27. October 2014 · Comments Off on 3D Printer for $349 · Categories: Uncategorized


(Photo of M3D founders David Jones (left) and Michael Armani, photo taken by Lloyd Fox for the Baltimore Sun)

It’s not often that we learn about high tech innovation outside of Silicon Valley, but there is something being created in central Maryland that all librarians will want to be aware of.

What’s that you ask? A 3-D printer for $349.00. That’s right!

On October 18 the Baltimore Sun’s Arthur Hirsch wrote about a new company called M3D (http://printm3d.com/). See http://bsun.md/1ppphy2 for the article. Founders David Jones and Michael Armani have created Micro, a 3-D printer that can stand “on your desk or kitchen counter.”

Hirsch notes that, “a figurine can take from an hour to nearly two hours to make, a smart-phone case between two and three hours.”

Read the article and explore the company’s website for more information.

20. October 2014 · Comments Off on Street Books and NY Times Article · Categories: Uncategorized


(Photo taken by Thomas Patterson from the New York Times)

While a lot of libraries are increasingly focusing on increasing their hi-tech capabilities, we should remind ourselves that innovation can also come in the form of low tech style outreach. Such is the case with Street Books, featured in the October 9 article by Kirk Johnson in the New York Times. See http://nyti.ms/1wfTTWU. Street Books is a Portland, Oregon based non-profit that uses the bicycle to deliver books to “people living outside”. The books being delivered are print editions of course. Founder Laura Moulton is described in the article as a “street librarian.” What is interesting to note is that the only resources being used appear to be bicycles, book storage carts attached to the bicycles, the books themselves, the people delivering the books, and the book storage facility. In this service model there is no library building itself, no complex IT developed OPAC style catalog, and no book return policy. Street Books is made up of three salaried employees paid $60 a week for a three hour shift.  One Street Book patron notes that they do not regularly use a traditional library on account of rules, fines, library cards, and fears of losing books. With Street Books there is an honor system which asks that when the reader is done with the book they make it available for someone else to read.

The article begins and ends with Street Books, but does discuss the Multnomah Public Library’s My Librarian program. However, there does not appear to be any link between Street Books and the local public librarian systems. What relationship if any Street Books has with the local public library systems? If anyone out in Portland would like to comment please feel free to do so.

20. October 2014 · Comments Off on Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries · Categories: Uncategorized

The Aspen Institute Report on Public Libraries see http://bit.ly/1w5YIE7 just recently came out. The title is Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries.

Every public librarian will want to get familiar with the document. In short the three key assets of the public library are 1) People 2) Place 3) Platform.

The four strategies for success are 1) Aligning Library Services in Support of Community Goals, 2) Providing Access to Content in All Formats, 3) Ensuring the Long Term Sustainability of Public Libraries, and 4) Cultivating Leadership.

The document is full of examples of the latest successful innovations out there. One that I had never heard of was the Ron Robinson Theater in the Central Arkansas Library.

Finally, the report concludes with 15 action steps for library leaders, policy makers, and the community.

09. October 2014 · Comments Off on Humanoid Robots At Westport, Conneticut Library · Categories: Uncategorized


(Photo from Danny Ghitis for the Wall Street Journal)

October 11 is the opening day for the humanoid robots at the Westport, Connecticut library. On September 29 the Wall Street Journal’s Loretta Waldman wrote an article on the robots. See http://online.wsj.com/articles/coming-soon-to-the-library-humanoid-robots-1412015687. The article and the accompanying video are well worth watching.

The robots featured in Westport are from the French company Aldebaran. The cost of these Aldebaran robots is roughly $8,000 a piece, while Google’s Finch robots sell for $99. Please note that WSJ did not mention the Dash & Dot robots that I learned about in Entrepreneur magazine, those robots are from Wonder Workshop (formerly known as Play-i). The pricing at Wonder Workshop is a little higher than Google’s, but if you just buy Dot it only costs about $60. I don’t believe that price is the full story as functionality in terms of what the robots can do varies among these three robotics providers. It could be a case of the more money you spend the more functionality your robot has.

Anybody out there in library land want to comment?

07. October 2014 · Comments Off on Knight News Challenge for Libraries · Categories: Uncategorized


(Image from https://newschallenge.org/challenge/libraries/brief.html)

On September 30 the Knight News Challenge for Libraries came to a close. The main question: How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?

Winners will be announced in January 2015 and could win a share of $2.5 million. About 680 entries were submitted. See the above link for all the interesting project ideas that were submitted. It is interesting to note that you did not have to be a librarian to submit an idea. The Knight News Challenge was very open to seeing what the larger community thinks.

If any of the blog viewers has submitted an entry, please let us know. I welcome your comments.


03. October 2014 · Comments Off on Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo · Categories: Uncategorized

Talk_Like_TED(Image From Amazon.com)


Not that long ago I met with a couple librarians to talk about Carmine Gallo’s book Talk Like TED. Coincidentally the national library community is showing signs of supporting TED (Technology, Education, and Design) like talks. See http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blog/ala-first-timer-tedx-program-empowers and http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blog/bringing-tedx-library.

Why is this book important? It’s important because it provides wonderful guidance to give great presentations. Gallo notes on page 8 that presentations should be emotional to touch our hearts, novel to teach us something new, and memorable in that they present content in ways we never forget.

What are some key takeaways from the book?

  • Keep your message short. Think in terms of a Twitter friendly headline. As Gallo says, “If you can’t explain your big idea in 140 characters or less keep working on your message. (page 130)” Gallo notes that Google’s main message is, “Google provides access to the world’s information in one click. (page 123)”
  • You’ll want to have data to support your message. This can come in the form of statistics and other evidence.
  • However, remember to put this data in story form. Stories are “Data with a Soul”. Present the information in ways that are visual, interesting, and entertaining. Pictures, videos, and props can and should be used here.
  • Good stories to use in presentations are personal stories, stories about other people, and stories about brand success.
  • Appeal to the audience with your credibility, persuasion through logic/data/statistics, and appeal to them with emotions
  • Watch your body language! Hands that hand below the navel show a lack of confidence. Take your hands out of your pockets. Work the room and walk around.
  • Use humor to help your talk. Read the book for the dos and don’ts on this.
  • Be aware of the speed with which you speak, the volume of your speech, your pitch (high or low inflections), and the right use of pauses.
  • Believe in what you are saying!
  • 18 minutes is a good presentation length
  • Presentation can be everything. As Dr. Jill Taylor noted, “I wasn’t winning the awards at Harvard because my science was better than anyone else’s. I was winning the awards because I could tell a story that was more interesting and fascinating and it was mine, down to the detail. (page 33)”