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Libraries: Change and our Future

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Presentation to Sydney Institute TAFE librarians about what I think the future holds for libraries. In particular, I talk about the UTS model, but there are points here relevant to all libraries. …

Presentation to Sydney Institute TAFE librarians about what I think the future holds for libraries. In particular, I talk about the UTS model, but there are points here relevant to all libraries. Given 7 December 2010.

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  • In this slide the image used is from a workshop we ran in the Library (September 2010) for year 7 & 9 students so that they could tell us what the liked, disliked and would imagine for a library of the future that they might be using. Some of the outcomes from that workshop are listed on Slide 20.
  • I saw all of this the morning before delivering this talk to the Sydney Institute TAFE Sustainable Libraries – Sustainable Life Program 2010. Currently Australian libraries do not seem to be under as much of a threat as those in both North America and Western Europe (particularly the UK). The context is different in Australia, at least economically. In the UK, even sacred cows like Defence are being targetted for spending cuts. I was in the UK in late 2010 and it struck me that whilst some libraries such as the British Library have taken the opportunity to substantially change their “business model” many have either not had the resources or will power to change the way they do their business and the way they present themselves to their communities. My observations above are not meant as criticisms of our UK colleagues, merely my observations about what we need to do in Australia to remain viable as institutions with real roles.
  • This is just my quick representation of the way we were with the dawning of the age of the web in library land.
  • So this is what we are grappling with today – a vast landscape of competing priorities and many issues that seemingly pull us in different directions at the same time. New values and opportunities are emerging, however, and there are many exemplars to follow if inspiration is needed. What remains, however, is the imperative to tailor what you deliver in your library for the needs of your community. To do that you MUST understand what your community’s core business or priorities are and then stay relevant to them.
  • Here is where I think we are heading and I’ve highlighted some of the key areas. Sure, some of the long-established obligations and responsibilities will also come with us, but the challenge is to decide what must be dropped so we can ramp up for new demands and the new environment we are working within. Our future is no longer just about the book.
  • By way of illustration, I will now show a few of the initiatives we are taking at the UTS Library in order to set up our own future. This map is the UTS Campus Redevelopment Masterplan. Projects currently underway include the Student Housing Tower, an underground Multi-purpose Sports Hall and a new Broadway Building for the Faculty of Engineering & IT. Building 14 will be a Frank Gehry designed building for the Business school and soon we kick off the preparatory work for the Library Retrieval System with excavation to begin in 2012. The UTS Library will be relocated in two stages from its current location in Building 5 of the Haymarket Campus: Stage 1 is the occupation and operation of our Library Retrieval System (LRS) to be installed under Alumni Green. It will be operational in 2014. Stage 2 is the occupation of the redeveloped Library building or Learning Commons in what is currently Building 2. Currently that is envisaged for 2016. UTS Student vision film http://www.youtube.com/user/UTSLibrary From restricted opening hours -> towards 24/7 services
  • Film of an ASRS at work (in Utah) http://www.flickr.com/photos/malbooth/4118722777/in/set-72157623121781717/ Our future library will not be designed as a book storage facility. About 75-80% of our collection will be housed in a Library Retrieval System like the one shown. From book storage facility + a website -> customised physical spaces & personalised web services/apps From books & journals -> multiple media formats & games
  • The LRS will take away the ability to serendipitously bowse the entire physical collection. We will replace that with improve browsing online of entire covers of “virtual shelves”, suggestions and recommendations (like Amazon & StumbleUpon), an opt-in “Genius” like service that can list books you might be interested in based on your browsing and use patterns. We are also looking at the application of social bookmarks to the collection (e.g. Using something like Delicious or Diigo) as well as offering users the ability to tag catalogue entries. We are also talking to UTS visual communications staff to look at visual ways to represent the vast amounts of data we have about our collections, their attributes and their use in terms of datavisualisation.
  • Primary uses: Access Tracking Transactions processing & self-service Also: Location Making library smarter Assisting IL? We’d like to explore the possibilities currently being applied and tested with RFID but not inside the library or academic sector. The retail, transport and logistics industry offer us some different applications of RFID technology and these could be combined with the standard library applications by a smart systems integrator in the second phase of our RFID deployment/implementation.
  • We believe that a sense of place and space will be important in our new library. With less books on display that is easier to deliver in a given space. Even current school students have recently reminded us of the importance of an appropriately welcoming space to first enter for the Library. They recognised the critical importance of that space in reminding you about the purpose of the institution you are entering. The use of appropriate orientation spaces has been well recognised in the museum world and in well-designed new libraries such as the one shown here in Salt Lake City. From restricted opening hours -> towards 24/7 services From desks/counters/signs/screens/boards -> orientation spaces
  • Clever design can assist us in designing out undesirable behaviour (like theft, excess noise, vandalism, etc.) and in encouraging appropriate behaviour like reading, study, collaboration, self-service, reference assistance, etc. We are already working with 4th year design students on projects such as Designing Out Crime to explore the possibilities offered by RFID and mobile computing platforms as well as more traditional solutions to be found in spatial and furniture design. We believe it is very important to have our current and future students participating in the conceptual design stage. As a university of technology our design, engineering, and IT students and researchers also have much to offer us from their own expertise. From GATES, DON’T! & SHUSH! -> Welcome, how can we help? & influencing behaviour (theft, vandalism, inappropriate behaviour/food/drink) by design
  • From website -> applications and open development with our content/data From catalogues -> Google, Amazon, iTunes (interfaces) From face-to-face classes -> ubiquitous learning From Library (only as a location) -> mobile services across the campus (people & virtual) From passive consumers of technology -> active trend-setters and explorers through partnerships in research & publishing
  • From passive “collectors” -> more active collectors, publishers, creators & co-creators
  • From book stacks & desks -> sound studios, editing suites & collaborative learning spaces Spaces need to be provided for all of the functions on this slide. Some need to be dedicated and others need to be flexible and easily adaptable to suit different purposes. Should we be looking at more ephemeral design in some spaces? Maybe more robust in its nature and spaces we are less precious about? Is it “our” space or “their” space. How can we encourage their “ownership” & care, even if it is only temporary? Shown above is an experimental “create Space that we set up in the current library to “play” with different furnishings, interactive white-boards and white-board paint and glass panels in stead of white-boards on the walls. It has been very useful for us to observe what students do in such spaces and what they prefer to use these spaces for.
  • From “Lending” “Research Help Desk” “Access” “Security” “IT” “Information literacy” -> triage HELP & expert consultancies We like the Apple model that is more generic and helpful than ours is at present. In terms of service design I think we have a lot to learn from the whole Participatory Design movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_design Recently I attended Industry Day at the PD Conference in Sydney and I thought there was a lot for us to learn just from several short examples that were presented during the course of that day. I’ve started to post about some of them via my blog: http://frommelbin.blogspot.com/2010/12/participatory-service-design.html
  • From waste -> GREEN and sustainability in all dimensions. That means the building, our operations, our procurement, & sustainable relationships at work both within the workplace and with our patrons, partners, stakeholders and our masters. I think we’ve been trying to model that behaviour already in the UTS Library and we are making some progress.
  • From mere service provider -> cultural, learning & community hub Our library will serve as a cultural & learning hub within our university.
  • From controlled bureaucratic structures -> trusted agile & adaptable teams, constantly evolving to meet new needs. Library staff should be more visible in the Library and across the campus. That means in both the physical and digital realms.
  • Everything we offer must be intuitive. Some of the most common feedback we get in the library world is that our clients don’t know what to make of our signage, classification system, collections arrangement, web structures, and catalogues. If we were Amazon we’d have gone broke ages ago.
  • These points are what the year 7 & 9 students told us they wanted in a university library of the future after a half day informal workshop in our current library in September of 2010. Extended learning means the opportunity to learn beyond the set curriculum. What can we do to provide randomness in our libraries. Everything we do is about (mostly outdated ontologies and structures! Gaming & media spaces are probably essential now. A library without them in the future will be irrelevant. Orientation spaces have a significant effect, more significant than any signage, on the behaviour of those entering. It is expected by our clients. Water features, greenery and natural light are probably things we would wish to see ourselves. Future students will expect all technology that we provide to be intuitive. If it isn’t it won’t be used. Signage can be over-done, and to be effective it must be meaningful. Our future students expect like-books to have some kind of thematic identity that gives users/readers a clue about their content. I didn’t really understand why students said they liked the curved spaces in the UTS Library until I saw those of the Philological Library in Berlin’s Free University. Library spaces and services must learn to be customisable and personalised. Maybe we are too precious about those spaces and don’t understand their true potential. We want our future library to be a social hub, but it also must provide exposure to culture, so the use of art within the library will be critical. Our sustainability initiatives must be visible and demonstrate our progress (or not) in all dimensions/facets. Comfy chairs are essential because patrons simply will not spend every hour in a library awake. “ Lack of rules” perhaps indicates that we still have too many rules, or too many signs indicating the rules. Perhaps there are other ways to influence and encourage behaviour besides rules.
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/UTSLibrary#p/a/u/2/iLelhZHb3G8
  • A final set of reminders, many of which hark back to that earlier wordle about Library3.0.
  • So to bring it all back to the situation in the UK and spending cuts, where is there an example of a library doing just about everything I mentioned in the previous slide? At the British Library in their Business and Intellectual Property Centre. This is impressive new business for the British Library and an example of seeing an opportunity and grasping it with both hands. They’ve developed great partnerships with the business of the City and now librarians in this centre help people starting up new businesses. I believe this is the kind of thing all of us need to learn how to do in our own communities. http://www.bl.uk/bipc/index.html On the far wall you can see examples of success stories encouraged as businesses by this centre. For UTS I see this as a model we might use somewhere in our new Learning Commons, perhaps to link industry experts with researchers or others from URS starting businesses or seeking help getting inventions and prototypes off the ground. It might also be a useful industry mentoring centre for post-grad students. We could even use the model to assist academics and researchers with e-publishing and in order to understand Copyright better (in he way BIPC does much the same thing with IP and Patents law). Another example in London are the Idea Stores in East London – deeply relevant and connected to their communities, providing what they need. http://www.ideastore.co.uk/ In Australia I think the State Library of Queensland (particularly The Edge) http://theedge.slq.qld.gov.au/home and as a public library I think Mosman Council Library are doing a pretty good job for their community http://www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/library

Transcript

  • 1. In this slide the image used is from a workshop we ran in the Library (September2010) for year 7 & 9 students so that they could tell us what the liked, disliked andwould imagine for a library of the future that they might be using. Some of theoutcomes from that workshop are listed on Slide 20. 1
  • 2. I saw all of this the morning before delivering this talk to the Sydney Institute TAFESustainable Libraries – Sustainable Life Program 2010.Currently Australian libraries do not seem to be under as much of a threat as thosein both North America and Western Europe (particularly the UK). The context isdifferent in Australia, at least economically. In the UK, even sacred cows like Defenceare being targetted for spending cuts.I was in the UK in late 2010 and it struck me that whilst some libraries such as theBritish Library have taken the opportunity to substantially change their “businessmodel” many have either not had the resources or will power to change the waythey do their business and the way they present themselves to their communities.My observations above are not meant as criticisms of our UK colleagues, merely myobservations about what we need to do in Australia to remain viable as institutionswith real roles. 2
  • 3. This is just my quick representation of the way we were with the dawning of the ageof the web in library land. 3
  • 4. So this is what we are grappling with today – a vast landscape of competing prioritiesand many issues that seemingly pull us in different directions at the same time. Newvalues and opportunities are emerging, however, and there are many exemplars tofollow if inspiration is needed. What remains, however, is the imperative to tailorwhat you deliver in your library for the needs of your community. To do that youMUST understand what your community’s core business or priorities are and thenstay relevant to them. 4
  • 5. Here is where I think we are heading and I’ve highlighted some of the key areas.Sure, some of the long-established obligations and responsibilities will also comewith us, but the challenge is to decide what must be dropped so we can ramp up fornew demands and the new environment we are working within.Our future is no longer just about the book. 5
  • 6. By way of illustration, I will now show a few of the initiatives we are taking at theUTS Library in order to set up our own future.This map is the UTS Campus Redevelopment Masterplan. Projects currentlyunderway include the Student Housing Tower, an underground Multi-purpose SportsHall and a new Broadway Building for the Faculty of Engineering & IT. Building 14 willbe a Frank Gehry designed building for the Business school and soon we kick off thepreparatory work for the Library Retrieval System with excavation to begin in 2012.The UTS Library will be relocated in two stages from its current location in Building 5of the Haymarket Campus:Stage 1 is the occupation and operation of our Library Retrieval System (LRS) to beinstalled under Alumni Green. It will be operational in 2014.Stage 2 is the occupation of the redeveloped Library building or Learning Commonsin what is currently Building 2. Currently that is envisaged for 2016.UTS Student vision film http://www.youtube.com/user/UTSLibraryFrom restricted opening hours -> towards 24/7 services 6
  • 7. Film of an ASRS at work (in Utah)http://www.flickr.com/photos/malbooth/4118722777/in/set-72157623121781717/Our future library will not be designed as a book storage facility. About 75-80% ofour collection will be housed in a Library Retrieval System like the one shown.From book storage facility + a website -> customised physical spaces & personalisedweb services/appsFrom books & journals -> multiple media formats & games 7
  • 8. The LRS will take away the ability to serendipitously bowse the entire physicalcollection. We will replace that with improve browsing online of entire covers of“virtual shelves”, suggestions and recommendations (like Amazon & StumbleUpon),an opt-in “Genius” like service that can list books you might be interested in basedon your browsing and use patterns.We are also looking at the application of social bookmarks to the collection (e.g.Using something like Delicious or Diigo) as well as offering users the ability to tagcatalogue entries.We are also talking to UTS visual communications staff to look at visual ways torepresent the vast amounts of data we have about our collections, their attributesand their use in terms of datavisualisation. 8
  • 9. Primary uses:AccessTrackingTransactions processing & self-serviceAlso:LocationMaking library smarterAssisting IL?We’d like to explore the possibilities currently being applied and tested with RFID butnot inside the library or academic sector. The retail, transport and logistics industryoffer us some different applications of RFID technology and these could be combinedwith the standard library applications by a smart systems integrator in the secondphase of our RFID deployment/implementation. 9
  • 10. We believe that a sense of place and space will be important in our new library. Withless books on display that is easier to deliver in a given space.Even current school students have recently reminded us of the importance of anappropriately welcoming space to first enter for the Library. They recognised thecritical importance of that space in reminding you about the purpose of theinstitution you are entering. The use of appropriate orientation spaces has been wellrecognised in the museum world and in well-designed new libraries such as the oneshown here in Salt Lake City.From restricted opening hours -> towards 24/7 servicesFrom desks/counters/signs/screens/boards -> orientation spaces 10
  • 11. Clever design can assist us in designing out undesirable behaviour (like theft, excessnoise, vandalism, etc.) and in encouraging appropriate behaviour like reading, study,collaboration, self-service, reference assistance, etc.We are already working with 4th year design students on projects such as DesigningOut Crime to explore the possibilities offered by RFID and mobile computingplatforms as well as more traditional solutions to be found in spatial and furnituredesign.We believe it is very important to have our current and future students participatingin the conceptual design stage. As a university of technology our design, engineering,and IT students and researchers also have much to offer us from their own expertise.From GATES, DON’T! & SHUSH! -> Welcome, how can we help? & influencingbehaviour (theft, vandalism, inappropriate behaviour/food/drink) by design 11
  • 12. From website -> applications and open development with our content/dataFrom catalogues -> Google, Amazon, iTunes (interfaces)From face-to-face classes -> ubiquitous learningFrom Library (only as a location) -> mobile services across the campus (people &virtual)From passive consumers of technology -> active trend-setters and explorers throughpartnerships in research & publishing 12
  • 13. From passive “collectors” -> more active collectors, publishers, creators & co-creators 13
  • 14. From book stacks & desks -> sound studios, editing suites & collaborative learningspacesSpaces need to be provided for all of the functions on this slide. Some need to bededicated and others need to be flexible and easily adaptable to suit differentpurposes.Should we be looking at more ephemeral design in some spaces? Maybe morerobust in its nature and spaces we are less precious about? Is it “our” space or“their” space. How can we encourage their “ownership” & care, even if it is onlytemporary?Shown above is an experimental “create Space that we set up in the current libraryto “play” with different furnishings, interactive white-boards and white-board paintand glass panels in stead of white-boards on the walls. It has been very useful for usto observe what students do in such spaces and what they prefer to use thesespaces for. 14
  • 15. From “Lending” “Research Help Desk” “Access” “Security” “IT” “Information literacy”-> triage HELP & expert consultanciesWe like the Apple model that is more generic and helpful than ours is at present.In terms of service design I think we have a lot to learn from the whole ParticipatoryDesign movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_designRecently I attended Industry Day at the PD Conference in Sydney and I thought therewas a lot for us to learn just from several short examples that were presented duringthe course of that day.I’ve started to post about some of them via my blog:http://frommelbin.blogspot.com/2010/12/participatory-service-design.html 15
  • 16. From waste -> GREEN and sustainability in all dimensions. That means the building,our operations, our procurement, & sustainable relationships at work both withinthe workplace and with our patrons, partners, stakeholders and our masters. I thinkwe’ve been trying to model that behaviour already in the UTS Library and we aremaking some progress. 16
  • 17. From mere service provider -> cultural, learning & community hubOur library will serve as a cultural & learning hub within our university. 17
  • 18. From controlled bureaucratic structures -> trusted agile & adaptable teams,constantly evolving to meet new needs.Library staff should be more visible in the Library and across the campus. That meansin both the physical and digital realms. 18
  • 19. Everything we offer must be intuitive. Some of the most common feedback we get inthe library world is that our clients don’t know what to make of our signage,classification system, collections arrangement, web structures, and catalogues. If wewere Amazon we’d have gone broke ages ago. 19
  • 20. These points are what the year 7 & 9 students told us they wanted in a universitylibrary of the future after a half day informal workshop in our current library inSeptember of 2010.Extended learning means the opportunity to learn beyond the set curriculum.What can we do to provide randomness in our libraries. Everything we do is about(mostly outdated ontologies and structures!Gaming & media spaces are probably essential now. A library without them in thefuture will be irrelevant.Orientation spaces have a significant effect, more significant than any signage, onthe behaviour of those entering. It is expected by our clients.Water features, greenery and natural light are probably things we would wish to seeourselves.Future students will expect all technology that we provide to be intuitive. If it isn’t itwon’t be used.Signage can be over-done, and to be effective it must be meaningful.Our future students expect like-books to have some kind of thematic identity thatgives users/readers a clue about their content.I didn’t really understand why students said they liked the curved spaces in the UTSLibrary until I saw those of the Philological Library in Berlin’s Free University.Library spaces and services must learn to be customisable and personalised. Maybewe are too precious about those spaces and don’t understand their true potential.We want our future library to be a social hub, but it also must provide exposure toculture, so the use of art within the library will be critical.Our sustainability initiatives must be visible and demonstrate our progress (or not) inall dimensions/facets.Comfy chairs are essential because patrons simply will not spend every hour in alibrary awake.“Lack of rules” perhaps indicates that we still have too many rules, or too many signs 20
  • 21. http://www.youtube.com/user/UTSLibrary#p/a/u/2/iLelhZHb3G8 21
  • 22. A final set of reminders, many of which hark back to that earlier wordle aboutLibrary3.0. 22
  • 23. So to bring it all back to the situation in the UK and spending cuts, where is there anexample of a library doing just about everything I mentioned in the previous slide?At the British Library in their Business and Intellectual Property Centre. This isimpressive new business for the British Library and an example of seeing anopportunity and grasping it with both hands. They’ve developed great partnershipswith the business of the City and now librarians in this centre help people starting upnew businesses. I believe this is the kind of thing all of us need to learn how to do inour own communities.http://www.bl.uk/bipc/index.htmlOn the far wall you can see examples of success stories encouraged as businesses bythis centre.For UTS I see this as a model we might use somewhere in our new LearningCommons, perhaps to link industry experts with researchers or others from URSstarting businesses or seeking help getting inventions and prototypes off the ground.It might also be a useful industry mentoring centre for post-grad students.We could even use the model to assist academics and researchers with e-publishingand in order to understand Copyright better (in he way BIPC does much the samething with IP and Patents law).Another example in London are the Idea Stores in East London – deeply relevant andconnected to their communities, providing what they need.http://www.ideastore.co.uk/In Australia I think the State Library of Queensland (particularly The Edge)http://theedge.slq.qld.gov.au/home and as a public library I think Mosman Council 23