Archive for April, 2008

Not Just Second Life Anymore

In case you weren’t aware of it, there are a number of virtual worlds that are either operating are coming up soon in addition to Second Life.

Here are some of the main ones that you might want to be familiar with, at least by name:
Second Life (of course)
Active Worlds
Worlds.com
Whyville (Kids)
The Sims Online (teens & adults) – recently replaced with EA-Land
Second Life for Teens (linked from Second Life page)
There.com (adults & teens)

New: (late 2008)
Blue Mars

For a review of each world, see Virtual Worlds Review
Also see, Association of Virtual Worlds

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PLA: Reinventing Your Library for 21st Century

Speaker: Karen Hyman, New Jersey (remember she spoke at HCPL’s staff day one year)

Basically, she offered 12 questions for us to consider. Karen posted her slides to the PLA Website.

But here are the questions – Food for thought and discussion!

  1. Do you think this is OK? That is… satisfied with the status quo or still wishing that it was like it used to be.
  2. How do you know something at the library needs to change? How do you define “it works.?”
  3. What’s your story (about the library)?
  4. What’s your brand?
  5. How do people experience your library? How do they FEEL????
  6. Why are you so mean? (Your library is as friendly as your least friendly public service employee. Think about that for awhile!)
  7. Is your space holding you back? Do you have space for people to choose their noise level? Is energy efficient? What about views and daylight? Is your building tailored to the community?
  8. In a world supersaturated with obligations and choice, why would someone pick you library?
  9. Why don’t you do [something else]? eg. Why didn’t librarians develope wikipedia?
  10. How do you serve kids (fyi, Echo boomers will outnumber boomers by 2010)
  11. Why don’t I know what you’re doing? Marketing basics say: It’s about THEM! Are you customers in the picture? What do they care about? Go where they are!!!!
  12. What’s the most fun thing you’ve done lately? eg. Are you a third place? Have Fine Free Fridays? Concerts? Dance lessons? Drive in movies?

I think there are interesting threads from one program to another.

PLA: Hype to Help, Making a Difference with New Technologies

Speakers: Marilyn Mason, Executive Director, Web Junction; Michael Porter, Community Associate, WebJunction.org (Seattle) (aka LibraryMan blog), and Janie Hermann, Technology Training Librarian, Princeton Public Library.

Here’s another list from these speakers on technologies that could/should be used to build our library customer base.

  • YouTube – only two years ago just a handful of libraries have videos on YouTube, now there are over 1500 library videos.
  • Amazon Wish List – libraries are creating wish lists and encouraging their patrons to buy those books donate them to the library. Over 380 libraries are doing this already.
  • IM – particularly through Meebo and Trillian, this is a great way to do IM reference, PLUS, you can also create “room” for patrons and group discussions.
  • FlickR – this is already a very popular tools with libraries. Plus, you can create groups here as well and create “photo pool” to which many people can add their images. See Libraries & Librarians group by LibraryMan. See his 365 Library Days Project where libraries are putting up a picture a day from their library and then creating posters from all the images and selling them.
  • Delicious – favorites lists… how you use your tags is critical to what people can find and share. LibraryMan has created a tag: 365 libs … check it out.
  • MySpace – hundreds of libraries are now on MySpace and Facebook. Go where the people are!
  • Second Life – growing popularity, but not for everyone yet.
  • OCLC article on privacy – Sharing Privacy & Trust in our Networked World with many examples! Emphasis on Content not Containers.
  • Emerging Technology Conference (E-Tech) for more examples.
  • Janie Hermann comments.
    Keys to getting staff & customers ready:

  • Hands on classes … train together (staff WITH customers)
  • Use a blog for discussion and challenges before & after the training
  • Make use of webinars & online training development (lots has already been created, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel).
  • Try “blended learning” approach whenever possible
  • Create and host your own podcasts, screencasts & other training resources with branding.
  • Try a lunch time training like 2x month or a Tuesday Tech Night
  • Take individual 2.0 technologies and do a single class on them
  • Try forum technology to create threaded discussions
  • Try a weekly tech challenge and offer a raffled off prize
  • Try a Friday Food for Thought concept
  • Modify 23 Things to 10 things for staff AND the public
  • In addition to WebJunction classes/webinars, check out PEN (Professional Education Network)</li>
  • Screencasts & slidecasts: WINK and Camtasia & Captivate are products for these.
  • Ning.com (see Arizona Leadership Academy as an example of how to use NING)

Lots of ideas … and lots from WebJunction… should spend more time there! It’s free to join with tons of benefits.

PLA: Transform Yourself & Your Library

Speakers: Mary Jane Kepner, Principal, Kepner & Associates and Yvonne Bergendorf, Director Wood Dale Public Library (Illinois)

Kepner’s Keys: A person will not change until he/she is ready to change. In order to create an environment for change, you must first build the groundwork. Behavior change happens when you “speak” to people’s “feelings.” Facts alone will not bring about a desire to change, they have to be incorporated into a person’s framework of feelings and beliefs. It is important to get to the “heart” of the matter.

Kepner had a little formula that was interesting:
D = dissatisfaction with how things are
V = vision of what is possible
F = First concrete steps that be taken toward the vision

If all three of these elements are in place and are GREATER than the Resistance, then change is possible. It’s important to know which people are at which stage in the change process.

Phases of change are similar to the phases of grief (this is from the book, Managing Change at Work by Scott & Jaffe).

  • Denial (that change is warranted)
  • Resistance (refusal to do)
  • Exporation (the questioning phase of the possibilities)
  • Commitment (to the change

Another hint: If someone asks you three times for the same information, there is probably an underlying issue that has not been discovered or addressed.

PLA: The Idea Store

Speakers: Sergio Dogliani, Principal Idea Store Manager, Idea Store, London and Roger Adams, Principal, Bisset Adams Marketing, London. Ginnie Cooper (Chief Librarian, DC Public Library) and Martin Gomez (Urban Libraries Council) asked questions to extend the conversation about the Idea Store.

The Idea Store is a new model for libraries and community learning centers. It is retail inspired and all outlets (at this time) are locaed in London’s East End (Tower Hamlets), one of the poorest and economically deprived areas. Tower Hamlets is one of 33 “municipalities” in London and has over 215,000 residents. 25% of the service area population is unemployed.

In 1998, only 20% of the population used the library, as of today, it is now up to 55%! At that time, they had 12 libraries… with the evolution of the Idea Store (tagline is Libraries, Learning, Information), those 12 outlets will be closed and 7 new ones (or refurbished ones) will be opened. So far, there are 4 Idea Stores in place.

The core idea is that the Idea Store is a place for Lifelong Learning and that will be accomplished by Empowering, Enriching, and Engaging the lives of those who enter the Idea Store and utilize its services and materials. There are 4 areas that can be used to that customer empowerment, enrichment & engagement: the products and services offered, the built environment, the communications with the customers, and the behavior of the staff. Each of these areas have been overhauled for the Idea Store concept and the results are staggering!

Everything in an Idea Store is full branded from the architecture to the materials to the coffee cups in the cafe and the t-shirt uniforms the staff wear. Most Idea Store outlets are open 71 hours a week, 7 days a week and 358 days a year.

The Idea Store is gaining momentum in other European countries. My question: is it coming to the U.S. and what system will be the first to try this model. It is definitely an “urban” model and location, location, location of each store is critical to success.

This was a very exciting program and concept. Change is truly in the air!

PLA: The Cutting Edge: The Latest Info on Web 2.0

Speakers: Jen Maney, Virtual Library Manager, Pima County Public Library; Michael Stephens, Instructor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science at Dominican University, and John Blyberg, Head, Technology & Digital Initiatives, Darien Library, CT.

Jen Maney started out with the “required” definition of Web 2.0, using Webopedia.

She then encouraged us all to remember, that “It’s Your library… so think about it: which tools will help you reach your library’s goals and how do we get to become part of the lives of the individuals who come to our library!” [This theme of becoming a part of the customers’ life was repeated throughout their program and is a big step for all the Web 2.0 gurus… everyone is starting to “make meaning” of all the technology!”

Experiment! This was another key word… and if you’re not comfortable experimenting with the Web 2.0 technologies?… “get over it!” 2.0 technologies are NOT going away. It’s just like Current Events… they just keep on coming.

At her system, they are desiging for “uncertainty” because things are changing faster than anyone can keep up. Our job is to “watch for trends,” “try something and if it works, great, if not, then stop doing it,” and remember, “there’s no pressure to be ‘right,’ there’s only change!”

PLAY! Technologies cannot be understood by talking about them… it’s important to touch them and try them.

Some examples from her system was a contest they ran with teens who were asked to create “trailers” like the movies… but for books! (very cool idea!)

It’s all about making it relevant to the customers (and to ourselves). But remember, we can’t do it all.

Some primary spaces where all libraries should have a presence: Facebook, FlickR, LibraryThing, MySpace & YouTube.

We should begin asking, whenever we plan an event, would any kind of web-based participation enhance the program or event? For instance, if an author visits, wouldn’t it be great to have a Q & A afterward as a podcast? Even something as simple as a comprehensive list of RSS feeds can direct specific information to the public.

Michael Stephens comments.

The evolving web is open and social. Is you library on Wikipedia? (The answer is yes, but it’s out of date. Gotta fix that!!!)

There are lots of new sites that are aggregating content together to make things easier. One of them is called PageFlakes. We need to move ahead and all libraries should be doing IM by now … and the aggregator for that is Meebo. An example of Meebo being used by a library is the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (right on the home page!)

The library needs to appear “transparent” and speak with a human voice (not vendor speak). And like Jen, repeats that the it’s important to say, “yes” to play and experimentation, particularly with one’s surroundings. “Throw out the culture of perfect!” He gave general examples of libraries worth viewing that have tried a variety of 2.0 technologies: Brooklyn Public Library, Darien Library, and Hennepin Copunty Public Library.

Ideas that have worked in other libraries: Storypalooza, interview the director, flickR profiles of the library, send in a photo of yourself reading, video tours, teen avatars – guess who we are.

Think of the library website as a sandbox! How does your library feel? What is the coolest library you have every visited in person and why? (His is Salt Lake City Public Library.) Think of “library as place.” Is there a way to translate the physical appeal to the web?

Stephens believes that staff need to “bring your hearts to work.” (See 2cents blog… not sure which link is the correct one on this… may need to do some extra looking.)

We are in the age of “continuous computing!” Also, consider, we need more “evidence based librarianship.”

More examples? See Moraine Valley Community College Virtual Tours.

Stephens final quote: “Learn to Learn, Adapt to Change, Scan the Horizon.”

John Blyberg’s comments.

Blyberg tried a different take on things by “responding” point by point to the case being made against web 2.0 by Andrew Keen who wrote Cult of the Amateur. Some of Keen’s observations include: “bad” stuff will be published if we allow “just anyone” to publish content, many people don’t have “good taste” and should be monitored, big media (aka Hollywood) is better at creating movies, an author may be taken seriously and actually “influence” others, the web 2.0 lexicon is problematic, and artists are too opinionated. I think this list is enough alone and not worth additional comments. Blyberg and most Web 2.0 adherents think Keen is way off base. So do I.

PLA: Take Your Online Services to the Next Level

Speaker: Michelle Jeske, Manager of Web Information Services & the Community Technology Center, Denver Public Library

According to a study by the British Library, the searcher of the future expects access 24/7, instant gratification and the ability to “power browse.” We need to be ready by “being where they are.” We need to get as much “return on investment” as possible.

Her primary point of view is that it’s audio and video that will take you there.

  • You’ll be more popular
  • You’ll get more people involved.
  • You’ll make more connections with a new audience.
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s easier than you think.

Audio is particularly easy with just a computer and an Internet connection for doing the basics. Video requires a little more because of the camera and then some kind of software like I-Movie (Mac), Captivate or Garage movie.

She then shared some examples of other libraries doing some of this type of work:

Interestingly enough, Denver does not have a large budget and even hosts their podcasts offsite at Libsyn for only $240/year while Boulder Public Library uses GCast which is primarily free.

She also talked about the Children’s Technology Workshop who have an online presence, but also do “parties” and teach children how to use podcasting and vidcasting equipment. They do not have an outlet in Harford County but they do have it in Baltimore… so perhaps this organization would be worth contacting.

Other types of opportunities and examples:

  • Smithsonian Global Sound (streaming music)
  • YouTube now has Channels! and with them, you can really customize and brand your offerings. See Anaheim Ballet as an example. It really looks like a MySpace page almost and has lots of different things… not just videos.
  • Edmonton Public Library also has a YouTube channel.
  • Allen County Public Library has a YouTube channel with over 52 videos. Right now, there’s an interview with Michael Stephens, Web 2.0 guru and blogger for Tame the Web. They ran a very successful video contest as well. Check it out.
  • Other uses for video and podcasts might be exhbits (which gives the visit a longer life), author visits, and online help tutorials. Another nice example of this is Orange County Library System. They call it their Virtual Library! Very cool.

Denver Public Library has many plans for the future. They are planning to do more Teen Programs, build a podcasting studio, do more videos with their new cat mascot (see their 2006 SRP promotion), and podcast original poetry during April for National Poetry Month. They are also hoping to do a “cell phone” video contest, build a YouTube channel, build a Facebook presence, create a video panorama of the “front range,” do more with local music and bands and create a PDA size website.

Interesting note on their mascot, they spent a lot of time describing the “attibutes” of their cat… perhaps we should do the same for Tales. email: mjeske@denverlibrary.org

PLA: … Who Uses the Public Library?

Speakers: Susan Kent, Consultant, Los Angeles, and two “replacements” for absent speakers, Christopher Brown-Syed from the University of New York, Buffalo and Don King from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The two professors reported on statistical results from two studies and then Ms. Kent responded from the public library perspective.

In broad strokes, it appears that “those who like the library, like it alot” based on a comparison study of two surveys (over 2500 people each), one in 2000 and one in 2005 of users. There appears to be an increase in use of the public library websites while a small decrease in “in-person” visits. Those who have continued to use the library during that time period, use it more frequently.

On the other hand, Dr. King reported on a study from the “library side” and the data was a little different showing that visits were up per capita (between 1992 and 2005) slighlty as well as website visits being up. He believes the remote visits compliment the in-person visits. In general, most people who come to the library website remotely are coming to use the catalog. (This is supported by HCPL’s current survey results as well.)

Ms. Kent simply highlighted the key findings and supported them with anecdotal data. Hand-outs on the PLA website were not yet available as of today.