The next stage in my career is going to be helping libraries everywhere be the best they can possibly be. How can I do that? Well, after almost a decade at the forefront of library technology, I have a broad set of knowledge that could be useful to libraries everywhere. I can help your library and librarians with:
- Makerspace and maker equipment planning and training
- Strategic planning for technology in the library
- New building or space planning for patron and staff technology
- LibraryBox building, development, use in outreach, gaming, disaster planning and more…
- Implementation and management of electronics in the library, including iPads, eReaders, and other personal electronics
- Communication planning and structural operations between librarians and external IT
- Hackerspace/Makerspace workshops; Arduino, Raspberry Pi, 3D printing
I’m very interested in talking with libraries and librarians who would benefit from having my experience with library technologies directed at the issues facing them. I would also love to speak at events, staff days, conferences, or other places where a fresh take on technology and libraries might be needed…I have a rich and varied speaking career at this point; check out my CV for examples of the sorts of talks that I’ve given, and feel free to contact me for references.
I’m also interested in what libraries and librarians need, so if the above list isn’t what you’re looking for, let me know. Leave a comment, drop me an email, send me a tweet, whatever you’d like…let me know what would be useful to you and your library. What would be useful for your staff? Where can I do the most good, help the most, be the most effective? I’m interested in reinvention, so if I haven’t thought about your need, let me know.
As noted in my previous post, I’m going to work on LibraryBox over the next couple of months, but I’m interested in helping libraries everywhere be better with technology. Let me know what I can do to help you…email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s work together on how we can make libraries even more awesome.
Starting Wednesday, I’m heading out for a couple of really exciting events. The first is an IMLS Stakeholder meeting in San Francisco, CA on May 15th that is dedicated to a discussion of how library spaces are changing. From the press release:
The San Francisco meeting will focus on current trends, challenges and opportunities to consider for framing future investments in this area. The discussion will cover the following:
- The Shift to Participatory Learning
- Approaches to Technology and Space
- Staffing and Mentorship Models
- Connected Learning
- Community Engagement: Partnerships and Programming
- Measuring Success: Evaluation
I’m really excited to be a part of this discussion, and can’t wait to meet everyone involved. The event is going to be livestreamed, and they are looking for lots of community involvement, so please join in. The twitter hashtag is #imlsfocus and if you’d like to tweet me directly at @griffey, I’d be happy to ask questions on your behalf.
The incredibly awesome side-effect of being in San Francisco on Thursday and Friday of this week is that Saturday is Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, the largest Maker Faire in the world. This will be my first time being able to attend the grand-high-holy of maker faires, and I’m completely excited. I will of course have a few LibraryBoxen with me, and will be hanging out with Sparkfun showing it off when I can. Sparkfun is going to be located in the Intel booth, so come by and say hello, or just download some free books from the LibraryBox that will be stationed there.
And to round out the awesome week, I’m going to be heading over to Bozeman, MT for the Montana Academic Library Symposium 2014: Makerspaces, DIY Culture, and the Emergence of the Smart Library Building, where I’ll be delivering a keynote about…Library Spaces! I’ll be talking about how the digital devices that are coming over the next 5-10 years will impact the use of our physical spaces, how we can react to that, and how we can bolster our efforts in appropriately marketing ourselves to stakeholders regarding these issues. I’m really excited to meet the fantastic librarians in Montana, and talk about the future of our spaces.
As always, if you’re going to be at any of these events and want to meet up, drop me an email at griffey at gmail.com, or send me a message on twitter. I’d love to continue any of these conversations, or if you just want a LibraryBox demo, I’ll be happy to do that as well. Let me know!
On July 28th, 2013 the LibraryBox Project got it’s first major public push, with the funding of the LibraryBox v2.0 Kickstarter Campaign. Today, 9 months later, I can finally announce that the v2.0 code is officially done, and is now available for download for installing as well as the source code being available on Github. There are a huge number of improvements, enhancements, and all around awesome things in the v2.0. I recommend you take a look at the About v2.0 page to see the highlights.
This means several things are now possible. First off, it means that the Kickstarter rewards for those that backed at the “get a LibraryBox” level are going to start shipping this week. I’ll be working my way through building and shipping those as quickly as possible. Those that have ordered Boxen directly, those are also going to be shipping ASAP, starting next week. My process will be to build and ship as I go, in the order placed. So those of you that jumped on earliest will start seeing shipping notices hit your inboxes over the weekend or very early next week.
This release is also the beginning of even more development for the LibraryBox Project. As announced just a few weeks ago, the Project has been chosen as a recipient of a Knight Foundation Prototype grant. This grant will fund the next round of development on LibraryBox, making it even better, more flexible, and more useful to more people around the world. More information about this next round of development, including goals and timelines, will be coming soon.
While I have reached out to a few individuals, and I have posted about it around social media, I realized that I haven’t actually formally said anything here, the publication-of-record for myself, as it were. With the increase in effort on LibraryBox as a result of the Knight Foundation Prototype grant funding and a general desire to find a way to be more effective in helping libraries in the US and around the world, I’m going to be transitioning into splitting my time between the LibraryBox Project and working as an independent consultant and speaker for libraries everywhere. This does mean that I will be moving out of my position at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library.
I don’t have a timetable for this move just yet. Leaving UTC is going to be incredibly hard, as it’s been my library home for nearly a decade now. We’re just a few months from opening our brand new academic library, something that has been the focus of my working life for nearly 7 years. But I find myself being drawn to helping libraries at a broader level than I can manage at a single institution. When I started at UTC, the library didn’t offer Microsoft Office on their computers, maintained a website that was just a series of flat HTML files, and had an IT department of 2. We have 4-5, soon to be 6-7 people dedicated to IT in the library now, we’ve managed 2 complete website revisions, gone through an ILS transition, more than doubled the number of computers we have available for students, launched a variety of blogs, an internal wiki, and a social media presence, and so much more. There is literally not a single part of the Library’s IT infrastructure that has not changed in the last 9 years, and I could not be prouder of what I’ve helped to accomplish at UTC. I’ve had fantastic managers, wonderful co-workers, and amazing friends at UTC that have supported me to this point in my library work, and I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart.
There is still much to do between now and leaving UTC, and I’m going to start blogging more regularly about the transition and what I can bring to libraries as a consultant and speaker. This is, as Warren Ellis says, “…a strange and not entirely comfortable time to be alive.” I’m excited about this next part of my library journey, partially because it scares me to death. I’m leaving a tenured Associate Professor position in order to build something that I created, on the hope that the library community finds it valuable enough to support.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about what I think I can bring to your organizations. For now, I’m going to work on finalizing my projects at UTC, try and find a way of handing off almost a decade of knowledge about the UTC Library, and keep my eyes focused on the horizon I’m driving towards. If you’d like to talk to me about consulting, speaking, or teaching for your library, organization, or conference, drop me a line at griffey at gmail.com.
It is with an overwhelming amount of excitement that I can finally announce that the LibraryBox Project has been awarded a Knight Foundation Prototype grant. These grants are designed to take a nascent project that has potential to further the Knight Foundation’s goals of engaged and connected communities and help get them prototyped and improved to the point where they are capable of moving into the next stage of their development.
Earlier this month, I attended a series of workshops based on the principles of Human-Centered Design that will inform the process of moving LibraryBox into the next stage of its development. The goals for this next development round will begin with increasing the functionality across more devices, and adding significantly to the internationalization support, although goal setting and needed functionality will be set primarily by the library and education community through a series of outreach efforts.
This is a huge benefit for libraries everywhere, as I hope it illustrates that libraries and librarians are doing important and worthwhile work as community connectors and innovators. More large grant agencies should be looking at what individual librarians are doing, and helping them make their communities better. I am very excited to be able to make the LibraryBox Project one that can help libraries and educators reach communities here in the United States and all around the world. If you’re interested in helping out, you can find out more and join the LibraryBox community at http://librarybox.us
Today marks the launch of the LibraryBox v2.0 Release Candidate 2! Now available on the LibraryBox build page, the newest release of the v2.0 of the LibraryBox codebase fixes a number of bugs that were identified in the RC1, including:
- Chat not hiding when configuration set to “no”
- Chat not re-enabling when configuration set to “yes”
- Bug in changing system hostname
At this point, I’m still looking for bug reports, but I’m pretty confident that after a bit of testing, this will be the official v2.0 release of LibraryBox. If you do find any bugs, please file a bug report on the Github repository, and we will take a look.
If you are running RC1 and want to upgrade to RC2, you can do so by following the standard upgrade instructions.
After months of work, the v2.0 codebase for the LibraryBox Project has reached Release Candidate 1, which means it’s time for a Public Beta! There are a huge number of improvements, enhancements, and all around awesome things in the v2.0. I recommend you take a look at the About v2.0 page to see the highlights.
Just a reminder about what “Public Beta” means. This is absolutely releasable code, or I wouldn’t put it out there…but no code is fully tested until it’s deployed into the world. I’ve built over a dozen LibraryBoxen using this code, tested them, changed settings and set up Sync networks, FTP’d into them, and just about every other thing I could think of to make sure it was stable. There was a private beta among just a very small handful of testers, but to really make sure that this is ready for prime time, it needs to be in the public. So that’s what we’re doing.
Almost certainly this code will be the full release v2.0 code. But if one of you brave souls discovers something that we didn’t, I want to be able to fix it before we are officially at v2.0.
There’s a lot more coming regarding the release, including a couple of video tutorials and screenshots. But perfect is the enemy of the good, so I’m getting the code out before the website is totally ready. I’ll keep adding to the site as we move quickly towards the full release of the v2.0…if the public beta goes as expected, I imagine that will be very quick in coming.
Hello all you librarian types! Want to help out on the most awesome open source library project going today? If so, read on…
As a part of the Kickstarter Project for LibraryBox v2.0 (which is literally days away from being available), I asked people to provide me with a piece of content that they wanted included on the shipping LibraryBoxen. Well, they did, and it’s an amazing list of good stuff…unfortunately, it’s too much of a good thing, because even if I worked on it during every free hour I have, it would take me too long to get it done.
Because it requires a bit of knowledge (ebook file types, naming conventions) I can’t just throw it open to the world…but who better to help me sort out a collection of content than librarians? So here’s what I’m asking for help with: Below you’ll see two bookmarks. The first is to the open Google Doc of all of the content that people requested. The second is to an upload form.
If I could get a bit of crowdsourcing help, that would be amazing. Here’s the way I think it should work:
- Awesome Librarian #1 hits the google doc, and marks a row “busy” by making it yellow.
- They then click the link and download the content in question.
- They check the file, rename it if necessary, and then upload it using the form.
- When it’s done, mark the Google doc for that piece of content Green for done. Easy, peasey, and if a few people join in, it will all be done in no time.
- Filenames should be Title by Author.filetype, for instance: Dune by Frank Herbert.epub
- For ebooks, if there are multiple filetypes, grab both the epub and the Kindle version.
- If the content is not clearly licensed, the link is bad, or any other reason to be concerned about the content, mark the row Red.
- Use your judgment as to problems or issues…this is why I want librarians doing it instead of crowdsourcing it in general. Use the notes field in the Google Doc for feedback as to why there was a problem.
- If you would like a Thank You credit in the LibraryBox v2.0 code, drop me an email and let me know how you’d like to be credited (griffey at gmail) and I’ll add you to the credits.
Thank you in advance for ANY help at all, and I’m curious to see how quickly this can be done if it’s run in parallel instead of serial. Thanks for all the help.
Above is the weighted tag cloud of the text of President Obama’s State of the Union 2014 address. This is part of a series that I’ve done over the last 8 years, starting way back in 2007, as part of a visualization of what is on the minds of Americans. Previous years for comparison:
Over time, the issues shift from security to what appear to be the big four words from this year: Jobs, Help, Congress, New. Not hard to see where the focus is now for the President.
As of RIGHT NOW, for the first time, LibraryBox is available for purchase at the LibraryBox online store. Previously only available to Kickstarter backers, individuals and organizations can now pre-order a LibraryBox v2.0 for shipment in March 2014. The cost for a standard LibraryBox (MR3020 based and with 16GB of storage) will be $150, with special editions available for $200 that include a customized 3D printed container for your LibraryBox.
For those techies out there: LibraryBox is and will always be open source. I’m not going to be removing your ability to build your own or anything like that. It’s just that there are libraries and schools where it doesn’t make sense for them to build them themselves, or they would prefer knowing that the LibraryBox they end up with is tested and guaranteed working. The v2.0 code is very close to a release candidate, and as soon as we verify the code and push it to release, I will be posting up links to the repository on Github.
Here’s a link to the press release.
I’m so excited to see this next step in the development of this project. I hope that you are, too.
I'm Jason Griffey, a librarian, technologist, writer and speaker. This is my personal/professional blog, but I also write Release Candidate (focusing on future tech) and for the ALA TechSource blog. Visit my homepage for more.