Thursday, May 31, 2007

Behind the Maricopa County Library District’s Dewey-less Plan - 5/31/2007 - Library Journal

Behind the Maricopa County Library District’s Dewey-less Plan - 5/31/2007 - Library Journal

Follow-up from Library Journal who has the full scoop.

"Shore says the layout of the branch, which is part of a high school campus in the fast-growing town of Gilbert, also aims to echo bookstores with nooks and crannies aimed "to create a sense of intimacy and privacy." Maricopa outsources all of its cataloging, and Brodart, which provided the opening day collection, worked to translate Dewey to the new taxonomy. In the catalog, the record will indicate the subject heading, and books are then alphabetized by author. "We’ll be working with staff to develop the taxonomy," Shore said. "It’s a small branch, and the collection is not huge. If we open a larger branch, we’d need to fine tune it.""


"Asked about potential pitfalls, Courtright said, "We might find out our customers don’t like it." Added Deputy Director Cindy Kolaczynski, "The pages are probably a little nervous," but she noted that the sections in the library would each be fairly small. She added that staff were hired for the branch who embraced the evolving mission. And, where, for example, might the biography of sports figure go? Probably biography, Shore said, but the library would remain flexible as it assesses patron response. In some cases, the new taxonomy might allow for more granularity; DVDs, for example, won’t be labeled simply as fiction, but will be broken down by genre, as in video stories. Movable bookshelves on wheels, added Shore, will help the library create flexible displays of books."

Interesting thought process. I remember when Basha Library in Chandler did roving reference and basically removed all service desks. The plan lasted about six months because patrons could not find staff to help them. I think it is smart to try something new and to be able to make adjustments to the plan so that is still workable. It is never all or nothing. Browsing is always the key. Very fun stuff.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BookSwim: Netflix for books? | BlogHer

BookSwim: Netflix for books? | BlogHer

Interesting discussion about Bookswim. This is from the same person who spoke about moving from an area that had a great library. She is looking at Bookswim, but isn't biting. I think this company needs to read the Long Tail. They don't have the vast inventory like Netflix. I think reader's interests are more diverse as well. Many people would rather get it for free at a public library than pay $23 for a subscription for books. One might as well purchase one if it costs that much. Libraries also have interlibrary loan for whatever they don't have. This service may work for someone who does not have a public library to rely upon, but when there is that availability, I don't see this catching on. There is also a reply from a Bookswim rep at the end. There is also a reply from a public library staff member as well. Great discussion.

The Death of Dewey:Gilbert library to be first to drop Dewey Decimal

Gilbert library to be first to drop Dewey Decimal

When the new Gilbert library opens next month, it will be the first public library in the nation whose entire collection will be categorized without the Dewey Decimal Classification System, Maricopa County librarians say.

Instead, tens of thousands of books in the Perry Branch library will be shelved by topic, similar to the way bookstores arrange books. The demise of the century-old Dewey Decimal system is overdue, county librarians say: It's just too confusing for people to hunt down books using those long strings of numbers and letters. Dewey essentially arranges books by topic and assigns call numbers for each book.

This library is in the Maricopa County Library District and will be in the Town of Gilbert. This is the second library in Gilbert. The first being the Southeast Regional Library (66,000 square feet). I have also seen the layout there. Things are laid out in what they call "neighborhoods". This is also a joint-use facility.It should be interesting to see how this flows. Maricopa County has often been a leader in trying new things.

I wonder how this affects their technical services. Do they just not get call numbers or spine labels? I am glad we are forward thinking here, however, my big problem in a bookstore is that I cannot find the EXACT book I want. Some people like browsing the section and that increases finding through serendipity, but when I want to find the exact book, this model doesn't always work. I will definitely be paying them a visit.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Businesspundit: Don't Look For Superstars, Look For Superteams

Businesspundit: Don't Look For Superstars, Look For Superteams
Businesspundit: Don't Look For Superstars, Look For Superteams

For all those people who didn't get the job, read this post. Sometimes it is just a matter of making the right fit. There is no way you can tell that in a job interview. You can be the superstar of the century and not get the job simply because they were not looking for that particular fantastic skill. Also, the super skills you have in one job, may mean absolutely nothing in another job.

Also, in Seth's Blog:Who You Should Hire, he talks about the ability to get things done. Too often we fall into the trap of one versus the other. We want people that get things done, but can work in a team. Teamwork can get the job done, but too often it ends up stifling creativity. Even when the superstar is hired, they are not one for long.

"Most fast-growing organizations are looking for people who can get stuff done.

There is a fundamental shift in rules from manual-based work (where you follow instructions and an increase in productivity means doing the steps faster) to project-based work (where the instructions are unknown, and visualizing outcomes and then getting things done is what counts.)

And yet, we're still trying to hire people who have shown an ability to follow instructions.

I'm almost done with my (sold out) book tour, and the biggest pleasure of the project was working with people who totally understand what it is to get things done. "


After reading these, it reminded me of the post from A Wandering Eyre:On Managing Anxiety, Work, Life, and all Things in Between

"Karen’s post talks about what we do to our motivated leaders. We overburden them. We steal their shiny with promises that never come. I am sorry to say that this has happened to me gradually over the past year. I am still an optimist, often annoyingly so, and I still love my profession, but this past semester made we rethink what my job and my life was and where the lines needed to be drawn. I needed more lines."

I hope that many of the superstars do not get burned out by organizations that want them to comply.

The line "steal their shiny" resonated with me the most. That is a very dangerous thing an organization can do, and sad for the new breed of librarians.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mounting Pressures Facing the U.S. Workforce and the Increasing Need for Adult Education and Literacy

Mounting Pressures Facing the U.S. Workforce and the Increasing Need for Adult Education and Literacy

In short:
■ First Time in History—U.S. Losing Ground to Other Countries
in Educational Attainment of Workforce
■ Increasing Demand for Higher Levels of Education Within the
Workforce, Particularly in Occupations that Pay a Living Wage
■ Shifting Demographics Within the Workforce—Race/Ethnic
Populations Growing at Highest Rates Are the:
▶ Least Educated
▶ Most Likely to Drop Out of High School
▶ Least Successful in College

While the U.S. still has the best-educated workforce in the world, the advantage arises because of the superior education attainment levels of the generation that is approaching the age of retirement. Those entering the workforce have not attained the same level of education as their counterparts in numerous other countries.

This required improvement will not come easily. The demographic profile of those who will be entering the workforce in the coming decades is very different from that of their predecessors; there will be decreases in the number of whites and increases in the number of minorities, especially Latinos.

These growing parts of the population are exactly the ones that have been least likely to achieve high levels of educational attainment. They are much less likely to graduate from high school--and if they do, they are less likely to attend college and to successfully complete a program of study if they do enroll.

As a result, they represent a substantially less well-educated component of those who are entering the workforce and who will remain in the workforce for many years to come.

It would be a serious mistake to treat the nation's dilemma as strictly a minority issue. The nation's schools and colleges are failing with far too many whites--especially white males--as well. The educational pipeline is leaking seriously at every point:
  • Too few complete high school
  • Too few high school graduates and GED completers are going to college
  • Too few college entrants are getting degrees.
The U.S. will likely be unable to regain its place of primacy by 2025 if it relies solely on strategies focused on traditional-age students. Attention will necessarily have to be directed at enhancing the education attainment levels of adults who have fallen into the cracks of the education system somewhere along the way.


Startling is the simple graph where it states there will be over 8 million jobs opening up, but there will not be enough educated professionals to fill them. This is a huge issue and will only get bigger as time goes on. One of those inconvenient truths.

Dare to Dream: A best practices document to further the needs of Adult Literacy

A great document that was just released on how to change adult literacy programs to make them more effective and longer lasting. These studies are extremely important for any community since adult illiteracy permeates every community. What I thought was striking about this study was that if you talk to any business, you will find that they are already aware of this problem, and would have the same suggestions. Businesses need qualified workers, otherwise, they cannot be profitable, nor will they stay in business.

National Council on Adult Literacy
Dare to Dream
A Collection of of Papers from a Resource Group of 102 Educational and Literacy Professionals

Suggestions and clusters center around several broad themes: (parenthesis mine)

  • Make adult education a mainstream education system with strong articulation to post-secondary education and occupational training. (Workforce development)
  • Articulate clearly that adult education and literacy provides economic benefits to students via workforce preparation and postsecondary education. (Adult literacy and workforce development go hand-in-hand.)
  • Establish clear goals and a few achievable priorities
  • Treat ESL/immigration as having high importance (This is a larger part of the workforce than most would admit. We also rely in it more than anyone would admit.)
  • Ensure teacher quality and elevate status of adult education professionals
  • Improve both the accountability system and assessment tools (probably heading towards performance-based budgeting)
  • Make far greater use of technology and distance learning to improve service and expand outreach. (Online resources such as Rosetta Stone, bookmobile services, and remote internet access are key to this. Those in need may be reluctant to go to a center such as a library to get assistance.)
  • Adopt and mobilize new approaches to building public awareness and business advocacy--especially at the state and local levels--as part of comprehensive planning for education and economic development. (Again if you talk to many businesses, they find adult literacy a very critical component of their operations.)
  • Strengthen ongoing basic and applied research
  • Differentiate local, state, and federal roles

I think the best piece talked about how the GED was not the end-all be-all of Adult Education. Most of this population goes through this process to get and hold down a job. The GED is just a piece of paper without a job.

Members believe attainment of the GED and increased levels of basic skills proficiency as measured by standardized tests are not adequate measures of preparation for further education and job readiness, and the GED should not be considered the terminal goal of AE (Adult Education).

Most members believe that AE is more likely to be sold to the public through a "top down" process via elites, as part of economic development initiatives.

The same could be said for making the case for the need for public libraries as well. Getting the right people involved and placing this need in the context of the "elites" priorities makes for successful advocacy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Libraries: Good, Cheap, but not Fast

There is a saying that often adorns many business desks:
Services can be good, cheap, or fast, pick two:
If good and fast, it cannot be cheap.
If fast and cheap, it cannot be good.
If good and cheap, it cannot be fast

The latter is a model most libraries have chosen. However, it's interesting to note how often I hear patrons would be willing to pay for better services. This sentiment is often not shown through taxes. They seem to want to pay more, but when the time comes, that support doesn't materialize.

Often libraries will attempt to offer the fast service for a price. This decision must be weighed carefully as the attempt can lead to the fast and cheap model, losing the good. This is a major reason decisions and service levels change more slowly, again better to be good than fast.

Interestingly enough, this request for fast service, or convenience, comes from non-users. This makes the decision even more difficult as one risks losing the existing users to go after non-users. Nothing miffs patrons more than the dismantling of an existing and popular service. This is magnified if the dismantling comes at the behest of a perceived "progress". I ran into this when I made the decision between more space for computers, and less space for paperbacks. (Read more here or here.) I was successful, but I ran into a great deal of resistance. However, I was justified because I had more demand on computers than I did not paperback books.

Furthermore, it may be no amount of trying will satisfy anyone, let alone create new users. The question of "Why Try?" comes all to easy.

I do often get frustrated reading librarian bloggers lament about how their local libraries should do A, B, and C. This complaint often goes out on his or her blog instead of trying to create the change locally. I am a big believer of "Think Globally, Act Locally", so when I see a blog post about it, my first thought is, what did this person do to try to create that change. This is very frustrating for someone like me. I would rather you told me, "THIS SUCKS", than complain to the world about how much I suck. This is more directed at the library patron.

Many libraries do what they do according to a strategic plan. (If your library doesn't have one, or doesn't do it, that really needs to change, nothing inspires the public as much as having a say in how their library should serve them.) If you are looking to create change in your local library, this is something to review to see if you and the library are on the same wavelength.

However, you are at a disadvantage if you are just starting to use the local public library. Existing patrons beat you. They have already made the library their own. If you haven't been using us already, you are in the minority. In my community, we have 38,000 people, 24,000 have library cards. It can take a few months before services can begin to shifted towards what you want. If the public wants more mysteries or Christian fiction, and you like Science Fiction, it will take a while to push us to get more science fiction, but you need to ask. Not only that, you need to ask and USE IT! Nothing is more annoying than a patron who comes in to demand a service or a book, then when we do it, no one shows up to the program and no one checks out the book (the patron just thought we should have it). Libraries don't have endless resources, they need the constant push to get them to do what you want AND you have to use it. Otherwise, we look like we are wasting our time.

For librarians trying to create change, if your idea gets shot down, you can't give up on it as fast as the administration did. You have to keep trying, changing, repacking, and pushing. It's knowing what to do in what situation in order to get what you want. One of my favorite all-time shows was the Prisoner (aired before my time, but watched the whole thing on the Sci-Fi channel hosted by Harlan Ellison, one of my all-time favorite authors). This show has some of my favorite quotes:

“He has revolted. Resisted. Fought. Held fast. Maintained. Destroyed resistance. Overcome coercion. The right to be a person, someone or individual. We applaud his private war, and concede that despite materialistic efforts, he has survived intact and secure!”

Fight for change, listen for change, keep the conversation going, keep the brain working, and it keeps you ready to move forward. One needs to push, one needs to listen, one needs to implement. Expect the process to be slow, but it will be better.

How a Library Works

Management: the brain, it makes decisions processes information. (Hey maybe they don't make great decisions, but they make the decisions :)

Collection Development: The eyes, need to find good things to eat, books. If you can't find books that are good, you won't have a healthy body.

Reference/Outreach: the mouth, the ability to speak. If you cannot speak, people cannot gain your knowledge or find out more about you.

Circulation/Technology: The heart, keeps the body alive. Without the heart, the body would die (aka library would close).

Technical Services: The digestion system, it digests and processes the food (new books) that enters the system. Without this function, the body cannot add new books and build a healthy body, eventually making it unhealthy and ultimately killing the body.

Programming: The muscles, the body needs exercise, programming provides a variety of activities to keep the body (and mind) sharp.

Mobile Web Audience Already One-Fifth the Size of PC-Based Internet Audience in the U.K.

Telephia and comScore today announced the results of their latest study of mobile vs. PC-based Internet usage. The study reveals that 5.7 million people in the U.K. used a mobile device to access the Web during January 2007 compared to the 30 million people age 15 or older who accessed the Web from a PC ( either a home or a work machine). At 19 percent of the PC-based Internet audience, the U.K. Mobile Web market is slightly more developed on a relative basis than the U.S. Mobile Web market, where 30 million (or 17 percent) of the 176 million U.S. PC Web users accessed the Web from a mobile device during the same month.

The press release below is also available at:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

New Comm Road Podcast Available

Bryan Person's interview with me about my library's use of 2.0 technologies, including twitter, is now up and available. In the interview, I am crediting the 2.0 model as increasing the library circulation by 30%. 2.0 is not just about technology, but about being reactive to your users and allowing your users to take control.

Here is the podcast information:



Feature interview


What I found most interesting about the interview, and sometimes the point of library 2.0, is that he would have never of thought about libraries doing these sorts of things. It's not a question of what the results are necessarily, but how perceptions are changed in your community, across the nation, and around the world. I remember the words David Keeber from Sedona Public Library told me during my library's planning for results process. "Your users must always think about the library. They must wake up and think of it as Mecca, how are we going to connect today?" That statement has always stayed with me.

Library Dilemna/Paying for convenience

Two good posts about convenience and worth of the public library system.

On BlogHer, a blogger talks about the wonders of the public library and the sadness of leaving a great library system to a lesser system. Her dilemma is that in order to maintain that great library service, she has to pay $119 to retain her membership. The cost of five books she estimates. Most of the people who have commented say it is more than worth it and I would agree.

Library Dilemma
One of the big honking cons of moving is that Toronto has what I feel must be one of the best public library systems in North America. The Toronto Public Library has 99 branches (including mine, just two blocks away), over 11 million items and I can have something like 50 items on request at one time.
One hundred nineteen dollars. Per year. Don't get me wrong. I believe in giving libraries money. I donate to my local library, both money and books, on a regular basis. But $119 for a membership feels like a kick in the gut. When I saw that online my response was "ouch!"

I can't imagine my life without a library. So not having a library account doesn't seem right to me. True, I could probably not get a single book from the library and the unread books in my bookshelves would keep me busy for a couple of months. And there are some great second-hand bookstores. And I will be living close to two large chain bookstores. As much as $119 hurts, reading even 5 books from the library would cover the cost of the membership. But the cost still seems a bit extreme.

So what do you think? Is $119 for a library membership too much? Do you pay for your library membership? What would your limit be?


I know many library systems must only provide services to their immediate taxing district. That can create a great disparity in services with the Library A versus Library B dilemma in her post. Most people would be more than happy to dish out the money, if they can afford. Which leads to the next post from Library Revolution.

Here's to Convenience

She’s right - people (including me!) are ready to pay for convenience, and where libraries and information are concerned, part of that payment is in sacrificing some of the quality content. the fact that the library is free and that it can provide users with high quality information services doesn’t matter if it’s not convenient. That means easy to access, use, and interpret.

It's interesting to see the dynamic. In some cases, a patron can pay for a membership at an A plus library, and get better selection, increased availability of hours, and better services. In many cases, there is no choice and one must go to the local library that may not be progressive or proactive in meeting its patrons' needs. In my library, we offer services to the entire county for free (which covers 5,374 square miles and serves over 24 communities with over 220,000 residents) through a consortium. So even though we are the biggest community in the county, people from the smallest communities can come to us and get the full range of services. This gives the greatest amount of choice and would create less of dilemma for dedicated library users.

I'm a connector

Half of American Adults have "Distant or Non-Existent Relationship to IT," Says Report
May 7, 2007 News Report
Ten separate groups emerge in the typology.
  • Omnivores (8 percent): They have the most information gadgets and services, which they use voraciously to participate in cyberspace, express themselves online, and do a range of Web 2.0 activities. Most in this group are men in their mid- to late twenties.
  • Connectors (7 percent): Between featured-packed cell phones and frequent online use, they connect to people and manage digital content using ICTs -- with high levels of satisfaction about how ICTs let them work with community groups and pursue hobbies.
  • Lackluster Veterans (8 percent): They are frequent users of the Internet and less avid about cell phones. They are not thrilled with ICT-enabled connectivity and don't see them as tools for additional productivity. They were among the Internet's early adopters.
  • Productivity Enhancers (8 percent): They have strongly positive views about how technology lets them keep up with others, do their jobs, and learn new things. They are frequent and happy ICT users whose main focus is personal and professional communication.
  • Mobile Centrics (10 percent): They fully embrace the functionality of their cell phones. They use the Internet, but not often, and like how ICTs connect them to others. 37 percent have high-speed Internet connections at home. The group contains a large share of African Americans.
  • Connected But Hassled (10 percent): They have invested in a lot of technology (80 percent have broadband at home), but they find the connectivity intrusive and information something of a burden.
Some 49 percent of all Americans have relatively few technology assets, and they make up the final four groups of the typology. Just 14 percent of members of the first three groups listed below have broadband at home.
  • Inexperienced Experimenters (8 percent): They occasionally take advantage of interactivity, but if they had more experience and connectivity, they might do more with ICTs. They are late adopters of the Internet. Few have high-speed connections at home.
  • Light But Satisfied (15 percent): They have some technology, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives. They are satisfied with what ICTs do for them. They like how information technology makes them more available to others and helps them learn new things.
  • Indifferents (11 percent): Despite having either cell phones or online access, these users use ICTs only intermittently and find connectivity annoying. Few would miss a beat if they had to give these things up.
  • Off the Network (15 percent): Those with neither cell phones nor Internet connectivity tend to be older adults. A few of them have computers or digital cameras, but they are content with old media.

My results of the technology survey here:

Connectors make up 7% of the American public.

Basic Description
The Connectors’ collection of information technology is used for a mix of one-to-one and one-to-many communication. They very much like how ICTs keep them in touch with family and friends and they like how ICTs let them work in community groups to which they belong. They are participants in cyberspace – many blog or have their own web pages – but not at the rate of Omnivores. They are not as sure-footed in their dealings with ICTs as Omnivores. Connectors suspect their gadgets could do more for them, and some need help in getting new technology to function properly.

Defining Characteristics
Connectors combine a sense that information technology is good for social purposes with a clear recognition that online resources are a great way to learn new things. Their cell phones have a lot of features, and they also try new things with technology; more than half have watched TV programming on a device like a laptop computer or cell phone.

Who They Are
Connectors, which make up 7% of the population, have a median age of 38, with a majority (54%) in the 30-49 age range. Ethnically, it is mostly white (72%); 16% are Black and 12% are English-speaking Hispanics. The typical Connector has been online for 9 years, which suggests they were a second-wave of late 1990s adopters. Most are women (55%) and they rate above average in educational attainment and income.

Take the survey here:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Libraries in the news

Some new libraries being built and planned, always good to see. Here are some from Arizona:

New library moves ahead: Town (Queen Creek, Arizona) to present plans at open house
By Angela De Welles, Independent Newspapers
Published: May 07, 2007 - 11:35:41 pm EDT

By this time next year, a new library in the town’s center could be ready for Queen Creek locals to check out.

Town officials and representatives from the Maricopa County Library District will kick off the start of the 47,000-square-foot project with an open house 4-7 p.m. Monday, May 14 in the courtyard of the existing library, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road."


May 8, 2007
San Tan library to be built around team effort
Sarah J. Boggan, Tribune

A collective of Pinal County officials, developers and residents are bringing a library to the San Tan area — something all parties say is desperately needed.

With the closest Pinal County libraries in Apache Junction, Florence and Coolidge, and the Maricopa County Library District charging Pinal County residents $40 a year to use the Queen Creek Library, area residents say the new library would be welcome.

Pinal County librarian Denise Keller said the library and senior center are “a starting point” for the San Tan community.

The San Tan area library would start on a volunteer basis and would be a resource for the community, providing books, computer use and Internet access as well as an informal meeting place, said Keller, who has already started collecting items for the library.

New library for District 6?
By Vanessa White, Independent Newspapers
Published: May 07, 2007 - 11:35:30 pm EDT
In the future, Southeast Mesa residents might not have to travel to Power and Adobe roads to go to a city library.

The city recognizes East Mesa Districts 5 and 6 as underserved by Mesa libraries.

Deputy City Manager Jack Friedline said Signal Butte and Elliot roads might be the future site of another branch.

"We were trying to put some kind of administrative building there. It's possible depending on how small the branch can be," Mr. Friedline said.

District 5 Councilman Rex Griswold also recommends a possible partnership with one of the college libraries in the Williams Gateway area. Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College are both located across from Williams Gateway Airport, 5835 S. Sossaman Road.

City to restore cut services: Public safety tops budget
By Joey Airdo and Dave Casadei, Independent Newspapers

North Phoenix residents' wishes will be well represented if the city's final 2007-08 budget resembles anything similar to its trial budget.

Residents learned late April of the city's 2007-08 budget goal to improve community services and restore those eliminated during past budget cuts after a trial budget showcasing the city's fiscal intentions circulated looking to generate community feedback.


The city wants to restore library services by opening libraries, including Juniper Library, 1825 W. Union Hills Drive, one hour earlier Monday-Saturday. The $425,000 expense would see the facilities opening at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m.

Phoenix officials also want to spend $261,000 to add staff and materials to open Agave Library, 23550 N. 36th Ave.

The city broke ground April 12 on the new 25,000-square-foot library slated to open July 2008. The facility will feature a children's pavilion, group study rooms, a computer training lab, teen space, a community meeting room, reading garden, Internet access and about 150 parking spaces.


Chandler seeks OK on $451M in bonds
Chris Markham, Tribune
May 6, 2007
Chandler’s asking its residents for permission to spend nearly $451 million on a long list of projects over the next three to four years.

The May 15 election will pose 10 bond issue proposals, including a longer runway at the airport, more city parks and even a local history museum. It’s the most expensive list of bond proposals ever pitched to Chandler residents.
Library: City officials want to spend $11.3 million on Chandler’s Sunset Library branch. Currently, the city leases the facility. If approved by voters, the city would spend up to $9.5 million to buy the library branch and about $1.3 million renovating the facility. “Right now there are 1,000 visitors who go in that Sunset Library each day,” Jackson said.

Supervisors to choose designs for new main library
May 5, 2007 - 11:28PM
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors is expected to choose an initial concept design Monday for a new $28 million Yuma County Main Library.

VCBO Architecture of Salt Lake City has prepared two conceptual designs - one square and one rectangular - that the supervisors will choose from at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Board of Supervisors Auditorium, 198 S. Main St. The board's regular meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the same location.
The new main library is one of a handful of library projects being paid for by more than $50 million in bonds passed by county voters. Many of the smaller projects are already further along, but Evans said the expected completion date for the facility is spring of 2009.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Library 2.0 Usage Results

We have several library 2.0 uses at the library. This is a result of our efforts. We began developing these new services in September 2006, but the full roll-out of services didn't begin until January 2007. This is a report on usage from January to April and a comparison on usage between traditional methods and using library 2.0 methods.

Podcasting versus Phone Tree
Our progams are placed on our phone tree and they are also podcasted on our website.

Number of patrons who listened to the telephone program list:
5 Adult
5 Youth
5 Technology

So in the past four months, 15 different people listened to the automated phone message about programs.

Number of patrons who listed to the program podcast:
4 may technology (I posted May on April 30th)
3 mayyouth
5 may adult
23 april tech
So in the same time period, we had 145 downloads of all podcasts.

Patrons who viewed the library photo album on the library webpage:
12 photos, viewed 125 times

Flickr views
Your photos 169 photos / 638 views

Engaging Teens with Technology
Recently received a grant from the Arizona State Library to provide opportunities for teens to create, blogs, podcasts, and vodcasts about stuff that interests them in our community. We also allow myspace, chatting, game playing, etc. on our public access computers. As long as you don't want to download anything onto the computer (because it will get wiped) you can do pretty much whatever you want. We do engage a filter, but it is fairly light and literal so we don't have any issues with it blocking ok sites. One out of every three computer users is a teen, right in line with our strategic plan.

Here is a description of the grant:

Grant person would help guide the SPARC group under the direction of Youth Librarian. This person would develop news information for teens in the area using blogs, podcasting, and other formats working with our teen group, SPARC (Students Participating in an Advisory Reading Committee). The grant person would meet with the group once a week for 4 hours to help develop the project. This will take a year to develop. Cost would be $5,500, ($4500 for three laptops for the group, $1000 for recording equipment).

Staff WIKI
wiki busted never took off with staff, trying the library technology handbook in google docs. Right now, its use is mostly in the paper format.

Blog versus email versus web versus paper
Number of bookletters email subscribers: 442
Number of patrons on email distribution list: 598
Number of blog subscribers: 10
Number of people who look at content via the web: 48,989 from January to April
Number of people who read our events via the Community Services Brochure: 30,000 (mailed to each home during the summer and sent in each newspaper in the Fall and Spring, effectively canvassing every home in my community.)

From this I can gather that more people would prefer to receive information via email after they check the website. I think paper and people trump everyone.

In a recent survey, the library wanted to find out how people heard about the library.

Here are some of the results:
Newspaper, 66%
Community Services Brochure, 47%
Word of Mouth 45%
Visited/Call the library, 28%
Flier/program at schools 23%
website 13%

For communication via mobile phone, twitter and library elf, I only have two library elf subscribers. Twitter is more popular, but the problem is a local one. I don't think we have any local subscribers yet. We plan to advertise the service through our library news on the website and in the local paper. I will report on the effectiveness of the campaign. I would say the most successful techniques we have used to advertise our services have been getting a library news section in the newspaper and word of mouth. I know word of mouth since people are talking about the new computers and it spread like wildfire. Also, when we had a new library card campaign, people were talking about how great the new cards were. A board member pratically created her own psa. When pulling out her keys a co-worker noticed the keychain library card. She mentioned how neat it was, and the board member said that you can pick one up for free at the local library all this month for library card sign-up month. Sold American!

How to sell library 2.0 concepts to management

How to sell library 2.0 concepts to management
Best posts are here:
Five Weeks to a Social Library (Selling social software)
Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County Learning 2.0 project
(read the coverage in wired magazine:
Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stacks

Here is my quick and dirty take:
Three rules: what does it cost, how much time, is it sustainable?

Blog: Easy way to communicate to staff abd public. Go where users are, organize out press releases by date or subject. Other ways to communicate new library events, newsletters, new stuff. Automatically creates rss feed, multiple ways to create and organize content. No code knowledge, no constant changing webpage, post and go.

Flickr: photos used in board reports to demonstrate impact, upload to flickr. Show and share with people what we are doing. A way to directly communicate with our users, go where they go, find members and join their groups. It helps talk about the town. Also great marketing.

Myspace: more controversial, but with so many users, this is a way to communicate with our users. Patrons may not read signs, but they will read a bulletin sent through myspace. Creates a web prescence where users are, instead of only entici them to come to us, we can go to them.

Youtube/Twitter: a way for people to keep track of library stuff via their cell phone, the increased mode of choice for communication.

Cell Phone is computer of future

The cell phone is perceived as something that has practical and entertainment value. Even people who can't afford much can get a cell phone. The same can't be said about the computer. Many don't see the computer as a high priority and not an investment they can afford. In situations where it is a choice between a car and a computer, the computer is not always the top priority. The cell phone has a practical advantage as a way to communicate and also entertain. Now phones are coming out with the same praticality of a desktop computer.

The IPhone is the answer to that, now they get the entertainment and the information all in one device. The entertainment piece brings them to the pratical piece of a way to communicate and gather information. The cell phone will be the major communication device that will help bridge the digital divide. The IPhone is the first major step.

Now libraries must think of ways to engage using the cell phone. Library elf is one (even though it is not a library service, but an ad supported agency that runs it), twitter and jaiku are other ways. Find a way to notify library activities, collections, and reference by cell phone. This is the future. It will get easier over time and it won't be so expensive to text nor will it be restricted to just text.

Here are some articles:

Is It Time To Call It Quits On The PC?
With Vista having failed to ignite a boom in the computer industry, some analysts are starting to turn dour on the future of the PC. David Daoud, an analyst at IDC, thinks it's time for computer makers to rethink the traditional PC, and to work on developing more innovative products. He notes that the basic PC (with its big monitor and QWERTY keyboard) has basically been the same since its inception, and that things like ultra mobile PCs, tablets and other forms that have yet to be invented will come to play an important part role in the industry. Of course, people have been talking about all of these things before, and despite grandiose ambitions, nothing has made a dent in the market. The latest, the ultra mobile PC (UMPC) has pretty much been a dud, despite plenty of backing and hype. This isn't to say that manufacturers shouldn't be exploring alternatives, but as Apple has shown with its resurgent computer business, there's plenty of room for innovation and growth within the traditional confines of the PC.


Mobile minitablets still grounded despite new tech
By Tom Krazit
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: April 30, 2007, 4:00 AM PDT
PDAs (personal digital assistants) are pretty much dead; smart phones are the domain of the cellular industry; and the newest push, the ultramobile PC, hasn't met with much early success. Of course, new technology isn't always embraced by the masses, especially when it's expensive and people don't understand why they need it.
Yet, mobile smart phones are precisely where Intel's eyes are trained. "When you look at the high end of the smart-phone category, that will likely get replaced by the UMPC," Chandrasekher said in comments after his keynote speech in Beijing.

A lot of dominoes will have to fall in the right places for that to happen: Intel will have to deliver its low-power chips, get its hardware partners to build compelling devices, convince developers to write software with a mobile experience in mind, and figure out a way to deliver an always-on Internet connection. And the final product has got to cost around $400.

I didn't know the ultra-mobile PC would be such a bust. Probably just as successful as the sony reader, and now the Dell Axim. (I own a dell axim. In my opinion, this is the best alternative to a smart phone if you don't want a RIDICULOUS phone bill, wi-fi is free.) People want technology in their pocket and there has to be incentive in using it beyond just practical applications, like doing homework or working on a resume. People make purchases largely based on entertainment. So when a practical product comes out that looks like entertainment, good things can happen.

Over a year ago, Microsoft began the big move to put the poor online via cell phone:
Microsoft Would Put Poor Online by Cellphone
Published: January 30, 2006
Craig J. Mundie, Microsoft's vice president and chief technology officer, said in an interview here that the company was still developing the idea, but that both he and Mr. Gates believed that cellphones were a better way than laptops to bring computing to the masses in developing nations. "Everyone is going to have a cellphone," Mr. Mundie said, noting that in places where TV's are already common, turning a phone into a computer could simply require adding a cheap adaptor and keyboard. Microsoft has not said how much those products would cost.

Of course, not sure if Microsoft ever came out with something. Steve Jobs must of understood the same thing, since he pushed the product faster.

Why Apple shifted coders to iPhone
Written by Om Malik
Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 6:37 PM PT
Anyone looking for proof of the strategic importance of iPhone to Apple doesn’t have to look beyond Apple’s press release page — the company is delaying the next version of its Operating System, code-named Leopard, by four months, and instead shifting resources to iPhone, now slated for late June 2007 release.

He will make more money on the IPhone than on any other product Apple could put out this year. Once a new version comes out, the masses will really have access to this powerful device. Of course, power may still be an issue. We don't have to wait for the IPhone to stay connected either.

Social Networking Leaves Confines of the Computer
Published: April 30, 2007

The social networking phenomenon is leaving the confines of the personal computer. Powerful new mobile devices are allowing people to send round-the-clock updates about their vacations, their moods or their latest haircut.

New online services, with names like Twitter, Radar and Jaiku, hope people will use their ever-present gadget to share (or, inevitably, to overshare) the details of their lives in the same way they have become accustomed to doing on Web sites like MySpace.


This becomes critical because it is another avenue businesses, organizations, and libraries need to get into to get to their users. The cell phone is taking over the laptop and the pc and to get the message across, we need to go there too. This is why the use of twitter becomes important. People can be just as connected to your organization and what it is doing as they are connected to their friends. They can see the benefits of what you have to offer through a free subscription service.

The future of computing is online and mobile. I never thought I would see the laptop as the heavy one. I remember teaching classes about computer stating the advantages of the laptop is its mobility. Things are changing.

Ultramobile Geek:How much mobile internet do you need?
A doctor can take his smartphone with him everywhere and have his schedule of upcoming appointments at hand and get text messages, Email, and reminders without added bulk. However, a doctor on call may want an ultra-mobile PC to carry around encrypted patient histories and pull them up on demand.

The article categorizes the laptop as large and heavy. Not as mobile as a smart phone which looks like the way things are going.


Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops
Yet school officials here and in several other places said laptops had been abused by students, did not fit into lesson plans, and showed little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of increased pressure to meet state standards. Districts have dropped laptop programs after resistance from teachers, logistical and technical problems, and escalating maintenance costs.

Such disappointments are the latest example of how technology is often embraced by philanthropists and political leaders as a quick fix, only to leave teachers flummoxed about how best to integrate the new gadgets into curriculums. Last month, the United States Department of Education released a study showing no difference in academic achievement between students who used educational software programs for math and reading and those who did not.

Those giving up on laptops include large and small school districts, urban and rural communities, affluent schools and those serving mostly low-income, minority students, who as a group have tended to underperform academically.

Matoaca High School just outside Richmond, Va., began eliminating its five-year-old laptop program last fall after concluding that students had failed to show any academic gains compared with those in schools without laptops. Continuing the program would have cost an additional $1.5 million for the first year alone, and a survey of district teachers and parents found that one-fifth of Matoaca students rarely or never used their laptops for learning. “You have to put your money where you think it’s going to give you the best achievement results,” said Tim Bullis, a district spokesman.


We see this in our library too. Many students wasting too much time on Myspace instead of getting their assignments done. Of course, when they are short on time, they pull the old "I am a student working on a research project, can I get more time?"

Some advice to not get too deep into the next new technology. Yes we need to keep up, but going too far can just end up blowing up in your face. The right piece of technology at the right time can connect with your users or blow them away. It is more the analysis of how effective an organization can be in making the connection using web 2.0 products. In most cases, it can't trump traditional services, especially in rural areas. The cell phone has its advantage, but knowing how to make the right connection is much more difficult than just dumping rss feeds into twitter.