Engagement Strategies in Turbulent Times #inet2013 #internetlibrarian

Kara Evans, Pfizer

Library is under IT

Allocated content budget to R&D

Training sessions on online products

Weekly updates go to 15,000 subscribers in the company

Formed a team to optimize information assets.

Did survey on information needs, then focus groups.  Asked what their pain points were.

- Improve transparency
– Increase our presence (Staff didn’t realize there were still people they could call once the physical library went away.)
– Target communications (Come to staff meetings to talk about specific needs and solutions.)
– Simplify e-library (Web site has gotten a little cluttered.)
– Evaluate delivery options

Outreach part of the job.

Working with executive sponsor, so decisions are understood at highest levels.

Robin Henshaw and Valerie Enriquez, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals

Ironwood is a start-up, but they hired a librarian early on. The library is under R&D.

Library does:
– Literature searches (PubMed, Scifinder, Pipeline)
– Article requests
– Copyright compliance
– Database subscriptions
– Training
– Vendors
– Communications (outreach)

Added collaboration to all services.

Embedded: attending department meetings, working with R&D.

Added: Embase, Dialog, etc.

More tasks done by end users. (e.g., article delivery from Science Direct)

New users: meet them in person and do training on databases, etc.

Group training: tailored to particular groups (e.g., chemistry, competitive intelligence)

Meetings with research working groups

Vendor training

Outreach about new databases as they are added.

IM: Just introduced at the company.

Digitization and Social Media: Strategies & Tools #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Digitization and Social Media: Strategies and Tools

Kenn Bicknell, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Library

Los Angeles Railway Library, started in 1937

Reports, photos, gray literature

Open to the public, but on the 18th floor behind security

Serves 9,000 employees, consultants, reporters, bloggers, transportation nerds

2 full-time employees

Library had a budget cut at the same time transportation projects are increasing.

Multi-disciplinary: law, geology, geography, even paleontology

Pitched digitization as: 24/7 access and everything, everywhere

Guiding principles:
– Immediacy
– Personalization
– Interpretation
– Authenticity
– Accessibility
– Findability
– Embodiment (keeping things together)
– Patronage

3 phases of digitization:
– Digitize as needed, on demand. Set up a server to keep things. File structure, permissions. Also launched Flickr account (MetroLibraryArchive). Also started a news aggregation service for staff in 2005. (Boast: I did it at MPOW before 2002.) Collected 5 years’ worth of reference question to build knowledge base (WordPress has an encyclopedia plugin.)

- Scanning whole collections: for example, multiple reports, photos, etc. on a given project. Harvesting “born digital” and gray literature. More social media: Twitter (@MetroLibrary), Facebook (LACMTA Library), YouTube (Metrolibrarian).

- Digitize everything that’s not copyright-protected. Protocols for metadata and OCR.

Primary Resources: their blog.

Flickr account has gotten 3.9 million hits! Do crowdsourcing to ask users to add metadata for pictures. Putting out one image a day on Tumblr (LACMTAlibrary); now have 50,000 followers in six months!

Digitizing California Highways

Resource sharing: catalog, Online Archive of California, Flickr, YouTube, Scribd. (Flickr is not for high-quality TIFFs that people can steal.)

Recommended book: “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”

News and information: blog, Twitter, Paper.li. (Just did it before their organization had a social media policy.)

Digitized employee newsletters. Interesting for employees, but also some historic events are of larger interest.

Paper.li can automate colections of tweets.

WordPress plugins: encyclopedia, dictionary (for acronyms)

Anniversaries and facts spreadsheet has become “this date in Los Angeles transportation history,” which goes out with news.

Separate archive for pictures. Flickr is not a permanent repository.


Historypin: “awesomest thing ever.” Historic photos linked to maps and timeline.

RSS Graffiti puts tweets on Facebook page.

California Highways: OCRed, use Google Custom Search to do keyword search. Link to file directory to get to specific issues.

Tiki-Toki: make interactive timelines.


Updated to add: links to resources.

The New Library Patron #il2013 #internetlibrarian

The New Library Patron

Lee Rainie, Pew Internet and American Life Project, keynote


1. Libraries are deeply appreciated.  

91% say libraries are important to community, 76% say important to themselves and their families.

75-80% says borrowing books, reference librarians, computer access, and quiet study spaces are important.

You should do a touchdown dance about this!

People doing research and getting entertainment, but also getting online info, looking for and applying for jobs.

David Weinberger has written about libraries.

2. Libraries have a PR problem.

People say they don’t know enough about the library’s services.

People probably don’t know about the hospital or the mayor’s office either.  And they may think they don’t know enough, because libraries are doing lots of new things.

OTOH, these are our fans.  We have lots of ways we can touch their lives. About 53% used the library in the last year.  (The numbers who think we’re important is much higher.)

3. Library patrons are diverse, but there are some groups removed from libraries

More likely to be women than men, under 65, educated, parents.

Moms!  Find mommy bloggers in your town.

Some who are removed:

Those whose families don’t use the library.

Those who didn’t go to the library as kids.

9% don’t know where the nearest library is.

Coming from Pew: What kind of library user are you?  There will be a widget libraries can put on their web pages.

4. Patrons’ “wish list” for libraries is diverse and undifferentiated

Question about moving some books out of the library to make room for tech center:

20% yes: less-active users, African-Americans, Latinos, less education, no computer.

39% maybe: younger (18-29), know less about libraries, whites

36% no: heavy library users, over 50, higher income, parents, computer owners, book readers (including e-books)

“Innovator’s Dilemma”: hard to desert best customers.  May need to set up parallel institution.

Asked people if they were likely to use new services (about 1/3 yes, 1/3 maybe, 1/3 no)

- Online ask-a-librarian
– Cell app to access library services
– Tech “petting zoo” of gadgets
– Cell GPS to navigate library
– Kiosks (a la Redbox) around town to do library checkouts
– Personalized recommendations (a la Amazon)
– Classes on using e-books
– Preloaded e-books

5. Libraries have a mandate to intervene in community life

Parents would like libraries to work more closely with schools.

Early literacy programs for preschool, including computer literacy.

Areas libraries could address:

- Technology skills training
– Pre-school programs
– After school activities
– ESL courses
– Lifelong learning/credentialing competency
– Gap in media ecosystem: Community, civic information/curation
– Help for small business, entrepreneurs, non-profits
– Serendipity agents of discovery

Be not afraid.

The Librarian’s Skillbook: a short review @debhunt6

When I wrote about picking up a copy of the Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals by Deborah Hunt and David Grossman, I promised I’d give it a fuller treatment after I finished reading it. I finished it a while ago, but I am just getting around to writing this review.

The Librarian’s Skillbook is a very practical work for beginning librarians, unemployed/underemployed librarians, or mid-career librarians who feel the need to brush up their skills, either to look for other jobs or to improve their status at their current workplaces.

The skills are a mix of technical skills (such as digital archiving and enterprise content management), traditional library skills made more relevant for the 21st century (such as strategic knowledge and providing “value add” solutions), business skills (such as project management and not giving away the store), and interpersonal skills (such as networking and being proactive). (They acknowledge that librarians tend to be quiet, unassuming types, but encourage readers to learn new skills and let people know that they have those skills.)

For each of the 51 skills in the book, Hunt and Grossman describe the skill, give some tips to acquire the skill, and list a few web and print references to read. The tips often encourage the reader to practice the skill at their current workplace or, if that’s not possible, to do some kind of internship or volunteer work to learn the skill. They won’t take no for an answer; they believe you can do this!

Most of the skills include a section called “this skill in action,” in which Hunt and Grossman give an anecdote from their own careers or those of other librarians they know. Hunt and Grossman have both had varied careers. She has worked at the Exploratorium (a science museum in San Francisco), as a consultant, and now at the Mechanics’ Institute. He has worked as a journalist, a builder of online databases, and now in the local history room of Mill Valley Public Library (Calif.). So, the stories from their careers add some real-world details to their advice.

At the end of the book, Hunt and Grossman encourage readers to sit down and plan how and when they will acquire some of the 51 skills. Again, they urge you to just do it!

Note: Nothing in this review, pro or con, has been influenced by the fact that my picture shows up on the web site for the book.

Hunt, Deborah and David Grossman. The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals. 2013. LibrarianSkillbook.com

The Librarian’s Skillbook #sla2013 @debhunt6

I’m currently reading The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals by Deborah Hunt and David Grossman. I picked it up at the Special Libraries Association conference in San Diego last week. It’s got a nice mix of hard, tech skills and soft, people skills. They point out that “no one expects you to be an expert in all of the skills in this book,” but of course, the more you can acquire, the better off you will be — either in your current job or your next one.

I plan to write more when I have finished it.

Some links:

How to re-energize your library #sla2013

How to re-energize your library

Richard Hulser, Natural History Museum of LA

Turn perception of library from passive into an active source of information and education. Still are rows of catalog cases. No online catalog until about three years ago.

49% of collection is in OCLC.

Library was closed from 2008-2011 for earthquake retrofit.

Now, open with display cases, seating areas, etc.

Align library with parent organization’s vision & purpose and strategies & technologies.

Consider: physical resources (including digital resources), people resources, policies and procedures.

What is a successful library to upper management? NHM wanted:

1. Library is used physicallly [and virtually]
2. Everything in the library has a purpose or should not be there
3. Technology is used wisely and effectively.

Demonstrate results.

Internal collaboration. In NHM’s case, that means IT, office furniture, supplies, infrastructure needs, strategic initiatives.

Get out of the library. Talk to people. What are your users’ priorities?

Collaborate externally: SLA, County Library.

Volunteers, interns. If you’re in a corporate situation, you should pay your interns. Make sure they’re learning something.

Many technologies to consider. Don’t believe people who promise their product will solve all your problems.

Tech strategy: Supplies the rationale and priorities for funding, ensures priorities are addressed in a timely and appropriate way.

Needed online catalog access, e-content access, access to sectional libraries, intranet, external web site.

Needed something in the cloud.

Updated to add: I should point out that this session was sponsored by EOS International and that Hulser praised them highly for helping him accomplish his goals. (Additional disclosure: they gave attendees a boxed lunch.) However, many of the principles that Hulser talks about would apply no matter what library database system you use.

Social Media Storytelling #IL2011

Melissa Rosales, TBWA/Chiat Day, and Andrew Carlos, The Harker School:

  • Ambience: curating to stand out
  • Purpose
  • Participation in conversation

Story is a familiar format, creates engagement, loyalty, interest.

New media technologies are useless without a compelling brand story.

Gatorade campaign with 30-somethings training for and replaying high school football games.

Companies with a compelling story: Chipotle (“food with integrity”), Tom’s of Maine, Apple

Traditional hard sell doesn’t work.

Answer the question: why do I care about your organization?

Jeremy Snell and Matthew Montgomery, Mechanics Institute, San Francisco:

Services for writers and literary orgs in SF

Decided to start a web portal.

Two guys, no money, 3 months.

Decided to use Drupal.

Did hand-sketched wireframes to show people.

Drupal 6, no custom modules

Tested site with two people he knew with differing degrees of Internet experience.

Digital natives don’t necessarily read instructions (such as confirmation e-mails).

http://kuler.adobe.com – color pallettes