Category Archives: Measure the Future

ALA Midwinter 2016

Next week brings with it the ALA Midwinter 2016 meeting, which means I’m bundling myself up and heading back to Boston for a few days to revel in more library than anyone can take. This is my first ALA conference in almost a decade in which I don’t have overwhelming amounts of LITA commitments (the last ten years looked like: Created an interest group > Chaired said Interest Group > Chaired committee > Elected as Director-at-Large to Board > Appointed as committee chair and Parliamentarian of board). So what did I do with all of my newfound freedom and time?

Over-scheduled myself like mad, of course.

Here’s a quick rundown of things I’m getting myself into at ALA Midwinter! If you’d like to meet with me about anything, I would love to talk to you. Drop me an email and let’s find some time to meet up!

Booth 2232

For the first time, the Measure the Future Project will have a booth in the ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall! We will be showing off examples of what we’re building, including hardware and software, and will be taking signups for libraries and librarians interested in the project. I’ll be at the booth any time I’m not speaking at one of the below, so if you’re looking for me, it’s a good bet that’s where I’ll be. We’ll have cool giveaways, a LibraryBox sharing information about the project, and we’re sharing a booth with the Library Freedom Project (who are basically made of cool and awesome and you know you want to come hang out).

Thursday

7-10pm
EMW Drink Salon on Tech & Ethics: Libraries
EMW Bookstore, 934 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA
https://emwdrinksalon-libraries.splashthat.com/

This is going to be an amazing time. Trust me. Take a look at the website, register, come have some drinks and talk tech and ethics with a bunch of awesome people.

Saturday

Knight News Challenge on Libraries 2016
9-10am, Convention Center Room 206A/B
Myself and a few other of the winners of the previous Knight News Challenge for Libraries will be on a panel with Knight Foundation staff to discuss how you (YES YOU) can apply for a News Challenge grant. Open to individuals as well as organizations, this is IMNSHO the very best funding available for library projects. If you have any ideas that you’ve been kicking around, now is the time to pick them up and dust them off and polish them up. Another News Challenge is coming this year, and if you want to know how to apply from previous grantees….this is the way to do it.

Master Series: Measuring the Future
12:30pm-1:30pm, Convention Center Room 206A/B
One of the most valuable assets a library has is the physical building itself, but aside from gate count we have remarkably little information about how it’s used. What if you could have a Google Analytics style dashboard and understanding of what happened in your library yesterday? Over time, longitudinal data about activity in your library can do amazing things: allow you to plan staffing predictively, let you A/B test displays or furniture arrangements, check what rooms are most popular during different parts of the day or year, and much more. Why just collect statistics when you can use them to actively make your library better for both staff and patrons? Come have a discussion with us about these issues and let us know what you’d like to see from the Measure the Future project!

Sunday

LITA Top Technology Trends
10:30-11:30am, Convention Center Room 253A
I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of this august panel a handful of times in the past, and I’m thrilled to be included again. This time around I will be talking about Blockchain and its potential to revolutionize library systems, with a detour over into the Rise of the Machines (AI, computer vision, semantic analysis, ubiquitous computing, mesh networks, Internet of Things) and how that is going to make the future stranger than we can imagine. This is a do-not-miss panel (not because of me, but…trust me).

LITA Happy Hour
6:00-8:00pm, MIJA Cantina & Tequila Bar, Quincy Market, 1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
The best gathering of library technologists anywhere, LITA Happy Hour is an amazing time full of awesome people. This is the best place to meet tons of techie librarians, and is where I will be happily sipping a drink amongst friends. Come introduce yourself and say hello if you make it!


 

This doesn’t count the half-dozen other non-public meetings I’m attending, or seeing friends and such. It’s gonna be fun, and exhausting, and great. Come see me at the booth! I look forward to meeting all the librarians I don’t know yet, and can’t wait to see old friends.

Innovation & Libraries: LLAMA Thought Leader Webinar Series

I was honored today to be a part of the LLAMA Thought Leader Series for Libraries, talking about innovation. I focused on my own career in libraries, and the aspects of things I’ve done that I considered innovative…efforts and projects that I thought were interesting. The conclusion of the presentation was talking through what the commonalities are in those projects, what I think is necessary for innovation in libraries, and how leadership can support said innovation. If you’re interested in downloading the video or slides, you can find those on the LLAMA website, or watch below.

Video

Slides

Measure the Future and Privacy

If you are curious about the Measure the Future project (using simple and inexpensive sensors that can collect data about building usage to make strategic decisions that create more efficient and effective experiences for patrons) and how that might overlap with library patron privacy concerns, I posted a lengthy outline of the ideas and concepts on that front over on the Measure the Future blog.

An excerpt:

The thing that I’ve gotten the most comments and emails about is the degree to which Measure the Future is “creepy.” There is both and implicit and explicit expectation of privacy in information seeking in a library, and when someone says they are thinking about putting cameras in and watching patron behavior…well, I totally see why some people would characterize that as creepy.

So here’s why what I am planning isn’t creepy. At least, I don’t think so.

Go and read the rest if you’re interested.

Measure the Future at ALA Midwinter 2015

At ALA Midwinter 2015, the Knight Foundation gathered the winners of the Knight News Challenge for Libraries and gave us a stage in order to let us announce our projects to the world. This is my presentation from that day, complete with full-on me wearing suit. Soak it up, you’re not likely to see me in one all that often. 🙂

Measure the Future

Measure the Future logo

I am beyond thrilled to announce that my project Make the Things that Measure the Future: Open Hardware & Libraries has been awarded one of the eight John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge grants. The winners of these grants seek to answer the question “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgable communities?”

What are we going to be doing? Here’s a quick video that explains the project:

As a result of this, I give you the Measure the Future Project.  That’s the website where we will be reporting on our progress, linking out to the code and hardware that we make, and generally being as transparent as possible as we move towards making the things that measure the future. It also links out to our social media accounts and other places of interest where we’ll be talking about what we’re doing.

This means that I will be working for the next 18 months on a project that I first imagined over 2 years ago, a project that I think has the potential to have incredible impact on how libraries view data about their buildings and what happens inside them. As we move through the next decade, I feel strongly that libraries of all types are going to need to measure and report new and different metrics in order to demonstrate to their funders that they are still vibrant parts of their communities. I’m hoping that I can help define those metrics by producing the hardware and software that collects, measures, and reports them.

I’m honored and privileged to have this opportunity to work to make libraries everywhere better. I would like to thank everyone that helped Measure the Future to this point, but especially my team members Jenica Rogers, Gretchen Caserotti, and Jeff Branson, all of whom were willing to agree to help support this crazy idea I had even before it was fully formed.

At 1pm today there will be an announcement at the ALA Midwinter conference in Chicago, where the winners will have a chance to celebrate a little and explain to the world what they will be doing to make libraries better and communities more engaged. If want to see some of the most interesting work that will be done in libraries over the next few years, I recommend coming by and seeing what the other groups are up to.

Congratulations to all of the winners. Let’s go make libraries amazing. Let’s go make our communities amazing.

If you want to help us Measure the Future, let me know.