Archive for the 'renewal' Category

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.

21 - Packed and Ready for the Taxi - 24 hours of flickr
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,

-Michael Porter
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!
Library Renewal Presentation Pic