Apply Now! Library Tech Leader Position…

Are you a technology leader, ready to blaze trails and lead a top organization into the future?

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has created the new position of Head of Digital Innovation and Technology Services to help create the library of the future in Little Rock.

Are you an excellent communicator? Do you love the excitement of bringing new technology solutions to life? Do you enjoy working with an exceptional organization to serve people and communities? Then this position is for you!

We are looking for a dynamic leader who understands technology, has a heart for service, a vision for collaboration, and who approaches each day with a sense of fun and possibilities.

CALS is an organization where professionals flourish in a top-rated community where the quality of life is high, the cost of living is low, and the opportunity for innovation is boundless.

For the full job description, please use this link.

To learn more about the position, CALS and Little Rock download the position brochure:  CALS-DigitalInnovationAndTechnologyManager06.22.2016

ALA Candidate Interviews!

**Update 5/8: Congrats to Dr. Julie Todaro! **


Original Post:

We see the names (and some are our friends) but we don’t always have the chance to chat about the issues — including technology in libraries and thoughts about leadership.  In late 2014 I talked with the four American Library Association presidential candidates for the 2016-2017 term.  The conversations were compelling and help each candidate differentiate themselves from each other.

The process was simple – each candidate was asked the same set of questions, and questions were provided in advance of the interview.  The interviews were not released (even to the candidate) until all had been completed.  Here they are, in the order they were completed between late November and Mid-December 2014:

JP Porcaro

Joseph Janes

Jamie LaRue

Dr. Julie Todaro

Who should lead ALA?  I hope the interviews give you a head start in making your choice.

Update March 2015 – Steve Thomas is featuring interviews with all four candidates in his excellent podcast series here.  The more you know…! 

Voting begins in late March 2015 – ALA will send voting information to each member at that time via email.

Make Your Own Makerspace!

Yowsa – I am probably the slowest blogger around.  Lots of excellent things have been happening since my last post — here’s one:  a webinar I did for Demco exploring the basics of the library as a place of creation rather than just consumption.  Take a look!


SXSW and Libraries

When Neil Young takes a moment to be photographed  holding up the library symbol after using the South by Southwest (SXSW) platform to launch his new high-quality music service, you know libraries are held in high esteem throughout our culture.

Neil Young holding the library symbol at SXSW

How did this happen?  Two factors converged at the conference known for convergence – a growing and organized library presence at SXSW,  and the fortune of being in the right place at the right time  to advocate.

After his presentation on Pono in Austin (within a day his kickstarter fundraising/engagement campaign blew past its modest goals and has now raised millions) Mr. Young briefly signed autographs and shook hands with the crowd rushing the stage.  I asked if he would allow me to take a picture of him holding up the library symbol.  He studied the symbol for less than a second, nodded, and held it up for the shot.

While this picture is a highlight, it is only one of many amazing outcomes.  Watch this space for more on the growing library involvement at the conference through a scrappy volunteer organization that I’ve helped coordinate (along with a handful of other incredible library people) called #sxswLAM – Libraries, Archives, Museums as well as partner organizations such as the American Library Association (ALA), The Public Library Association (PLA),  the #ideadrophouse, EveryLibrary, Urban Libraries Unite (ULU), the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), and the Digital Library Federation;  as well as vendors including Innovative Interfaces Inc., Mobile Beacon, Proquest and others.

Full size image:Neil Young holds library symbol at SXSW


Dashboard Time

I love driving in Colorado – even during the winter months. Especially during the winter months!  Yesterday I kicked off the first of eleven site visits to rural Colorado libraries with a drive to the Redfeather Lakes Community Library.  It  had snowed the day before – and through my front window I took in the beauty of late fall/early winter Colorado.

These network assessments — for the Colorado State Library, and funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — are designed to help libraries have a better understanding of their Internet connections, their local network and associated technologies to continue serving the public with access to computers and the Internet.  The assessments will also help libraries understand their connectivity options, as well as ways to make the best use of their technology resources.

The drive yesterday took me back to my roots — years ago I worked for the High Plains Regional Library Service System in Colorado (one of seven regional systems — since replaced by the most excellent Colorado Library Consortium – or CLiC) and I spent many hours logging miles and seeing the beautiful state across the dashboard.  Yesterday was like slipping back in time in the best possible way.

Another thing that was unchanged was the warm welcome from library staff — and seeing just how important rural libraries are to the fabric of the community.

My favorite photo is below.  Due to the lack of access in the mountains, Redfeather encourages patrons to connect to the Internet whenever they happen to make it into the tiny town.  Free wireless access is available from the parking lot – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  For some residents, it’s their only option.

Internet access for people in rural areas is an essential part of modern life.  Sometimes the library is their only connection to the networked world.

IMG_4654 IMG_4653 copy


Libraries are back at SXSWi!

Libraries will have a strong presence again this year at the South by SouthWest Interactive (SXSWi) conference – I will be joining Andrea Davis to host a “Core Conversation” entitled “Libraries: The Ultimate Playground.”

We have a nice preview write-up on the Razorfish blog.

And check out the lineup at a brand-new library thing called the #ideadrophouse.

Yowsa — libraries loud & proud at SXSW!


Lucky 13

2013, that is!

As we embrace the new I’m thankful for so much — and especially all of the excellent people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with.  The projects have been stimulating and satisfying — from facilities master planning, technology planning, tech assessments, coaching, keynote speeches at conferences, teaching, and other activities.  But the real joy has been working with so many outstanding people, all across the country.

As libraries face some of the greatest challenges in their histories, they are also in some very good hands.

Experienced librarians are using their wisdom and knowledge to navigate through the murky waters of eMaterials and remind us that although formats change, the core mission of the public library — connecting people to information, ideas and enrichment as a public-funded good — endures.

New generations of librarians are entering the profession with a native understanding of digital formats, multiple modes of communication and the power of customer service.  These librarians are asking all of the right questions — and with the  spirit and energy to “make it happen” or #mih.

The combination of these elements makes me feel very lucky indeed.

Here’s to you, and to all the best in 2013!

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.


Summertime, summertime…

Well, I’m not the most active blogger on the planet. An update once a quarter is enough, right? :o) Lots of cool things are on the schedule for the rest of the year, including a July keynote address for the WiLS World Conference in Wisconsin! I’ve also been invited to join the audience and participation workstream for the Digital Public Library of America — honored and thrilled!

Speaking is always a blast, but I love working directly with clients even more! Library Facility Master Planning (tech) has been so much fun, and working with other libraries on technology reviews and improvement plans has been just as great. When doing the tech reviews/audits, the IT pieces are often the simplest, and what really needs the most attention are the people who make it all happen, and the communication structures that connect everyone. There’s also been lots of action on the eBook and eMaterials front — it’s on everyone’s minds and libraries are beginning to take action!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — I love my work!

Other talks include TEDx FoCo (yowsa!), the Marmot User’s Group meeting (another yowsa!), Internet Librarian (Yowsa yowsa!), The New York Library Association (yowsa yowsa yowsa!), and more!

I have a mid-year’s resolution is to blog more frequently. Wish me luck!