Anythink is Possible

There is a public library system in Colorado that represents the future. The Rangeview libraries, known as the Anythink (TM) Libraries, have not only created a resonant brand personality, but also embody every aspect of their core philosophy of innovation, technological savvy and experimenting with new models for architecture and library spaces.

From the simple, usable website to cleanly designed staff t-shirts to the Anythink Tank, this library system which takes obvious cues from retail, is well poised for the future – in fact, they are the future. Emerging trends have emerged. And it all seems so effortless when executed so well.

DPI: Replacing Confusion with Clarity

I ran across a marvelous blog on digitization projects called No More Outsourcing by Misty De Meo, a digitization archivist from Ontario. This blog is chock full of useful information and I applaud Misty’s philosophy about archives embracing digitization projects and the technical responsibilities that go along with these projects, retaining control of the projects and thinking creatively about accomplishing digital projects with limited resources.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to highlight the simple and elegant guidelines presented for figuring out DPI (dots per inch) when using a camera to capture art and objects versus a flatbed scanner. I have never read such an easy to understand explanation. Check it out!

Hollywood Librarian

There is a new documentary about one of my favorite subjects – librarians in film. Hollywood Librarian is a documentary that debuted during Banned Books week featuring depictions of librarians in films like Desk Set and Party Girl.

Interspersed with the film clips, real librarians talk about a variety of issues including freedom of speech, intellectual freedom,the explosion of technology and the survival of civilization. There is a free screening in Seattle next week too. I will be there!

Do You Know the Way to Monterey?

I am envious of the attendees of Internet Librarian 2010. Not only is this conference small, intimate and targeted, but it is held in idyllic Monterey, California. Fingers crossed that I am actually an “internet librarian” by next autumn.

In any event, looks like there was some fantastic thinking and sharing going on at this year’s conference. Here is a link to an amazing slide show by Bobbi Newman “Libraries in a Transliterate, Technology Fluent World.” One of the key points is that transliteracy involves not only being able to read and write, but to also evaluate and synthesize information. People must develop the skill of flexibility to learn new things and then, as technology inevitably changes, to relearn newer things.

Who better to help people with information related transitions? Librarians. It’s not about the content. It’s a bit about the delivery. It is all about what we do with information and how we interpret, analyze and understand it. The future has been here. Go!

Welcome to the Book Hut!

Remember the little kiosks in the middle of parking lots in the 1970’s? Fotomat? Well, perhaps libraries can start renting those huts that have not been appropriated by espresso stands for Library Express book and media materials dispensers.

This troubling trend will not even require a person to say clever things like, “Would you like fries with that?” Patrons order online and then pick up at a nearby location at an attractive and welcoming metal locker.

I really try to remain neutral in writing this blog, but please. If library professionals think we can be neatly replaced by a metal locker…then we probably could be. It is up to libraries to establish and prove community relevance.

Containerless Content

It’s no secret that traditional libraries are having trouble competing with the vast glut of containerless content available freely to all that have access to the magical Internet. Sure, people can use iTunes, Hulu, and the Kindle book store for a price and from the comfort of the sacred couch.

What libraries need to do to remain relevant and move forward is to stop whining and start actively pursuing those pursuits that cement their intrinsic value as places for community, creation, collaboration, learning and – dare I say it? Entertainment.

Libraries like the Seattle Public Library and the Denver Public Library are doing a good job by integrating movie nights, free concerts, author readings, gaming events for teens, computer literacy courses, archives day and all manner of kids activities. Libraries have always hosted events, but the real challenge now is to step away from the obsession with content.

Aaron Schmidt, super user experience librarian, re-posted a great post on this very subject. I will link to it now as it offers more insight than I regarding some creative innovation in Scandinavian libraries and is full of food for thought.