Libraries and the new education ecosystem, Lee Rainie, Pew Research #internetlibrarian #il2015

Lee Rainie, Pew Research

People like and trust librarians.  People think libraries level the playing field, provide services that are hard to get elsewhere, have become tech hubs.

Libraries at the crossroads.

People who used libraries in the last year down slightly from three years ago.  Senior citizens less likely to use libraries. Parents love libraries.

People say the library has a major impact in the community, but fewer people say the library has a major impact on their own families.

People believe libraries have kept up with technology, millennials most of all.

people think libraries promote literacy.  People think libraries help find info in various subjects, including health, new tech, community info, jobs.

new findings from survey still in the field:

most people believe they are lifelong learners.  These are potential library users!

they are reading, going to conferences, etc.

they want to learn something new, help others, earn income, help kids.

people don’t know about many of the services libraries offer, such as e-books.

libraries could help with online certification courses.

other ideas, with various amounts of support: help businesses, have 3-d printers, teach about privacy and security online.

on the other hand: people still want places for quiet and solitude.

No idiot-proof way to march into the future.  Everyone’s struggling with it.

Exploring roles and directions: creating, failing, learning #internetlibrarian #il2015

Ilana Ben-Ari, 21 toys

innovation, etc. hard to teach or assess, but toys are the new textbooks. Creative genius fades in early childhood, but problem solving is most valued by business.

empathy toy.

Not just filling a room with iPads.

Erin Mulcahey, littlebits

tech devices 11 hours a day, but most don’t understand.

empower everyone to invent.

like Lego, color coded.

Liza Conrad, Hopscotch

programming for mobile devices. Drag and drop, no typing.

Response to question: engineering is not just infrastructure and tech, but also art and creativity.  Separating ego from work.  Experimentation, failing and trying again.  First question: why?  People don’t want toasters, they want toast.

Kids don’t necessarily need to be expert coders, but we need to understand what our tech is doing.  Coding is good for jobs, problem solving, even as an expressive medium, a tool for others to create with.

Need to keep talking to customers about their needs.

Word prototyping: tell people about your idea and get reactions.

One teacher objected to kids’ projects on Hopscotch with poop emojis.  Decided that was ok.

Why should libraries think like a startup?

Feeling you have agency to be creative and do new things.

Being scrappy, being creative.

Jumping out of a plane and building the plane as you’re falling.  Have guts, have chutzpah.  Redefining failure as feedback

Virtually Interacting with Books and Exhibits #internetlibrarian #IL2014

[Belated notes from a session at Internet Librarian.]

John Shoesmith, of the University of Toronto rare books library, talked about their efforts to put their exhibits online.  Physical exhibits only work for those who can get to the library while they are going on, but online exhibits can reach people far beyond the library and long after the exhibits are over.


  • Drupal: mirrored existing site (require hand-holding byt IT staff)
  • Omeka: open-source content-management system.  Used its exhibit builder plug-in for display.
  • Islandora: tools.
  • Fedora: repository.

For labor: museum studies students.

Juan Denzer, Binghamton University library

Their library director heard about how the National Library of China has a newspaper reader that works with gestures from the user.  They replicated the system to create 3-D models of rare books, allowing the user to view them without actually handling them.

Library Support for Digital Scholarship at Harvard Business School #internetlibrarian #IL2014

[Belated notes from a session at Internet Librarian.]

Michael J. Hemment of the Baker Library, Harvard Business School

The university is studying the faculty research cycle.  The law library is working on a digital archive on the history of the law school.  The university is thinking about students’ needs 20 years in the future.  Does the library help them get a job?

Question for a (any?) database project: try to get everything or concentrate on quality materials?

The library produces 118 information products: research guides, e-mail newsletters, etc.

Journalists write about Harvard research in a section of the web site called Working Knowledge.

Information management services: helps other university web sites improve their visibility with taxonomy, etc.

The library is trying to understand customers’ needs and work backwards from there.  “We librarians make assumptions about what our customers need and don’t talk to them on an ongoing basis.  Needs may change.”

Talking to users, observers.

Ongoing analysis on requests: matching them to existing resources.  If nothing exists, they identify a gap.

Web site on the research lifecycle: advice for each point.  Another one on the teaching lifecycle.

Surveys led to a redesign of case studies on their web site.  Also, use speaking with faculty and students, web analytics.

Leader 360: case studies on business leaders.

13 e-mail newsletters to MBA students on major industries.

Column on library special collections items in the Harvard Business Review (“Vision Statement”)

Helping faculty create e-books.

Updates on case studies (e.g., on Internet companies that may have changed considerably in the last few years).

Future of Libraries: Challenges & Strategies #internetlibrarian #il2014

Ken Haycock

Beyond the pandering, nostalgia, etc. Other people moving into traditional library roles: community centers doing preschool, senior programs. University deans say they could let students study in the cafeteria for lower cost.

Libraries are moving into others’ spaces — makerspaces, etc.

We can’t spend two years studying the integration of two desks. Industry would do it in two days.

What is our unique value proposition? Public dollars and a demonstrable return. What is our staff’s expertise that others don’t have?

We are just about the only sector that doesn’t have a common success metric. High customer satisfaction is not enough.

Is the library one system or a collection of neighborhood services?

How can the sense of entitlement of our staff be broken?

Panel: Corinne Hill, Chattanooga Public Library; John Szabo, Los Angeles Public Library; Donna Scheeder, Library of Congress.


Return on investment. People don’t value culture, but they will pay $150 for one football ticket.

Need to align with organization’s goals. Police and fire do better, because fear wins out. Align yourself with education, youth, public safety. Tell politicians, “Let me tell you how you can achieve your goals while you’re in office.”


“Delightfully frustrated at the opportunity to hit homeruns.” Leveraging that warm fuzzy. It’s not the only thing, and it won’t last forever. Leverage points of contact. Become heroes, essential players, special sauce. (Lot of metaphors here.)

Deal with relevance and marketing.


What are the trends in society that impact libraries? IFLA study. The future is now. Personal, educational level; organizational level (aligned with society); national level (e.g., net neutrality); international level (copyright agreements, e.g.).

Any goal includes information: health policy, economic policy, etc.

We provide information to people for free and the guidance to empower themselves to better their lives.


We could have too many opportunities. What’s the best one to go after?


We need to be tuned into community needs, not just air-conditioned places where cool stuff happens. Information empowers people.


Have to say no sometimes. Building adjacencies to things you already do well. The company that makes ATMs went into self-checkin at airlines.


Have to determine what success looks like. You’re helping people be the best they can be. What is the most pressing need? How do I go about doing what my community needs?

Have people who can tell the story of how you helped them.


Staff boots on the ground have to know what the goal is (“take that hill”) and be empowered to make changes as needed.


Using data vs. using stories? Both are good, but you have to know what resonates with your funders. Politicians like to talk about “school readiness.”


Using national educational standards to make decisions about programming. Number of people who came in is a proxy for its value.


Statistics about how people who can’t read are likely to be unemployable and problems for society.


How do we change library culture? We want to study things and roll it out across the system, rather than letting individual branches just do it?


We have to do both. It takes 3-5 years to change the culture. Hire for attitude then train for skill. Get people with tech skills. They know what an Adobe upgrade is and don’t need a training class.


Give staff flexibility to pick from a menu of initiatives. Be as innovative as you can without going to jail.


When new leadership comes in, it’s a chance to try new things. Let a thousand flowers bloom, but you have to make a garden at some point.


The percentage of professional librarians has gone down.


When I interview librarians, I find very few that are interested in taking risks. Removed college degree from library assistant job description.


We get greater flexibility from paraprofessionals. I want MLS people to be flexible and innovative, etc.


Library education is evolving. We should stop making a distinction between traditional and non-traditional librarians. It’s evolving.


Predictions for 5-10 years.


How closely we work with our communities. We will relinquish some of that elitist expertise.


Strategic partners with formal education. 0-5, k-12, MOOCs, lifelong learning.


Academia doesn’t see that MOOCs will disrupt their business, the same way news and publishing have been disrupted. Digital divide can get greater, not smaller. Libraries can make the difference.

Edited to make things clearer.

Persuasive technology: beyond user needs #internetlibrarian #il2014

Yoo Young Lee, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

College roommate wanted her to squeeze toothpaste from the bottom. Didn’t happen until she found a tool that made it easy.

Ask students what they want from the library, most of the answers have to do with space.

Most students found the library web site easy to use, useful, consistent, relevant, etc.

Many liken it to Google. But maybe it should be more like Wikipedia, directing you to an answer right away.

PhotoMath program takes a picture of a math problem and gives the answer. Is this what the library web site should be?

University library facilitates research, not search. Study a subject vs. find a quick answer. The library web site should be Google plus something more. Students’ wants and needs should influence improvement, but also we need to think about what we need to teach students.

We need to teach them that research takes time, they need to try multiple resources (go beyond Google), the first try may not be enough, feeling overwhelmed is normal.

Facilitator: for those with high motivation, low ability
Spark: High ability, low motivation
Signal: High ability, high motivation

Based on Fogg’s

University of Minnesota library web site has an “assignment calculator” that gives students the steps for their assignment and tips on how much time to allot to each step.

Making it Happen

Ken Haycock, USC Marshall School of Business (formerly San Jose State Library School)

“Satisfice”: satisfying + sufficing.

Decisionmakers often pick the first satisfying solution.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Decisionmakers may not have faced that problem. What problem that they face are you trying to solve?

Important to know whether they prefer quantitative (number) or qualitative (stories) evidence.

Money seems to flow to some people. We’re more likely to get support if we’re seen as credible and trustworthy. We do what we say we’ll do, we’ll report on it.

When librarians advocate, we’re seen as whiny and looking out for ourselves.

People do things for their reasons,not yours. We need to speak the language of the funders. What did the mayor say were the priorities for the city? Not how many people came to your employment sessions and how many enjoyed it, but how many actually got jobs.

if you don’t know what your boss’s objectives are, ask. Connecting agendas.

Show respect to your funders.

Can’t make withdrawals if you don’t make deposits. Build relationships. Let decisionamkers know what you do.

Timing, who’s involved, who’s a barrier, how can I make this a 3-year project rather than a 3-month project?

Most likely to be successful if you ask for what you want right up front. If you want $50K, ask for $50K, but say you could get by with $25K. Don’t ask for $100K thinking you’ll get whittled down.

Don’t get confused by attitude rather than behavior. They may be supportive but not give you money.

Universal principles:

1. Liking. We tend to listen more closely to people we like. Whether they think you like them.

2. Reciprocity. Gifts, but could be non-financial, like a gift.

3. Social proof or consensus. What are other people like us doing? Library directors looked at funding per capita ($29 to over $80). City managers looked at budget percentage (3.9% everywhere).

4. Authority. People listen to those who seem to know what they’re talking about.

5. Core values, public commitment. If people say something in public, they’re likely to stand by it. Also values. Does a politician talk about keeping taxes low or best return on the dollar?

6. Scarcity. People value what is scarce. We see ourselves as dealing in a scarce resource, but people see us as being in the information marketplace, which is rich and free. What is our value proposition? What is our unique resource? Our value, our scarcity is the expertise of our staff, not the building.

We tend to like those who are similar to us. You have to demonstrate that you like those who are different. You can ask the same questions. We tend to like those who praise us. Even more valuable if it’s second-hand. (The reverse is true: if you denigrate somebody behind their back, that gets back to them, too.) Working together on a team builds liking, too.

Reciprocity. A university president wrote 5 thank you notes every day. Good answer to thank you: “I’m sure you would do the same for me.”

Social proof: Testimonials from someone doing the same thing.

Authority: Doctors, etc. have their diplomas on the wall. Librarians often feel they’re arrogant if they point out their professional status, then get upset when the public thinks circulation clerks are librarians. We should dress professionally, too. Authority is enhanced if you acknowledge your weakness at the outset, rather than letting them discover it for themselves. Shows confidence.

SOPPADA = Subject, objective, present situation/problem, proposal, advantages of what you’re proposing, disadvantages of what you’re proposing, what actions you want taken. Often successful in proposals. Pointing out the disadvantages takes the wind out of the sails of those who want to find fault.

We rarely talk about core values. Things can get de-railed if somebody believes this isn’t what we should be doing. If people make a public commitment, they’re more likely to stick to it.

Scarcity: We are presented as scarce, but free. Ask yourself what you really add.

Networking. It’s hard to make people feel you like them if you’ve never met them. Show up, be seen.

4 Es: eye contact, extend hand, exchange business card, engage in conversation.

Connect agendas with people who think you like them, do something unique for the organization, and you will win.

Further reading:
“Work the Pond!”
“Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”
“Influence: Science and Practice”
Articles by and about Cialdini in Harvard Business Review and Scientific American

Edited to correct some misspellings.