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3Aug/07Off

Keynote: “ISO My BFF: Reflections on Libraries and TMI, FYA”

Diane Kresh, Director, Arlington County Public Library
Keynote presentation, GALILEO/GOLD Annual Users Group Conference

(Introduction featured Librarian 2.0 Manifesto video by ..., which obviously some in the audience had not seen before -- laughter at "some of my colleagues will be resistant," "I will not fear Google," and "I will encourage my library's administration to blog.")
This is the beginning of a sea change in libraries

"When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you," the church and the library -- Keith Richards

Libraries do what they have always done -- collect, describe, preserve materials; provide free access, support lifelong learning = serve the public good

What will libraries do? Users/needs are changing, so change already -- "Dot. Period." You don't have to know all the answers; be comfortable with your discomfort re change, but accept it.

Ask the users what they need so that we can help them

Themes:

  • Content
  • Context
  • Community

Content:

We are all creating content: e-mail, text if nothing else

Young users text like crazy; librarians need to be comfortable with it (85% of college students use text messaging)

Context:

70% of Americans extremely or very satisfied with public libraries

92% believe libraries are needed in internet age

People are doing research on their own, though, without the library being in the loop

Crowdsourcing: put questions out to the web for collaborative answers instead of going to an expert

Libraries can do this -- again, don't have to have all the answers

Some change drivers: ubiquity of communication tools, new workplace structures, blurred distinction between production and consumption of information, changes in other media industries

Evolving workforce: preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist

People don't care where the information came from -- they just want the info, now. They are willing to settle for less, and want self-service. "Find it, get it, get out"

So who needs libraries?

OCLC 2005 study: People are as likely to trust search engines as libraries

Libraries must be willing to complement what people are finding on their own

Millennials Rising (author Neil Howe?)

Millennials expect instant gratification -- library web sites are very organization-driven, and millennials will give up if they can't find what they need right away

We are stuck in ruts about how we find information

Google gets it -- feeds the information addiction, gets all the media attention. This cannot be said about libraries that are doing many of the same things.

Wagging the long tail

  • make everything available, more choices
  • centralize inventory, control costs
  • cut the price
  • Libraries must help "find it"
  • Amazon: personal recommendations are excellent, and libraries should learn from this

Cool stuff

  • open worldcat meets google
  • creative commons
  • 43things.com
  • LibraryThing
  • Social Networking
  • These are things that will influence future library services

What would happen if Dewey disappeared? Arizona library that has removed the Dewey decimal system

Change the paradigm

  • lose the insularity, scan the horizon
  • keep what works, chuck what doesn't

Community

Discussion of Arlington programs; Arlington Reads, partnerships w/ public schools, local businesses -- don't do it all ourselves, but start with a vision

Your customers: we think a lot about what our patrons need, but we're not so good about asking them

Communicate with them in spaces they use: blogs, IM -- but it's not the right fit yet; young users won't want to communicate  with librarians

Find out what you're not doing

  • Stalk the non-consumers
  • surveys, focus groups
  • Local media reports
  • Walk and talk
  • test, try, transform
  • Do what they (google, amazon) can't do
  • find the white space and fill it

Library as third space

  • where people can gather, hang out, engage in community

Library as destination

  • amenities
  • support local business
  • improve accessibility
  • change with the calendar
  • community and "place making"
  • Co-location, co-location, co-location
  • Be a catalyst for creativity

Competitors: they're offering different services from us, and there's room for both

Brand your library, identify partnership, be opportunitstic, assess progress continually

Take risks, try something new

New job skills, customer focus, technology awareness, risk tolerance

Staff development: encourage experimentation, find growth in failure

Technology is the easy part

Little Richard: "It's not the size of the shp, it's the size of the waves"

Dilbert: "Change is good; you go first"

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