Public Libraries: Strategic Considerations Stephen Abram, MLSCounty of Los Angeles Public Library Los Angeles, CA April 5, 2012
ChangeThese slides are available at Stephen’s Lighthouse blog
Several Things Should Happen Today You should have fun first. You should get too much information You should share with each other You should get new viewpoints and perspectives that challenge the norm You should question the status quo Uncomfortable is OK, annoyed too You are responsible for your own learning
We Only Get So Many Once-in-a-LifetimeChances To Do Great Things
News Flash“The Internet and technology have now progressed to their infancy”
Conclusions Up Front1. Prioritize Programs not Collections2. Drive ‘Reference’ with Data and Know Your Top Questions3. Balance of Physical and Virtual4. Invest Time in Demographics5. Put Technological Tools in Context6. Build Recreational Reading Away From Effort and Get Real About the eBook Issue7. Homework: Deal With It8. Transliteracy is a Key Opportunity9. Partnerships are about everything
Specific Challenges1. Setting Priorities and Making Sacrifices2. Innovation Culture, Pilots and Diffusion3. Program Hiatuses4. Backroom and Front Room Balance5. Alignment with Goals6. Measuring the Right Stuff7. Organizational Structure and Governance8. Investing in HR Development & Cross-training9. Sacred Cows (desks, books, …)10. Promotion, Marketing, Communication, Advocacy
Why do people ask questions?Is your library experience conceptually organized around answers and programs? Or collections, technology and buildings?
Why do people ask questions? Who, What, When, Where How & Why Data – Information – Knowledge - Behavior To Learn or to Know To Acquire Information, Clarify, Tune To Decide, to Solve, to Choose, to Delay To Interview, Delve, Interact, Progress To Entertain or Socialize To Reduce Fear To Help, Aid, Cure, Be a Friend To Win A Bet
What are your top 10-20 questions?What is the service portfolio model that goes with those?
The Baker’s Dozen: LVA Top 131. Health and Wellness / Community Health / Nutrition / Diet / Recovery2. DIY Do It Yourself Activities and Car Repair3. Genealogy4. Test prep (SAT, ACT, occupational tests, etc. etc.)5. Legal Questions (including family law, divorce, adoption, etc)6. Hobbies, Games and Gardening7. Local History8. Consumer reviews (Choosing a car, appliance, etc.)9. Homework Help (grade school)10. Technology Skills (software, hardware, web)11. Government Programs, Services and Taxation12. Self-help/personal development13. Careers (jobs, counselling, etc.)14. Readers Advisory was 14th
Top 12 Patron Hobbies Recreational Reading Cooking & Recipes Computers Movies & Film Exercise, Cycling & WalkingTraveling, Tourism & Vacations Top Hobbies? Music Top Homework Questions? Pets Top Travel Destinations? Gardening What do you know? Television Shows Arts & Crafts Knitting & Needlecrafts 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Seth Godin on Decisions (June 8, 2011)o Which of these are getting in the way?o You dont know what to doo You dont know how to do ito You dont have the authority or the resources to do ito Youre afraido You believe that money matters mosto Once you figure out whats getting in the way, its far easier to find the answer (or decide to work on a different problem).o Stuck is a state of mind, and its curable.
What Are Libraries Really For?• Community• Learning• Discovery• Progress• Research (Applied and Theoretical)• Cultural & Knowledge Custody• Economic Impact
What Are Librarians For?• Expertise• Relationships• Transformation• Service (not servant)• Vision• Leadership• Economic Impact
Columbus, Cook, Magellan and Libraries:Searching for the corners of the earth, the edge of the oceans and discovering dragons ...
Questions for Libraries Today:1. Are our priorities right?2. Are learning, research, discovery changing materially and what is actually changing?3. What is the foundation of future library success . . . Books? Meh…4. What is the role for librarians in the real future (that is not an extension of the past)?
What We Never Really Knew Before (US/Canada) 27% of our users are under 18. We often 59% are female. believe a lot 29% are college students. that isn’t 5% are professors and 6% are teachers. true. On any given day, 35% of our users are there for the very first time! Only 29% found the databases via the library website. 59% found what they were looking for on their first search. 72% trusted our content more than Google. But, 81% still use Google.
2010 Eduventures Research on Investments 58% of instructors believe that technology in courses positively impacts student engagement. 71% of instructors that rated student engagement levels as “high” as a result of using technology in courses. 71% of students who are employed full-time and 77% of students who are employed part-time prefer more technology-based tools in the classroom. 79% of instructors and 86 percent of students have seen the average level of engagement improve over the last year as they have increased their use of digital educational tools. 87% of students believe online libraries and databases have had the most significant impact on their overall learning. 62% identify blogs, wikis, and other online authoring tools while 59% identify YouTube and recorded lectures. E-books and e-textbooks impact overall learning among 50% of students surveyed, while 42% of students identify online portals. 44% of instructors believe that online libraries and databases will have the greatest impact on student engagement. 32% of instructors identify e-textbooks and 30% identify interactive homework solutions as having the potential to improve engagement and learning outcomes. (e-readers was 11%) 49% of students believe that online libraries and databases will have the greatest impact on student engagement. Students are more optimistic about the potential for technology.
What do we need to know? How do library databases and virtual services compare with other web experiences? Who are our core virtual users? Are there gaps? Does learning happen? How about discovery? What are user expectations for true satisfaction? How does library search compare to consumer search like Google and retail or government? How do people find and connect with library virtual services? Are end users being successful in their POV? Are they happy? Will they come back? Tell a friend?
We have a shallow understanding of the Codex – the book format(s)Transition from scrolls – illumination – codex – and beyond
Strategic Challenges for Reference and Research Work in the Coming Decade
The BASICS Data Information Knowledge Wisdom NOT Behavior
Death of Reference Who What Where When Why How
How & Why Questions Now that’s research The interview is more involved Transformational not Transactional Expertise counts The position and reputation of the delivery professional is key Expertise is shared mutually Groups and patterns matter
What does all this mean? The Article level universe The Chapter and Paragraph Universe Integrated with Visuals – graphics and charts Integrated with ‘video’ Integrated with Sound and Speech Integrated with social web Integrated with interaction and not just interactivity How would you enhance a book?
What is Changing?1. Evidence-based Reference Strategies2. Experience-based Portals: The New Commons3. Personal Service on Steroids4. Quality Strategies: Consumer vs. Professional Search5. Social Networks and Recommendations6. Trans-literacy Strategies7. People-driven Strategies8. Curriculum and Research Agenda9. Service and Programs
Recommendations Strengthen Your Personal Brand Reposition the Library and Librarian Don’t Tie Yourself directly to Collections or Physical Space Network with Your Users Socially Measure, Don’t Count Engage in partnerships Know Take Risks
Books Reception of Reading and Experience Fiction – paper, e-paper Non-Fiction Articles - disaggregation Media – physical vs. streaming Learning Objects Stories vs. Pedagogy
Technology Context Cloud (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) Laptops and Tablets Mobility / Smartphones Bandwidth (Wired, WiFi, Whitespace) Learning Management Systems Streaming video and audio vs. download HTML5 and Apps – the battle Advertising auction models and ‘product’ New(ish) Players (Amazon, Apple, G, B&N, Uni’s, states/provinces/nations)
The BASICS Containers for Pedagogy Created by Teams (e.g. 40,000 authors a year for Cengage alone) (yes that’s a lot of lawyers) Copyright and complicated layering of millions of rights (creators - pictures, graphics, video, tests, text, documents, etc.) Serious Lawsuits: Feist, Texaco, LSUC, Tasini, NatGeo, Authors Guild, GBS, etc. Complex extension opportunities (links to articles, databases, library assistance, etc.)
What Changes with Mobile? Everything and Nothing
What doesn’t change? The User User needs vs. user context Content (versus format and display) Questions and improving the quality of questions Creativity and human progress Stability = fossilization
What changes with mobile? The Ecosystem Communication devices move increasingly from feature phones to smartphones Personal computing moves to a hybrid environment of laptops and tablets (plus a few power desktop anchors) In libraries the dominant mobile task environments are based on answers, communities and e-learning
Content – duh. Format and display considerations The reading experience (PDF, App, eBook, Wall, Tweets, etc.) The learning experience The entertainment experience Streaming versus downloading Instant and ‘live’ (Bloggie)
Standards Apps versus HTML5 XML ePub, Kindle Book, PDF, HTML5, etc. Tablets versus e-Reader experience (human biology does not change quickly)
Concept of Place Geo-IP Google Maps integration Sign in and Authentication Rights and permissions management Concept of ‘Place’ tied to ‘User’ Geo-location
Identity Personal phone versus home/family phone Consequences for library cardholder management Are librarians and library value systems in conflict with the new ecosystem and market values? Will adults continue to respect and trust library straitjackets?
Frictionless-ness Commerce Square (from Jack Dorsey founder of Twitter) Embedded e-commerce ecology in smartphones Death of QR codes $5/gallon gasoline . . . and the library value proposition of ‘free’
Frictionless-ness commerce In App purchasing and/or seamless buying? Commerce in a virtual goods space (start with $billion market for gaming goods and extend to other goods Other goods are a parallel commercial and retail environment in ‘goods’ relevant to libraries – e-books, streaming media, audio like music MP3, lessons and podcasts, articles, learning objects, games, tests, etc.
Opportunity 1. Search personalization (e.g. Google) 2. Push personalization (e.g. Facebook) 3. Integration of sound, video, text, mail, communication, soci al and business cohorts 4. Advertising 5. Major changes in usability: Voice response like Siri, gesture interfaces, face recognition, geo-restrictions, sentiment search, semantic, linked data, data mining, etc.
Business Models Pressure on consumer and institutional models as purchasing agent Pressure on retailer model Subscription models for e-Content (like Netflix for entertainment but extended to e-books from Amazon, 24Symbols or Bookish, etc.) On demand and micropayment models Author embedded models like Pottermore Books as apps or as vehicles for ads & purchases
Google (Android partners, Motorola acquisition) Microsoft (Skype acquisition, Windows mobile) Facebook (post-IPO) eBay Apple (iTunes and App Store) Twitter (& Square) Research in Motion (as an acquisition target?) Amazon Open Source or any company on the fringes that is disruptive as a new player or an acquisition target)
Living in a parallel world Serving a hybrid world Changing their strategic planning models to add more stretch into the environmental scans, creative thinking and imagination Bringing staff and profession along the curve 12 steps . . .
Differential Adoption The generations are adopting at much different rates and for different purposes Boomers are the primary adopters of e- reading Adult women are a major market for e- gaming Students are resisting e-textbook adoption – for now. Tablet adoption (ownership) doubled over Christmas 2011 (Pew)
On the sidelines of a war Watching the emerging commercial battlefield (foundation vs. application) Android, RIM, Windows, Apple iOS, other . . . The end of the flip phone or feature phone At the same time as the end of CD and DVD and more e-Books and e-content formats Dealing with new potential walled gardens for e-content (app stores, e-formats, single device stuff, etc.)
Playing with vendor apps Developing Library apps – learn by doing Most good content vendors have first or second generation apps to play with and many are free Many ILS vendors too including ILS enhancement layers like Bibliocommons and LibraryThing. It’s too early to form anything more than an opinion and those who don’t play aren’t learning fast enough. Use a smartphone.
Pilot and experiment with mobile social cohorts in the library Clubs Classes (mobile training or extended learning) Reading cohorts and book clubs Associations Fundraising Meetings Teams (business or sport)
Actively lobby and educate to ensure that the emerging mobile ecosystem supports the values and principles of librarianship for balance in the rights of end users for use, access, learning and research. Support vendors and laws to be as agnostic as possible by ensuring that, as afar as possible your services and content offerings support the widest range of devices, formats, browsers, and platforms.
Design for frictionless access using such opportunities as geo-IP and mobile ready websites Test everything in all browsers – mobile or not. Invest in usability research and testing and learn from it and share your learning. Watch key developments in major publishing spaces – kiddy lit, textbooks, e- learning, fiction, etc.
This is an evolution not a revolution The REAL revolution was the Internet and the Web. The hybrid ecology is winning in the near term for operating systems and content formats. This is good since competition drives innovation. Engage in critical thinking not raw criticism. Be constructive. Critical thinking is not part of dogma or religious fervor or fan boy behavior.
This is an evolution not a revolution Perfectionism will not move us forward at this juncture. Really understand the digital divide and remove your economic and social class blinkers Get over library obsession with statistics and comprehensiveness. Get excellent at real measurements, sampling and understanding impact and satisfaction. (Analytics, Foresee, Pew)
This is an evolution not a revolution We need to revisit the concept of preservation, archives, repositories, and conservation. Check out new publishing models like Flipboard. Watch for emerging book enhancements and other features that will challenge library metadata, selection policies, and collection development.
Broadband You must clearly understand the latest US FCC Whitespace Broadband Decision – THIS IS TRANSFORMATIONAL and going global Net neutrality, kill switches . . . Local wired, mobile access ‘everywhere’ to the home and workplace on a personal basis Geo-awareness: GIS, GPS, GEO-IP, etc. Wireless as a business strategy (Starbucks) Mobile dominates the largest generation