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What Libraries can Learn from Kanye


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A talk given at the 2011 Oregon Virtual Reference Summit. Video of this talk may be viewed at:

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What Libraries can Learn from Kanye

  1. 1. What Librariescan Learn from Kanye Presented by Emily Ford
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  4. 4. RZA Jay-Z %29.jpg
  5. 5. Bon Iver Sir Elton John,_2008_3.jpg
  6. 6. with ______?
  7. 7. Kanye the Producer"A record producer is an individual workingwithin the music industry, whose job it is tooversee and manage the recording (i.e."production") of an artists music. A producerhas many roles that may include, but are notlimited to, gathering ideas for the project,selecting songs and/or musicians, coachingthe artist and musicians in the studio,controlling the recording sessions, andsupervising the entire processthrough mixing and mastering. Producersalso often take on a wider entrepreneurialrole, with responsibility for the budget,schedules, and negotiations."
  8. 8. If Kanye=Producer And Librarian=Producer Then Kanye=Librarian?
  9. 9. Create more and varied content.
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  12. 12. Advocate fearlessly for your needs.
  13. 13. 72157624386625194/
  14. 14. Articulate the value of libraries.
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  16. 16. What Libraries can Learn from Kanye Presented by Emily Ford, Im Emily and Im here to talk about what I thinklibraries can learn from Kanye West. There are threethings I want to discuss today that I think Kanye Westdoes really well. These are things that I think librariesand library workers should do more.For those of you who dont know Kanye West , hes agrammy award winning American hip hop producer andrapper from Chicago. His mother was a professor andhis father a photojournalist.
  17. 17. has been widely celebrated in pop culture. Hesingle handedly brought back the sunglasses fad fromthe 80s, shutter shades. You can see these on theslide.His twitter stream, of which Ive provided somescreenshot samples, has over 3 million followers. Histweets have been parodied in several venues.
  18. 18. have been used as inspiration for captions to New Yorker cartoons. On the Jimmy KimmelLIve show, Oscar and Grammy award winning musician Josh Groban set Kanye West Tweets to piano musicand dramatically and operatically sang them.So what does this have to do with libraries?
  19. 19. RZA Jay-Z %29.jpgKanye West is a true collaborator. He has collaboratedon projects with numerous and varied people. Jay-Zwas one of the first artists he worked with. Hes alsoworked with RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, JanetJackson, and others.You might be thinking, well, libraries and library workersare already good collaborators. And they and we are.But Kanye is better. Why?
  20. 20. Bon Iver Sir Elton John,_2008_3.jpg he collaborates with people, groups,producers, and record labels. He works with individualswho arent of the hip-hop ilk.On his latest album there are collaborations with indiepop singer Bon Iver, Sir Elton John, numeroussymphony musicians, producers, record labels.While discussing his collaboration with Mr. West, SirElton John told a Rolling Stone that he thought Kanyewas a "stone-cold genius."
  21. 21. ...collaborates with ______?Libraries are good at working with museums andeducational institutions.Here in Oregon we have numerous LSTA fundedprojects that are collaborative, L-net being one of them.We have library consortia, library conferences, libraryprofessional associations, etc.I maintain that while libraries collaborate very well witheach other, we can think outside the box.Who is our Elton John? Who is our Bon Iver?
  22. 22. Kanye the Producer "A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job it is to oversee and manage the recording (i.e. "production") of an artists music. A producer has many roles that may include, but are not limited to, gathering ideas for the project, selecting songs and/or musicians, coaching the artist and musicians in the studio, controlling the recording sessions, and supervising the entire process through mixing and mastering. Producers also often take on a wider entrepreneurial role, with responsibility for the budget, schedules, and negotiations." West began his career in music as a producer.He was a behind the scenes person who worked withdifferent musicians and record labels.To me, this sounds a whole lot like being a librarian.We oversee and manage information, getting peopleaccess to it, creating access points, answeringquestions, herding cats on projects, working withbudgets and schedules, and negotiating with vendors.
  23. 23. If Kanye=Producer And Librarian=Producer Then Kanye=Librarian?, so Kanye isnt a librarian and he probably neveraimed to be one. But he is a producer.But being a producer wasnt enough for Mr. West.He expanded his role as a producer and became acontent creator. His first solo record, The CollegeDropout, was released in 2004. Since that time he hasgone on to release 5 additional albums.His music making and collaboration on albums hasbeen prolific.
  24. 24. Create more and varied content.If Kanye went from being a producer to becoming acontent creator. Why cant libraries do the same?Libraries already create digital content in the form ofmetadata and cataloging. Libraries should be creatingsystems, they should push further into the realm ofopen access publishing.By becoming content creators libraries can continue toestablish their value in a world when producing anddelivering content is old hat.
  25. 25. of it is already happening.For example, OSU has created Library A la Carte.But how is content creation viable for small, resourcepoor libraries?Consider taking the challenge posed to OregonLibrarians by Kathleen Cornett, the keynote speaker atOLA.Create a civics education program and host it in yourlibrary.
  26. 26. challenge actually leads me to the third thing Ithink that libraries can learn from Kanye. And it stemsfrom his notoriety.After hurricane Katrina and during a Concert forHurricane Relief, Mr. West declared on live television"George Bush doesnt care about black people."Previously that year, Mr. West was featured on MTV.During the special he spoke out calling for an end tohomophobic insults in hip-hop music lyrics.
  27. 27. Advocate fearlessly for your needs.Mr. West has also been known to jump onto stageduring awards ceremonies and contest award results.While libraries and library workers may not want tocompletely follow this example, I think it IS necessaryfor library workers to speak up.For example, libraries in Oregon can stand up toNewsbank, which recently acquired exclusive rights toThe Oregonians archives and will cost libraries a lotmore money to replace.
  28. 28. 72157624386625194/ its not just about vendor relations.Its in our communities. Its in our legislative system.Write, e-mail, phone and physically visit your citycouncil, county officials, state legislators, congressmenand representatives to tell them what is important toyou and why libraries matter.
  29. 29. Articulate the value of libraries.If libraries and library workers cannot make themselvesheard, how will anyone know the value of what we do?How will libraries continue to exist if we dont jump upon the stage, take the microphone, and declare, loudlyand proudly what is important to us and our patrons?
  30. 30. what can libraries learn from Kanye?Libraries can learn to be the BEST collaborators.Libraries and library workers can emulate his movefrom producing to content creation.And finally, libraries and library workers can learn to puton their shutter shades and channel their inner Kanye.