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Why Libraries Have a Future Keynote

October 25, 2010

Why Libraries have a Future: Adding value to your community
by Patricia Martin (pat@litlamp.com)

“Libraries are sitting on hidden assets”
Talking about what Patricia calls the Renaissance Generation: the conditions that we are currently experiencing is what it looks like right before a renaissance.

Renaissance means:

  • Innovation
  • Experimentation
  • Disruption
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Rebirth

Defining a generation as a 30 year swath of individuals. RenGen: Generation Y and the Pioneers of the Internet; in betweeen= smaller cohort.
“Experience economy”= need to experience it to believe it, creative, collaborative, “remix culture”= Belong, Create, Understand

“Radical change makesthe established culture irrelevant.”This is what we are experiencing today.

Indicators of Renaissance:

  • Death comes first: there must be a fall
  • Facilitating medium: must have a medium that allows for sharing of information (i.e. Internet)
  • Age of enlightenment: Internet is facilitating enlightment

Basically, the RenGen is about mass creativity (via blogs, YouTube videos, etc.) and collaboration. This then affects the economy–not a factory economy any more. (This sounds a lot like the work of Seth Godin, especially his books, Linchpin and Tribes.)

Success= need to give consumers a sense of belonging, individuality, space for creativity, and “manage the human interface.” [It’s not about the technology; it’s about the people]

Old system has brand at the center; new system has the user at the center. (This is interesting, see yesterday’s post about brands and Millenials. So now it seems like it is about branding, but making the user feel like it is an extension of his/herself.)

Applying to the Library
Figure out who your “super-users” are and talk with them to create a better user experience in your library. (Talking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs–just a side note, I don’t agree with this idea/theory)
Need to build a community and culture online–relate back to people’s humanity–it’s about the human interface (i.e. it’s still not about the tools; it’s about the people).
“The book is still the brain.”
Gold standard for a transaction is 11 seconds per transaction. Now it’s about ROT (Return on Time) instead of ROI (Return on Investment).
“The power of story is the new killer app”= “the ultimate human interface”
We need new story about the future and stories are always built on existing ones.

Summary
Social media is here to stay and is about collaboration and communication. You need to understand how to leverage this desire to creative, collaborate, and communicate. Basically, think about community and culture and how you can create this for your library. If you want another viewpoint on the subject of cloud computing, online collaboration, and creativity/humanity, check out You are not a gadget: A manifesto.

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