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March 29, 2007

The Transparent Library: A New Library Journal Column

Michael Stephens and I have some good news. We'll be writing a monthly column in Library Journal starting next week. It's called "The Transparent Library", a title we like a lot. We'll be applying some of our thinking and inspiration to organizational culture and libraries, with a slant towards technology as well. We're very happy to be in LJ because each month the columns will be made freely available on the web for easy linking.

Here's just a bit from the first one:
The cultural and social shift we've observed, highlighted by Wade
Roush's idea of continuous computing and the advent of blogs, wikis,
and the rise of the citizen journalist, armed with a cellphone camera
and a desire for fairness and openness, has created a great stir in
business and the non-profit sector. How can businesses, now blogged
about and scrutinized by a thousand plus blogging voices, respond in
such an open, online environment? The Cluetrain Manifesto, published
in 1999 urged business to speak with a human voice online. In 2007,
the social world of "continuous computing" demands it.

So to help set the path for this column we'd like to briefly examine
the four key components of the transparent library; open
communications, learning to learn, adapting to change, and scanning
the horizon. What prevents a library from being transparent?
Barriers. Roadblocks. Inability to change. The Culture of perfect. In
future columns we'll explore these ideas and offer solutions for
those struggling with new models of service, technology and a
decidedly opaque climate

Income Demographic Changes

This story in the New York Times illustrates the striking change underway regarding the income gap in the United States. 

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans...

 Prof. Emmanuel Saez, the University of California, Berkeley, economist who analyzed the Internal Revenue Service data with Prof. Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, said such growing disparities were significant in terms of social and political stability.

“If the economy is growing but only a few are enjoying the benefits, it goes to our sense of fairness,” Professor Saez said. “It can have important political consequences.”

Article link

Wired: Public Library Geeks Take Web 2.0 to the Stacks

Take a look at this excellent article in Wired about Helene Blowers and her Learning 2.0 program over at PLCMC. Michael Stephens and I had the privilege of speaking at the kickoff event last summer and I've been following her program ever since. Helene's program has been picked up in so many libraries worldwide that it has truly become an international hit. My congratulations to Helene and her team in Charlotte.

Learning 2.0, developed by public services technology director Helene Blowers, has become a surprise grassroots hit, available for free on the web and adopted by dozens of other libraries around the globe.

"We don't have to wait for some training company to come along and say, 'For $20,000 we'll show you how this stuff works,'" said Michael Stephens, who wrote Web 2.0 and Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software. "Helene put it on the web so anyone can use that program."

Article link

March 24, 2007

The Five Blogs Meme

Helene over at LibraryBytes tagged me with this latest meme that asks what my five favorite non-biblioblogs are right now. Well, here we go:

My coworker has a cool new cheese blog she and her boyfriend have started writing called Mia and Patrick's Cheese Diary. Their reviews are so fun to read that I've almost forgiven Patrick for his dislike of Brie!

One of the better liberal political blogs I read is over at Daily Kos.

It's not updated daily but Eric Asimov's The Pour is one of the better wine blogs I enjoy. Asimov, the chief wine critic for the New York Times, also sometimes writes about beer and food.

Michaela, a fellow Penn State alum, has a really great travel blog that she's been writing for a while now over at Thoughts from the Girl Next Door. Michaela has been doing wonderful things with international nonprofits and she makes Penn State proud.

Finally, Richard MacManus over at the Read/Write Web has always been my favorite web 2.0 blogger. 

Thanks for the tag Helene (and thanks Rachel for starting this whole thing)! I'm going to tag Karen SchneiderLeslie Burger, David King (on his new Mac), John Blyberg, and Nancy Down over at The "M" Word. Forgive me if you've already been tagged!

March 22, 2007

Library 2.0 Lens on Squidoo

Library 2.0 Lens on Squidoo
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.


The Library 2.0 Lens on Squidoo is up for "Lens of the Year"! Click here to vote.

March 18, 2007

Library Journal Movers & Shakers 2007

Library Journal Movers & Shakers 2007
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.

Okay, maybe not my most humble moment but I am thrilled and honored to have been included in Library Journal's Movers & Shakers 2007 list. Link to LJ M&S pageLink to piece about me.

March 15, 2007


Congratulations to all of the 2007 Library Journal Movers & Shakers. I enjoyed reading The Movers' Media Diet, a collection of Movers' favorite titles (books, films, etc.).

March 11, 2007

The Right—Forever, and Always—to Read

I almost missed this excellent piece by Karen G. Schneider writing in ALA TechSource:

To paraphrase Andrew Abbott's point in The System of Professions, we are behaving like the train companies, who thought they were in the train business, not the transportation business, and like them, there are already signs that the “train business” we do is on artificial life support. We are not even close to being the first service of choice for information seekers; we are pretty much down there with asking one's mother. Libraries across the country are increasingly asked to justify their existence in order to receive continued funding, and some have been unable to do so.

Full post

March 03, 2007

Wake County Public Libraries To Censor MySpace

Via David King (first seen on his Facebook page) comes this story from the Raleigh Chronicle:

According to the Wake County Board of Commissioners press office, all public library computers will now be banned from visiting the popular MySpace.com website over the Internet, calling it an "attractive nuisance."

The county says it will begin blocking access to MySpace on March 1st and may start censoring other "nuisance" websites on the web in a few months.

The website, owned by Google, has gained in popularity over the years as a social networking website where members can build free personal pages to share photos, blogs, and also invite their friends to receive their updates.

"Although myspace has many legitimate uses, it also serves as an attractive nuisance for those who gather in the libraries for purposes other than using the resources and collections for recreation, lifelong learning or cultural purposes," the statement said.

David's post is excellent and I hope he doesn't mind me reprinting just a bit here: 

MySpace is a content container. The actual content is found on the millions of individual MySpace pages - some not terribly offensive, others pretty offensive to some groups. However, does it make sense to ban the content CONTAINER, when the majority of actual content found in MySpace isn’t terribly offensive? I don’t think so.

Why? Because logically, that argument allows for other content containers to also be banned. Hmm… can you, dear reader, possibly think of other content containers that might contain content that some library customers might find offensive?


No - I don’t really think Wake County wants to ban books. But I also don’t think their decision is ultimately a logical one.

Go read David's full post