Three talks, three cities, three days

I just wrapped up a mini-tour — speaking in three cities in Colorado in three days.  Yowsa!

It was great to spend time with the Marmot User’s Group annual meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado on 9/20 — what a great group!  I gave the Thursday keynote – “The Great Library Swindle: Your Rights Are At Risk”

The CoPLA  eMedia Smackdown (simultaneous live event at five locations in Colorado, hooked together by technology but with a focus on the in-person event via excellent facilitators) on 9/21 was off the hook!  I was live in Durango, Colorado (as speaker/facitator/host/tech :0), and the level of engagement from the participants was outstanding!  We are planning to make all of the content from the day available soon, but in the meantime  you can see my kick-off for the day here, followed by a presentation from the leader of the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association:

Finally, on 9/22 I was honored to be among some most excellent speakers at TEDx FoCo in Fort Collins, Colorado – presenting the “Swindle” talk to advocate for libraries.  Video from all of the TEDx FoCo talks should be available by November!



eMedia Smackdown!

This year I’m president of the Colorado Public Library Association (CoPLA),  and we have an event called the eMedia Smackdown designed to bring members together in Colorado like never before to discuss one of the hottest topics in libraryland – eBooks and other eMedia!

The opportunities and challenges of digital materials continue to loom large over libraries.  While we’ve been mostly reactive to changes, the time has come to “smackdown” eMedia (eBooks, eReaders, video and audio) and become proactive in molding the future of library content to benefit patrons everywhere.

This event is designed to spur dialog among participants to create understanding of the issues and identify strategies they can can use in their own libraries.

Five speakers will frame the most compelling eContent topics today, and excellent facilitators will help guide the discussion in five locations throughout Colorado for a compelling, fun-filled day!

More about the event.


New year — new libraries and new issues!

I love my work!

In the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to help improve library technology efforts and staffing structures, coach some very talented individuals, teach (CPLA Technology Management), facilitate (helping libraries find their vision for technology, set goals, and create the roadmap to get there) and speak (“eBooks!  Get your eBooks!”).  Yowsa!

The beginning of 2012 has all that and more — including technology program planning for several new and existing library construction projects across the nation (quite literally from sea to shining sea),  helping libraries and communities identify and realize their vision for library technology, strategic technology planning  and evaluating the effectiveness of LSTA-funded technology efforts.

I’m also settling into my duties as the President of the Colorado Public Library Association (CoPLA), working with an outstanding CoPLA team, as well as serving on the Executive Board (another dynamite group) of the the Colorado Library Association.

I’m seeing more than ever before — and seeing how important it is for all of us serve from where we are.

As institutions, libraries continue to serve the public good like no other,  yet are facing threats ranging  from perennial funding challenges to a coming crisis over electronic content.  We’re well familiar with the funding issues, but e-content (especially eBooks, but also audio and moving picture media) is still a bit fuzzy.  Libraries have hundreds of options to purchase and loan physical materials — but less than a  handful of options to lease and loan eBooks.

Some are simply waiting for things to “settle out.”  Waiting is risky — librarians are among the very few (again, less than a handful) who know and see the public good being served.  If we truly value information access for citizens, we can’t wait for someone else to do something.  It’s our job to ensure that the essential and unique  role of public libraries — connecting people to valuable information and enrichment at no direct cost as a publically-funded good — endures.

The good news is that taking action need not be a grand political gesture.  Little things, if we all do them where we are, could have a huge effect.  Just talking with those we serve could be enough.

The most recent Perceptions of Libraries report from OCLC  indicates that librarians are trusted.  In a world where we often feel at an arms length from companies (such those who give us prices too low to ignore, but we never seem to completely trust them) trust is a rare and beautiful thing.

A moment is coming that you can seize — when the next wave of folks with bright shiny eBook readers begin flooding into your libraries after the holidays.  They’re coming because when it comes to reading — and books — the library is the place to go. It doesn’t matter if the book is physical or digital. According to the “Perceptions” report, the book remains the brand of the library.  But from experience, we know that our eBook lending systems are not only few, but they’re imperfect.  I’m thankful for the vendors and non-profits currently providing eBooks to libraries, but we really need more and better ways to connect people with electronic materials.

The flood of new eReaders is a golden opportunity to not just help patrons with their new devices, but to also talk about the issues.  Many libraries are taking the ball and helping patrons understand eReaders, but not so many are sharing that eBooks in libraries are a whole new game, with rules that are changing every day, and no certain time when this whole thing is going to settle out.  I know not knowing the answers is uncomfortable for many librarians, but I think this is a case where sharing the challenges with patrons will help us form the right questions, together.

I want to wish you all the best in 2012!  Thanks for visiting the site, and please get in touch if I can help you in any way!