Speaking at Your Library Event

speakingAs a library subject-specialist, I can speak on a variety of topics for your library school, association and library system. Throughout my career I have been a featured speaker and keynoter for staff development days, in-services, conference programs, and pre-conference workshops. As a library manager I have the ability to relate to the workplace challenges and professional development goals of library staff, trustees, and friends. If you are looking for fresh and engaging presentation topics and styles, I have been providing these skills to libraries for the last 6 years.

I have been a frequent speaker, presenter, and workshop leader at library conferences around the country as well as a participant in the Great Library Roadshow. My conference presentations are focused on supporting your conference theme with stories and data that are inspirational, motivating, and actionable for your attendees. I address individual outcomes as well as organizational engagement with relevant content to address your unique library community.

My areas of Expertise and Experience;
• Innovative technology
• Program development
• Library partnerships and collaborations
• Collection development
• Creative fundraising
• Library management
• Teen librarianship
• School librarianship
• Professional development and networking

I also speak on behalf of EveryLibrary on the following;
• Library elections and campaigns
• Politics and libraries
• Best practices in library advocacy
• GOTV and info only campaigns
• Campaign bootcamps, trainings, and workshops

Please contact me directly for information about honorarium and travel expenses as well as my availability. Please note that if you choose me as your library conference keynote speaker or workshop leader, an additional conference program presentation or panel elsewhere during the session day is included, if desired.

Previous Speaking Engagements
Future of Libraries Conference 2010– Building Social Media Capital
Internet Librarian 2010 – The Library eBranch: More Than Just a Website
Internet Librarian 2012, California Library Association 2012 – Speed Technology Dating
Internet Librarian 2012, Computers in Libraries 2013 – Teen Library Users: Engaging the Next Generation
Library 2.0 – Making it Happen: Take Action
Computers in Libraries 2013 – Ask IT (Honest Answers from your IT Department)
ALA MW 2013 – Leading your Career: Stand Out and Be Outstanding
ALA Annual 2012 – Professional Networking
New Jersey Library Association – Me, We (a workshop on collaboration and innovation in libraries)
Public Library Association 2012 – Engaging Customers in an Online Environment
Public Library Association – What makes A Collection? Redefining Libraries through their collections.

Two Awesome Internet Things that Libraries Should be a Part of

Last week I took a good look at two different websites that I think could help libraries out quite a bit. Take a look and tell me how you feel about it.

Is a crowdfunded media buying platform that lets people spread the word about things that they think matter. They’re vision is “to transform the medium of advertising from one that primarily drives consumption to one of civic participation. What if we had more power to shape which messages were promoted on our streets? What if our billboards inspired us toward a future we actually wanted?”

Basically, this is just like the Kickstarter website that I’ve written about except for advertising through various multi-media things billboards, radio commercials, televison ads, etc… Since, I know that libraries spend almost nothing on advertising everything awesome that we provide, this could be an amazing way to promote our stuff! All you have to do is put together a campaign, let your friends know about it, and hopefully get them to give a couple bucks to make it happen. My big complaint here is that there is no way to search the campaigns that are going on now. I wanted to search for library campaigns but I couldn’t find any. Its a brand new website so maybe that’s coming.

“ Book last minute or plan ahead. Browse, reserve, and check in to space immediately at hip coworking venues, high-end business centers, or handy hotel lobbies or libraries. With LiquidSpace, choose a better space for what you need to do now.”

In the Silicon Valley there is a huge movement towards these kinds communally available workspaces for local start-ups and business meetings. In fact, there are some businesses that cropped up that ONLY provide a comfortable workspace and what’s worse is that people are actually paying for what libraries already offer!

Almost all libraries have rooms and workspaces available to the public for free but don’t have an efficient way to manage them. This would solve that problem since this also works as a great online room reservation system. There is a mobile app and a web version. I set it up for my libraries and it only took a couple of minutes. All you have to do is put your library or its meeting rooms on the website and people can reserve the meeting rooms, or they can find out about your library as a workspace in the community.

These Kimbel Library Instructional Videos are Filled with AWESOME!

So, I thought I had a good idea once. No, it wasn’t a jump to conclusions mat, it was a library CREATING content for their webpage. We talk a lot about libraries allowing users to create content, or re-purposing libraries as a space for our patrons to create, make, innovate, and as hacker spaces. But what about the librarians themselves creating informative content? I thought I was on to something awesome!

I started with this thought when I came across some amazing YouTube videos. There was the one about the best way to tie your shoes, how to properly peel a banana, and most importantly about how to open a bottle of wine without a proper opener. It occurred to me that the library should be creating these videos that are informational and educational and present creative solutions to real everyday problems in our patron’s lives.

Wow! I was really on to something. I was totally going to come up with something awesome that hadn’t been done before. This is totally going to help our patrons in a great way! They would use this, they would enjoy this, they would use our information in their day to day lives! I thought about presenting my idea to director, going for some kind of grant, using the patrons for video ideas (or even to create the videos), and eventually presenting my idea at conferences, writing articles, blogs etc… I realized that Fame, fortune, money, alcohol fueled parties with rock gods and movie stars, and houses on the Riviera!! It would all be mine AT LAST!! (Because that’s why I got into librarianship in the first place) But then…

I saw this EFFING brilliant site posted to the ALA Think Tank page by Kyle Denlinger.

Click image for AWESOME!

I guess it’s all been done. Kuddos to you Kimbel Library… Kudos.

My OTHER Super Fun Project!! The Story Sailboat

In case you don’t know, my other passion besides libraries is sailing. As part of that passion I’ve always wanted to get paid for it like I do for libraries. Isn’t it fantastic to get paid for what you love doing? Anyway, in order to make that happen I need to get my Captain’s license and have a business to do my captaining from. So, about 4 years ago Joey Elle and I put together the beginnings of a non-profit. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I didn’t have access to a lot of the resources I needed to finalize it. Well, it looks like I almost do now! So I started it back up again with some changes thanks in large part to a lot of brainstorming with Andrea Davis.

This non-library (but still kinda librarianish) sailing project is being blogged about on its own website but I thought I’d re-post this introductory one here in case anyone is interested in following that blog and our sailing adventures. It’s called the Story Sailboat.

The Story Sailboat is an epic project to travel the world by sailboat collecting the stories of coastal people and relaying them to the world while providing literacy training to the local people. This project is being put together by Patrick Sweeney (PC Sweeney) and Joey Lehnhard (Joey Elle). You can follow Patrick and Jo on various Social Media if you want to see what else we’re doing in life besides just this but let me tell you a little more about the two of us

Joey Elle
Joey is a teacher in East Palo Alto at the 49ers Academy where she teaches seventh and eight grade math and science. For two years before taking her job in EPA she was working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the country of Lesotho (South Africa) as a primary teacher trainer. She also worked with African Library Project to establish libraries throughout the country. She has her undergraduate degree in molecular genetics and her masters in education.

Patrick Sweeney
Patrick works for San Mateo County Library and manages the East Palo Alto and Portola Valley Libraries. He has worked in libraries since 2005. He is also a councilor for the American Library Association, writes a library blog at http://www.pcsweeney.com, and is involved in a far too many library-related projects. He goes by the name pcsweeney online and just about all of his work can be found by Googling that name. He has a masters degree in library and information science and an undergraduate degree in philosophy. He is working towards getting his USCG captain’s license this year.

Our Boats
We live on a Columbia 34 named Surprise Me Too in Redwood city that we are rebuilding and preparing for some sailing. While this will probably not be our final boat, we are learning as much as we can about what we need to know about the maintenance and repair of a boat on it. It’s also the cheapest way to live in the Bay Area.

We sail a Santana 22 called Sailboat Jerry (named after Patrick’s favorite rum). This boat is strong, in great shape, and ready to take us all over the bay area. Patrick purchased it from Spinnaker sailing and it was one of their school fleet of boats meaning it has been well taken care over the years. If you learned to sail from Spinnaker Sailing then you might have sailed our boat!

Patrick used to live on Coronado 27 that was called Surprise Me (hence, the naming of the Columbia to Surprise Me Too). That boat took him and his friends on many adventures around the bay and was his first serious bay boat. It was traded for the Columbia because the owner of the Columbia wanted a smaller boat.

Before that, Patrick and Jo owned and sailed a string of various small sailing dinghies ranging from Snark (made by Cool) to a wonderfully fun Lido 14. We’ve also sailed a wide range of larger boats all over California.

The Journey Begins

We have a long way to go and many different things we need to do before we are actually ready to set sail for good on this journey. So, this blog is going to be about everything we have to do to get ready to go. We are going to review the boats we are sailing, document the work we put into our boats, the resources we use to get Patrick his Captain’s License, the sailing equipment we learn about, our trial runs at collecting great stories, and also our sailing adventures as they happen. There is so much to do and we’d love to take you on our journey with us so follow us here or on Facebook!

Nooks and the Print Disabled (the elephant in the room)

I’ve been thinking about the issue of providing access to materials for the hard of sight while balancing those needs with those of the Library and the community. This stemmed from a bunch of comments on the ALA Council Listerv, some in person, and one or two on my blog. The issue is pretty serious, especially since the National Society for the Blind is threatening to sue any library that starts a Nook lending library. I have a couple of thoughts on this whole problem and of course I have some solutions that I’d love to hear your thoughts on.

First of all, let me make this one clear – On many forums I have read that libraries should offer Kindles instead of Nooks. This argument is brought up because some of the Kindle Content and the device itself at least has some features to help the sight impaired. However, this is NOT going to happen. I have a lot of issues with both Kindles and Amazon and some of their practices. They also will not work with libraries in any kind of meaningful way. They continuously change their terms of agreement and if you get one representative to give you the go ahead, you still run the risk of another saying no AFTER you buy all the Kindles. Of course Buffy Hamilton lays it all out here too. I have read way too many horrible library stories against both Amazon and Kindle to use those.

Updated – *I am having people comment that Kindles are NOT print disabled friendly, my paragraph above was in response to messages that people have sent me that said that they were and that therefore we should provide Kindles instead of Nooks. Either way, it’s not a viable solution*

There was a comment on my blog that we force Barnes and Noble to make the device navigable for the blind. I would love this to happen, however I have a doubt that it’s going to happen anytime soon, or soon enough, but I would love people to keep the pressure up so please keep that fight going!

One of my most basic (and least favorite) solutions is that most libraries offer access to the same content through a multitude of other systems that work for the sight impaired. Some of the ones that I can think of are, CD audio books, Playaways, and downloadable audio books on computers and other MP3 devices. If the same content is made available in audio version, would this be a way to ensure that we are properly serving the needs of the Hard of Sight Community? This question admittedly comes out of ignorance, and I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this specifically.

In California we also have an amazing library that we can get a wide range of materials from for our patrons. The California State Library loans braille, cassette and digital talking books, magazines and playback equipment to Californians unable to read conventional print. I know that this solution may not be the same as the Nooks, but I think people will be able to get the resources a lot faster than they would a Nook since the waitlist for most Nook devices is crazy if Sacramento Public Library is any indication of its success.

Here is my real thought for a solution though. We could offer materials via something like an Ipod Nano. They would hold a high amount of material just like a Nook, but in audio format. If I’m reading these reports right, then I think this would be a very legitimate solution. But really, I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on this before we go out and buy them.

The library (and me), love serving all people in our community and we really strive to do just that. We are navigating a new environment and I would love to hear people’s legitimate solutions before we start running around suing each other. We are here to help each other learn and grow and we can do that together by crowdsourcing some solutions. Help me come up with some solutions team.

Libraries – Arguments for the Check-Out of eReaders.

Great post by Bobbi Newman (eReader circ would solve these issues too)
This is the post where I defend our library’s decision to Loan Nooks and make the argument that we should drop eBook circulation altogether. I know there are a bunch of reasons why people are going to argue that we shouldn’t check out eReaders and not to Drop Overdrive so I’m going to handle each of the ones that I have encountered here. (Later I’m going to argue for all the reasons why this solves all of our problems with eBooks)

We didn’t check out VCR’s why should we check out Nooks?
First, I would make the argument that maybe we should have. Then I’m going to ignore that statement, not defend it, and move on to my real argument. We check out books. The thing that we are checking though really, is not the book itself. We aren’t in the business of giving people access to cardboard and paper, that’s just the container for the information inside and it’s a container filled with information that we are checking out to our patrons. In the same way, the Nook is the container for the information in the digital age. Pre-Loaded Nooks are just a book with plastic and metal as the container instead of paper and cardboard. In contrast, a DVD Player, VCR, TV, Game Console, have no content within the devices. A pre-loaded eReader does though.

I hate eReaders, make them check out a book!
Strangely, I’ve heard this the most. We need to realize that information comes in many forms, some we love, some we hate. Personally I’m not a fan of eReaders either. But that’s not really my job. I’m not here to force people to have the same warm fuzzy experiences I had when I was child, I’m here to provide a service to my community. Specifically, I’m here to allow people to have access to information to help them become the people that they have the power to become. If they want to do it with information contained in an eReader format, that’s what I’m gonna give’em.

Nooks require a computer to upload books from Overdrive
Temporary access to digital books through a clunky program is a bad, horrible model of librarianship and luckily it’s only our first try. We can do better, and we can provide digital content through the circulation of eReaders instead of providing access through a horrible circulation model governed by publishers and a shaky (at best) product. We won’t even need Overdrive and our patron’s won’t need a computer if we just circulate pre-loaded eReaders.

People won’t come to the Library to get eReaderss
Well… I think they will. If they can check out every book on Lizards in the entire library system for their science project with one check-out, or every mystery novel written in the last ten years, or ALL of the current New York Times bestsellers with one trip to the library, then I think they will do it. Also, it solved a problem that the publishers recently whined about on a recent New York Times Article – “Ms. Hirschhorn says the reason publishers didn’t worry about lost sales from library lending of print books is that buying a book is easier — no return trip is needed to the bookstore.” Problem solved.

Anyway, those are the big four arguments that I have heard against circulating eReaders at a library. But I am 93.4% convinced that this is the model that we need to follow in the digital age. If you want hard statistical evidence of its success rate, get on the waitlist for a Nook at Sacramento Public Library. The wait for those is as long as my… Well, It’s long.

Librarians, Tell Amazon to Piss Off And Go Buy Nooks!

Libraries need to get away from Amazon and Kindles and jump on board with Nooks. I’m not saying this for any reason except that Barnes and Noble is a much better company for libraries to partner with. If you want to see reasons why you shouldn’t bother with Kindles, then you should watch this video from Sarah Houghton But I’m not going to make that argument myself. I’ve had enough with all that. Instead I’m going to tell you all the reasons that I loved working with Barnes and Noble to get our eReader lending program going with a collection of Nooks. I’m not even going to defend the collection itself (I’ll do that in another post)

First of all, this whole thing started because someone just called my library one day and offered us $4,000 from a Cable Co-Op grant for no good reason at all. They just wanted us to use the money for some kind of technology. I offered the idea of eReaders and they went for it. Not only did they go for it, but so did my administration (since they didn’t have to pay for it anyway).

Click here for Sacramento PL's Guide to Nook Lending
So, I spent about 6-7 months procrastinating and watching the eReader environment play out for a while and it didn’t look like it was going well. The Kindles/Overdrive/Amazon/Publishers debacle was killing my enthusiasm for the project. I researched what I thought was everyone’s experience with Amazon and Kindle because using those was my original intention. Buffy Hamilton told me about her experience with Amazon and so did a bunch of other librarians. They had everything from really positive experiences to really bad ones. Soon, I realized that the very bad stories started to outweigh the positive few and I was getting worried. I started to HATE this project and put it off even longer.

Finally, I found out about Sacramento Public’s Nook Lending collection at the California Library Association Conference and I spent some time watching their presentations and talking to the Barnes and Noble reps that were there. They were enthusiastic to work with libraries and librarians to put these collections together. They had ideas and wanted to share them. They spoke candidly and told me all of their concerns with the pressure from publishers and what I should expect in the future.

A couple of weeks later I called my local Barnes and Noble and I got exactly the same treatment! I couldn’t believe it! I was guided to the closest Barnes and Noble with a Community Relations Manager (CRM – Key word to me being “Community”) who then guided me through the whole process of ordering the maximum number of Nooks I could order, while balancing with gift cards for the purchasing of eBooks from the website. They are even coming to our library to give my staff a hands-on training on how to use the Nooks. They even went so far as to offer to teach classes to the public about how to use the Nooks! To say I was impressed was an unimaginable understatement. I know they’re just trying to sell more Nooks, but they won me over! Also, they bought me and the employee that I brought with me a coffee. Nothing buys a librarian’s love like free coffee.

If you want to start a Nook collection, call your local Barnes and Noble and ask to speak to a CRM (Community Relations Manager). If your experience is half of what mine was, this would make them the best vendor on the planet.

A Ridiculous but Entertaining Hacker Solution to the Porn Problem.

Eric Riley posted this article to the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook. And, if it works, it could be the solution to all of the library’s privacy on the computers problems. No longer requiring computer filters and all that BS. So I’m sure Sarah Houghton would love it. Basically, the solution works like this;

Remove the LCD’s frame, cutting out its polarized film with a utility knife before removing the screen’s film adhesive with a combination of cleaner and paint thinner and reassembling the monitor. Once complete, grab the glasses, cut out the lenses and combine them with the plastic film removed from the monitor before inserting them back into their frames.

After you do all this, you will be left with a computer screen that will look like a white screen to anyone not wearing the customized glasses. In essence our patrons will be able to have complete and total privacy if wanted.

That being said, of course it’s not a perfect solution for a number of reasons, but right off the top of my head I see these;

  • Anyone wearing the glasses anywhere in the library will be able to see what’s on the screen (kids included)
  • You’ll be stuck with a bunch of folks with sunglasses on indoors (which always looks douchie)
  • You’ll have to supply glasses that have been worn (hardly sanitary)
  • The glasses will get stolen (as does everything else)
  • But anyway, it’s a fairly outside the box and entertaining solution and I’m always down for some creative solutions to problems no matter how radical. I love the thought of it, but maybe not in practice.

    Here’s a video if you want to see it yourself

    Hey Librarians, Forget Books. Content Rules!

    One of the highlights of my whole CLA/CLSA experience was sitting in a bar with Stephen Abram and Sandra Hirsh on Friday night. We had an amazing conversation about where libraries where going, what we should be focusing on as a profession, and of course, the awesome online conference put together by Sandra. Besides peering deep in my soul and giving me one of the most astute and eye-opening psychological evaluations about my role in the profession, one of the things that Stephen said was that libraries should be focusing on programming because that is what is sustainable and that is what will keep libraries relevant. Of course I agreed, because… Well… It’s Stephen Abram! Why would I disagree?

    But then I had a discussion on Twitter with Angie Manfredi and I started thinking more about more about this. The conversation was about focusing on content instead of format. So for example, instead of focusing on ensuring that people are checking out books, we should be ensuring that people are checking out access to the content within the books through the resources provided at the library (whatever those resources might be).

    I really hate using our past practices to justify our future ones but I will say a couple of things. Libraries began because people lacked access to books. But people weren’t coming into the library to get books because they liked paper objects bound in leather and cardboard. Unless they had that kind of a fetish I guess. They were coming into the library to get to the content trapped within the leather and cardboard and the words on the paper. When people get DVDs, they are getting access to the content trapped on the plastic. When people get on our computers, they are getting access to content trapped within servers all over the world. When people learn to read, or use computers, or use our databases, or check-out magazines, they are trying to get another avenue of access to content.

    So how does this relate to programming? Well, when people come to our programs, they are coming to get access to the content of the program! They aren’t coming to see someone just stand there without providing any content. It’s the content of the program that they are looking for and in a format that is meaningful to them. They want to learn, or be inspired or be entertained by the content of the program. That is what we are providing access to. We are providing access to content through the format of a program.

    So, while I agree that programming in libraries is amazing and should be a much larger focus in our organizations than it is, for the future and looking forward I think we should be focusing even more on how we provide access to content in more and more meaningful ways. I understand that he is saying that programming works so well because it’s such a meaningful point of access, but what comes next? As computers and online access become more ubiquitous couldn’t people start watching their meaningful live programming online too? As more and people gain access to the content online and the online content gets more meaningful, won’t we once again be in the same position we are in now discussing our relevance? But if we can focus on making the access to the content of humanity in meaningful way then I don’t think we need to have the discussion of relevance, but continuing this discussion about how we provide access to content. Which, I think, I hope, is the discussion we’ve always been having.