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The Very Heart of It. Keynote at Urban Libraries Unite (ULU) Conference (text version w/slides)

Text and slides from keynote at Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) Conference in Brooklyn, NY, April 5, 2013. Slidedeck available at:

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The Very Heart of It. Keynote at Urban Libraries Unite (ULU) Conference (text version w/slides)

  1. 1. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   Good Morning everyone. It is such an honor and a pleasure to be here with you all thismorning. What an incredible day we have planned. Can we start with a round of applausefor Lauren Comito, Christian Zabriskie and everyone who helped put this day together.Before we begin, I’d like to try something a little different.Rather than begin by making a number of bold assertions about libraries and then spendingan hour trying to convince you how right I am, I’d like to simply offer you three concepts,[Context | Revolution | Love] and over the next hour or so share some stories, some ideas, Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  2. 2. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   some perspectives that – I don’t know – back into these ideas, or weave them together andsee what we’ve got.If that’s ok, I’d like to ask your indulgence as we begin by taking a little time to create somecontext. To develop a shared perspective for the discussion to follow, and more importantlyperhaps, to get us into a certain mindset – to open ourselves to the experience we’re goingto share today.CONTEXTAnd I’d like to do that by asking a question.Why are we here today? It’s a seemingly simple question, and one I personally try to askand answer for myself every day. So take a moment, and think about the question. Why arewe here today at the Urban Libraries Unite conference in Brooklyn, NY. Why are YOU here?A story I heard a few years ago on NPR led me to think a little differently about this question.Maybe you heard it. It was a story about the Hohokam. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  3. 3. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   The what??? The Hohokum. They were a civilization that lived – thrived really-- from about2000 years ago until about 500 years ago in what is now Phoenix, Arizona. They were a fullyformed civilization with art, culture, organized sports--- they’ve uncovered gaming courts ofsome sort… and they thrived for 1500 years and then… then they disappeared.This is a picture of what’s left of their great civilization that spanned 1500 years. To put thatin perspective, that’s about 6 ½ times longer than the United States has been around.What happened? Why did they disappear? It’s unclear. There’s speculation that it mighthave been a flood; it might have been drought. Or it might have been they started cuttingfunding for libraries and it was quickly downhill from there…   Here’s an artist’s rendering of what their civilization looked like. And just for fun,…A thousand year’s from now, an artist may render their interpretation of the ruins of the CasaGrande visitor center… (maybe wondering what ancient ruins we were honoring)Ok, some more perspective. Let’s further define some terms…What do we mean by “here” Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  4. 4. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   For a little more perspective… What do we mean by today? Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  5. 5. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   And finally, What do we mean by “We”In all of time there have been about 108 billion people who have ever lived. Of that, 7 billionof us are somewhere on the planet right now. Of that, we get to interact in any real way withmaybe a few hundred. Look around you. Look to your left and right. Think about thepeople you work with, and the customers you serve.These are the people you get to spend your time with. These are the people whose lives youmost directly impact through our choices and behaviors and through the quality of ourbeing. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  6. 6. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   So I will ask again: Why are we here today? Here’s my answer: 1. Life is relatively short 2. Our time together is precious 3. I want to use my time here to make a difference 4. I want to be awake and fully present and make choices that enrich my life and the lives of those around me. 5. And, like you, I choose to do that through library service.Ok, so we’ve shifted our perspective a little bit and hopefully created a bit of context for theday.THE PACE OF CHANGENow I’d like to get a little more specific and look at the context that that libraries areoperating in with regard to change…or what I call the absolutely crazy and historicallyunprecedented, accelerating pace of change. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  7. 7. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   Michael Edson, the Director of Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian, suggeststhat things are about to get deeply weird. I’ve modified that to suggest that they already are.Let’s explore this in a little more detail.So when we talk about change what do we mean?Great change is often brought on by the introduction of a new technology. The technologyoften brings great benefits: Those benefits may include: Increasing productivity, bettercommunication, improvement in health, increase in leisure time, etc. Regardless of thebenefit though, these technologies disrupt the standard ways of doing things, and can leadto fundamental upheavals in how we live our lives. It’s easy enough for us to reflect on theupheavals created by the printing press, automobiles, television, and even twitter.Oh, and by the way, these disruptive technologies, and the upheavals they bring… you mayhave noticed that they are happening with increasing frequency; exponential frequency infact.Here is a chart that demonstrates the exponential pace of change brought on by disruptivetechnology. You can see that disruptive technologies and the major shifts that they bringcontinue to happen with increasing frequency.What does this mean? Well, it means that my great-grandfather’s life was virtuallyindistinguishable from his father’s life. They both lived in a make shift house, with a dirt Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  8. 8. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   floor, a wood burning oven, and no plumbing. And it means that the first 13 years of mygrandfather’s life were the same as his father’s. How many of you in this room can say that?The first 13 years of my father’s life were 1929-1942. He lived in the Bronx – in the city -- butstill had a guy with a horse/carriage delivering a big hunk of ice for the “icebox”. Therewas no TV, no air conditioning, no land line phone in the home. This wasn’t that long ago,but it’s pretty different than the first 13 years of my life.Ok, back to granddad. So my grandfather left Russia in 1921 and came to America and thenext 80 years of his life saw: Automobiles, Indoor plumbing, Telephones, Heart surgery, Airtravel, Satellites in orbit, Space travel, A moon landing, Television, Microwaves, Portableradios, CDs, Computers, and on, and on. In other words, my grandfather saw moresignificant change in his life than his ancestors saw in the 500 years previous, and morechange than his ancestors’ ancestors saw in the previous 4500 years before that.In sum: There has never been a time in human history where there has been so muchdisruptive change in so short a time— and in fact the pace of change continues to accelerate.One affect of this crazy pace of change is the impact it has on our expectations. Louis C.K.discussed this on Conan a few years ago. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  9. 9. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   Louie first observes how impatient people get when their cell phones are a little slow saying,“Will you give it a minute, it’s going to space! Give it a minute to get back from space. Isthe speed of light too slow for you?” He then tells the story of being on plane with highspeed wireless Internet — the newest thing that he knew existed. He’s watching Youtubeclips, and it’s super fast. And then the flight attendant announces that the Internet is downand his seatmate exclaims, “This is bullshit.” Louie says to Conan, “How quickly the worldowes him something he knew existed only 10 seconds ago...”Funny right, but he captures something there, about how our expectations shift very quicklywhen they are exposed to new technologies. The fact is that technology shifts ourexpectations and the expectations and needs of our customers. Which means we have to becontinually evaluating and shifting our role as librarians to respond to the shifting needs andexpectations of those that we serve. But responding to those changing expectations isn’t theonly challenge brought on by this incredible pace of change…    Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  10. 10. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   Let’s look again at that chart. What we see is that for long periods of time, nothing happened.Then a disruptive technology hits the scene and leads to major changes, but then thingssettle down and then for another long period of time nothing changes.In Change Management, this was referred to as the Unfreeze/Change/Refreeze model. (KurtLewin, 1947)Up until recently, this was an accepted model of how change happens in societies, incommunities, and in organizations: This model suggests that: 1. Our structures, our organizations, and therefore our shared experience of reality, remain fairly stable (or frozen) for long periods of time. 2. This also means that our structures, strategies, and decision models continue to be effective as the world remains fundamentally the same. 3. Then along comes a disruptive technology (i.e printing press, airplane, computer, washing machine)and for a period of time, things unfreeze and change happens. 4. The ramifications of the change play out, we adjust, recalibrate, and we settle into the new normal. We refreeze.When Lewin introduced this concept in 1947 it was a fairly valid model of change, but overthe last 100 years, the periods between each significant change have continually gottensmaller and smaller, until…we no longer actually get to a refreeze point.With regard to change we are now more in a state of continual fluidity.Back in 1996, Peter Vaill, a Professor of Mgmt. at Antioch Univ. observed this phenomenaand suggested a new model for understanding the pace of change. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  11. 11. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   I think we are now in a state of Permanent whitewater. Whitewater suggests a number ofthings: 1. It suggests a fast-pace 2. It suggests that the situation changes by the second 3. It suggests that we need to aware and responsive moment by moment. 4. It also suggests that we can have a general sense of shape of the river—the direction of current; maybe know where the really big rocks are. 5. We can’t control the ride, but we can make choices and influence it. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  12. 12. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   PERMANENT REVOLUTIONI’ve been thinking about this lately less in terms of permanent whitewater and more in termsof permanent revolution. Revolution implies massive disruptive change; major shifts inour bedrock assumptions and behaviors. But a permanent revolution also implies that noneof the major changes, or revolutions are themselves permanent. Think about the relativelyrecent graveyard of disruptive technologies.Can you identify these? [Beeper, Discman, VHS Cassette, Caller ID, Google Reader,Modem, Floppy Disk, Encarta, Landline phone.] With the exception of the land line, these allcame and went in my adult life. Perhaps like Andy Warhol’s famous prediction that in thefuture everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, each disruptive technology, revolutionarythough it may be, only gets to enjoy the proverbial 15 minutes of fame before being edgedout by the next, next big thing.It’s worth noting that even when there is a revolutionary disruption, not everything changes.We are forced to adjust in certain areas of our lives and jobs, but other areas remainuntouched. So here’s what I’ve been pondering with regard to libraries and this permanentrevolution brought about by the disruption that is exponential change: Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  13. 13. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   In thinking about this, and about the many disruptive technologies that have come and gonein so short a time, I was reminded of a conversation had with my friend Dave back when wewere working for the Spokane County Library in 1993.VIRTUAL LIBRARIANSHIP AND FUNNY NOSESDave and I were working on a staff day presentation and got into a discussion on the futureof librarianship. It was an exciting time for us because we had recently upgraded to a 9600baud modem and had figured out how configure our Trumpet Winsock so it worked most ofthe time. Internet search tools like Archie, Veronica and Gopher were blowing our younglibrarian minds. There was no Web yet, and only the beginnings of email -- we had a sharedemail through our library’s Compuserve account.So we’re talking about how technology is going to change librarianship and Dave comes outwith this prediction that someday all of our reference will be virtual. Completely electronic.He pictured us wearing virtual goggles, and virtual gloves, and pulling virtual “ebooks” offof virtual shelves. Really what he was describing was not unlike Second Life. Minus thevisual interface, his prediction that reference would become virtual -- communicatingelectronically, and relying on electronic resources, is pretty much a reality today, as we dochat and skype reference, and answer most questions with electronic resources. Weachieved that in fewer than 20 years.Now heres a strange coincidence: I worked with Dave in Spokane until 1996 when I left tocome back east. In fact, I was working not too far away at the EPA library across theBrooklyn Bridge there on Broadway. Dave and I didn’t keep in touch. But on October 3,1999, I ran into him in a toy store in Portland, OR.He was there with his wife to run a marathon. And I happen to remember the date because Iwas there with my wife to marry her (we were eloping.) And we were doing what anyonewould be doing the day before their wedding 3000 miles from home--we were in a toy storetrying on funny noses. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  14. 14. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   So we’re trying on these different noses and laughing at how ridiculous we look, but there’sno mirror so we can’t see ourselves. Thinking out loud, I said, "I wish there was a mirror”and from around a blind corner comes a voice that says, “theres a mirror over here.”I turn the corner to discover that the voice belonged to Dave. He’s there with his wife. Theywere on the other side of the fixture, trying on funny noses.So Dave hears a disembodied voice asking for help from around a corner, and he respondswith some assistance. He wasn’t an employee of the store, but he chose to respond to acustomer’s need. And this is important because I think that what he did illustrates somethingabout who we are as librarians. We are the ones who randomly help strangers. We are theones doing guerrilla reference in funny nose sections of retail establishments across theland.Yes, we are the ones who offer help to strangers, but we’re also the ones that randomstrangers ask for help, aren’t we? Do you have this experience too? If you’re outsomewhere in public, in a store, on a street, on the subway, people sense something aboutyou and ask you for help. There is a pheromone we are putting out. Im convinced thatresearchers will one day identify it, connect it to a helping gene in our DNA.That would explain what attracts people to us in Best Buy, asking if we can help them wiretheir sound systems. We don’t work there, but we still help them! We pull out our iphones,start drawing wiring diagrams. In department stores and supermarkets. Always, peoplepicking up on our as-yet-unidentified helping pheromone and approaching us forassistance. "Where are the garbonzo beans?” Aisle 3, Ill walk you over. “How much off onthis blouse? Lets see, the purple tag is 33%, so...And we help them, right? Why? Because we LOVE to help people. It’s what we do. It’sgenetic. Thats what they sense about us. That we like to help, to solve problems, to provideinformation. They sense that we CARETHE LIFE-SAVING POWER OF CARING: ANNA’S STORYAnd we can’t underestimate the life-saving power of caring. And I know that “life-saving” isa pretty bold way to characterize what we do, but there’s a reason I say “life-saving”, and ithas to do with my Great Aunt Anna. I’d like to tell you a bit about her. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  15. 15. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   On the left is a picture of her (in the lower left) circa 1909. She’s about 4 ½ years old. That’smy great-grandma Esther behind her, and my grandfather Israel in the high chair.On the right are some pictures of her throughout her life. Anna passed away in 1993, thesame year, coincidentally that I started my first full time job as a librarian and had thatconversation with Dave about the future of libraries.In 2003, ten years after her death, ten years after I entered librarianship, I became awarethat my Great Aunt Anna had written an unpublished autobiography.Let me tell you a little bit about her life.She was born in 1904 in Badragi a small peasant town in the province of Bessarabia—aprovince that changed hands between back and forth between Russian and Romaniancontrol. Badragi had no paved streets, no sewage, no plumbing, no running water, noelectricity. It was a primitive village of thatched roof huts, and Anna and her family lived inthe poorest section with the other Jewish families.In 1904, the same year she was born, Anna’s father Joseph (my great grandfather) left forAmerica to make money to bring his family over. The family would rarely see or hear fromJoseph over the next 17 years as he worked to save money to bring over his family.Anna managed to survive a number of serious childhood illnesses, and was a happy andcurious child, with a deep desire to learn. Valuing education was part of the Jewish cultureand she may have absorbed something from the lullaby that her mother sang to her at night,which roughly translates as…”hush my baby, stop your crying, for some day you will be agreat scholar.”Unlike most of the poor peasant girls, Anna began school at 7 years old because she waspassionate about learning even at that young age, and had the support of her mom. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  16. 16. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   One day, during a freezing winter, she came home with frostbitten toes and fingers, cryingthat her galoshes had been stolen and thrown in the outhouse toilet. Without galoshes shewas unable to make the cold walk to school. And thus, her brief experience with formaleducation was ended.But over the years Anna’s mother hired tutors (young boys, some barely adolescents) toensure that she and her brothers received some education. One of these tutors, Yitzhak,would later help get the family to America, and even later, become Anna’s husband.My great grandfather Joseph continued to toil away in the garment district in NY for years,dreadfully homesick. Between 1914-1918 (World War I) the family heard nothing from him.Had he been conscripted? Started a new family? They didn’t know. But when the warended, they received correspondence that he was OK.Finally, in 1921, Annas father sent word to his family that he had finally raised money tobring them over to the United States. When Anna heard the news that she would be going toAmerica, she fantasized about being about being able to go to school, maybe even college.And this fantasy of being able to learn, she wrote, had her “swimming in a cloud of hope.”And soon, Anna and her mother and brothers made their way to America (a story in itself…)docking at Ellis Island on June 30, 1921. When she got to America Anna was a literate, butnot-very-well-educated girl of almost 17, who spoke no English, and soon found herselfworking in a garment factory 6 days a week to help support the family. It was a difficult life.And then one day a neighbor, Mrs. Berman, told her about the New York Public Library on116th street. It sounded to her like a dream. Anna wrote in her autobiography, “When I found it and entered, I was stunned. It was the first time in my life I saw such treasure. You could get any book in any language you wanted!”And she lugged out books by the armload; Dostievsky, Tolstoy! Working six days a week,long days, for little pay and living in a small cramped apartment she was able to immerseherself in other worlds, broaden her mind with new ideas. But still she was reading inRussian.Mrs. Berman noticed this and told Anna that she needn’t be embarrassed to ask the Librarianto help her find books to help her learn English, which would help her to navigate andacclimate to her new home. Anna did ask the librarian for help learning English and as Mrs.Berman had said, there was no need to be embarrassed.The librarian was soon helping Anna find the books she needed and she was soon learningto read, pronounce and spell in her new language. Of this experience, Anna wrote, quitesimply, Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  17. 17. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY    “The library saved my life.” The Library Saved My Life.The library saved Annas life not only because of the materials they offered, but becausethere was a librarian there who cared, who made her feel welcomed and unashamed, andwho helped her connect to a world beyond herself, and find her way in the world, to liftherself up.And I wonder how many others have experienced this? How many other lives have wesaved? Because Anna’s story is an immigrant’s story. It certainly isn’t unique.LOVESo when we talk about Dave offering help in the toy store, and the “caring gene” that Isuspect we have, and when we talk about my Great Aunt writing that the library saved herlife, I think the underlying truth here is that we’re talking love.When my great aunt wrote in her autobiography, “The Library Saved My Life”, I think shewas writing a love letter. That love letter was written years ago, many miles from here, but ithas traveled across time and space, and it was addressed to you, my fellow librarians, toyou, and it’s an honor to be here today to deliver it.And now I would now like to share another love letter. It is written not by a customer, but byour colleague, and my friend, Andy Woodworth. Andy posted this letter to his blogAgnostic, Maybe as part of the “Librarian Day in the Life” meme that has gone around thebiblioblogosphere a few times. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  18. 18. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY    Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  19. 19. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY    Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  20. 20. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY    Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  21. 21. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   While Andy addresses this love letter to you, I’d also like to think that in some way it is aresponse to my Aunt Anna. That this is his love letter back to her across time and space.What I really connect to in this letter is how Andy gives such eloquent voice to our deepcommitment to and love of libraries. Our love of service. Our joy in using our talents, ourenergies, for a noble purpose.That we have the opportunity to do so makes us the luckiest people. The luckiest people.So I’d like to suggest that if you celebrate this letter, you’re celebrating every librarian whogets up in the morning and looks forward to devoting their time and energy to enriching thelives of others. I’d like to suggest that we are celebrating ourselves, and celebrating theimportance and nobility of what we do every day, and the very real difference we make inpeople’s lives.I mentioned my wife (who is somewhere in Brooklyn right now and will be joining us at theafter conference social – so you can fact-check me on this) On our first sorta date, I told hermy secret of customer service.I told her that in all of my jobs, whether I was serving pizza, or selling clothes, or answeringreference questions, what I was really doing was giving little bits of love. It looked like I wasanswering a reference question, but in my mind I was offering a little piece of myself- a littlebit of love.I later found out that she thought this was a little freaky, but also interesting enough that Iwarranted a 2nd date.You know, we don’t talk about love much in the professional literature, or in ourconferences. We may talk of caring, but isnt love really why we do what we do? I believethat we librarians are great lovers. And we express and share that love through libraryservice. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  22. 22. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   Look at these pictures.- What I see when I look at the great work that ULU is doing is love.- Love for others, for people. For community. For connection.- Lovers of people, of other people taking this journey with usLove puts us in a transformative place. These are pictures of people who are giving ofthemselves, unconditionally, and that’s what love is.COMMUNITYRetuning to Anna for a moment:The other thing I’d like to point up in her story is how the library helped to bring her, and somany like her, into community. How the library in welcoming her, and helping her learn thelanguage, also helped her to feel a sense of belonging in her new community. And thelibrary’s key role in helping to build community is just as true 90 years later. In fact there hasbeen quite a renewed awareness of the libraries value in community-building.We’ve always known this and I am really pleased with Maureen Sullivan and the AmericanLibrary Association devoting resources to the topic. But it’s also great to see so many outsideof libraries are also taking note of the critical role we have to play in fostering strongcommunities.For instance in their January 2013 report, “Branches of Opportunity” , The Center for andUrban Future argues that libraries are Uniquely positioned to help address the urbaneconomic and social challenges for years to come. Some highlights: Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  23. 23. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   - Key component of human capital system- Critical role: Skills development- Critical role: Job preparation- Critical role: Reading skills for young- Importance of technology access- Support for freelance economyA recent report from the Urban Institute (in partnership with Urban Libraries Council) alsoargues for the important role libraries play in creating and supporting community. 1. Public libraries build a community’s capacity for economic activity and resiliency. 2. Many families and caregivers rely on the library to provide important pre-school reading and learning. 3. Many people entering the workforce rely on libraries to get them online. 4. Local businesses are increasingly tapping into the library’s online databases to keep themselves competitive and to find new business opportunities. 5. Library facilities often anchor downtown and commercial developments, and are attractive neighborhood amenitiesAgain, we know all this. It’s not new. Which returns us to the two questions I asked earlier: Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  24. 24. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   In a state of permanent revolution, what changes and what stays the same? And I think we’veanswered the first question. What stays the same is our way of being. By that I mean thecaring that we express though our work. Our core values rooted in love.But the accelerating pace of change brought on by disruptive technology creates somefundamental changes in the world that we do need to respond to if libraries are to remainhealthy and effective institutions. Which means some our ways of doing need to change.First off, in a world where disruptive change is increasingly the norm, we need to structureour organizations for maximum flexibility and innovation. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  25. 25. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   For most of us, this requires some flattening of our organizations. We need to reducehierarchy, and increase decision-making power for individuals and small groups.We cannot afford to study things to the nth degree, and wait for ideas to get through layersof approval. By the time it’s approved the idea will be halfway to obsolete.How many of you seen the Valve Employee Handbook? 1. Valve has NO hierarchy 2. No management 3. No structure 4. Anyone can hire or initiate a new projectI’m not suggesting that libraries can or should have absolutely no hierarchy like Valve. Butwe should look at what they’re doing and think of it as runway fashion. It’s far out there, butsome of those far out ideas can be used as inspiration, scaled back, and implemented.Here’s the thing… A flat organization also requires a new type of employee – a flatassociation requires a new type of member. Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  26. 26. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   We need “one buttock players”! What’s a one buttock player you ask? (And no, it’s notsomeone who does things half-assed.) I’ll tell you. (btw, you should see the first image Ihad selected for this slide…) A one buttock player is what conductor and music teacherBenjamin Zander calls people who play piano with such passion, that as they play, onebuttock lifts off of the seat.I also like Peter Northouses concept of “emergent leadership”. Emergent Leaders- Have No formal authority- Are passionate and involved- Motivate others- Initiate new ideas- Seek others’ opinionsI suspect we have a lot of emergent leaders – a lot of one buttock players -- in the room withus today… And that’s good, you are desperately needed! People who get that we can’t sitaround and wait for leadership. Be your own damn leader! Right? Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  27. 27. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   MAKE SOMETHING UP AND STEAL THE RESTAs I said in this fast-paced world we don’t have time to perfect and refine every new ideabefore launch. But here’s the good news: There has never been a better time in history tosimply make something up and steal the rest. We have so many ways to quickly connect witheach other, support each other, and share and improve on good ideas. Here are a fewexamples- Mini Libraries (ULU)- Six Word Memoirs (Emily Lloyd, Minneapolis Public Library)- Alternative Teen Fashion Show (Fayetteville, Arkansas) Public Library)- The Human Library (Edmonton Public Library)- Library Box (Jason Griffey)- Knit in Publid Day (Princeton Public Library)- Civic Discourse (PPL)- Library Sleevefacing (Bowling Green State University LIbrary) Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  28. 28. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   Again, there has never been a better time in the history of humanity to steal the rest. We arelucky that we have so many ways to connect with and support each other. These are just theones I could fit on a slide. WebJunction Social Media Associations ALADirect | ALA Connect Consortia Blogs Literature Facebook Groups Personal Network LinkedIn Groups Webinars Vendors Listservs/Forums Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  29. 29. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY     TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF The last thing I want to share with you before we conclude is this. The world needs you. So it’s vitally important that you find ways of renewing your energy and your spirit. Some ways that work for 1. Optimism 2. Mindfulness Meditation 3. Nature 4. Exercise 5. Celebration and appreciation 6. Community Support (that’s what ULU is) …And lastly 7. Hope Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved 
  30. 30. Urban Libraries Unite Keynote: The Very Heart of It: The Timeless, Nourishing Value of Libraries  April 5, 2013, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY   And I say hope with the recognition that hope can have a painful side. When we hope, wecan also be let down. There is a wonderful scene in the HBO show “Enlightened”,beautifully written by Mike White.Amy Jelicoe (Laura Dern) asks, “Am I crazy?” “ And her ex-husband Levi (Luke Wilson)responds: No. You’re just full of hope. You’ve got more hope than most people do.” It’s abeautiful thing to have a little hope for the world.”It is a beautiful thing. Hope can energize us. Especially when we share that hope—when wehope together.I have a lot of hope for the world. I have hope for libraries. The amazing work and depth ofcaring that I see in ULU feeds my hope. And I don’t think you would be here today unlessyou felt that too. And that’s a beautiful thing. I see hope as a small flame that we each keepburning in our hearts.I’d like to leave you with this challenge. As you go through your days, as you come upagainst challenges, and frustrations, remember to keep connecting your own small flame tothe central flames of life and the world.We cannot predict the exact details of the future, but we can have a hand in shaping theheart of the future, including its context of meaning and our commitment and courage inadvancing into the unknown.Thank you! Peter Bromberg | | Slidedeck available at:   (CC BY‐SA 3.0 US, Except “Andy’s Love Letter”, copyright W. Andrew Woodworth, All Rights Reserved