Converting ideas into action.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

-Ray Kroc

I love this quote. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how change occurs within organizations and personally. I had the chance to listen to two guitarists talk at Sweetwater Sound over the last year. Veron Reid and John 5 both talked about absolutely loving what they were doing and persistence. These two qualities for me at least are the two things that are needed to convert an idea into an action. If you love what you are doing and are persistent you are unstoppable.

It is easier to kill than to create

We probably all feel that we spent too much time in meetings, especially the death march meeting that trundles onward to its inevitable demise. Meetings for me are an abattoir for the mind. They are where good ideas make their final stand before they are euthanized by collective groupthink.

I think that any group of people can fall under the spell of groupthink. It could be the fixed gear bicycle crowd or the hipster artists. It’s easy to be snared; the nice thing about groupthink is that you don’t have to think as hard. There is the security that if you think like the group then you are one of us. There isn’t a hidden manifesto of rules or secret handshake, what erodes independent thinking is simply peer pressure.

So this is the dilemma within the library profession as I see it. Most of us did not fit in and eventually found ourselves working in libraries. Where (surprise) we did fit. We found a group of like-minded professionals that we could relate to and had similar values and maybe similar ideals. So we have all the ingredients for groupthink. The ALA bill of rights is a pretty good example of shared values and perhaps groupthink.

Not all collective thinking is bad. It gives us our laws and a structure in which to operate. I do think that groupthink is toxic when you are in the idea and innovation game. It is far easier to kill another person’s idea than it is to create your own. Especially if that idea is counter to the group’s belief system.

We need these independent thinkers within the library profession. These are the ones that tell us the world is not flat. They tell us that vinyl records as a format is dead and by the way, so is paper. So rather than burning these voices at the virtual stake or lashing them with sarcastic comments, think about preserving them.

These are quiet voices hidden in alleyways of the Internet. Voices you have to seek out, voices that are hidden and are really going to challenge you. Can you meet that challenge? Do you have the courage to step outside the belief system of your peers?

Ebooks come from E-publishers: Part 1

I am really interested in the future of e-books and what publishers and authors are thinking. I found this wonderful series of videos by Tim O’Reilly. He talks about where he thinks the publishing industry is going. Tim is the guy the created the term Web 2.0.

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ACPL is a 5 star library!!!!

Indiana State Library News Release

For Immediate Release

Ten Indiana Libraries Receive “America’s Star Library” Designation

INDIANAPOLIS (October 5, 2010) – Ten Indiana public libraries were ranked among the top 3.5% nationwide earning them “America’s Star Library” status by Library Journal.  Three of these ten, Allen County Public Library, Bell Memorial Public Library, and Spencer County Public Library, received 5-star top designation.  The ratings are based on the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, which offers an overall indication of library performance compared to peer libraries with similar budgets. The index measures four per capita areas that indicate public service – circulation, visits, program attendance, and public Internet use.  The rankings are based on 2008 data reported by local libraries to their state library agencies.  A total of 258 libraries received star rankings out of 7407 included in the evaluation.

Below is a complete listing of “America’s Star Libraries” from Indiana:

5-STAR:           Bell Memorial Public Library (Mentone)
5-STAR:           Spencer County Public Library (Rockport)
5-STAR:           Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne)
4-STAR:           New Carlisle & Olive Township Public Library
4-STAR:           Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
4-STAR:           Butler Public Library
4-STAR:           Ligonier Public Library
4-STAR:           Waterloo-Grant Township Public Library
4-STAR:           Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library
3-STAR:           North Manchester Public Library

“Indiana’s public libraries are among the finest in the nation.  These rankings are testament to the high-quality programs and services offered at your local library,” said Roberta L. Brooker, State Librarian of Indiana.  “I would like to congratulate Indiana’s star libraries on this great achievement.”

Indiana had three newcomers among the 2010 America’s Star Libraries, including the Butler Public Library, Ligonier Public Library, and North Manchester Public Library.  Bell Memorial and Spencer County public libraries received 5-star designation for the third-straight year.

For more information about your local library, the Indiana State Library maintains public library statistics from all 238 public library districts statewide. More evidence of how Indiana’s public libraries benefit their communities may be found in “The Economic Impact of Libraries in Indiana” report.  The State Library commissioned the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to conduct this study to measure the economic benefits of Indiana’s public libraries in 2007.  The study focused not only on the economic benefits of libraries, but also the role they play in supporting business and economic development in their communities.

About America’s Star Libraries
The Library Journal Index is a national rating system designed to recognize and promote America’s public libraries, to help improve the pool of nationally collected library statistics, and to encourage library self-evaluation.  The index Service rated 7,407 public libraries, giving stars to 258. Sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat, the 2010 ratings are based on 2008 data from the Institute of Museum & Library Services, reflecting service since the onset of the recession.

Conversation with John Blyberg

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John and I have been friends since the first library camp up in Ann Arbor.  Kay and I captured this video a couple of years ago at the Internet Librarian Conference and then it just sat around in a drawer in my office. I found it and thought “Oh my god how did I forget to edit this footage.” I did manage to edit it and then I forgot to write a blog post about it. Now I am having that moment again where I am going “Oh my god why did I not write a blog post.” John is one of the coolest, nicest and smartest guys out there in libraryland. If he is talking at a conference that you are attending I would recommend going to his session.