New Book!

Do you want to get a better handle on taming the technological beast in your library? I have a new book out that will help!  It’s called Managing Library Technology and is based on the class I teach for the American Library Association’s Certified Public Library Administrator Program.

The book is available from Amazon.

Managing Library Technology introduces library workers (including non-technical managers, tech administrators and even “accidental technologists”) to core concepts in technology management and provides strategies that will enable them to master the basics of library tech. The book is geared to the needs of all kinds of libraries.

The book contains easy-to-follow exercises and tools that have been tested in real-world situations with students as they tackled their own evaluation, planning and management challenges. Readers are also given a roadmap to create a technology plan for their library—even if they have no direct technology background themselves.

This book helps library workers understand the underpinnings of technology and how to powerfully manage tech to serve patrons and staff alike.  Readers will learn:

  • How libraries fit into the overall technology market
  • Strategies to future-proof library technology efforts
  • Approaches to technology planning that stick – and strategies to keep the plan on track
  • Skills to understand technology investments by understanding the total costs of ownership and the specialized library return on technological investment
  • How to collect and use useful data and statistics without being overwhelmed
  • How to stay current, knowledgeable and comfortable with rapid technological change

I’m grateful for the good reviews the book has received!

“From thoughtful assessment of library technology to realistic budgeting and implementation of new services, this guide is grounded by the viewpoint that technology is a means to provide great library service, not an end in itself. With practical tips grounded in actual experience, those just learning about library technology and those well-versed in the field will find useful information in this understandable guide.” (Susan Hildreth, professor of practice, University of Washington Information School)

“Carson Block combines deep, hands-on experience working with libraries to bolster their technology infrastructure to serve diverse community needs with contagious enthusiasm for this vital work. With this new LITA Guide, he captures the big picture, as well as the practical details needed to successfully assess, plan, implement and evaluate technology to advance the library mission in the digital age. As Carson would say: ‘Go go gadget!’ “(Larra Clark, deputy director, American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy and Public Library Association)

“Carson Block uses his vast knowledge of Library IT to explain the realities of technology in a modern library and how the professional, whether experienced or new to the field, can better understand it and plan for future needs. His easy to understand writing style makes this guide a both accessible and highly informative.”  (Corin Haines, manager services to Public Libraries, National Library of New Zealand)

Interested? The book is available from Amazon.

The cover of "Managing Library Technology" by Carson Block

Registration is open for my Management of Technology Class!

It’s that time again!  Registration is open for an online course I teach called “Management of Technology” designed to help library workers of all stripes have  a better understanding of concepts and tools to use tech more powerfully to serve their communities. The class begins in February!

Signup info from the American Library Association is below!


Management of Technology<> | Cost: $350 |




Dates: February 6 – March 19, 2017
Instructor: Carson Block<>
Times: Online asynchronous sessions with access to recordings.

*   Sessions and materials will be made available on six sequential Mondays.
*   There will be a recorded lecture each week as well as occasional live sessions in which the instructor will address specific questions and context from the participants regarding the course material
*   A link to a recording of each session will be made available to the students shortly after each session concludes

Course Description: This course puts the full power of information technology into the hands of library managers and leaders. You’ll start with a clear vision and an understanding of technology policy.  Next, you’ll consider the nuts and bolts of managing technology.  Technology planning is next followed by technology implementation, and finally, evaluation. The course is presented in plain language with many concrete examples and exercises. Topics include: connecting your library’s goals to technological possibilities, monitoring and administrating technology budgets, assessing resources, drawing a line between efforts and impacts, evaluating those efforts and making course corrections, and understanding and using emerging technologies. You will assemble your own Technology Planning Kit, which will help you create your own library technology plan. Course tools include spreadsheet and tally sheet templates for you to download to evaluate budgets, inventory populations served and electronic services provided, inventory hardware and software, and calculate the relationship between the cost and value of a technology investment.

Technology Requirements: Reliable Internet connection; Java-enabled web browser; PDF Reader; IBM Compatible PC with at least 400 MB RAM with Windows XP/7 or above or Macintosh with OS8 or above; 128 MB RAM; sound card with speakers and/or earphones; color monitor with at least 800×600 resolution. Contact: Pamela Akins,<>

Logo for the Certified Public Library Administrator program

Logo for the organization for the advancement of library employees

Let’s do I.T. again!

One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a library technology consultant has been traveling across Texas helping rural librarians learn how to make, break, fix and manage their data networks.  It was so much fun (and produced such great results) we’re going out again this year!  This time the topic is hardware and software!

I’m working on the cirriculum right now and I can say we’re going to have a lot of *fun* — including  the hands-on chance to tear down PCs so that we can learn together what all those pieces and parts do individually — as well as what they all add up to.  We’ll also explore operating systems, essential software, and some computer configuration.

As librarians across Texas have witnessed, some hands-on and learning time can transform technology bewilderment to technology mastery.  Being part of that transformation is what makes my job so, so wonderful!

Are you a librarian in Texas — or do you know one?  If so, we (including the most excellent TSLAC staff of Henry Stokes, Katherine Adelberg and Cindy Fisher) hope to see you at a workshop during the spring and fall of 2016. More details here!


You can DO IT image

Speaking at SXSW and PLA

Spring is shaping up to be quite a busy season – working with lots of wonderful folks, and speaking at some incredible gatherings…

I’ll be presenting a session at South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi) called “The Great Library Swindle: Your Rights are at Risk”

I’ll also be part of a number of great sessions the the Public Library Association conference – including Consultants Give Back, the Unconference, a session on innovative programming in libraries, and hosting a “Converstations” session (they used to be called “Table Talks”) called  “Welcome to Planet Geek.”  More on the conference here:

PLA is also a great place to connect with clients in-person — if you would like to schedule a brief meeting on site, please send me a note:

Happy spring!







PLA Webinar on E-Books!

I’m producing and hosting a 4-part webinar on E-Books for the Public Library Association called “The Public Librarian’s Guide to E-Books”

Here’s the blurb from the PLA website (at

E-books are here to stay, and people are turning to the library for answers as well as the latest bestsellers. Make sure you are comfortable in the world of electronics and .azw files

Register for “Public Librarian’s Guide to E-Books: A PLA Webinar Series.” This series features four weekly webinars (Oct. 25 through Nov. 15), offering a practical approach to integrating e-books, e-readers, and related e-materials into public library collections. You can register for the entire series (discounted per webinar fee), or attend individual webinars.

The tone will be down-to-earth and sensible—addressing the basics, such as why e-books and e-readers are important to libraries and providing a cookbook approach to adding e-books to collections of all sizes.

Learning Outcomes

By attending “Public Librarian’s Guide to E-Books: A PLA Webinar Series,” participants will:

  • Gain a complete understanding of the nature of e-books and why they are important to add to library collections.
  • Learn the ins and outs of licensing, purchasing, and lending e-books.
  • Receive tips and actionable steps to add e-books and e-readers to library collections of all sizes.
  • Hear strategies for creating a sustainable and scalable e-book program for their libraries.

Who Should Attend

  • Public librarians who want to start or build upon an e-reader loan program and/or e-book collection at their library
  • Any library staff hoping to better understand the ins and outs of this ever-growing service


Each webinar will be moderated by consultant Carson Block and filled with guest speakers and panels. You’ll hear from library directors, technologists, and e-material vendors.

Dates & Times

Each webinar in this four-part series will be presented at

  • 2:00–3:00 PM Eastern
  • 1:00–2:00 PM Central
  • 12:00–1:00 PM Mountain
  • 11:00 AM–12:00 PM Pacific

Webinar schedule

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2011
    Webinar One: Intro to E-Books

    Starting at page one. The first webinar in the series will introduce participants to the e-book and e-reader market with a look at the devices, including the Kindle, Nook, and iPad. We will also look at market trends to show participants the foothold e-readers and e-books have in the market, and why it’s important for all libraries to have an e-book strategy. Webinar will include an e-reader vendor panel to provide information and answer questions.

  • Tuesday, November 1, 2011
    Webinar Two: Laying the Groundwork for a Successful E-Book Collection

    They may be filled with words, just like physical books, but e-books tell their own story when it comes to building a library collection. The second webinar will cover the particularities of licensing e-materials, and how this represents a change from buying and owning physical books to “leasing” e-book access for use by patrons. The program will also detail available options for collecting e-books–including for-pay, free, and the “library as publisher” experiment from Douglas County Libraries in Colorado. Webinar will also include an e-book/e-zine vendor panel.

  • Tuesday, November 8, 2011
    Webinar Three: Powering Up Your E-Book Program

    So you’ve done all your background research. You’re ready to build your e-book program. What now? The third webinar in the series will demonstrate different approaches to add e-books and/or e-readers to library collections of all sizes. Webinar participants will see successful models that scale from a very small to very large libraries. A panel of librarians and techs who have added e-book and circulating e-reader will share their approaches and experiences.

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2011
    Webinar Four: Strategies for Sustaining Your Library’s E-Book Program

    The final webinar in the series will explore strategic consideration in adding e-books, as well as project management fundamentals (shared in a down-to-earth fashion) to ensure a good start as well as a sustainable effort. Learn how to determine the total costs of an e-book or circulating e-reader program, including startup and ongoing costs; understand the risks; measure effectiveness; and more. This webinar will also share some worksheets to help libraries kick off their own e-book or e-reader program.


Cost for the full four-part series:


  • PLA Member: $99.00
  • ALA Member: $115.00
  • Nonmember: $129.00

Presentations Galore!

As well as working with a number of wonderful library clients this fall, I’m also fortunate to be doing a lot of presentations, including three at the Colorado Association of Libraries conference, the California Association of Libraries conference, a series of PLA webinars, and more.  The most surprising one was a radio interview for a station in Milwaukee!

Topics include integrating eBooks and eReaders into library collections of all sizes, best practices for library technology management, the keys to successful public/academic library partnerships, how to find success in failure (like a phoenix rising from the ashes), using QR codes and social media to market your libraries, and more.

Do you need some help in these areas?  If so, please get in touch!




What’s it like to write a LE@D Course?

My wonderful instructional designer at the University of Northern Texas, Alese Smith, interviewed me about my experiences writing a class for the LE@D (Lifelong Education at Desktop) program — this one a Technology Management class for the Certified Public Library Administrator’s program.



QR Codes at Cohere

This will be fun — talking QR codes with the fine folks at Cohere!

Teaser: CPLA Technology Management course

Tami Sutcliffe of the LE@D program at the University of North Texas put together a teaser of the online course on technology management that I’m teaching – the next course is scheduled to begin in early September!