Hyperlinked Library

Today I went to a talk by Michael Stephens, of Tame the Web fame, held at Phoenix Public Library. It was a great way to spend an afternoon over spring break - a relaxing, inspirational talk to help me recharge for the remainder of the semester. Much of what Michael talked about is not new news to me, but it's still valuable to be reminded, to mingle with my colleagues, to meet other bloggers (hi Ruth!), and listen to a talented presenter.

Here are my slightly edited notes from the session - Michael assured us that his entire presentation will be available on Tame the Web in a few days, and I urge you to take a look. His slides were attractive and will give a good sense of all of his main points even without hearing him speak.
  • The world has changed, the way we interact with people has changed
  • Continuous computing- devices are converging – the web is becoming the platform (that’s where we do the work)
  • The librarians and libraries don’t control the information age
  • The web has changed everything – the web is open and social
  • Looking for experience, the place we like to be, the third place
  • People want to do it themselves, want seamless access, and don’t want barriers or hoops (I really identify with this)
  • Social network will no longer be a term, it will be an assumption
  • Fastest growing demographic on facebook are those 30 years and older
  • Starbucks Experience - what are they doing right? what can we learn from this?
  • Signs speak to the way we view our users
  • Shouldn’t ban a technology when we want to provide guidelines for behavior
  • Focus on trust and open conversation instead of making rules
  • Technology is just a tool – it will not save you
  • Library should be transparent.
  • Open honest communication about what’s going on
  • The highly orchestrated press release does not work any more
  • Open and honest decisions
  • Clue train manifesto
  • Circ staff is given money to buy books for the collections @ Darien public library
  • 14 Days to Have Your Say
  • VBPL Talks (staff questions & comments)
  • think about the stories that are told about your libraries
  • using the cloud: understand that converged devices are everywhere, allow unfettered access, the cloud may also be a valuable information resource, utilize the cloud to save time and money
  • rethink how space is used – moving furniture, power strips for laptops, usb power outlets
  • user generated content and marketing
  • rethink privacy: opt in
  • more bridge positions between IT and library – need to see this in library schools
  • need to put the library where the users are
  • Meebo widget on results not found screen, in fact, all of our library webpages should have a widget available at the point of need.
  • Text a librarian, text to phone
  • Archaic rules, live in fear of the boss vs. everyone in an organization can lead, individuals have more leverage than before, the market rewards those organizations that change things
  • Remember that we’re opting in
  • Educate people what this means
  • Learning is important – have a sandbox, technology petting zoo, expectation for staff to learn, in person, web-based opportunities
  • The library plays
  • Libraries face Death by Risk Aversion
  • Library encourages the heart – I love this!
  • Bring your heart with you to work
  • Make the library human – give it a voice and a face
  • Cultural shift is not a shiny new toy.
  • Communication flows up and down
  • Throw out the culture of perfect - again, very true
  • Make things easy and useful
  • Use failures as learning moments
  • Nurture users, staff, and self
  • Is innovation included in the library mission?
  • Libraries can help put people in touch with the tools that will help them be better people
  • Let go of control
  • Have a strategy – don’t try to do everything at once
  • More mobile devices, more in the cloud
  • Evaluate!
  • Don’t have time to overthink things
  • Go forward, and be ready to change your point of view
I have more books to add to my reading list, and definitely some new sites to check out. Thanks to MCLC Continuing Ed Committee for putting this on, and to Michael Stephens for a great session!


  1. Hi Anali, I was hoping that you post a summary. Although I wasn't able to attend, I've heard Michael speak before and I found him very interesting. I was most fascinated that he doesn't just talk about technology, but about fundamental issues for libraries: Make the library human, throw out the culture of perfect, in other words our mission is to help society be a better place. What better way to do that thank to offer them tools to help.

    THanks for the comments.

    Mary M from Phoenix Public

  2. Thanks for the nice write up! :-)



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