Friday, June 5, 2015

Recent Presentations

I love doing presentations, and here are links to several I've done recently, which are available in SlideShare.

"The Accidental Leader," presented for the State Library of Arkansas and the Arkansas Library Association last year, and which will be updated as a preconference for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries in September.

"Successful Libraries for Uncertain Times," presented last month at the New Hampshire Library Trustees Association annual meeting in Concord.

"How Many Librarians Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?," also presented last month, at the SEFLIN (Southeastern Florida Library and Information Network) meeting in Ft. Lauderdale.

Monday, April 13, 2015

State of the Libraries, 2015

American Libraries has published its annual compendium of information about the state of America's school, public and academic libraries. It's very useful, but if you want to follow the links, use the online version rather than the PDF.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

RIP, Stan Freberg

Stan Freberg was unique. With his offbeat way of looking at the world, his amazing timing, his hatred of stupidity and maudlin sentimentality, and his incredible voice, he provided a kickstart to the 1960s with his irreverence. His radio shows decimated everyone from Lawrence Welk to Jack Webb to the Eisenhower administration. His commercials for Sunsweet prunes (one of which featured Ray Bradbury) and for Jeno's Pizza Rolls set the standard for using humor in TV ads. Even the iconic series "Mad Men" has referenced Freberg's influence on advertising: in an early episode, Peggy launches into the "John and Marsha" routine, and one of the other copywriters picks up on it immediately.

Thank you, Stan, for all the laughs and all the insights.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

10 Great Tips for Public Speakers

I do quite a few speaking engagements, but the best tips I've ever seen to use those last minutes before you go on stage to your best advantage can be found here. The focus of the article, Gina Barnett, coaches TED speakers and also has a new book on personal communication styles called Play the Part coming out later this spring.

My favorite tip? "Beware of repetitive motion." When I've seen myself on video, I notice that I tend to move my head more than I should. Barnett points out that this invokes a "lullaby pattern" in the audience members' minds, as well as being very distracting.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Library Workplace Expectations

There's an excellent post titled "Library Workers and the 21st Century Workplace," by Kimberly Burke Sweetman on LinkedIn. Her number expectation for library workers in the current workplace? Not surprisingly, it's change. (If you aren't on LinkedIn, you can also find the post on her website.)

Change also happens to be the theme of my presentation at the SEFLIN Annual Meeting, May 22nd at the Alvin Sherman Library, Nova Southeastern University, in Ft. Lauderdale. Hope to see my friends and colleagues from Southern Florida there.

Who knows? I may even see my nephew, Chris, an optometry student at Nova Southeastern.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lessons we can learn from Ferguson Public Library

This week, the Justice Department released the report of its investigation of the police and governance structure in Ferguson, Missouri. The only redeeming part of this whole sad story was the work of the Ferguson Municipal Public Library, which kept its doors open throughout the civil disturbances, providing space for classes for the kids who couldn't go to school and offering respite from the madness. The library's isle of tranquility caught the interest of the national media, such as NPRThe Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times.

What can libraries in cities that aren't in the throes of rioting learn from Ferguson? 

First, the library understood its larger role in the life of the community. Scott Bonner, the director of the library, was quoted in Library Journal as saying that "this is the type of work that libraries were made to do, providing continuing education, cultural enrichment, and being a meeting space for the community."

Second, Mr. Bonner was willing to put himself forward in the media to show what the library was doing; there was no nonsense of hiding the library's work in the background.

Finally, it's very easy to donate to the library to support its work. There's a donate button on the library's home page that takes you right to PayPal.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Welcome to "What's Next." This is a title with a double meaning: having left OCLC, I'm now pondering what's next for me in my career as a librarian and association executive.

But the other meaning has been much more persistent in my career: what's next for libraries? Where are we heading? What can we do to better serve our communities?

This site will focus primarily on the second issue, with occasional forays into the first. I'll share news that has an impact on libraries, forward insights from other, smarter librarians, and occasionally just wander down a rabbit hole for fun. I'll also post about particularly good movies, books, music, or other experiences I want to share.

I hope you'll join me on this ride, and don't be shy about letting me know what you think.

George Needham