I read three things this morning that have me really (re)evaluating what I do, how I do it and why I do it. Not in a bad way. They just got the gears turning.
How People Change – David Brooks
New Job Title: Innovation Catalyst Librarian – Andy Burkhardt
For the past 3-4 weeks I have been firmly rooted in detail and day-to-day issues that I haven’t allowed myself to look up and daydream. I am doing that today!
My oldest daughter has been talking about college a lot lately which is funny since she just finished Kindergarten. I don’t bring it up. She just wants to know what college is like and if she can bring her stuffed animals. It makes me wonder what life will be like for her and her sister when they finish high school. Lots of possibilities. Nothing is certain. It could be a mess. It could be wonderful. I’m looking forward to experiencing whatever may come with them.
One thing for certain is that technology will play a big role in their lives. What kind of devices will be making life easier for us? So many things will evolve and ‘simply’ appear in the next few years. It’s fun to imagine the possibilities. This is one of the advantages of my job. I get to learn about new(er) technologies and hopefully stay ahead of most people a little. The trick I’m still trying figuring out which new technologies are worth learning more about. Which ones will be helpful to me and which will be helpful to my library. It’s kind of fun.
Links for the week:
This two part post by Joe Weinman on GigaOM fascinates me. He was a keynote speaker at the IEEE First Technology Time Machine Symposium in Hong Kong earlier this month. Just the name of that symposium makes me want to go.
In the two posts below he outlines some of the technologies that are probably going to be part of our lives in the near future, what they can do and what needs to be done to make them happen. In the first part he states that a company’s “new sensor chip has the power of the original Pentium chip but fits on the head of a pin.” This leaves me a little slack jawed at the possibilities. It makes things like this seem more likely. I enjoy living in the future now. Just wait till the ‘real’ future happens.
- 2020 via time machine: components, devices, and technologies (Part 1)
- 2020 via time machine: networks and systems (Part 2)
The post below is the introduction to a larger work that I have just begun to read. I hope I can read it this weekend…if the kids let me. The authors state that we are in the third era of the web: The Social Web. (First = the Web Browser. Second = the Search Engine) That’s about right. We are firmly in an era of social connectivity that has been enabled and reinforced by the web. This post focuses on Facebook and Google as leaders of the social web. They discuss how the social web is different and how it could evolve. It makes me wonder…what’s the next era of the web?
This was quite the busy week. Lots of travel around the county and little time to read. No complaints from me. I like visiting the branches. I went to three branches to talk about our impending Summer Reading Clubs. To make it more palatable I brought cookies/cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches/drumsticks. Yeah. I know how to make people come to a meeting.
My library is about to launch OverDrive and there has been lots of preparation for that. I’ve written a short ‘How to get your computer ready for OverDrive’ sheet for people. I hope it helps. I’ve also been tasked with being the point person for customer/staff education and troubleshooting once the site goes live. I know you’re jealous.
I’ve spent today getting everything ready for another Time Machine program featuring Mr. Chris. This time he’s kidnapping Richard Byrd. It’s for the Moving Henrico Forward: Air, Road, Rail and Water event at the Virginia Aviation Museum this Sunday. The guys did a great job of filming and I’m really looking forward to seeing the reaction from the kids.
On to the posts
Library Renewal is an organization worth watching. The people involved are smart and have a very good understanding of libraries and electronic content. I wish them luck and am willing to help if possible.
I like it when people not directly associated with libraries discuss libraries. I especially like it when technology reporters at great technology sites discuss libraries. This one talks about the Digital Public Library. Watch the video.
The e-G8 was this week and it seems to have been an interesting mix of people. It was held in Paris a few days before the G8. Called by the French President to discuss the internet and how it affects lots of different areas, it got some mixed reviews. I like this write up because the guy from EFF was not the typical attendee.
What is the price of free? Really. Very few things are truly free. There is always a cost to be paid. Whether it is giving a company some personal information, or doing some extra work there is always a cost associated with free.
My library will be launching OverDrive in the next few weeks and this has gotten me thinking about the costs of ‘free’ in libraries. Libraries have generally been a place for free content. It’s one of our biggest draws for many people. But what is the cost of free to the person using the library?* Usually it’s time. The person who wants to read the latest bestseller usually has to wait for the book to be available. That wait can take some time. So if you are willing to be patient you can read that book for free. If you can’t wait you can buy the book immediately.
The same is true for OverDrive and eBooks. While waiting for a digital copy of anything runs counter to how we think it should work it is the trade off people make for it being free. For a long time I griped (mostly to myself) about the lunacy of making people wait for a digital copy of a book. “It’s bits for goodness sake! There is no limit to the amount of people who can use this right NOW! Why do they have to wait?” Well the answer is they don’t have to wait for it. They are free to purchase the book from any number of places. If they want the book for free they have to wait for it. It’s not perfect and I don’t particularly like it. But that’s the current price for free when it comes to eBooks and libraries.
Maybe this will shake things up? Maybe not. Hope so.
*Not mentioning taxation on purpose
This week’s links
This post by Seth Godin got a lot of people talking this week. (I think I’ll dedicate this week’s list to this post and some of the responses)While some of the things he says have made a few people angry and defensive I think his last paragraph is rather encouraging.
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.
A more defensive post in response to Godin.
Supportive response to Godin.
A less defensive post in response to Godin.
A more supportive response to Godin.
This week has been a bit hard. I haven’t really felt like reading much or thinking about anything other than my family. My grandmother passed away on Mother’s Day surrounded by her children in a comfortable place she was 88.
She was a big inspiration to me and is a major reason I am who I am. She always encouraged me to read and learn as much as I could. She taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature and passed on her love of hiking and the mountains.
I’m lucky I got to know her as well as I did. When I was in graduate school she lived within walking distance of my house. I would visit her frequently and we would often eat lunch together. We discussed many things and talked about whatever books we were reading at the time. She was the most well read person I have ever known. She read just about everything you were ‘supposed’ to read and lots of other things. She was NOT a Harlequin Romance reader. I could go on and on but I won’t.
I love her dearly and will miss her the rest of my life.
This week’s posts
This week Google announced they would begin selling Google branded ‘Chromebooks‘ in June. These computers will only go online and will be powered by ChromeOS. ChromeOS is essentially the Chrome browser. The prices are in line with most netbooks but they will have business and student plans. These plans allow businesses and students to lease the machines for a monthly fee ($28 business $20 student). I don’t know if they will work staff but they may be an option for our public machines. The monthly fee covers all upgrades, there is no licensing or security and they even replace the hardware after a few years. How much do we spend on pc’s, licensing and hardware upgrades?
I’m including three posts about this topic today because they all touch on different aspects of the device.
- Chromebook is the Culmination of Google’s Web Strategy, But Will it Sell?
- Chromebook: Like Good Wine, It Gets Better With Time
- Five Reasons why Google’s Linux Chromebook is a Windows killer
I’ve always been intrigued by this idea. Check out a person to learn more about them, their ideas, history and beliefs.
Good news on digital privacy from California. The State Senate unanimously passed a bill that upgrades reader privacy laws to include digital distribution. I hope it passes the House and becomes law. If it does maybe it will be picked up in other states.
This is a good list and worth reading. My favorites:
- Libraries are there for all ages.
- Libraries are there in a crisis.
- Libraries offer the human touch.