Archive for the '“library futures”' Category

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.
moo card for consulting 1
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.

School Library Journal Illustration

Libraryman

Briefly on NPR Tomorrow

NPR Baltimore Public Affairs Program Midday

Slightly unexpected but pretty darn cool: Looks like I’ll be on WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR station, tomorrow for their 1:00 EST midday show. www.wypr.org/midday.html Carla Hayden is the main guest, I think they’ll just bring me in to mix things up a teeny bit. Who knows though. Should be fun! Listen and call in even! Here is a link to the show’s facebook page.

PS-If you want me to give your library a shout out for what is does well to “help libraries survive and thrive in the age if the iPad” please send me a direct message now! michael.libraryman **at sign** gmail.com

**UPDATE** You can listen to the archive of the show here: http://tinyurl.com/ybe9vlg . It seemed to go well and was an interesting, thoughtful discussion by and large.

Libraryman

Killing Our Libraries

A motivational poster of sorts. Large size is the only way to really see it.
killing our libraries - mini-poster 2009

In doing presentations of the years, I’ve been really lucky to make friends and stay in touch with a few folks out there doing the real work in the libraries I visit. We’ll occasionally exchange emails and ideas and just keep track of each other. Today I got a message on facebook from one of those friends who is now preparing to teach a class in his library that will be somewhat similar to the session I presented to their lib a couple of years ago. How cool is that?! :) At any rate, this person asked if I had any suggestions or topics that are top of mind for me lately that they might be interested in using too. But of course! Here is the email I sent my friend. Maybe you’ll find it interesting too? Or perhaps you might have other/different ideas? We’d love to hear them here if you have any different ones to share!

Oh, and ______, if you want to do a conference presentation like this *with me* some time just say the word, k?

Hey _______,

Always good to hear from you and glad we are keeping in touch as you keep things rolling with your library career. Super cool, man! :)

At the moment, I am especially keen on these things/concept. Not sure if they all fit your class, but they are all sparkly in my brain:

1. Ubiquitous computing
2. Mobile computing (not now but in 10-15 years)
3. Grooveshark.com (and its ilk like imeem.com)
4. freiendfeed as a model for the next iteration of social networking trends (this piggybacks on RSS in a way as I see aggregation being the thing will see this will all come together. I’ve been hollerin’ about aggregation being “it” for years, but until it get wrapped up in the right package it (and isnt called aggregation) it isnt gonna REALLY happen imo.
5. WebJunction, boyeee! lol
6. Acceptance of tools by wider society. It’s like the movies….before there were movies there was more live theater, right? The wider adoption of online tools is a similar sea change…but with serious implications for libraries in relation to:
7. Electronic content distribution and ACCESS. Media companies didn’t want libraries to circulate VHS tapes back in the day, right? Now they are finding and have found some ways (via hulu.com, netflix.com, amazon.com itunes, etc, etc) to effectively cut libraries out of the content distribution model on this “new” intwebs based platform. It is very disturbing and not being talked about or addressed sufficiently by our industry (and its something I hope to work on actually). Again, all my opinions here.

Hope that helps or at least sparks some thoughts. Always great to hear from you.

PS-I’m gonna blog this now. lol! :)”

Libraryman

We Are High Fidelity Libraries

A brief video snippet (with added graphics) that describes why the “hi-fi” in “hi-fi sci-fi library” is key to our present and future success.

Fighting the forces of evil and oppression with your high fidelity library/librarians!

Libraryman

Pre-LITA Forum 2008

Not sure how the joke will go tomorrow, but…shhhhhh! I am gonna rick roll the heck out of my LITA “hi-fi sci-fi library” keynote session attendees tomorrow. It is already a pretty funky presentation that talks about libraries, the content, community, hardware and software environment all in a way that sets up a series of stories taken from science fiction. Throw in a rickrol and who know what will happen. Wish me luck!

LITA Forum Can Haz Rickrolz?

Libraryman

hi-fi sci-fi library: The Presentation

(Maybe) You’ve heard the song and seen the video. Now you can see the presentation that inspired them both!

-Hi-Fi-Sci-Fi-Library: Technology, Convergence, Content, Community, Ubiquity and Library Futures.
LITA National Forum – keynote – October 18, Cincinnati, OH

Description:
So you think it’s an interesting time to be a librarian now? Just wait! Through an examination of past trends, current tech, emerging tech, academic futurism and a dash of pop culture, we’ll take a realistic peek at where library technology is headed. We’ll then take this information and start planning what we can do now to ensure that libraries not only continue to offer our vital service, but that our role and positive contributions to society increase – perhaps quite dramatically.

The presentation is stuffed full of multi media, special effects and lots of realistic, yet fun and thought provoking surprises designed to get your mind chugging along as is contemplates the future of Libraryland. A future populated with hi-fi sci-fi libraries!

These two intro slides will be running at as people are filtering into the room (they are slightly clipped here, click to see the whole slide):
hi-fi sci-fi library: LITA 08 Intro Slide #1

hi-fi sci-fi library: LITA 08 Intro Slide #2

Hope to see some of you there!

Libraryman

Tomorrow’s NEBASE Intro Slide

Designing PowerPoint presentations is FUN! And this is one I’ve wanted to work on for years. For almost ten years now, actually. It is the first time I’m presented the session and it a new direction, so *fingers crossed*. If nothing else, it will be unexpected, fun, entertaining and I *really* think, thought provoking. If you happen to be near Lincoln, NE tomorrow, why not swing by? A more *ahem* “refined” and adjusted version will be used at my LITA keynote session in October too.
hi-fi sci-fi library, baby! :)
NEBASE Annual Meting Keynote Intro Slide-2008

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Now playing: David Lee King & Michael Porter – hifi scifi library

Last week, during an amazing trip to Kansas to speak at the NEKLS Tech Day 2008 (more about that in another post), David and I took a day to record a song that we had been working on together for a couple of months via phone, email and the interweb tubes. We started pretty early and had a happy, long day of fun, creativity, meeting family and, well, making music about the most exciting things out there when it comes to library futures.
The song is called “hi-fi sci-fi library”, and is intended for use around the time I do my keynote session at the 2008 LITA National Forum in October, but I doubt we’ll be able to resist sharing it for that long. We even shot some nice HD video to turn into a music video. lol! It was really fun work and my deepest appreciation to David and his family for their kind welcome. I think we might all still have the chorus knocking around in our heads three days later. Oh, and speaking of the chorus, the song is actually pretty good! It is catchy, fun, quick, (hopefully) inspiring and the lyrics are tight! David and I will both blog about it when we get the mix and the finishing touches completed. In the meantime, here area couple shots of us in the studio:
Me Singing Small

we r recording our song

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Now playing: David Lee King and Michel Porter – hi-fi sci-fi library

This still is taken from a promotional video about facebook*:
built by the people...for FACEBOOK

REALLY?
Well…maybe not so much.
You see, as things continue to evolve in relation to social networking and information access online, this premise starts to become something startlingly close to propaganda. And it is a premise I am beginning to disagree with more strongly. Why? Simply because facebook is a for-profit company. Their motivation as a business both officially and in practice is to make money. While I am positive there are many lovely people working there that are generous, kind and philanthropically minded, the bottom line is that facebook is a company that is very simply most interested in getting people to use their product; not so they can be useful to society, but so they can make money. And they will use they information they get from you to do just that. With no obligation beyond laws (largely constructed to facilitate money making in business) to guard your privacy. And they are under absolutely no obligation to return anything back to the community. Even if the *say* they are nice and want to do good, they are, in fact not formally bound to taking any actions in this regard.

Now, it is very true that facebook is an amazing service that many of us use, appreciate and are grateful to have access to (myself included). But society needs the opportunity to use these sorts of tools and features in a venue that both understands and guards privacy while at the same time protects information access rather then sells information paths of choice (through ads). An institution that is designed to build up the community it nurtures…you know, like libraries and schools.

And it goes beyond facebook-like tools (for community futures). I would suggest that Google-like tools (for search/basic information discovery) should have the same non-profit, ad-free (for the most part), purely motivated capacity as well for the greatest public benefit.

Problem is, when it comes to the future of libraries, and modern/connected civilization’s access to electronic (and physical) community and information access this is blatantly missing from the too dominant tools in electronic search (arguably, Google) and electronic community building (arguably, facebook). And what is missing is starting to feel more dramatic and chasm-like with each passing month.

Libraries need to continue (and significantly grow) their work as professional guardians of community access to information. This means we (libraries and library professionals) need to be the most highly trained facilitators the world has when it comes to information access, community connections, community interactions, privacy protection and electronic tools. You know, the things at the root of the popularity of tools like facebook and Google. The things libraries have been best at for decades (sans the electronic tools part, which is our only real achilles heel in this scenario).

I wish both information professionals and society at large would really seriously think about this. And then act on it in an organized fashion. College professors, primary school teachers, parents, politicians, students and anyone else concerned about the positive growth of humanity should think about this. The “market” does not always dictate what works best for society and this is an instance that requires larger forces than “the market” to intercede. If that doesn’t happen, because of Google-ish and facebook-like tools, our free, unbiased access to information and community stands at risk. There is a potential crisis brewing here and there are not enough people talking about solutions to this crisis in the context mentioned in this post.

It becomes more clear to me with every passing month: some amalgam of social networking tools (like facebook) and for profit search tools (like Google) should be a non-profit that helps people along in their community and information access journeys. All the while guarding their privacy in ways facebook and Google would never dare. Perhaps opt-in’s for users to accept ads could be built into that system to generate revenue to support the system, but in a less integrated way that didn’t affect workforce in the manner it currently does, particularly on facebook at the moment.

So far, facebook has been thumped on here, but Google is in the same boat. Like almost all of you, I use Google almost every day as well. And I am grateful for Google. But words like “Don’t be evil” as a corporate “Code of Conduct” legally means NOTHING (as opposed to a library’s mission statement and governance structure) If you do believe Google cares about ideals more than money, ask who controls their purse strings. Or look at the official Google URL the describes their code: http://investor.google.com/conduct.html. investor.google.com tells us quite clearly where their corportae priorities exist. And what their official mission and business plan entails. Compare Google’s “Code of Conduct” to ANY mission statement** at a Public Library and ask yourself: “Who do YOU want to control and steer you along as you seek information?” Which point of view would most people choose to support given this information?

Misleading content like that in the facebook video above and things like the Google Librarian Librarian projects hold more potential threat than it would first seem. At recent ALA conferences the Google booth was a very popular stop. Many librarians eagerly made videos about how great Google was for libraries…and then *poof* Google disappears from Libraryland for almost a year on their project blog and are nowhere to be found at this years ALA conference. It is that we aren’t importnat enough customers to get Google to stick with us? Did they get what they wanted from us (support) until they didn’t need it anymore? Each side has it’s perspective, but I assure you, Google attends the conferences it feels it needs to. They certainly aren’t staying away because they are short on funds. It most certainly is, at the very least a curious case of unexplained absence. Not the thing to do in the electronic information and community access environment we find ourselves today. It seems that if Google clearly understood this and did have their mission at the front of their minds, they would have thought this through more carefully and acted accordingly.

To this information professional and electronic community activist, it comes down to this: Google and facebook are both businesses, out to make money. Libraries exist to serve their community with information access and community connection opportunities. If individuals or corporations like Google, facebook, etc, really want to get good things done with community, and if you truly care about community and information access, I would implore you to work with library and information professionals, library schools and organizations like OCLC and ALA. Give them resources, support their work with what you are good at, bind yourselves intimately to their success. THAT would do no evil! Most importantly I would ask you to support your local library. And do so in a way that guarantees that participation as long as your company thrives. THEN I will think about giving you wider support and endorsement and not just think of you as a case study in what Libraryland needs to do to succeed without being taken advantage of and potentially usurped by you. Technology is a tool, and we simply mustn’t allow libraries to become a tool that gets less and less useful as it is usurped by a tool that is guided simply by money, with no permanent obligation to give back. That is one of the deepest societal tragedies I can imagine and its consequences would truly be severe and horrible.

*facebook image taken from this video. It appears you are required to be a registered user to view this video.

**Yep, that is a Google search result link.

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Now playing: Beck – Youthless