Jul 8th, 2011
Jul 8th, 2011
Mar 27th, 2011
I’ll be presenting an online session titled “Can Your Library Provide the Electronic Content That People Want and Need?” this Wednesday at the “PLA Virtual Spring Symposium“. Hope “see” some of you there! Here’s a description of my session (with even more quotation marks! ):
“When it comes to content and libraries, people want what they want; when they want it; in the format they want. But services like Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon offer electronic content much more effectively than libraries. As larger consumption patterns shift more and more away from physical formats (print, CD, DVD), to electronic formats, and as libraries struggle financially, how can we possibly offer access in competitive ways? In this session we’ll look at the electronic content access environment we inhabit and the directions we are headed. We’ll then look to our competition, our history, and our institutional missions for ways libraries can take solid, practical action to remain relevant in the rapidly impending world where electronic content accounts for the most of library’s “circulation”.”
Mar 9th, 2011
First, please read the statement ALA released from the Task Force late yesterday (as Task Force members were flying home from DC). Just so you know, ALA staff that are a part of and assisting the Task Force worked on it quite a lot with us, though the entire 20 member task force approved its contents. It is written to address and update everyone related to what the Task Force is working on and has set as priorities given our charge via the ALA Council Resolution that passed at the ALA Annual Conference this summer. Press Release
Second, I will copy and paste below a few comments I left on my facebook page in response to reaction from my linking to the Boing Boing piece today on the Task Force’s work. These are my observations and opinions alone, but they are unadulterated and what I believe in relation to all of this and what ALA and I and YOU can do (with ALA anyway).
“Kate Kosturski This is good, Michael, but ebooks and DRM issues have been around for quite a bit of time (well, in the tech world). Why so long for such a task force to be established? I feel as though the community had an opportunity to break new ground in this realm for some time, and just didn’t react until things didn’t go their way.
David Leslie Like Kate said, thanks to the success of iTunes and Amazon, this ship has sailed. The next fight is going to be magazines and journals IMHO.
Michael Porter Kate, I SO agree. I ran for ALA Council because I felt exactly the same way. Before I was “installed” as a Councilor I worked with my (soon to be) fellow Councilors to pass a resolution that had ALA take a stand on these issues….finally. I ran and was elected to ALA’s Executive Board at Annual this summer with this as my primary issue.
Kate Kosturski It is one of the things that frustrates me about this profession – our very reactive approach to advocacy, marketing and issue formation. I do hope you get something done though. I’ll go back to watching my cartoons now (ah the joys of being home sick).
Michael Porter I absolutely agree we are behind the ball here in some respects. But I am trying to help use what I know to lead. Kate, you are right, but we have things and people in place that are doing all they can to chart a path forward. Please support these people and these efforts. ALA is a org with a rich tradition and deep respect in circles we must have entry into in org to tackle this. So please…
Kate Kosturski When you put it that way, I’ll get behind you. (I’m also just very much burnt out from hearing about HarperCollins and ebooks.)
Rosario Garza Agree with Kate and David — ALA is VERY LATE in addressing this issue, which just reinforces the image of it being a stodgy, slow-to-react organization. Have been VERY DISAPPOINTED with the official pronouncements to date.
Michael Porter …keep think, talking and working on this….help be a part of the solution…WE FINALLY HAVE SOLID TRACTION. The work to get these Task Forces up and funded and selected and running has been a LONG while in the making. It is coincidence that recent developments cam e up these past coupe weeks as they did (though clearly again, this was overdue). I was frustrated and have done all I can to work within the system and in outside ways to assist (libraryrenewal.org and my day job at WebJunction). Please, when the site for the Task Force goes live, jump in…help us chart the wisest course forward and, most importantly, all of us…we each will have to do work to make this happen. It will require effort from all of us. Real time and energy and follow though…beyond a blog post or comments.
Also, please understand that this Task Force is not all of ALA. We are a piece of it. We cannot do everything, we cannot act as ALA spokespeople to many degrees. We are simply members trying to work to do the right thing within (and sometimes to expand) the scope of ALA. I know that we all share the same frustrations and concerns you have. It’s why we are trying to take action by diving in more and also trying new things that are outside the ALA system *cough* Library Renewal *cough*”
Finally, later in the afternoon/early evening there has been one last development of note. Again, this is what I (just) posted to my facebook wall. I invite your comments here, there or wherever you think they will reach me most effectively (no comments from the peanut gallery there!):
After multiple urgent conversations and email threads with some folks from both ALA Task Forces working on electronic content access issues (EQUACC and eBook), some senior leadership at ALA and some additional key staff at ALA, we will be have a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss immediate action ALA should consider or take.
I’d ask for your feedback to take to this meeting while at the same time implore you to consider the position of the org, relationships the org must maintain and build and also consider the limitation of the org.
I would also ask that you read the thread below (the Boing Boing) thread. My comments there provide context we must consider. As Eli Neiburger said in a recent Library Renewal post, Outrage is Not Adaptive….even when it is understandable.
Having said this, and trusting your read the thread below (above in this blog post)…how can I best represent libraries tomorrow in that meeting?”
So…yes, this is short notice. And yes, I have already been directly collecting feedback from literally dozens of us in Libraryland to take back to ALA on this…and I have been working with others who are doing the same (including Librarian by Day, Bobbi Newman) to ensure we have done all we can to get traction in appropriate ways at ALA. I’m doing all I can.
So if you are concerned or upset by this entire situation, please ask yourself, Are you doing or willing to do all you can? Am I willing to do that in the most thoughtful and productive ways? Please remember how much easier it is to complain and how very hard it is to DO. So send your suggestions, and if you are outraged be prepared to and committed to do work on this for years. The future of libraries, not just in America, but the world over is truly at stake. Also, remember as you think on this that ALA is not a panacea, they are a piece in this unfolding puzzle. And they can definitely do more and improve, yet we are many pieces in the puzzle together. If we carefully use our voices and power for thoughtful, carefully planned, intentional action we can ensure vibrant libraries in a world dominated by access in electronic formats vs. print or physical formats. We can do this. We MUST do this.
Let the comments and emails commence. And hey, while your at it, wish me and all those folks buried in this luck, patience and understanding. We are pretty wiped out at the moment to be honest and can use the good thoughts and energy.
Mar 8th, 2011
Lots has happened (of course) with the Task Force and I wanted to provide a live update about where we are. I’m co-chairing the meeting atm so pls pardon typos.:
Yesterday we spent the afternoon breaking into our Working Groups, coming back to report and adjust ideas and plans, and then breaking out and coming together again to refine plans for each group. As a reminder and a way to understand the approach that seems to be forming, here are those working groups again:
-Electronic content and accessibility
-Public Relations Campaign
During the course of the day, the necessity to communicate what we are working on in a way that is timely and also allows for questions and feedback became something that (very happily) overtook part of our scheduled plan for the day. We unanimously agreed and insisted that we must create a blog/web page very quickly (days NOT weeks). Our plan is to ensure that this page allows for regular updates, allows feedback and can also give folks a chance to be informed, looped in, ask questions, and be heard in a public forum we are all engaged in. It does take time to monitor and respond to all of this and we have much work to do, but we all felt very strongly that even in the face of the being unpaid volunteers in this work, that there is simply no way to do our work effectively without this wider forum.
After we wrapped our work for the day, we all went out for dinner (and, ok, maybe a drink) and talked well into the evening about our working groups and next steps. ALA President Roberta Stevens joined us at dinner and was sure to talk to folks as they needed or wanted to.
In the next days you’ll hear more details and communications as a result of our work. Meantime, on behalf of my fellow Task Force co-chair Linda Crowe and the rest of the Task Force I wanted to thank all of you for the conversations and emails and texts and thoughts you have shared and sent to me and or to the group. We are trying hard to do the best, most wise and productive things we can here and appreciate your input and attention. We believe this issue will shape the future of libraries in the country and the world and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure libraries remain viable, vibrant and integral to society, Democracy and the lives of everyday people the world over.
One last thing to note in this post is that in today’s USA Today, the work of ALA’s Electronic Content Access Task Force was highlighted briefly by ALA President Roberta Stevens.
(Roberta Stevens)”hopes the librarians’ new task force on “equitable access to electronic content” can work collaboratively with publishers: “It’s ultimately in their interests to make books available in libraries — in all formats.”
-Web site for our task force will likely have:
1. A blog
2. A list of each TF member including their email (this includes eBook Task Force Members as well)
3. A conversation forum on specific topics (likely, though we have to poke around a bit on this idea)
4. May have a Twitter scrolling feed for a hashtag we ask any interested party to use when sharing issues or or links with the Task Force, ALA or anyone interested in the topics attached to the work of the Task Force.
-We will be having a session at ALA Annual on our work. Likely two hours…first hour to update on our work, second hour to break into working groups and talk with individuals.
Mar 7th, 2011
Here’s a fast overview of what we have talked about so far today and what is on our agenda. We are breaking into working groups (mentioned below) now. The concerns many of you have shared with me were passed on to Task Force members and ALA staff as well. ALA President Roberta Stevens will be at dinner tonight will us and these concerns will be shared with her tonight as well. *whew*
With that, here’s what we have been are working on right now:
ALA Task Force on Electronic Content Access:
I. Welcome and Introductions
II. Group Discussion
-Meeting started with a debrief of the recent developments and conversations in the last couple weeks.
-Need to communicate and include member/interested party updating and communication/conversation.
-Review Assumptions (things we need to do or think about:
-Provide a report to Council @ ALA Annual
-Communication *must* be improved
-National PR Campaign will be recommended
-Ask for funding to move TF work forward
-Some issues will be handed off to other ALA units.
-Broad dissemination or retreat’s activities
-Develop a plan to keep membership informed (see above)
-Will seek Council advice
-Advocacy will be recommended.
Electronic content and accessibility. Develop project plan with charge and funding recommendations
Environmental Scan: Will identify library, author, publishing data. Identify questions that need answers. Define research projects(s) if necessary. Develop charge and funding recommendations.
Generating a list of projects that are or can be done by libs in the short term: Provide a reason to do each, recommendations, resources need, timeline plan
Perpetual Licensing: Current benefit of licensing as it. Describe models that might be more effective. Look at lending and preservation. Come up with model proposals for publishers.
Public Relations Campaign: Why should we do this? Including various library type perspectives. Identify audiences. Identify assumptions about these audiences and how to communicate with each. Messaging and tagline ideas.
Groups are breaking to work on ideas/plans. Will reconvene late in the afternoon for review and feedback.
Mar 6th, 2011
Tomorrow I’m off to DC to meet with 22 other ALA members that are serving on the ALA Presidential Task Force on Electronic Content Access. How this came to happen is another blog post in this series, but for now I’d like to share a little more info about this “retreat” and my involvement with the Task Force. As I tell you about our work and my involvement, please do try and think about you and your career and your library. As I said in the previous post, I believe that when you find the things you want to hone in on, you can do just about as much or as little as you want to. So I tell you all of this partly to let you know what I’m up to when I’m not blogging as much as I once did, but I also wanted to talk about it all so that hopefully you’ll feel a lot of “Well heck, if he can do that work for libraries, I can do ______ for libraries”. Because you can. Really, you can. More than you may have imagined. So here are some more details about another part of what has kept me away from blogging very, very regularly:
At this event the Presidential Task Force members and some great ALA staff as well will be honing our plans and deciding what we’ll be researching, writing and doing case studies on as a group. Our larger goal is to help chart a path forward for ALA and American libraries in relation to electronic content and the future of libraries when it comes to electronic content access. Nice size goal, eh?
ALA President Roberta Stevens, incoming ALA President Molly Raphael, and the members of the task force are committed to doing this as best we can, with great intent and care. I am serving as co-chair of this Task Force so if you have thoughts that you would like be sure get passed on and included in our work here, please pass them on to me and I will be sure to include them in the work we do as much as possible.
If you want more info on the task force, there is some info available on ALA Connect via this page.
To go with my previous blog post, I’ll share with you what I said to my fellow task force members over on ALA Connect when we were introducing ourselves to each other. It shows you more of why I’ve been blogging less and also how I’ve tried to put to good use some of the traction that blogging and presenting has given me:
Michael Porter – Why I’m here with you all on the TF
Greetings fellow Task Force members,
Here’s the story of why I’m here with all of you. I’m grateful to have the honor to work and serve with you all and am very excited to see the results we come up with. Our charge is significant, but I also believe it is absolutely critical for our profession. It’s been an interesting journey getting to this point and I hope by the time we start completing work I know your stories as well. Here’s mine:
Though a very long time ALA member, and even past ALA Student Chapter President (Indiana University 1998-99) frankly, I shied away from deeper engagement with ALA for quite a while. While it clearly did many good things to contribute to the profession and to American Libraries, to me it seemed somewhat bogged down in process and bureaucracy and even somewhat exclusive and alienating at some levels, particularly those that could affect significant change. Besides, from a personal perspective, I was excited and grateful to find that there seemed to always be an increasing numbers of opportunities elsewhere opening up for me professionally (day job of course, plus blogging at libraryman.com and even an ever growing list of speaking invitations and writing opportunities).
But in the last five years I’ve been working to listen and learn and study and reach out to people in order to figure out why we (libraries) haven’t been able to be leaders when it comes to electronic community engagement and electronic content access. I believe in a simple (and amazingly complex) equations when it comes to libraries and that is: Libraries = Content + Community. Keeping that belief in mind and focusing my learning and research (I’ve also spend a great deal of time studying business and marketing as well in the past 5-7 years) has been an eye opening and fascinating journey.
During the course of this work, after much careful thought and debate and discussion, I decided to try to get involved more with ALA, in largest part to try and help us better use our organizational and institutional power and influence to address what I have come to believe is the most important issue facing the future or American Libraries: equitable access to electronic content though libraries.
In the coming years and decades consumption patterns for content will move dramatically towards electronic formats, and frankly, even with our tradition of service and access, libraries are largely failing. Commercial entities like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and in much of Europe, Spotify are the real leaders in electronic content access, all with successful technologies and business models that can both encourage us and point us toward interesting ways of thinking while at the same time revealing potential models or options for service provision going forward.
I ran for ALA Council in 2009 to get involved with ALA to help lead or efforts to address these issues. While not installed on Council till the end of Annual, I worked with two other Councilors (our very own Jackie Rafferty, as well as the indomitable Larry Romans), to write and pass, with my 180 fellow ALA Councils, the very resolution that spawned this task force.
After several months of conversations and much hard work from all of us and from current ALA President Roberta Stevens, as you know, our Task Force formed in December of 2010.
As we lead up to our retreat in early March, and as we continue to work together in the months and even years to come tackling the issues of electronic content access and the future of American Libraries, I am filled with excitement and energy and hope. This Task Force is proof ALA and ALA membership and ALA Council and ALA senior leadership “get” that this issue is very important. It is up to us to now do the work that will result in the appropriate forward movement. I, and many others say “Huzzah!” in the same breath that we say “It’s about time!”. So now lets dive in and get this thing moving! If we succeed we really have a rare opportunity to make an impact on the future of American Libraries though our work here. What could be more inspiring?
Ahhh yes…I was supposed to provide bio information here, not a feel good motivational speech, wasn’t I? Ok then, here goes:
“Michael is a librarian, presenter, author, practical technology fan, and PEZ collector. He has 20 years of experience working in Libraryland and has presented hundreds of times to library staff around the world. His writings regularly appear in major library journals around the world. In 2009 he was selected as a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker”, in 2010 was elected to the American Library Association’s governing Council and in 2011 was also elected to the ALA Executive Board. He currently works at WebJunction.org in Seattle, Washington as their Communications Manager and also serves as the President of Library Renewal, an organization dedicated to research, partnerships and grassroots support for libraries as they struggle to offer electronic content to their users in competitive ways.”
Thanks to all of you. Can’t wait to get to know and work with each of you,
Task Force Co-chair
If folks are interested I can keep you posted about how things go with the Task Force here. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at the other major thing I’ve been working on in my “free time”, with a crew of other library folks. Its a way YOU can join in and help ensure libraries can offer electronic content access effectively in the coming decades. There is much work to do, and many initiatives to come, but it is a very real movement and things are underway. I’ll have a post up about the efforts here and what has been behind it. It’s been a truly amazing learning experience and there is lots of progress and stories to share that I think you may find motivating and even a bit inspiring. Meantime, check Library Renewal here!
Feb 19th, 2011
I’ve been building up to writing a few posts in a series for the past six months or so about participation in the Library Profession, making professional choices, getting a reputation, hard work, hope, despair and motivation. I know it seems like a tangle of themes, but they fit together, honest. It’s part confessional, part update, part desire to return value via this blog and part, well, me trying to say and show a version of “I love you, man!!!” to my profession and fellow professionals while not sounding like a goof or a beer commercial…and showing real ways YOU can make a difference…a very powerful and real difference…even when you seem or feel “stuck” or not particularly hopeful for your career or our most honorable profession. So whether you are stuck, or excelling, or under appreciated or just plain pis*** off about the state of libraries or your career, I’m hoping this may be of some use. I’ll give you some updates, show some progress and even point towards some things you might participate in or model for your own projects. Projects that are starting to do things you are likely desperate to address or can use to inspire and manifest your own ideas, plans and dreams.
I’ll talk more frankly here than usual and will try not to edit myself too much. This first post (it’s a series I’ll complete in the next two weeks), I realize may be pretty close to navel gazing in some respects, but its designed to share things I’ve learned from the evolution of my experience with and being know as “Libraryman” that may be useful for others to hear. It’s stuff I’ve wanted to share here for a long while at any rate.
To folks who have joined me here at libraryman.com for years, you have of course noticed it has become a much less regularly updated resource. Still hopefully periodically interesting and useful, but you heavy blog readers can tell I haven’t been scrambling to make and/or keep it as one of the top library blogs. It’s been interesting stepping back a bit (just from this part, but more on that later). Along the way several people have quietly approached me about this stepping back from blogging. Some were either worried about me or, for the more ambitious amongst them, simply wondering how the heck I could let something that had readership, had clearly returned huge benefits to my career seemingly “slip”? **It’s worth noting that for any library blogger the real value of our work and the part that is most important comes when we hopefully return value to this profession and to our fellow librarians and library staff as we work our blogs. Having that attitude and focus is also the best way to create a successful professional blog imo** So how could I do step back and what might it mean for you, whether you are currently a “popular” blogger, are hungry to engage with ideas and the profession via blogging or simply wanting to contribute and perhaps thinking that blogging is one of the only opportunities and glimmers of hope that you have seen pay off for people in our profession?
Over the past few years, especially in our active and highly intelligent and thoughtful profession, many of the reasons to blog, and the landscape surrounding blogs, have/has changed. Blogging clearly holds value and is a worthwhile and important activity for many. At the same time, for some of the more ambitious among us it is worth noting that it’s often harder now to boost your career in a deeply significant way via blogging. It is useful to do it and to know how to do it but it has become more for personal edification, professional communication that serves you and your “posse” as it were, and gives you a chance to think on and talk on things, while hopefully contributing something of use to the profession.
To some of the especially ambitious and strategic (nothing wrong with that and something I wish we saw more of in Libraryland, particularity from those fresh to the profession) there is something additional to frankly speak on as well. Fact is, getting “library famous” now is harder to do via blogging. There are more social tools to fold into your “persona” and maintain and, well, blogging is just less novel now. Honestly, in the early days I think many folks got a significant boost from simply know how to make a blog. They started early and got know for that (not to disrespect them of their work of course, but that boost just isn’t there for folks starting our now). Frankly, I’ve often wondered how much of that has factored into the traction I had with the Libraryman Blog. Its just that blogging has matured and expectations I believe are often higher. And few have or make the time and commitment and focus to pursue one of the the most ambitious potential career goals, that often elusive “library famous”. In some ways I actaully see this as encouraging, because frankly, “library famous” is a little ridiculous in many ways, often accurately and snickerifically being equated by many with being famous in a small town (aka who gives a ****).
And this of course fits into the narrative of this series of posts. First, they aren’t about blogging or the biblioblogosphere. And this is clearly not a “Oh man, I know I need to blog more” post. I don’t need to do that. Rather this is a series of posts about WHY I I don’t. And what I’ve done with the time I would have spent blogging. And how what I’ve been working on during those times. And how some of that can hopefully help inspire others to feel encouraged and hopefully and more willing to do *their* own thing.
In the next couple posts I’ll show you some of the things I’ve been working on since I’ve been blogging less. You’ll see why it was the right thing to do. And along the way you’ll have some opportunities laid at your feet to join in, to affect the change you are hungry to see, to work around any limitation you have because you may not be high ranking or “well known” or able to move, or whatever. I’ve seen some things, people, and I want to share them with you. So stay tuned.
Jan 20th, 2011
One of my favorite things about OCLC is the reports they create for the larger benefit of libraries and library professionals. And the “Perceptions” reports are my absolute favorites. Happily, the brand new “Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community” is just now hot off the press. So if you are a library staff member, library fan, lover, booster or just interested in society or technology it is absolutely worth your time and mental energy. I rarely highly recommend things as much as I recommend this. Go here now and get a free online copy!
Oct 16th, 2010
Gigabytes! 1/4 of a terabyte! And I picked it up for $90. What a world we live in, eh? Hello Moore’s Law!
I’ll often track the development of some components in computers when I do presentations as both a storytelling tool and as a way to make an impact on folks as we think about the future of the library and technology. And this always seems to help get the point across. I remember, back in 2006 when I first started talking about USBs in gadget presentations, I’d show this slide. First I’d show the capacity. Then I’d show the price. Think about it in light of the drive I got this week for $89. Wow!!
Aug 31st, 2010
Yes to all three!
I’ll be presenting a new online gadget centric presentation via WebJunction on October 6th that you are now invited to attend. Registration is free and here is a handy link for you to sign up!
It’s called: “Gadget Checklist 2010: For library staff, users and our future” And as with all the fab WebJunction webinars you can register for, it is free.
Here’s a description to nudge you along in case you are on the fence about registering and attending:
Do you need a gadgets orientation covering types, brands, features, functionality and answers to why gadgets are so popular with your patrons? Join us for this webinar with Michael Porter when he presents a checklist-filled session also covering how users are consuming and accessing content on gadgets and how libraries are purchasing and lending gadgets to host this content. It’s time for you to complete your checklist and to explore the implications gadgets have on the future of library services.
I hope to see a bunch of you there! And hey, if there are things you would like to see covered, let me know. I’ve been presenting about gadgets and libraries for years and am mostly building this one from the ground up. So fire away!
The real quandary here is, do I get rid of the ubiquitous USB gadget slides at the end (including my collection of food shaped USB drives)? Sadly, I think they’ll have to go so we have time for questions, but here’s a taste of what that part would have looked like.