and awesome it is, not how free
Sell the sizzle, not the steak but deliver a damn good steak in your programming
This was one presentation that I looked forward to immensely. Cory Doctorow not only writes great books and gives them away for free online, but he is also one of the most incisive minds looking at the Internet today. Here are my notes from his presentation:
Libraries are about navigating authority and the Internet has fragmented that
Good librarians empower users to look for information online in the best possible way
Everything we use to measure quality of life goes up with Internet access – compared neighboring housing areas, one with Internet, one without
Makerspaces – where networked making takes place
Effective way of learning how to make things is to talk to other makers
Find someone who has gotten 80% of the way there then network the rest
Useless machine – playful side of making but real world skill development
Entrepreneurial side to these spaces
Imagine libraries as the place you build your next computer that you get to take home
Taking things apart is a powerful subversive act
Feral robot dogs
Makerkids.ca – if you make something new, you get to take it home
Technical literacy is vital for libraries and society
Everything we do is computerized
A user should be able to terminate any process on any computer they own
What happens when Monsanto needs to break your computer? They are much larger than copyright holders.
If you can build a computer, you are like the samurai who can make their own sword
3d printers are sensitive to breezes but there is a patent for walls on 3d printers – put your own sides on.
Algorithms are running our world and we believe they are objective. We don’t understand them because they are clearly coded by humans.
It is an editorial job just like a masthead for a magazine.
Libraries should be Book-lined computer filled information dojos.
** James Boyle – network ecology, information and knowledge economy
We exist in a single networked ecology.
We must change our consciousness before we can solve the problem.
Complex sets of vulnerabilities because of copyright law (DMCA)
Creative Commons licenses for his books
1. Promotion of his work
Doing a name your price humble bundle sort of thing for authors
Identifies OS and challenges them. Can give money to specific parts of the project to support open source.
Shut Up & Take My Money – launching this fall and will be kickstarted
Everyone copies it’s innate
We have a name for things that don’t copy, we call them extinct.
Writers have become human shields in the fight to stop copying
He refuses to contribute to that
Stop talking about metadata like it’s no big deal
No definition of anonymizing information has been made
There are lots of kinds of metadata too
Libraries as 501(c)3 for publisher ebooks to get them real data quickly unlike Amazon and Google and Apple
Gateway drug to making stuff is breaking stuff
Low cost of failure
Terms and conditions
Are you in the rules = are you making or having a copy?
Hyper inflation in copying
Should not apply to regular people outside the industry
We are hitting 12 year olds writing fanfic with land mines
They should never apply to people just industries
We already have tons of rules that regulate individual use
You should not need a license to access information if you are just a person
They are unjust on their face and they are farcical
Every time I head to ALA Annual, I try to get to the Top Technology Trends panel. It’s always fascinating and I am guaranteed to learn something! Here are my notes from the latest trends presentation:
MOOCs – challenges sequestered education experience
Librarians can reach out and make sure that course design includes resources
Michael Stephens – The Hyperlinked Library
More students with fewer teachers
How does this impact formal college degrees?
Gamification and badges
Completion rate is very low – thinks this will increase significantly
Standard courses in specific fields
Micro classrooms – homeschooling by hiring teachers; one on one
Public libraries may want to offer support for citizens attending MOOCs
Rethink the way we handle identity on the network
Text mining names and then consolidating
Tremendously important for organizing work of people into the 21st century
Surveillance state – cameras and Google glass
Indicators or surveillance will be demanded
National Security Letters and Prism
Libraries need to be involved in anonymous reading and writing
Proposed right to be forgotten in UK
Management of online identity and public libraries as emerging civic spaces
Increase in Duck Duck Go
Roll your own digital book project
DAZL project in Arizona
Learned that independent and local publishers an d self publishers are willing to work with libraries
Make move to encouragers and developers of content rather than consumers
Creating interfaces that have social interfaces that build communities
We need to understand that free is not bad
Information literacy needs to inspire and empower patrons to create content
Student voices as legit contributions
Cloud storage and centralized database model
Counter trend is managing your own mass storage and digital lending
Increase your own digital holdings of copyrighted materials
Tech has gotten more inexpensive and easy
Digitize in copyright items and lend one at a time
If there is push back, take them down
CSpan video library
Overdrive and Amazon
22 months later – no improvement
Transparency for end users – Data can be removed manually
Take stock of how all of our vendors are handling our patron data
**What is being sent as authentication?
Warning labels are not enough
Vote with our dollars – support open communities
Delete your IP addresses
Start offering email addresses that guarantee privacy for your community members
Provide an umbrella for the techie dudes so that they create platforms for you
Start offering platform for photos
Nerds are taking over
Techie librarians are moving up quickly in many fields
Libraries as beta spaces
Where you learn, try and fail and try again
Mozillas open badge framework for badges and incentives
This was a fascinating panel presented mostly by people who are not librarians. Here are my notes:
What you have to do to make a game?
Mechanisms that allow game to function
Resource management and economy
Program if digital
Play testing and critique
Gvlibraries.org/gaming – classroom game list
Game design in school setting
1. Play games
Getting started – expectations, nuggets and pitch
3. Design – old boards, bits and supplies, play test
4. Feedback, refine, growth
5. Play each other’s games, reflect and feedback
Small local labs around town – some people don’t like to go to the university
On carts and set it up 2-3 days a week on the fly
3d design is hard
Inspiration is needed – don’t just download but design
Create models via game tools
Uses Spore for design
Use command line to export to Blender
UP!3D printer for $1000
Why is this important?
Democratization of production
Relationships – making is connecting
Google sketchup – for adults
Have kids teach kids – 11 year olds as formal program leaders
Ratio of 1 adult to 3 kids tops
International Games Day in November
One of my favorite library presenters is Joan Frye Williams, so I just had to attend her presentation on Beyond Brainstorming. Here are my notes from the session:
Libraries are project heavy and more decisions need to be made now
We are a laboratory not a factory
Expect an iterative, not linear process
Cultivate buy- in
The process was fair
I understood the decision criteria – make deal breakers clear at the get go
There was an opportunity for my voice to be heard
Even if the direction is not what I would have chosen, I will support it with positive communications and actions – the clincher
Make the process transparent
Involve the implementers – know things we don’t know and have street cred
You are either at the table or on the menu
Solve the right problem
Understand your role- voice, vote or veto
Make this very clear to people who just have a voice not a decision making role
Many people assume they have a veto
Make this explicit
Understand any fixed criteria
Don’t weasel – use sparingly but make them stick
Find out what’s really going on
Many decision processes are initiated with vivid bad news anecdotes
Not what scared us just recently
Can’t always be answered by people in the room
Look for alternate explanations for your current state
Identify a preferred future state
What does good look like
Absence of conflict is not always good, healthy or smart
It’s not your job to make everyone happy
That guarantees crap decisions
This cannot be the veto
Broaden your options
Have lots of possibilities not a yes/no decision – that comes at the end
There is more than one right answer
Look beyond the familiar – get wild ideas in there
If none of your options make you nervous, you are missing opportunities
Try reverse brainstorming – what can we do to make sure we never reach the ideal state?
Test your assumptions once you have a few options worth considering
Lots of library decisions are made in an evidence-free zone particularly if it’s an emotional decision
Look for patterns
Think about service life cycles
We are not thoughtful about sun-setting
Start succession planning for services
Project more than one future
Play the percentages, you are not a psychic
Do what would work if any of those things happen
What is the plan if some key factors don’t happen?
The surer someone is about the future, the higher the odds it will not happen
Don’t canonize the past
What people think of as the good old days is the last time they felt competent
Assess the true odds
Ask how often this issue comes up
Treat exceptions as exceptions – in a separate column
The decision does not need to cover every possible situation
Have a strategy for the exceptions
Make decisions with mercy for the exceptions
Just because there’s a grant…
Know why you are doing a grant
Strengthen each option
Don’t whittle them down because you will lose the newer ones
Look at the best version of each of the options
See how good you can make each of them
Assign small teams to do this – work in parallel
Not pros and cons but how do we make this successful
Exchange options and strengthen further
Try combining the best elements of multiple options to create a new option
Do a pre-mortem
Look a year in the future and think about what could make this fail
Leverage any objections
If you see a problem then fix it in advance
"Good point, let’s talk about what we can do to fix that."
Assume positive intent about objections
No attribution of motivation
Whatever the source it might be a righteous objection
Don’t let it bite you
Not "yes, but…"
Add your point without discrediting them
Develop multiple viable paths
Relieves pressure of the decision
Get some distance before deciding
Allow time for reflecting
What would your successor do?
Often makes the choice obvious
Look at a role model – what would they do?
How would you advise someone just starting out?
How would you advise your best friend?
Quit taking it personally
Make the decision
Not so hard because you are looking at a set of good ideas
Stay focused on results
Report your decision fairly including the thoughtful objections
State the case like the Supreme Court – respected alternate points of view
Acknowledge what must remain uncertain or a risk
Prepare to be wrong
Fail in the right direction and learn something
Prepare to be right
Be ready for success
Dare to commit
Is it ever ok to revisit a decision?
Yes if something big has changed
Yes with new information arises
Yes when the results don’t match what you expected
No when people are just unhappy
No when people are avoiding responsibility or blocking progress