In the Future, I Will Have a Mind-Controlled Tail, I Won’t Own My Data, Robots Will Have Rights, and I Will Admit Myself to Detox Regularly

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK, so maybe all of those things won't happen, but according to Stacey Aldrich, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Commonwealth Libraries — and futurist to boot! — these are areas that we library folks should be watching (with the Google Glasses none of us can afford).  I recently had an opportuity to hear the effervescent Aldirch deliver an amazing keynote address to state library CE coordinators from across the country and in her thought-provoking discourse, entitled Future Forward, she offered a glimpse into early signals that we are seeing now that may intimate sweeping changes to come.  After beginning her speech with an assumption-challenging and somewhat eerie story that paints a vignette of a possible future, Aldrich mapped out four areas she believes that libraries should be closely monitoring, as they may have implications for our future.  These four areas are:

1.  Wearable Technology: Wearable tech has been on an upswing in recent years, as devices have become more comfortable to wear and less distracting to the fashion-focused among us.  While Google Glasses might not be in the immediate future for many of us, we see people rocking a Fit Bit all the time or have seen commercials for a certain insurance company that might be able to lower your insurance rate if you provide a thirty-day snapshot of your driving habits.  Aldrich believes that while wearable tech can give us large amounts of relevant data about our behaviors – and can ultimately help us change our behaviors by having an instant feedback loop – there will be significant issues in the future related to privacy and who owns the data.

2.  Robots:  Robots have been working alongside man for decades, but rapid advances in computing are enabling robots to perform more cognitive tasks that previously could only be done by humans.  Humans are offloading a range of tasks to robotic assistants, ranging from using robots to sort, shelve, and retrieve books to serving as highly specialized operating aids in the surgery suite.  Aldrich believes that the game changer will be the realization of artificially intelligent machines, although that time may be decades away.  Can we say robot rights, everyone?

3.  Transhumanism:  This is the intersection of man and machine, in which mechanical parts are used to replace or enhance human organs or appendages.  Advances in science and engineering have brought about better prosthetics and even the ability to 3D print a human ear.  Along with the improvements, however, has come debate surrounding the morality of engineering people and heated discourse in some communities surrounding the possibility that prosthetic limbs may produce a competitive advantage.  According to Aldrich, there may come a time in the not-so-distant future when people will be able to choose the installation of augmented body parts for personal gain.  As an aside, if you’re thinking about what to get me for my birthday, I’ll take a Shippo, please.

4.  Tech Detox:  There is a wave of people who are electing to temporarily disconnect and unplug from technology in an attempt to better manage information overload or to reconnect to important people in their lives.  Cottage industries are popping up because of this, such as secluded retreats that bill themselves as tech detox zones.  Libraries of the future might have tech free areas in the building that promote self-reflection or face-to-face communication with others. 

This quick summary does no justice to Aldrich’s exceptional keynote address; however, as a total dork with an interest in technology and a love of libraries, I thought I’d share.  What signals are you seeing on the horizon that may have implications for libraries?  I’d love to hear them.

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“The Empress Has No Clothes” and Neither Do I

Empress-Cover-largerSo, I have a confession to make – I play cool on television, but inside, I often feel as though I’m holding my breath, treading lightly where I walk, lest they find out I’m not as put together as I pretend to be.  You know what I’m talking about: that dreaded feeling that many of us constantly agonize over, that someday our friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, bosses, pets, grocery store workers, the stranger on the street rapping to himself on a sidewalk (you get my drift), will discover that you are a phony.  It is this perpetual self-doubt, this “imposter syndrome” that can derail many careers mid-stream or sabotage them before they even get started.

I was immediately fascinated by Joyce Roche’s book, The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success, when it was recommended on inGenius by my colleague and former boss, Beth McIntyre (Executive Director, Piedmont Regional Library System).  In this business memoir, Roche details her journey from humble beginnings to rising to the top of the C-suite.  As you breeze through the pages, Roche earnestly (and quite wittily on several occasions) shares a cocktail of her own experiences, valuable lessons learned from other business leaders, and research about the imposter syndrome.  Even if you don’t have time to read the work in its entirety, there are insights that can be gleaned from any one of the twelve chapters in the book.   

Instead of monologing into the ether about what I’ve learned about myself from reading this book and the golden nuggets of knowledge that I plan to apply to my life, I’d like to invite my fellow GLEAN users to engage in a conversation around The Empress Has No Clothes From now until August 31, let’s use the Notes and Comments features of inGenius for a virtual book discussion.  Getting started is easy, and can be done by following the process below (Visual learners can click the links in each step to view short instructional videos.):

1.  Log in to GLEAN and activate inGenius if you have not done so already.  Set your profile to “visible” if you plan to participate in the discussion.   

2.  Go to Books 24×7 and search for “The Empress Has No Clothes”.   If you have not accessed Books 24×7 previously, you will be prompted to accept a license to the site.

3.  Read the The Empress Has No Clothes and interact with fellow readers by adding notes and comments from within Books 24×7, not the main GLEAN site.  inGenius is currently not functioning properly from the primary GLEAN interface and comments/notes posted there will not be visible to other inGenius users.  This issue is being investigated by tech support, and I’ll post an update to the CE blog when it is working again.

4.  Stay current on the discussion by regularly checking your inGenious feed and notifications in Books 24×7, or by updating your Books 24×7 notification options.  Notification settings can be changed by going in to Books 24×7–>Account Info (a tab in the upper-right corner of your screen)–>Notifcation Options (under Settings in the left navigation pane). 

I look forward to our first ever book discussion powered by inGenius and hearing what you think about The Empress Has No Clothes.   

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Jay Turner Selected for Competitive New American Library Association Leadership Institute

Jay portrait_reduced

Jay Turner, director of continuing education and training at Georgia Public Library Service is one of only 40 librarians  selected from a highly competitive national pool to participate in Leading to the Future, a new four-day immersive leadership development program for future library leaders hosted August 12-15, 2013 by the American Library Association (ALA).

“I’m excited for the opportunity to participate and learn more about leadership with my peers from around the country.  Although I am a department of one, my work often places me in a leadership role in committees, teams, and task forces — both locally and nationally — whose outputs can have far-reaching consequences.  By participating in Leading to the Future, I hope to learn best practices for assessing needs, engaging stakeholders, and implanting solutions to affect meaningful change in libraries.” 

The selection committee looked for a diverse participant mix based on type of library (public, academic, school, or special library), professional responsibility, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity, as well as demonstrated leadership potential, readiness for increased responsibility, professional achievement, and community or campus involvement.  Participants are expected to return to their library equipped with new skills for leading, coaching, collaborating, and engaging within their organizations and in the communities they serve, and prepared to identify, develop, and implement solutions which benefit everyone.

Led by leadership experts Maureen Sullivan (2012–2013 ALA President) and Kathryn Deiss (Content Strategist for the Association of College and Research Libraries), the institute takes place in August and is designed to help participants develop and practice their leadership skills so they can better help the libraries and the communities they serve thrive in a future that promises continued turbulence and uncertainty. 

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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Get Your Learn On With “Just for Libraries”

library learning

One of the major focus areas of GPLS’s continuing education and training program is providing convenient and relevant learning opportunities to support core skills for library staff, as well as developing and fostering awareness of issues and trends that affect the operations of libraries.  Since launching GLEAN at the beginning of the month, we have added several webinar archives, a short tutorial, and an online class to the catalog under the Just for Libraries folder.  These assets are all specific to libraries and cover topical areas that might be of interest to you.  If you’re looking to get your library learn on, below are a few GLEAN e-learning resources I recommend. 

And don’t stop there – this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Be sure to access GLEAN on a regular basis and see what new content we have added that is Just for Libraries.


Mandated Reporter Essentials

Duration: 30 minutes

*Counts as .5 CE hours for librarian certification renewal

This course is designed to help library staff recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect and your legal obligations related to reporting such suspected cases.

Webinar Archives

Handling Challenging Customer Situations: What Do I Do Now? (Part 1)

Duration: 1 hour

*Counts as 1 CE hour for librarian certification renewal

To a great extent, libraries’ users behave within the framework of acceptable social norms. But a subset of users in all libraries – large, small, urban, rural, suburban, special and academic – behave outside these norms, placing stress on the staff and other users. Whether the behaviors are exhibited by those who are homeless, mentally ill or just plain rude, providing your staff with limit-setting and self-care skills can turn challenging situations into empowering ones. San Francisco Public Library has turned to other City agencies to assist staff in gaining skills and strategies for responding to these situations.

Handling Challenging Customer Situations: What Do I Do Now? (Part 2)

Duration: 1 hour

*Counts as 1 CE hour for librarian certification renewal

A partnership between the San Francisco Public Library and the local Department of Public Health resulted in the placement of a social worker at the Main Library to link users to housing and social services. Eventually a job-training component was added, providing opportunities to develop marketable skills for people who had been homeless. Meet and hear the story of a library outreach worker who helps herself by helping others.


What is a Library Database?

Duration: 6 minutes

Learn what sort of information you might find in library databases and understand when to use them appropriately for research.

If you work in a public library in Georgia and you do not currently have a GLEAN account, you can sign up for one here

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GLEAN Access for Non-Public Library Staff

supply and demand

On June 10, 2013, GPLS invited Georgia’s public libraries to participate in an exclusive pre-registration window for GLEAN, the Georgia Library Education Access Network, so that staff members could obtain a unique GLEAN “seat license”.  The response far exceeded expectations with 36 library systems pre-registering for over 2,000 user accounts before the July 15 cutoff date.  The popularity of GLEAN further illustrates that continuing education and training remain high priorities for public libraries.

The downside to the tremendous response and demand for GLEAN is that GPLS must currently limit GLEAN registration and access to persons currently employed by a public library.  We have a finite number of licenses that we are able to provide.  Opening up GLEAN access right now to those who are not currently employed by a Georgia public library would most likely put us over our license limit.  We are asking for your patience while we assess the situation and look into ways that we might eventually be able to bring GLEAN to the rest of the Georgia library community as we had initially planned.

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Featured GLEAN E-Learning for July 2013


Summer is always extremely busy for libraries, but thanks to GLEAN, you now have unprecedented flexibility in finding time for your continuing education.  Whether you decide to enroll in a self-paced course, read a few chapters of an online book from your iPad, listen to an audio book during your commute to work, or watch a short video on your smartphone, you have comnplete control over when and how you learn.  Put your GLEAN account to use and keep your skills sharp this July by trying out our featured e-learning for the month.
Introducing Cloud Computing
Duration: 1.5 hours
*Counts as 1.5 CE hours for librarian certification renewal

This course explores the evolution and definition of cloud computing and cloud services.  It provides a look at the key characteristics that make cloud services unique and very valuable to some business scenarios.  The course serves as a basic technology overview of the concepts and strategies emerging from the cloud and aims to provide the background needed to determine if and how cloud products and services can improve traditional business practices.
Online Book
The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence
212 pages
Describing what endears Nordstrom to its customers, and exploring how to apply those same standards to your company, this book explains what every business can learn from the world's most famous customer-service-driven company.
Audio Book
 The 4 Discplines of Execution: The Secret to Getting Things Done, On Time, With Excellence 
Duration: 1 hour
This audio book teaches how to focus on your top priorities and get the critical things accomplished.  Whether you are a member of a team, lead a team, or lead an entire organization, The 4 Disciplines of Execution will equip you to deliver on your top priorities consistently.
Google Apps: Creating and Sharing Word Documents
Duration: 5 minutes
Google Docs allows you to create word processing documents.  It includes several standard features for formatting text, as well as inserting hyperlinks and images.  This video provides a step-by-step view on how to use Google Docs to create a word processing document, format text, and insert a hyperlink. 

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GLEAN for Learners: A Second Preview

I just wrapped up delivering our second GLEAN for Learners preview.  If you were unable to attend, you can view the recording in the above video player.  

I'd also like to share that as of today, we have 996 public library staff who have been pre-registered for GLEAN.  Which library system will send me another batch of users tomorrow and push us over 1,000?  Not too shabby, considering early registration has been open for less than two weeks.

Remember GLEAN goes live on Monday, July 1.  Public library staff members who have been pre-registered will receive their log in credentials at 12:00am on July 1.  Exclusive pre-registration for public libraries runs through July 14, and registration will open to all qualified library personnel on July 15.

Use the "comments and reactions" section below to leave any questions.

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The Countdown Continues


On June 10, 2013, GPLS began exclusive pre-registration for GLEAN for public library systems.  Library directors were asked to submit basic employee information to me via a CSV file, and I in turn would batch upload these users into the GLEAN system.  Since the opening of pre-registration through this morning, eight library systems have been added to GLEAN, accounting for 500+ new accounts.  I’d like to see us hit at least 1,000 by our July 1 launch date. 

We also have two suburban library systems in the metro Atlanta area that have decided to utilize GLEAN as their internal learning management system (LMS).  An LMS is a software platform that allows organizations to automate or more easily administer many aspects of a formal, enterprise-wide training program, such as managing class registrations and rosters, assigning mandatory learning activities to employees, evaluating training initiatives, and running reports.  I plan to document and share best practices and lessons learned from those implementations in a post later this year.

And no worries to the rest of our friends in the Georgia library community — we should be able to allow the following personnel to self-register for GLEAN accounts beginning on July 15:

  • Employees of academic libraries that serve a not-for-profit Georgia college or university
  • Employees of public school libraries/media centers in Georgia
  • Employees of GALILEO
  • Trustees of Georgia public library systems
  • Library science students at Valdosta State University


The countdown to launch continues.

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GLEAN for Learners Preview

Yesterday, nearly 100 eager library staff members attended our first exclusive GLEAN preview for learners.  We highlighted the key changes coming to GPLS’s e-learning program for FY14, discussed a few particulars concerning wrapping up Webjunction course usage (remember, the Webjunction Georgia catalog goes away on June 30), and finally pulled back the curtain on the GLEAN system showcasing the wealth of resources available.  Based on the questions and comments that came up during the preview, I can definitely see that there is genuine excitement about GLEAN from our library community.  If you were unable to attend yesterday’s preview and can’t wait until the next one on July 25th, check out the recording above.  If you have any questions about GLEAN that are not addressed in the preview, leave those in the "comments and reactions" area below and I will make sure you get answers.    

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