VIP Libraries and Library Staff
TRY HARDER, EXPECT MORE
Stephen Abram, MLS
XI International Conference on University Libraries
Mexico City, Mexico
Nov. 7, 2013
• What do I want to talk about today?
• I want to re-frame the library opportunity.
• I want to share some language and
• I want to talk about leadership.
• I want to talk about a national scale
program to position libraries and our
profession for success.
Describe Your Current Situation
• You’re at the table
• The president of the
country takes your calls
• You’re consulted on
national policy at the
• You cooperate as true
partnerships and not just
• You have professional staff
that fill the need and adapt
Nouns can be
warehoused and ‘cut’
Tell a story
Action verbs imply
dynamism and impact
It doesn’t take a genius to see that librarian skills
and competencies applied to the trends and issues
in our communities can help in very strategic ways
– social, economic, creative, and discovery impacts.
• Are you a librarian or an educator?
• Are you a support or mission-critical?
• Your business is transformational impact and
learning (they’re different)
• Your new competitors are non-traditional
• Renewed advocacy has moved from apple pie to
influencing and selling the value and impact of
• Library staff competencies need a plateau upgrade –
consultation, relationship, influence, educating . . .
What changes, disruptions
and shifts are already in
• If all users are ubiquitously connected with
broadband, have downloading skills for books
and movies, own smartphones, whither
• What about the ‘digital divide’?
• If the school system (K-12 and HigherEd)
changes radically …?
• What if all music, audiobooks, and video
moved to streaming formats by 2018?
• What if the DVD and CD go the way of vinyl,
VHS, and cassettes?
• What if all books are digital?
• What if book services move to a subscription
model of unlimited use for $7/month?
• What about next generation e-books?
• What if all books are ‘beyond text’?
• The NextGen Textbook…
• Can we support books with embedded video,
adaptive technologies, audio, updating,
software tools, assessments, web-links, etc.
• Ask ourselves about archiving and
preservation – the record
• Are you positioned at the lesson level?
• Could your library support all curricula and
• Have you catalogued the learning
opportunities on the web? (Khan Academy,
Coursera, Udacity, edX, MIT, Harvard, MOOCs,
YouTube, Learn4All (ed2go), …)
Could your library support real e-learning
Is EVERY staff member fluent in your LMS and the
needs of supporting hybrid or total distance
By the way – nearly all learning is distance
learning from the perspective of the library and
• Could your library support any kind of mobile
• Are you fully ready to deliver, agnostically to
desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets,
smartphones, televisions, appliances, at a
much higher level?
• Are you prepared for new forms of content?
• Real multimedia? 3D objects and databases?
Holographics? Enhanced media?
• Embedded assessment and tracking tools?
• Can you be ready for makerspaces, creative
spaces, writing labs, business and start-up
• Can you publish for your community?
• Information versus Learning or Knowledge or
• What kinds of learning spaces are needed in
• Can you support real learning spaces,
community meeting spaces, performance
spaces, maker spaces, real advisory spaces,
true relationship, collaboration, and
consultation management . . .? In a virtual
Poetry and short story contests
3D Printing and Scanning
Design: Robotics, Lego, ….
Alternate Tech for disabilities
Crafts, knitting, sewing clubs
Photography and art
• What if everything was in the cloud?
(software, databases, metadata, content . . .)
• What would you do with those system skills
• What if all metadata and content discovery is
freely available using open APIs through the
OCLC WorldShare vault and the Digital Public
Library of America / Europeana vault of open
and free metadata?
• What if search immersive resource discovery
becomes as ubiquitous as search engines?
• Can they find as well as search?
• Are your training sessions hitting 100% of
• Are they aligned with workflow or
What does your experience portal look like?
What are your top questions?
Pathfinder - - LibGuides - Portals
What are the outcome domains?
Google Scholar and Books API
• Can you do it all ALONE?
• What would it look like if you cooperated?
• Consortia, Cooperatives, … national, regional,
global – buying groups or real foundational
The Biggest Challenges
• Lesson Level Learning for Libraries
▫ eLearning and MOOCs
• Reducing the costs of overhead
▫ Cloud and infrastructure
• Setting strategic priorities in context
▫ Investing in learning and research
• Getting digitization right
▫ Repository archipelagos not aligned with
• Money is not the issue – it’s the measurement