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Closing Keynote: People Want Technical, Tangible, and Social

At 3:45 Wednesday afternoon, a big group of hard-core conference-goers settled into the comfortable Steinbeck Forum for Internet Librarian’s closing keynote. Once again, Liz Lawley, director of RIT’s Lab for Social Computing, delivered the show’s final thoughts. Her topic was Learning and Play in a Social and Mobile World, and she talked about lots of gadgets, crafts, and how they engage people both in person and electronically.

Lawley ran through a number of wild and crazy new gadgets, such as the Nabaztag rabbits and "Home Joule," which montiors home energy usage. There were too many to list here, but you can find them all on this site. The one that stood out most to me was Botanicalls, a small electronic device with attached probes that you stick into the soil of a household plant. The probes monitor soil moisture and the device will call or twitter you when the plant needs to be watered. Interesting? Sure. Necessary? To me, personally, this one was a bit much. I figure that if a person wasn’t so busy with electronic gadgets, he or she might be able to remember to water their plants all by themselves. But hey, that’s just me.

Then she talked more about crafts, and how people came together through creating things, both in person and online. Even online shoppers want tangible things, handmade items, and she cited sites such as Etsy, "your place to buy and sell all things handmade." These sorts of sites, she said, work "to bring people together in a physical, geo-local sort of way," and she wondered why libraries weren’t doing more of this. Why not open rooms to knitting clubs? Why not open rooms with wi-fi and lots of outlets for group activities? Why not offer more cafes where people can come together and eat or drink without leaving the library building?

She talked a lot about knitting and crocheting, too, asking the audience how many did such needlework. I was surprised by how many responded (myself included). In fact, I was sitting near one perfect example of what Lawley was discussing — one attendee who was very engaged in the presentation had a laptop in front of her and was knitting at the same time. wow!

People want to be involved in all three ways — technical, tangible, and social — and libraries can do more fun and interesting things to fulfill those desires.

~Kathy Dempsey

Editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter



Making Movies: Lights, Camera, Action!

This was a really wonderful, all-encompassing talk by Sean Robinson and Kaye Gregg from the Allen County (IN) Public Library. They had worked together on a cool zombie video that won an InfoTubey award earlier this year, so I was sure they’d know their stuff, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ve heard others discuss how to take a video that was shot quickly with an inexpensive digital camera and use software to edit it. This session, tho, was all about shooting the video in a more planned-out, professional manner. You wouldn’t have to be rich or own lots of fancy equipment to benefit from it, however. Here are some of the many great tips the duo shared for making great-looking videos:

  • For the best lighting, shoot in the morning or evening, but not at mid-day.
  • Shoot some still photos at the time & location you plan to make the video so you can see how the lighting will look.
  • Make your participants feel at home so they’re more comfortable when the cameras start rolling.
  • Combine lights from various angles to get good lighting, especially on faces.
  • Secure the area before your shoot so you don’t have people walking through your scene.
  • Be aware of the locations of security cameras or sensors so you don’t set off any alarms, especially if you’re shooting after hours (ie, in an empty library at night).
  • Be very careful about microphone placement to achieve the best sound.
  • Hold a written script just under the video camera so the actors can read it while still looking at the camera.
  • Use people who are natural hams; who are unafraid of the camera.
  • Layer your audio and video to build a soundscape piece by piece.
  • If you can’t get good audio recording during the shoot, then record that seperately and dub it in later.

All of their advice related back to planning — careful planning makes for better work. And since they practiced what they preached for their own presentation, it’s no wonder that these experts put on such a good show themselves.

~Kathy Dempsey


Twitter as the Road to Ruination?

I picked up a copy of the Financial Times yesterday at the FT booth, but didn’t get around to reading it until the session on Twitter was over. It had a special section on "Digital Business" with an article by Peter Whitehead titled "Twitter: another road to ruin." (That link won’t be good forever; it will go behind the FT’s firewall, but be accessible to those of you with access to the third party distributors, such as LexisNexis, Factiva, if you’ve paid the extra subscription fee to the FT.) The author is new to Twitter and has some concerns. Unlike the recommendations from Michael Sauers, et al., he doesn’t see much actual conversation going on (that could be because he doesn’t yet have a lot of followers), instead he sees tweets as "mini-broadcasts." He’s also concerned about the blurring of private and professional lives. When he’s on Twitter, is he representative of his employer or is he tweeting as a private person? I’d guess this is something everyone on Twitter has to work out for themselves. HIs final sentence seems overly dramatic and negative, however. He says, "one mistake and it could be the ruin of anyone." Nope, don’t buy that one.

Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

Pecha Kucha—Conversation Face-Off


The program explained that Pecha Kucha is Japanese for the sound of conversation. The program indicated the ground rules for this fast-paced series of presentations. Each panelist had just 6 minutes and 40 seconds to take a stance about some strategy or technique in libraries. As Greg Schwartz described it – this was “presentation magic.” As Rebecca said, the format forced them into clarity.


Rebecca Jones on planning frameworks: “I learned about planning from my farmer Dad and from Peter Drucker – 0.0 technology dudes.” They showed an ability to bring clarity to planning—it’s about knowing your current situation is, knowing what you want. Clarity on what, who, how, why and where. Drucker’s advice came from his book, The Five Most Important Questions. Be clear on the answers to those questions. Why do plans get derailed? Get those “buts…” out of the picture, she declared! Practicality, planning, and persistence pays off.


Stephen Abram on trendspotting (weak signals from the future) – how do we know what is coming next? He predicted our crappy economy a year and a half ago when he analyzed the signals. Which is affecting the election more – the debate and ads … or the YouTube video, “I can see Russia from my porch.” YouTube of course. In the 2008 Olympics, Yahoo got higher ratings than NBC. Adults are now playing online games—definitely a signal of the times. Are you ready for mobile? Phones are replacing laptops (oh, oh…).


David Lee King on “The Librarian… Is the Product.” We usually don’t see librarian and product in the same sentence. Libraries really do have a lot of products. What product should we be selling? Amazon sells books better than we do. Search results come from Google. Maybe we should sell ourselves—and promote ourselves—better than we do now. “We are the value-added super heroes behind the stuff.” Google may answer the question, but librarians IMPROVE the answer. We’re the ones that hold the library together. YES!


Nancy Dowd—“A Marketing Manifesto, A Foundation for Planning”

I will call them by name if I can—client, patron, customer… (member is better, according to a follow-up conversation with Dowd and Abram)

I will be transparent in my marketing – honest conversation. I will listen.

I will no longer support the silence of silos – call someone if they’re doing it better.

I will support innovation. Try, fail, try again and again…

I will make demands on my vendors. If their products aren’t easy to use, bye, bye.

I will honor all choices of communication tools

I will embrace diversity – even Republicans in my library!

I will act GREEN.

I will find the “me” in my library – be authentic

I will measure the right stuff – am I reaching people?

I will market to voters – so I can get funding

I will tell stories – stories that will matter and create an impression


Nancy was voted the best/favorite presenter by the audience.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.