ACRL ALA presentation

Creating a 21st Century Learning Environment

I and the amazing team from my place of work (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) are leading a preconference for ACRL at the ALA Annual Conference 2010 in Washington DC entitled Creating a 21st Century Learning Environment. I’m incredibly excited about this, as we’ve worked for years to create amazing environments for our patrons, both in our existing building and in the planning for our new library building (opening in January 2012). I fully admit and embrace my bias for the way we do things (transparently, collaboratively, driven by data), I think that libraries who might not be as lucky could learn some things from us.

From the description of the preconference:

Successful 21st century academic libraries serve students holistically by meeting academic as well as other needs. This preconference will introduce participants to techniques and strategies for creating 21st century library environments and spaces, including the use of data-driven decision making and 2.0 technologies, the creation of broad avenues of input and partnerships, and the development of associated timelines and budgets. Examine library culture, services, technologies, and polices that enhance student learning, the benefits and pitfalls of campus collaborations, and address the nuts and bolts of renovation and building projects.

If you or anyone from your library is interested, registration is still open.

ALA Personal

LITA Forum 2009 – Signup NOW!

From the LITA listserv, and because I’m doing a preconference that should be a lot of fun:

The early bird registration deadline has been extended for the 2009 LITA National Forum, October 1-4, 2009 in Salt Lake City. Now is your opportunity to realize excellent savings on registration for the forum. Registration rates are $50 lower through August 31– Register Now:

Keynote Sessions Feature Dynamic Speakers:

On Friday Joan Lippincott of Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) will kick off the Forum with her talk Mobile Technologies, Mobile Users: Will Libraries Mobilize? Lippincott will discuss what roles libraries can and should play in delivering content for mobile devices, developing services for mobile device users and configuring physical spaces to respond to their needs.

Saturday, David Weinberger will present Knowledge in the Age of Abundance. Weinberger will examine how our new connected age is one of abundant and ready access to knowledge and how this is bringing a change in the nature, shape, value and role of knowledge itself.

Liz Lawley of the Lab for Social Computing at the Rochester Institute of Technology will close the Forum on Sunday with Technical/Tangible/Social. Lawley’s talk will cover the growing importance of “social objects” in technology implementation, and how those objects serve as a focal point for cohesive social interactions.

Preconferences Offer In-Depth Examination of Topics:

Choose between two full-day workshops, spanning Thursday afternoon and Friday morning:

Jason Griffey of University of Tennessee, Chattanooga will present The Future of Mobile. The workshop will examine the future of mobile technologies and their impact on libraries, including how service models in libraries change with ubiquitous computing and how content delivery becomes different. Attendees will look at specific tools that are currently available that model the direction that mobile is moving.

Accessibility Update: Section 508 and WCAG in a Library 2.0 World, presented by Nina McHale of the University of Colorado, Denver will provide an introduction to Section 508 and WCAG Web accessibility guidelines and how they relate to online library tools. The workshop will include demonstrations of popular assistive technologies and guidelines for optimizing library resources to comply with Section 508 and WCAG.

Visit the LITA Web site for more information on the Forum including concurrent and poster sessions, travel and lodging, and complete Forum schedule.

Be sure to Connect with Forum participants on Facebook and the Forum wiki:


Online Information 2008

I had the pleasure of presenting for Elsevier at Online Information 2008 in London, England this past week, and have had some requests for my slides and such.

Here is my presentation, in a few different formats. Up first: video of the slides, with audio of me talking. This was recorded live, and the levels are a bit weird because of my walking to and away from the mic. I never really learned how to hold still and talk. You can listen here, or click through to and download the quicktime if you wish to listen to locally.

Next are just the slides, as a PDF from Slideshare. If you want to download the slides, this is the way to do it.

Library Issues Personal

More from CiL2008


Originally uploaded by dwfree1967.

Today was my last day at Computers in Libraries 2008, even though the conference itself goes on through tomorrow. I fly out tomorrow early, in hopes of getting back to TN before dinner.

CiL is always a great conference. Like most conferences, it’s all about the people and the hallway conversations…not that the sessions weren’t great. For instance, the the Academic Library 2.0 preconference was amazing. 🙂 In all seriousness, there are a lot of very smart people doing very clever things, and a lot of them were at CiL. I’m honored and humbled to be able to hang out with some of them.

I’ll try and do a wrap-up post linking out to all the things I found most interesting later this week after I’ve had a chance to decompress.

Library Issues Technology

Computers in Libraries 2008 –

My part of the Academic Library 2.0 preconference for Computers in Libraries 2008.
Library Issues

Michelle chimes in

As a follow up to my much-too-long post, Michelle lays it out for ALA:

Bless your heart ALA, we love you, but you really need to consider these things. Seriously. And you should do that now. Not with a million committees that will mull over it for years only producing a useless report. We are asking for some action. I believe our future is riding on the decisions that get made about this issue. Please make them soon.

When so many of our friends are not ALA members, and have found alternative ways to contribute to the profession, it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall. The future leaders of libraries aren’t taking part in the largest librarian organization on the planet…this, as they say, is a problem.

Library Issues

Conferences and revenue

bigwig logo.pngAfter thinking a bit more on the conference issue, and reflecting on discussions I had with Michelle Boule at Internet Librarian, there’s another piece to the revenue puzzle that is worth considering. Warning: more numbers ahead.

Let’s assume, for a moment, that everyone going to ALA Annual preregisters. Not true, but we’re looking for rough numbers here. Pre-reg pricing for ALA members is currently $175 per person. Sure, there’s a lot of student registrations ($85), but I’m betting there’s a lot of those $260 registrations as well, so let’s just use the $175 as an baseline number.

Library Journal reported 21,466 registrants and 7169 exhibitors at the 2007 Annual. Through the power of mathematics, that gives us $3,756,550 just from registration for Annual. That doesn’t take into account the exhibitors ($19.50 per square foot of floor space, plus $.50 per square foot just to fund the opening reception…$150 for each open corner of your booth, minimum booth size 10’x10′). If we just use the planning document, we get 1243 booths at a total square footage of 160,800. This means we’ve got a total revenue from the exhibit halls of about $3,135,600.

Total revenue for ALA Annual, projected: $6,892,150

This may fluctuate some, of course…Annual last year in DC was a record-breaking year, and Anaheim might not bring as many people. We’re just looking for rough numbers here.

We’ve got gross numbers. Now we need net. Here’s where we enter the realm of complete guesswork. There is a cost associated with the space for all this. Hotels need to be paid for conference rooms, food during breaks needs to be paid for, audio/visual setups are a huge expense, etc. Of each individual registration, some percentage goes to pay for these items.

What’s a fair percentage to guess? Is it…50% of the registration? It easily could be. Let’s be very, very generous to the ALA and say that 75% of the amount the average librarian pays goes directly to pay for conference services. If that’s true, $131.25 of every registration pays for actual hard costs of the event, leaving the ALA $43.75 in the black.

Let’s assume that the exhibit hall is a complete wash, and it covers itself with no profit left over.

If all of these almost-certainly-false things are true, the ALA makes just under a million dollars ($939,137.50, to be exact) in profit on ALA Annual. A million dollars isn’t, frankly, a lot of money to an organization like the ALA, but it is a hefty payday regardless. We can see why the ALA may be frightened of virtual membership cutting into this profit center.

Until, of course, we realize that in order to recoup any lost revenue from virtual memberships that don’t go to Annual, ALA only has to capture $50 from each missing attendee. If they could offer $50 worth of content to a virtual participant, charge them appropriately, they would actually make more money than they do from the attendees of the conference.

“But!”, you say to me, “What if the actual costs per person are much less to the ALA, and they actually make a much higher percentage of profit from the registration fees?”

I think that the market would bear a considerable higher cost of virtual membership, especially since there would be no secondary costs incurred by the participant (hotel charges, flights, etc). I also think it would be unwise of ALA to admit this, since otherwise it is hard to justify the cost of attendance other than through sheer greed. If the actual percentage of profit is less, then obviously the cost per virtual participant could be lowered, and the profitability maintained.

If the largest library organization can’t find a way to provide $50 worth of content on the web, I think we may all be in bigger trouble than a few numbers could solve. Hell, the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase content by itself was worth $50.

My prescription for the ALA:

  1. Get this virtual membership thing worked out. Virtual members should be just exactly like every other membership type…this is the freaking 21st century. All of your new librarians are virtual in some way all the time. The 19th century model of F2F being necessary is just broken beyond repair at this point because our tools have eliminated the need.
  2. Put together a formal method of collecting and distributing podcasts, vodcasts, and text summaries of conference happenings. It’s already being done by your constituents, you should be able to do it as well. Charge for real-time access and a one-month window (and provide back-channel communications with the presenter and panel in real-time), then open the whole bunch of content under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license and let the world have it. Work out a deal with the Internet Archive for hosting and distribution.
  3. Profit.
Library Issues Technology

5 Minute Madness @ LITA Forum

Follow along, or go and take a look:

Too fast for blog, must twitter it!

Gaming Monkeys Personal The Living Dead

At GenCon

GenConSo this weekend is my annual pilgrimage to Indianapolis to GenCon. This may be my last until Eliza gets big enough to want to go with me…but it’ll be great if that happens!

I know that Josh Neff has done the GenCon thing…with all the rage around gaming librarians, any other librarians hitting the largest gaming convention in the world?

Library Issues

Waste not…


So that photo is of the top of a trashcan on Friday at ALA Annual 2007. Why did I take a picture, you may ask yourself (this is not my beautiful house!)?

Because on top of the can are the contents of two of the bags that ALA distributes to every registered attendee. This was not an isolated incident…I have seen at least a dozen or so of these piles of paper, and I myself immediately tossed everything except the included map of DC. Probably 2 pounds of paper in every bag. There has got to be a better way of doing this, ALA.