Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Here's my latest attempt: I'm a full time public library thought leader. I've decided that the profession I love (librarianship!) is at a tipping point. With some attention on just the right things, I think we can earn long term mind share and support. The point isn't just to benefit libraries, it's to benefit the communities we serve. Libraries just happen to be an extraordinarily effective way to do that.
So just what, exactly, are the "right things" to focus on?
- planning. After PLA (where I offered some free consulting to the library world, and met some fascinating people), I spent some time thinking about processes to move quickly and precisely to true "strategic" planning -- not just a list of stuff to do, but a narrow focus on the things that matter most.
- trend tracking. Really, this is just a subset of planning. But so many librarians are caught up in the moment. They just don't have the time to lift up their heads, look around, and glean patterns. I love to have this conversation with them.
- building design. This is another subset of planning. But it's also one of those moments when libraries can really connect with their communities, and help them decide where they want to go. I'm not an architect. But I do know how to talk to staff, boards, and community groups to lay out what libraries are up to lately, and to help communities figure out what's right for them. (I can also help them negotiate common ground when there are some differences among those groups.) I work with one of my "associates," the gifted Roger Thorp, who is an architect.
- epublishing. We are already over the crest of a publishing revolution, a transformative and disruptive moment in the development of human creativity. Librarians have a choice: we can be players, or we can be victims.
- advocacy. One approach is the "branch management audit" (for which I've teamed up with David Starck, one of my former board members and a graphic designer, to perform). I'm also interested in the more general staging of a long term effort to shift the public perception of a library. For too long, libraries have allowed others to define us. It's time that we identify the true civic leaders in our community, and arm them with the talking points and language to make the case for us.
- organizational development. Here, one of my associates is Sharon Morris. We talk about (among other things), "talent management," succession planning, and leadership development.
- other. There are organizations and individuals who have big ideas, and just need a little assistance teasing them out into the world. I already have two clients who blow me away with their energy, insight, and ambition. It's a privilege to be part of their projects.
Monday, March 17, 2014
When I left Douglas County, I moved all my work email (DCL and Earthlink) over to gmail. That worked well enough, and I could set up my gmail account to fetch from Earthlink. But there were a couple of problems: first, it took awhile for new email to go from Earthlink to gmail. Second, even though I had gmail set up to send as if it were coming from jlarue.com, in a long thread, it would give the gmail account info and say "on behalf of James LaRue." That's bound to lead to confusion.
So I converted to Google Apps, and today moved over my email information. Now I'm sitting here with fingers crossed as the old account email is migrated to the new. Then I'll tackle Calendar, Contacts, Goggle +, Google Drive, and .... other stuff I haven't thought of yet.
So I may be a little hard to track down while I try to straighten all this out.
Oh, and another thing. For reasons mysterious to me, suddenly you can't get to my website at all using www.jlarue.com. jlarue.com by itself works fine, and I think I've set up a subdomain (of www) that I think might work. But it wasn't instantaneous, so who knows?
Meanwhile, though, I'll say that the quality of Google support is far superior to Earthlink's. Ultimately, I may have to move my website, too.
Anyhow, I hope to get it all straightened out soon. Sorry for the confusion.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Author Gary Marcus is a New York University psychologist. In his book, "Kluge: the haphazard construction of the human mind" (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), he provides an accessible and entertaining case for the human brain as something of an evolutionary mishmash. After providing a raft of evidence that suggests that if we were crafted by an Intelligent Designer, He was either a shockingly absent-minded engineer, or was off His meds, Marcus gets to the gist of it:
"It would be foolish to routinely surrender our considered judgment to our unconscious, reflexive system, vulnerable and biased as it often is. But it would just as silly to abandon the ancestral reflexive system altogether: it's not entirely irrational, just less reasoned. In the final analysis, evolution has left us with two systems, each with different capabilities: a reflexive system that excels in handling the routine and a deliberative system that can help us think outside the box."
In his concluding chapter, he even gives 13 suggestions for some strategies to deal with our sneaky and persistent "ancestral system." While not earth-shaking, they are sensible and useful. The last one leaves me thoughtful: "Try to be rational." In a host of ways, that's certainly a good idea, at least when it protects us from the more egregious traps our wee brains routinely fall for. And yet. There are times, surely, when the grand delusion is both more spontaneous and more creative.
At any rate, it's a fun and fast read.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
The very next day, Gmail, the email program of Google, arguably one of the most technologically sophisticated companies in the world, again, simply failed, although it was repaired far more quickly.
Explanations for both are pretty lame. Yeah, the Firewall made a routing error. Oops, there was a little software bug.
That seems like quite a coincidence. It looks more like a hackfest to me.
Welcome, all, to the new era of vulnerability. Our entire communications network, and all the business conducted on it, is held together by means of physical, and virtual connections far beyond my understanding or ability to secure. And when somebody messes with it, it's hard to know just who, or why.