Category Archives: Leadership

November 17, 2013, 5:42 pm

Who is your Masood Ashraf Raja? U of North Texas & Advocacy or: Library as cause, not just collections

UNT’s Willis Library

You’ve probably heard the news by now about the University of North Texas Library’s $1.7 million shortfall. Many operations are on hiatus while they figure out the funding possibilities. Apparently library administrators were caught off guard and are required to retroactively absorb benefits and other expenses. Their budget is almost entirely derived from student fees – which they cannot raise—and they will likely need to cut back on services and collections.

UNT provides us with a wakeup call and a great opportunity for scenario planning. How would you (or your organization) react if your Provost placed you in a similar situation? These are conversations we had all the time when I was the University of California, but if you’re not ready it can be quite a shock.

save_UNTTo me the most interesting…

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October 28, 2013, 3:36 pm

FLIP THE MODEL: Strategies for Creating and Delivering Value (a pre-print)

I’ve been eager to share this one. It was wrapped up in August and I’ve been sitting on it since the semester started. I recently got the “OK” from Elsevier and just put the final visuals together this weekend. There are a number of interesting stories in here– I’ll leave it at that:

flip_icon“Academic libraries are encountering a critical inflection point. In our case it isn’t a single technology that is disrupting our established system, but a barrage of advancements in publishing, pedagogy, and user preferences. The landscape is shifting around us, and the future of scholarship requires us to develop new skills, design new environments, and deliver new service capacities. In short, we need new operating models.” Read the pre-print.

This is the draft version that I submitted to the editors. The final (authoritative) copy will be out in January 2014 in the Journal of Academic…

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July 17, 2013, 2:53 pm

Summer Grab Bag: does your jumping style limit your capabilities?

I hope your summer is going well. I wish that I could turn the calendar back to June in order to get more work done. It feels like a fast push into August and the new school year is looming. I just wanted to share a few random thoughts.

The Kids Today…

kidsWhen I read statements like this it always makes me think of Elvis, The Beatles, or Metallica— artists that parents blamed for corrupting the youth. Oh these kids with their horrible music, their wacky fashions, and so on and so on. It seems there is always a perpetual superiority complex among generations. They don’t read the same books that we did. They don’t write very well. They are so dumb. Why can’t they be more like us?

 

mixing Don’t these kids know they should be reading print books instead of mixing and editing audio files in the library? It’s almost as if…

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April 25, 2013, 8:53 pm

CHANGE NEEDS A BRAND: don’t fear labels, leverage them

I’ve been talking about libraries and startup culture for the past two years. There are two common responses: excitement & doubt. Some people really get into it and start telling me about the types of projects they want to do… while others dismissive: that’s nice but it wouldn’t work in my library.

 

A big surprise was the development of The Startup Library. I wasn’t involved, but I’m glad that it happened. It’s nice to see that my paper influenced some entrepreneurial discussions.

 

Lately though I’ve noticed a new response: anger. Maybe disgruntlement is a better word. At conferences or online, some librarians are lamenting that they work in environments that are not innovative. And since I write and talk on that theme they expect me to have the answers for them. I don’t. I’m not a consultant. I’m an experimenter. The objective of my paper was to get …

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April 23, 2013, 3:37 pm

Hubs and Centers as a Transitional Strategy

We’re still in the early stages of reshaping the role of our library but I wanted to share a document that outlines some of our thinking. Julie Speer, Tyler Walters, and I co-wrote a paper for the International Association of Technological University Libraries (IATUL) Conference.

 

Here is a piece from the intro:

Libraries of science and technology universities worldwide are adapting to a changing environment where cyberinfrastructure, eResearch, and new technology-intensive approaches to teaching and learning are transforming the very nature of universities. While many have adopted new technologies and the resources and expertise to manage them, this is only an initial step. Libraries are experimenting with organizational models that will transform their work capacity and expertise. The goal of these libraries is being an entity that feeds and produces collaborative synergies…

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April 14, 2013, 8:57 pm

DIY vs. STARTUP: choose your flavor of change

I attended an ACRL session titled “From the Periphery into the Mainstream: Library DIY culture(s) and the academy” and I was expecting something about makerspaces and related DIY-eque topics, but that wasn’t the case. Instead the panel asked the attendees questions about org culture.

I was surprised by the attitude that the session generated. There was a lot of “damn the man” talk and being a library administrator I guess I’m part of the problem now. As I listened I kept contrasting their attitude with startup thinking. While both DIY and startup argue for change, they differ quite a bit. Here are a few quick notes:

 

Destruction vs. Disruption
Many of the DIYers mentioned the need for creative destruction. In startup the aim is for innovative disruption. DIY wants to rebuild from scratch whereas startup wants hack the code—redefine what something can do.

 

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April 2, 2013, 2:56 pm

The Art of Problem Discovery (Invited Paper, ACRL 2013)

banner_problem_discovery

I was invited to present a paper at ACRL based upon my entrepreneurial writings. I decided to write about the pursuit of good problems, which has become a guiding philosophy in my work. I think it’s going to be a good talk. I’m having fun putting the content together and it addresses a different piece of the innovation discussion.

 

Friday, April 12, 1:30PM, Wabash 2-3, Indianapolis Convention Center

 

Here is the closing thought that sums it all up:

Our intention should never be to give people what they want. Rather, through the art of problem discovery, we can design and develop the capacities, service models, and solutions necessary to deliver what people need in order to accomplish the outcomes they desire.  (more)

 

 

January 28, 2013, 3:34 pm

Dear Mark Cuban… some thoughts I’d like to share about libraries

 

This is an actual note that I sent:

Dear Mr. Cuban,

I’m a fan of Shark Tank. I’ve learned a lot from watching the panel evaluate business prospects. Thanks for making the show exciting and educational.

 

I wanted to share a note regarding your recent post Will Your College Go Out Of Business Before Your Graduate? There are a lot of conversations right now about where higher education is heading. I appreciate your focus on the business model aspect. As a father myself, the affordability of education is definitely on my mind too.

 

I’m writing because of a comment you made questioning why anyone would construct new libraries. Today, libraries are some of the busiest buildings on campuses across the country. As more and more information migrates to online platforms, library spaces are transforming into knowledge or content creation centers. They are hubs for…

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January 23, 2013, 2:50 pm

ITERATE OR DIE: Reflecting on Blockbuster & Atari

I’ve been thinking a lot about the downfall of Blockbuster and Atari. Both companies are in the news because of financial collapse. Can you believe that Blockbuster was once a $6 billion company? And Atari had the jump on everyone with regards to consoles and games. I spent countless hours playing Pitfall! and never beat it. Today I don’t even own a game console– everything I play is on my phone or iPad.

 

Articles about why they fell apart all point to failure to innovate despite knowing that change was necessary. This quote sums it up:

 

 “Blockbuster continued to see itself as a provider of movie and game rentals rather than a distributor of entertainment. By locking itself into this narrow view, they ignored the innovations happening around them and believed that people wanted to come into the store and talk to their staff, get recommendations, and make their…

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December 18, 2012, 6:28 pm

Cycles of Change & Innovation (two models together)

I wanted to share a quick post before we jump into the holidays.

 

Our leadership group has been talking a lot about change—particularly managing change or guiding change. Like most libraries we have a lot of things in motion; change is constant, not just a transition and then it’s done.

 

I’ve worked at a number of different libraries and it has been interesting to see how individuals react to change. Take for example demand-driven acquisition. Some people are very opposed to this model while others welcome it. This is a polarizing issue because it shifts control of collection development and actually starts to redefine what a library collection is and why it exists. But I’m getting off topic.

 

Two familiar models came up in our discussions this week:

 

 

 

I’m not going to of…

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