In this edition of Thinking Out Loud, George and Joan discuss an article that George recently read in the magazine Fast Company, The Great Tech War of 2012. The article predicts an upcoming battle for supremacy among Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook in the markets for smartphones, tablets and more.
What impact, if any, does this looming tech war have on libraries? Would they benefit? Would they suffer? Libraries may not directly benefit but they will have a stake in the outcome. Each of these organizations are moving in similar directions. As Joan says they are verticalizing. And that is something that libraries can think about doing. Tune in to hear all of their ideas!
In this edition of Thinking Out Loud, George and Joan take a look at IT in libraries – more specifically, about the relationship between library culture and IT culture. What do libraries look for when hiring IT people? What sorts of skills are needed? What might be reasonable expectations for libraries to have? They decide to frame this discussion with Ranganathan’s classic Five Laws of Library Science.
Also mentioned during this podcast, this Library Journal article.
In this edition of Thinking Out Loud, Joan starts things off by relating her experience at a recent League of California Cities conference. A panel she moderated got on the topic of underutilized library skills and this topic provides the grist for a lively discussion.
Among the underutilized library skills that George and Joan take a look at:
- customer-focused IT
- community-based needs assessment
- facilities management
- in-house on-the-job training.
In this edition of Thinking Out Loud, George and Joan suggest that librarians devote less of their energy to formatting the “right” answers when writing requests for proposals (or requests for information) and more care and thought to asking the right questions.
During the podcast, they mention a Wayne County Library RFI as an excellent example of how to create something useful and beneficial. Here’s a link to that RFI (in PDF format).
In this edition of Thinking Out Loud, George and Joan (in the same location for once!) discuss the realities of circulation statistics. What if customers could define their own loan periods? Do shorter loan periods artificially inflate circ stats? How good a measure of library usage are circulation statistics? How much of a library’s reliance on the use of circ stats is based on a lack of seeing how other things can be used as measures of success? Sure, circ stats are useful measures of how often something gets checked out, but how does a library measure the value of the transactions between the staff and the public? What other options might be used to measure how well-used a library is? As usual with George and Joan, there is lots of food for thought.