Panel Discussion with:
Mike Ridley, CIO & Chief Librarian, University of Guelph
Donna Scheeder, Deputy CIO, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
Jim Peterson, Technical Coordinator, CIO, Goodnight Memorial Library in Franklin Kentucky
Mike Ridley and his Role
Talking about the integration of the role of CIO and Chief Librarian. Looking at transformation in an academic setting, also business practices that change the university. “Herding cats” Teaching, research, and learning are changing and see where we are going.
Donna Scheeder and her Role
Works in the COngressional Research Service which only serves Congress. Has separate technology operation from LoC. Has decided it is time to recognize that information management goes hand in hand with technology= Office of Information Management & Technology created. Does a lot of content management, digital life cycle= records management. (Again, we see the concept of records management coming up in these talks on content creation and preservation. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with the allied field of records management (ARMA))
Jim Peterson and his Role
Stepped in for a speaker who couldn’t make it and it’s his first conference! He is from a very small library and has a great attitude about work and people in general. (Great to hear at this conference.) At ALA Conference walking around with his Director and talking to vendors said, “I’m the Geek. She’s the Wallet.” Love it. Lots of freedom in what he can do and research he can do, so Jim loves his job.
Significant changes and challenges
Need to bridge the tension between library and enterprise IT: “The iCampus: One community. Many neighborhoods.” Challenge: Tech Populism because everyone is their own IT Department (individuals carrying around lots of computing power, mobile devices, trying new things, etc.). Tribal Identities: faculty, students, staff, professional perspectives–difficult to integrate all the tribes (again check out Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, for more information about creating and leveraging tribes).
He thinks the Information Age is over because everybody is in the information business. Need to a new metaphor: Age of Imagination. Need to figure out what we can do differently and do better. Lots of opportunities, but need to be creative and think differently. Think about Open Organizations: need faster, mobile, adaptable organizations (and have the ability to fail).
Our advantage is that we are ignorant of what the answers will be and use this abiguity as a strength in order to think outside the box.
Challenge is how to get an enterprise approach to how to allocate resources. Challenge of how we add value: we need to understand the environment of the organization and then we can add value for our organizations. External challenges: telework is becoming popular; proliferation of types of devices (difficult for optimizing content for different types of devices). First goal is to keep the services running, then look at what customers want and be able to adapt quickly, and align the resources. Security is a major issue (need to be cognizant of the value of information and how to keep these assets secure).
“Under the hood, we are all the same.” Jim discussed an easy place to save money: kilowatt meters because IT takes a lot of power and this is an issue for IT. IT’s ability to cut costs can really help the rest of the library and organization. Think about working together, instead of working at cross-purposes.
One of the largest challenges is the budget crunch. But there are great technologies being developed and improved: open source software. etc. Change your thinking and change the way you do business (and save money in the process).
“IT is more than just the geek you call when something happens. We are the facilitor of information. It doesn’t matter if we are a one-man show or the Library of Congress, we are here to help you.”
What do you think the amazing proliferation of devices connecting to the internet will mean for libraries?.
We need to decide where we want the library to be, if the library is the screens. Why can’t we take the library to more places where people are? We need to be in places such as airports, mobile devices, places with “dwell time.”
The internet will get so big that we won’t notice it anymore. Libraries will be everywhere, all the time, no matter what you are doing. Libraries may have a branding problem and disappear and we need to think about how we deliver value in that space.
Libraries might disappear as we know them today, agrees with Mike. But librarians are important because they know how to search and find what you need. We will be stronger and better positioned because we already know about information.
Need to also be visible via talking with their legislators.
Communication is super-importants:tips?
Show a solid business case for what you want to do. If you can show it will save money or improve services, it is an easier sell. Don’t forget about the bottom line. Example: Jim got a test server in order to test open software and new technologies, and do research. It has allowed the library to implement many technologies.
Align goals with greater goals of the larger organization. Think like a user. Think like the decision-makers, echoing Jim’s point.
Becoming allergic to the word “user” need to think about “participants” instead. Need to think about how to move to a space of shared goals. Need to make yourself visible in your organizations. Develop a level of tolerance of other tribes’ perspectives.
A very interesting and funny discussion about challenges, changes, and opportunities facing libraries in regards to technology and innovation. Massive props to Jim Peterson for stepping in and presenting at his first Internet Librarian 2010 conference. He gave a good talk and has a great attitude and ideas for saving money in IT and libraries. Yay, for people who want to work together!