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CIL2012 Flashback: F103 – Reframing Our Roles

DiscussionLast year at Computers in Libraries 2012 the F Track focused on Library Issues & Challenges.  This track was moderated by Jennifer Koerber and Michael P. Sauers and worked as a discussion stream where a roomful of colleagues sat at round tables to focus on a series of topics of interest to innovative librarians. From crowdsourcing for training to applying meaning-based computing, to hot topics and the next big thing.

Session 103 on Wednesday was Reframing Our Roles:

The No. 1 issue for libraries planning their future is engaging staff in future planning and changing the way they view their jobs. Many library staff fear that future changes will result in their jobs being eliminated or require new skills they may have difficulty learning. Yet if everyone in the library reframes or looks through the new “frame” together to see the future, these shifts to roles, skills, and ways of working become clearer,much less frightening, and much more exciting.

Listen to the the audio from this session here.  Mr. Robert’s slides are below the audio.

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At Computers in Libraries 2013 Mr. Ken Roberts will be providing a pre-conference workshop titled Building Workable Relationships: Libraries & IT Departments.

Listen to CIL 2012 Opening Keynote: Innovation Success Framework

Jeffrey Phillips

Jeffrey Phillips

The opening Keynote address at Computers in Libraries 2012 was by Jeffrey Phillips, VP, OVO and Author, Relentless Innovation: What Works, What Doesn’t — And What That Means for Your Business

In creating innovative libraries, we have to understand the key success factors and practices that will enable libraries to excel. Our experienced speaker, author, and respected blogger on the topic of innovation, shares a framework, practical tips and techniques, as well as working examples of innovative organizations. Gain some great insights from the business world and be inspired to implement innovative practices in your organization and community.

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This audio track includes Tom Hogan and Jane Dysart’s introduction to the conference. The keynote begins 11 and a half minutes into the track. View the Computers in Libraries Final Program online.

It’s a Wrap!

Another CIL conference has finished, and it was great.The theme was “Innovation in Libraries”, and there were many presentations on it. I learned a lot, and I hope that all our readers did. Be sure and follow up on the links in the presentations. You will soon be able to view the slides of many of the presentations on the conference website. The live streams of keynote sessions and the others held in the same room will be available a little later on the CIL Live page.

Everyone who worked so hard to make this conference a success deserves a round of applause:

  • Tom Hogan, Sr., President of ITI and conference host, for his overall wisdom and guidance,
  • The program planners who recruited an excellent lineup of speakers,
  • The ITI conference planning group, who made all the local arrangements and ensured that we were all comfortable,
  • The ITI technical staff, who looked after the websites, this blog, the Wi-Fi, and the PCs that the speakers used in their presentations, and who bailed us out when difficulties arose,
  • The hotel staff who carried out the arrangements, set up the refreshments, breakfasts, and the reception in the exhibit hall, and those who set up and dismantled the exhibit hall and the meeting rooms,
  • The ITI graphics group who made the signs, and prepared the program for production,
  • The ITI administrative group who prepared the materials that went into registration packets, assembled name badges, registered the attendees, collected the registration fees, and did a host of similar tasks,
  • The staff behind the registration desk who distributed registration materials to the attendees,
  • The exhibitors who came and displayed their products,
  • And finally, all of you, the attendees, without whom there would be no conference.

As you can see, a conference just does not happen by itself. It takes a tremendous amount of coordination and effort by many people. And it is not very long after one is finished before planning begins for the next one.
CIL 2013 will again be at the Washington Hilton on April 8-10 . Mark your calendars now and plan to attend!


Research Meets Reality

Unisphere Research has been doing studies on library budgets and spending for the past few years. In a Friday afternoon session, Thomas Wilson, Unisphere’s president, presented recent statistics to a panel with real world experience in many spheres of the library market. The panelists, Dick Kaser (Information Today), David Lee King (Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library), Frank Cervone (Purdue University Calumet), Mike Diaz (ProQuest), and Joe McKendrick (Unisphere) reacted to the numbers, giving the audience their interpretations of what was behind Unisphere’s findings.

Panelists react to Unisphere's statistical findings

Panelists react to Unisphere's statistical findings

Not too surprisingly, King and Cervone had different approaches to the materials on which they spend money. Public libraries don’t buy scholarly journals; university libraries do. Both are interested in ebooks, but the type of titles are very different, with publics looking at popular fiction and universities opting for books that support the curricula. Diaz commented that libraries, at this point, often want titles both in print and as ebooks.

All agreed that cloud computing would have an enormous effect on library services going forward. The influence cloud computing would have on library budgets could depend on the size of the library and which services could migrate to the cloud.

It’s always interesting when statistical tables, which were the slides on the screen for this session, take on a life of their own as people explain them in the contexts of their working lives.

No More Excuses!

Are you marketing your library to your community effectively?  Why not?  Nancy Dowd, Project Lead, EBSCO Publishing; and Janie Hermann, Public Programming Librarian, Princeton Public Library addressed an overflow audience and said that there are no more excuses for not doing so!

Nancy Dowd (L), Jamie Hermann (R)

What does your library mean to your community?   What do people in your community think you are doing?  Are we getting all our knowledge out to the community?  In these difficult economic times, no library can afford not to prove its value.  We are not only educating our audience but are persuading them to use our services.  We are expected to market our libraries. Nancy discussed the steps to be undertaken in a marketing campaign:

The first thing to know is the needs of the community and who they are. Think in terms of market segments. Create conversations through social media, and listen to what your community wants. You can use that knowledge to develop your programs and services (the old way was to develop the services first, and then we wondered why people would not uses them). And don’t forget to go back over the program, evaluate it, and make necessary changes.

Jamie has developed many innovative marketing campaigns at the Princeton Public Library and makes heavy use of social media.  She noted that there is a large segment of the population that is difficult to reach and may not know very much about the library and its services.  For example, some Python programmers needed a place to meet and form a user group, so she offered them a room in the library, thus exposing many of the attendees to the library for the first time.

It is important to keep your focus local and connect with the community.  Jamie joined the Princeton LinkedIn group and was able to connect with many local business people who did not use the library.  She provided meeting space for a speed networking group, spoke at it, and marketed the library.  She also has embedded herself in Facebook groups for participatory marketing.  It is important to connect and be authentic, but still maintain the brand.  She has put a collection of photos of flyers for past events on a Flickr account, and it has proven to be very popular.  The Library as an Incubator Project has good suggestions for marketing children’s programs.

Electronic newsletters are still relevant as communication vehicles.  They have proven to be the library’s biggest marketing tool and have a wide readership in the community.

There are no more excuses–reach out and engage!


Data 101: Why Should I Start, Why Do I Care?

Data, of course, has been around for many years, but with new technologies and capabilities for manipulating it and analyzing it becoming available, it has become a topic of high current interest.

Abigail Goben

Abigail Goben, Reference Librarian at the Unviersity of Illinois–Chicago, gave a fascinating and informative look at the current hot topic of data and what librarians must do to become informed on this topic. Many researchers do not realize that the library can be a useful source for them.  In fact, at a recent AAAS meeting, Abigail heard people saying, “We need to go around the library.”  But data is becoming a significant aspect of many library jobs.  Abigail tracks library job advertisements that include a data component on her blog and has listed over 100 of them in the last 6 months.

The major things to be learned are the basics of data, software, and library components.  You need to know what good data looks like, how to analyze it statistically (with software packages such as SPSS, Mathematica, and even Excel).  The library components include metadata, ontologies, and data management plans.  Learn how to find, acquire, describe, and provide data access to users.

Here are three excellent resources to help you get started learning about data:

These are some introductory books on statistics.

These are some useful websites:

Finally, some people that data librarians should be listening to (note, many of them are not librarians!) and blogs they should be reading include:

  • @libskrat (Dorothea Salo) and @researchremix (Heather Piwowar)
  • FlowingData (what people are doing with data, working charts, etc.
  • KDnuggets (industry focused, list data science jobs not seen in libraries)
  • mathbabe (professor, puts things in context)
  • Retraction Watch (tracks retractions in major journals and comments on them–many retractions are data-related).