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  1. 1. Light ‘em Up The Future of Libraries: Stephen Abram, MLOregon Library Association Conference Bend, OR April 26, 2012
  2. 2. ChangeThese slides are available at Stephen’s Lighthouse blog
  3. 3. We Only Get So Many Once-in-a-LifetimeChances To Do Great Things
  4. 4. News Flash“The Internet and technology have now progressed to their infancy”
  5. 5. Lies we tell ourselves Libraries are a big market for fiction Libraries are closing in large numbers Teens don’t read anymore & Boys don’t read The education issue is intractable We serve everyone People want to search Free is all-important Social institutions don’t need their staff to embrace the social tools
  6. 6. Speaking of e- Books...
  7. 7. Borders Kobo, B&N Nook, Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Sony, etc. . . .
  8. 8. GBS
  9. 9. Pottermore
  10. 10. On a limb:There is no scenario where public library circulation will increase.
  11. 11. Can we frame the e-book issue inlibraries so that it can be addressed rationally?
  12. 12. Books
  13. 13. Fiction
  14. 14. Non-Fiction
  15. 15. Be More Open to the Users’ Paths - Filtering
  16. 16. So how must library strategies change?
  17. 17. First:1. Focus on memberships and audiences 2. Then focus on penetration though engagement 3. Measure (and communicate) impact
  18. 18. Conclusions Up Front1. Prioritize Programs not Collections (align)2. Drive ‘Reference’ with Data and Know Your Top Questions3. Re-Balance of Physical and Virtual4. Invest Time in Demographics & Analytics (Measurements not Stats)5. Put the newer 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 everything and essential
  19. 19. Specific Challenges1. Setting Priorities and Making Sacrifices (Program Hiatuses)2. Innovation Culture, Pilots and Diffusion3. Fix our Backroom and Front Room Balance through more Cooperation4. Alignment with Community Goals & our Values5. Measuring the Right Stuff - Impact6. Investing in HR Development & Generations7. Admit we have Sacred Cows (desks, books, …)8. Promotion, Marketing, Communication, Advocacy
  20. 20. Change can happen very fast
  21. 21. Sensemaking
  22. 22. What is an EXPERIENCE? What is a library experience?What differentiates a library experience from a transaction? What differentiates public libraries from Google/Bing?
  23. 23. The Evolution of Answers
  24. 24. Why do people ask questions?Is your library experience conceptually organized around answers and programs? Or collections, technology and buildings?
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. What are your top 10-20 questions?What is the service portfolio model that goes with those?
  27. 27. The Baker’s Dozen: 1 Library System’s 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. What are your demographics?Did you know…  The dominant household is singles  Next is couples  Then families with children  Poor neighborhoods use smartphones and broadband at higher levels  Poor neighborhoods use the library more  Hispanics have more smartphones, etc.  Virtual user is dominant and different than in-person Challenge all assumptions . . .
  30. 30. News Flash News FlashTech Shift Happens
  31. 31. 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.o Turn Excuses into Reasons
  32. 32. Deer in headlamps slide here.
  33. 33. What Are Libraries Really For?• Community & Social Glue• Learning• Discovery• Progress• Research (Applied and Theoretical)• Cultural & Knowledge Custody• Economic Impact
  34. 34. What Are Librarians For?• Expertise (We ARE Experts!)• Relationships• Transformation• Professional Service (not servant)• Vision & Leadership• Economic Impact
  35. 35. Columbus, Cook, Magellan and Libraries:Searching for the corners of the earth, the edge of the oceans and discovering dragons ...
  36. 36. Columbus, Cabot, Cortes
  37. 37. Magellan Columbus Cook
  38. 38. 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)?
  39. 39. Grocery Stores
  40. 40. Grocery Stores
  41. 41. Grocery Stores
  42. 42. Cookbooks, Chefs . . .
  43. 43. Cookbooks, Chefs . . .
  44. 44. Meals
  45. 45. Let’s chatWhat is a meal in library end-user or educationand learning terms? End users want to find Their goal is a transformational experience They don’t see the library as inventory and logistics Our generational assumptions need updating Sometimes they don’t need help Listen to the stories
  46. 46. The newbibliography and collection development KNOWLEDGE PORTALS KNOWLEDGE, LEARNING, INFORMATION & RESEARCH COMMONS
  47. 47. What areyour user’sreal goals?
  48. 48. Chefs, counsellors, teachers, magiciansLibrarians play a vital role in building the critical connections between information , knowledge and learning.
  49. 49. ProgramsWhat are the components of a program focus? What lifts Libraries beyond our foundations?
  50. 50. You have the tools.
  51. 51. Stop Making it So Hard!
  52. 52. Trans-Literacy: Move beyond reading & PC skills  Reading literacy  News literacy  Numeracy  Technology literacy  Critical literacy Failure  Information literacy  Social literacy is not an 100%  Media literacy  Computer literacy  Adaptive literacy Option  Web literacy  Research literacy  Content literacy  Academic literacy  Written literacy  Reputation, Etc.
  53. 53. StealThisIdea
  54. 54. E-Learning Do you know the new curriculum and the goals?
  55. 55. E-Learning
  56. 56. List of content farms and general spammy user generated content sites:  Experts Exchange ( All Experts (  eZine Articles ( Answers (  Find Articles ( Answer Bag (  FixYa ( Helium ( Articles Base (  Hub Pages ( Ask (  InfoBarrel ( Associated Content (  Livestrong ( BizRate (  Mahalo ( Buzle (  Mail Archive ( Brothersoft (  Question Hub ( Bytes (  Squidoo ( ChaCha (  Suite101 ( eFreedom (  Twenga ( eHow (  WiseGeek ( Essortment (  Wonder How To ( Examiner (  Yahoo! Answers ( Expert Village (  Xomba ( )
  57. 57. The nasty facts about Google & Bing andconsumer search: SEO / SMO Content FarmsAdvertiser-driven Geotagging
  58. 58. StrategicAnalytics
  59. 59. 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.
  60. 60. 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.
  61. 61. 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?
  62. 62. Emboldened Librarians hold the key
  63. 63. So how must library strategies change?
  64. 64. 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
  65. 65. 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
  66. 66. 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)
  67. 67. Book Challenges Format Agnosticism Browsers: IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari Devices: Macintosh, PC Desktops & Laptops Mobile: Laptops, Tablets (iPad, Fire, etc.) Mobile: Smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows, etc.) Container: PDF, ePub, .mobi, Kindle, etc. Learning Management System: Blackboard / WebCT, D2L, Moodle, Sakai, etc. Purchasing (Amazon, B&N, Chegg, CengageBrain, Apple Store, University Textbook Store, etc.)
  68. 68. Should we tie users and students to a specific and proprietary device or operating system?
  69. 69. This era will see a Fundamental Reimagining the BookFor the present there will be those who resist and the resisters will be the majority.
  70. 70. Reimagine ServiceReference and Research
  71. 71. Consider the differences . . . Computer Commons Mall Service Commons Information Commons Knowledge Commons Learning Commons Science Commons Centre or Central? Physical / Virtual Hybrid
  72. 72. Mobility
  73. 73. A 1965 iPhone
  74. 74. What Would You Attempt IfYou Knew You Would Not Fail?
  75. 75. A Third Path
  76. 76. Smelly OrYellow SexLiquid Appeal?
  77. 77. Consider the Whole Experience
  78. 78. There are no knights onhorses in technology.
  79. 79. ‘Reading’ trumps print books . . .
  80. 80. Stephen Abram, MLS, FSLAVP strategic partnerships and markets Cengage Learning (Gale) Cel: 416-669-4855 Stephen’s Lighthouse Blog Facebook, Pinterest: Stephen Abram LinkedIn / Plaxo: Stephen Abram Twitter: @sabram SlideShare: StephenAbram1