Merci Montreal!

Today I gave the opening keynote for the Quebec Library Association Annual Conference whose theme was libraries as learning organizations. Here are the slides from the presentation.

Montreal is a beautiful city and the people are very friendly. I’m amazed at how easily everyone transitions from French to English in conversations. We should strive for this level of personal bilingualism in the US.

Innovating During a Time of Change

Slides from my presentation this morning at Computers in Libraries. More thoughts later…

Innovative Services & Practices

I’ve come full circle this afternoon by coming back to the Cultivating Innovation & Change track. This late afternoon session on Innovative Services & Practices is being presented by John Blyberg, Gretchen Hams, Sarah Ludwig, Kate Sheehan from the Darien Library. Serve community of 20-20K people.

John kicked things off.

Libraries have not been preparing for the future in a way that is sustainable. Traditional library services misaligned with needs of the users. Took services apart and reassembled to meet needs of the users. “Delete” the reference desk.

Sometimes we fail with innovation. That’s ok.

We have to adapt and be willing to adapt.

Innovate. Fail. Adapt.

Users do not see drastic change they see us responding to their needs.

If you build change and innovation into your culture your staff and users will come to expect it.


Gretchen – Children’s Librarian

Children’s librarians don’t always get a seat at the innovation table.

Picture books start with QJ. We’re asking customers to assume this knowledge.

Reorganized picture books and used color coded labels to empower browsers and searchers.

People come to the library as a 3rd place – especially in the winter to get out and socialize.

Just putting computers in the children’s room is not good enough.We need to find ways for them to collaborate.

Story time should not be one way. Kids should participate.

Examples of innovation: kids giving tours of the library, signs made by kids.

We’ve been missing a special demographic by focusing on only the kids and not their parents who don’t always know about adult services available.

Sarah – Teen and Technology Librarian

Teen room does not have a service desk

Teen space has all glass walls to see what is going on from outside

Trust teens with their space. If you give them the trust they will respect the space.

All furniture is movable.

Teens can move it where ever they want and whenever they want.

Let them make it their own!

Gaming – you should be doing it if you are serving teens.

DPL does not program around it. Just leave it open for them to use as they want.

Use tools to reach teens – Facebook.

If working with teens it is not appropriate to use a personal Facebook page. Need to have a professional teen librarian appearance. Do not friend coworkers or other adults. Only teens.

Kate – Reference

Reference is dead. Roving.

Long term wanted to move to 1 on 1 reference.

Meet people at their need without being invasive.

Allow people to browse independently.

When you change your space you have more space.

Reference desk was scary! Now a small curvy table.

Put 300 and 600 personal finance together.

If you rove you need a wireless phone.

We are able to do a lot of reference because we are not doing computer sign ups and tech support and other things.

Most important tool has been name tags.

Reorganizing is like weeding. Permanent upkeep. Constantly ask why you are doing this. Reassess.

You might not get a lot of positive feedback. The happy users will go along their way. The unhappy ones will complain the loudest.

“We have all changed our shoes. We no longer wear heels, but we all have great legs.” This is the best quote of the conference! This session really hit home with me as my own library is moving toward a similar service model.

New Strategies for Digital Natives

I’m live blogging from Computers in Libraries on the Cultivating Innovation & Change Track. This morning’s session is presented by my friend Helene Blowers from Columbus Public Library.

Helene kicked things off with this great YouTube video that makes me miss my little ones.


Digital natives are those born after 1980. This is their reality:

Age 1- First commercial PC

Age 3 –  First cell phone

Age 9 – Internet

Age 14 – Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. Built on engage and connect versus find.

Digital natives have always had access and engagement. It’s part of their reality.

The last election really showed how powerful engagement and Web 2.0 is. Photo Clinton vs. Hillary during primary. Election was won during primary.
CIL 005

Digital natives uses real identity as online identity. They have never known any difference and see them as ubiquitous. Digital identify is important because that is how they connect and exert influence online.

Top 5 Social Networks January 2009

  1. Facebook
  2. MySpace
  3. Twitter
  4. Flixster
  5. LinkedIn

Things important to digital natives and things to think about when designing services and spaces for them:

  • Social identity
  • Creativity and leaving their imprint
  • Self-expression
  • Digital information quality
  • Sharing information rather than quality of information
  • There are no barriers
  • Access is universal. Always connected 24/7
  • It’s all about me
  • Peer to peer file sharing is not piracy it’s sharing
  • Digital advocacy

Only .08% of students have actually met someone in person that they met online.

The safety precautions we’ve put out are working and this is a smart group!

1 in 5 teens are self-identified as nonconfromists.

The digital native digital sandbox is unlimited and they have lots of opportunity.

Digital natives want to remix, reuse content to express themselves.

You are what you share not what you own.

Librarians to Lifebrarians.

Strategies for Dealing With Digital Natives

  • Engagement
  • Enrichment – provide customers with a rich online experience that enhances their local branch experience and daily lives. Customers need to feel value from library
  • Empower – Enable customers to personalize and add value to the library experience and allow the community to celebrate themselves.

What is innovation?

From Indexed:

So many people have told me this throughout my career, “Don’t go to management with problems; go with solutions.”

Innovation is finding a solution to a problem but I would also add it is finding a solution to a problem that you did not know exists!