The Future of Public Libraries 5 strategies that matter Stephen Abram, MLS Amber Wilde Memorial Lecture University of Toronto iSchool Jan. 19, 2012These slides will beavailable at Stephen’s Lighthouse blog
Worrisome Symptoms of Dysfunction Terrible advocacy Slow and poor response to the e-Book challenge Generational disrespect and misunderstanding Workplace friction and avoidance Too slow technology adoption Inadequate promotion of digital resources Inadequate promotion of programs Handcrafting
Is there still life inlibraries in a fully web world? Yes, but . . .
News Flash“The Internet and technology have now progressed to their infancy”
7 Gifts to Public Libraries1. The book isn’t dead or dying. It is evolving.2. Our users/customers are improving and the question economy is different.3. Technology is going social and can support social acts for social institutions.4. The PC isn’t dead, but, again, it’s evolving and more mobile.5. We know more about our customers than ever before.6. Talent, Insight, Community, have social value.7. Opportunities always exist more in times of change
2: Engaging the next generationwhere they are and not repairing them.
What does all this mean? The Article level universe The Chapter and Paragraph Universe eBooks Opportunity: Integrated with Visuals – graphics and charts, ‘video’, scored, integrated with Sound and Speech, integrated with social web, integrated with interaction and not just interactivity How would you enhance a book? How do Libraries play the game? Libraries are creative centres or publishers?
Can we frame the e-book issue sothat it can be addressed rationally?
Why do people read?1. To learn2. To engage in hearing other’s opinions (to agree or disagree or understand)3. To develop more knowledge about myself and develop as a whole person4. To be entertained and laugh, to engage and interact, to feel5. To address boredom and the inexorable progress of time6. To research and keep up-to-date7. To participate well in civil society (everything from news to voting)8. To be informed (and maybe smarter)9. To understand others (individually, spiritually, and culturally)10. To escape our day-to-day lives, to be transported into the imagination11. To stimulate the imagination and be inspired or spiritual12. To write and communicate better through reading others13. To teach, to share14. To have something to talk about15. To connect with like-minded people
3: Focus on questions and needs – not desks and in person F2F
Why do people ask questions?Is your library experience conceptually organized around answers and programs? Or collections 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
List of content farms and general spammy user generated content sites: All Experts (allexperts.com) Experts Exchange (experts-exchange.com) Answers (answers.com) eZine Articles (ezinearticles.com) Answer Bag (answerbag.com) Find Articles (findarticles.com) Articles Base (articlesbase.com) FixYa (fixya.com Helium (helium.com) Ask (ask.com) Hub Pages (hubpages.com) Associated Content (associatedcontent.com) InfoBarrel (infobarrel.com) BizRate (bizrate.com) Livestrong (livestrong.com) Buzle (buzzle.com) Mahalo (mahalo.com) Brothersoft (brothersoft.com) Mail Archive (mail-archive.com) Bytes (bytes.com) Question Hub (questionhub.com) ChaCha (chacha.com) Squidoo (squidoo.com) eFreedom (efreedom.com) Suite101 (suite101.com) eHow (ehow.com) Twenga (twenga.com) Essortment (essortment.com) WiseGeek (wisegeek.com) Examiner (examiner.com) Wonder How To (wonderhowto.com) Expert Village (expertvillage.com) Yahoo! Answers (answers.yahoo.com) ) Xomba (xomba.com)
The nasty facts about Google & Bing and consumer search: SEO / SMO Content Farms Advertiser-driven GeotaggingWhack-a-Mole: Farmer PandaPanda Silver
What are your top 10-20 questions?What is the service portfolio model that goes with those?
One public library’s Top Questions1. 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
Driving the Knowledge Portalalignment with User Behaviour: Build Experiences
Sample Challenges Top Reference and Research Question Buckets Employment Homework Health Government access and forms …
How would this look? Top Reference and Research Questions Do you know them? Or do you know retail sales numbers or circulation numbers better? Role of Encyclopedia Shelf Talkers & databases / eBooks Being rational about homework role for public libraries Men users – we’re pretty bad at that. The new Senior
Fun Program Ideas Act Like a User Day (signs, sign up, ADD, kids, wheelchair) Librarian for a Day – Homework Peer Coaching Fraud and ID Theft Prevention Facebook for Teens – Study, Sharing and Social Safety Facebook for Adults – Work, Reputation, Jobs Signage Top 20 Questions Portals Focus Groups eBay (Cameras, How to, Books, etc.) Perennial Trade / Garden Days Garage Band MP3 collection Flickr Trading Cards Who’s here @the library (photos, FB, tweets, recommenders, talents, etc.) Collections Slap Down Research Success for Adult Learners Download Faire / Digital Days – download to phones, tablets, laptops, e-readers. 23 Things TNG
The Value of Libraries Soundbite The Value of Public Libraries http://stephenslighthouse.com/2010/04/06/the-value-of-public- libraries/ The Value of School Libraries http://stephenslighthouse.com/2010/04/06/the-value-of-school- libraries/ The Value of Academic and College Libraries http://stephenslighthouse.com/2010/04/07/value-of-academic- and-college-libraries/ The Value of Special Libraries http://stephenslighthouse.com/2010/04/07/value-of-special- libraries/ Library Advocacy: Save the Library Campaigns http://stephenslighthouse.com/2010/04/01/save-the-library- campaigns/ Storytelling…
Summary Respect the generations – learn from eachother End User Psychographic Centricity Focus on the Questions (Needs, CRM) Build or Buy Knowledge / Experience Portals (Meals) Emphasize Content Quality (not formats like books) Expand Social Media Programs on Information Literacy Advocate and Align with the Listener Tell Stories, Have users tell stories Strategic Analytics Investment – Measure Impact, ROI and Value Collaborate vs. socialize or service / servant
Don’t piss them off. Ok, sure. We’ve all got our little preconceived notions about who librarians are and what they do. Many people think of librarians as diminutive civil servants, scuttling about “Sssh-ing” people and stamping things. Well, think again buster. Librarians have degrees. They go to graduate school for Information Science and become masters of data systems and human/computer interaction. Librarians can catalog anything from an onion to a dog’s ear. They could catalog you. Librarians wield unfathomable power. With a flip of the wrist they can hide your dissertation behind piles of old Field and Stream magazines. They can find data for your term paper that you never knew existed. They may even point you toward new and appropriate subject headings. People become librarians because they know too much. Their knowledge extends beyond mere categories. They cannot be confined to disciplines. Librarians are all-knowing and all-seeing. They bring order to chaos. They bring wisdom and culture to the masses. They preserve every aspect of human knowledge. Librarians rule. And they will kick the crap out of anyone who says otherwise.