Seattle: Seattle Public Library

Seattle: Seattle Public Library

I love so much about this library too. From the music studios to the continuous stacks. And from the power outlets at each seated location to the light filled top floor, it’s so inviting and easy to “stay a while”. Plus, it’s Seattle so of course there’s a coffee shop on the first floor. There’s even an audio tour you can dial with your mobile phone. Contact me via the contact form and I’ll share it with you. It’s great even if you’re not inside the building.

Travel on the Side

Why did I visit a library on my vacation? Well, I am a librarian, of course!

If I see a library, I like to pop in and check it out. The Seattle Public Library Central Library is an architectural wonder. Soaring high, lots of glass, shiny escalators, natural light.

Are there books? Yes! But for me, a library is all about people. Lots of library patrons were on the computers researching, getting job help, reading, studying, and socializing.

One of the cool things I saw was near one of the circulation desks. Above was a monitor featuring a map of keywords of recently returned books.

Seattle Public Library Seattle Public Library

Travel tip: When you’re on vacation, a visit to the local public library is a good way to get restaurant recommendations and tips for “non-touristy” sites. Librarians are there to help…and they know EVERYTHING!

Below are some more photos. For the…

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Knowledge Management or Information Management?

This is why I used my first website (an HTML class project) to describe the differences between IM, KM, and also CM (content management). I added OL (organizational learning) to the mix because my employer at the time rebranded its KM program to OL in order to capture a more robust definition. Sometimes I think the IT professionals have taken over KM by focusing on the systems. It’s time for us to work together on the holistic approach. KM is a strategy with process to design and implement with human and technology systems.

usman's Blog


Indeed, knowledge is power, more reason why some organizations, countries or cultures hoard knowledge. However, this hoarding comes with consequences. Consequences like, what happens when the employee with the expertise knowledge leave the organization? What happens when the something happens to the person(s) with the key knowledge on how the culture, country or organization should work? This simple reason(s) form one of the foundations for information and knowledge management.

In the article “Understanding the difference between Information Management (IM) and Knowledge Management (KM)”, Terra and Angeloni set out to discuss the differences and similarities that exist between IM and KM and how the disciplines intersect. Besides emphasizing and analyzing the risks involved in Knowledge Management projects not taking into consideration these differences, the authors argued that KM thrives on the integration of many disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, sociology, management and economics that until recently did not cross paths. That is,

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Rutgers SC&I Colloquium presents ‘Troubled Times, Tough Choices: Tales from Ferguson and Baltimore’

I met and heard Scott Bonner’s story during the ALA conference soon after the Ferguson, MO unrest. As timing would have it, the unrest in Baltimore hadn’t taken place yet. Who would think another librarian leader would also have to make the same type of difficult decision so soon. Kudos to both Mr. Bonner and Dr.Hayden for being such courageous leaders. Clearly the patrons of their facilities have great resources in them and their staff.

Banked Turns & Boolean

On 14th October 2015, Rutgers School of Communication and Information hosted a colloquium called ‘Troubled Times, Tough Choices: Tales from Ferguson and Baltimore’, with speakers Dr. Carla Hayden, CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, and Scott Bonner, Director of the Ferguson Municipal Library in Ferguson, Missouri. Both of these libraries are located in places where civil unrest has affected their communities within the last eighteen months; both libraries stayed upon for the duration of the unrest. The theme of the talk was the role of public libraries in the realm of social justice.

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Discussion topic: What I wish I’d learned in library school (or: What’s the story with LIS Education?)

Discussion topic: What I wish I’d learned in library school (or: What’s the story with LIS Education?)

Having spent the first 30 working years of my life as an engineer I may have a different perspective on the expectations many current students (and hiring managers) have for post-graduate education. You see, I was hired as a process engineer after spending five years as an undergraduate earning a BS in Chemistry and a BChE in Chemical Engineer. I went to work in a nuclear facility, where fuel was processed for weaponry and the waste product was stored because we had no better technology to figure out how to handle it. There was absolutely nothing I learned in school to be able to solve these complex problems. And my employer didn’t expect me to solve them myself. What I did learn in school was how to approach problem-solving, how to work with other smart people in teams where we would solve problems together, and how to be curious and tenacious to make sure the problems got solved.

Do new hires today have the latitude to learn to navigate the work environment? To apply their intellectual acumen to work problems? To join with their new colleagues to apply the latest theory (what they learned in school) to a real life work situation (what their work colleagues have learned from the cultural, financial, and management environment they are in)? This creative tension is what brings about higher level value so we don’t succumb to the “we’ve always find it that way” trap, nor do we fall for every new and potentially impractical idea that comes along.

Graduate school is not the same as training. Plus, there is no substitute for experience. But experience without growth through learning can cause stagnation. Growth happens when you do new things, typically outside your comfort zone. Trying new ideas require accepting some risk. And all of this is quite okay, I’d even say necessary.

I joined the Twitter Chat On Sept 16, 2015 to discuss: What do you wish you learned in Library School? And, what will you have to learn while you are working? Check out #interlibnet #libraryschool to find the lively discussion.

International Librarians Network

Day 29: Studies by Snugg LePup. Used with permission CC BY-NC 2.0 Day 29: Studies by Snugg LePup. Used with permission CC BY-NC 2.0

What I wish I’d learned in library school.

Is there a topic closer to librarians’ hearts? However, it’s not unique to librarians – ask any professional in any job from journalism to veterinary science and you will find most have something to say about the value of on-the-job learning over theoretical training.

The way you become a librarian varies from country to country but usually involves some sort of formal education (a diploma, undergraduate or masters degree), often before you start working in libraries.

“What I wish I’d learned”, or a variation of it, has been popular on library blogs for many years. From a 2008 rant by the Annoyed Librarian about office politics (rebutted nicely on the ACRL blog with a list of things that the author had learned in library school) to an offering about the need…

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So you want to be a Data Visualization Librarian?

So you want to be a Data Visualization Librarian?

We covered data visualization in one of the last modules of my Assessment and Evaluation course (LIS 793). I would say becoming comfortable with data visualization is critical to Assessment Librarians as well as other roles (for selecting important data and presenting it) and for library leaders to review, understand the messages inherent in the data, and make and make good decisions based on the data.


Public-facing Live Library Stats at the Traverse Area District Library Public-facing live library stats at the Traverse Area District Library

So you know that you want to be a librarian, but have you thought about specializing in a certain field? Maybe you have an interest in emerging technologies or you want to work with researchers and students across the disciplines? Data visualization is a hot topic in librarianship, and specializations in data analytics and visualization is an exciting area of growth in the profession. I sat down with four visualization specialists who work within the University of Michigan Library system to get an idea of what their jobs entail.

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MLIS Classes: Knowledge Management in Organizations

I took a KM class in my MLIS program and have worked in KM for 9 years at a major oil/gas company. I initially managed a Community of Practice and later had the more comprehensive role of Organizational Learning Lead.

It’s my experience that the opportunities are behavioural and cultural vs tools and document storage repositories. At the recent SLA Annual Conference I saw several vendors offering excellent tools, but less discussion about implementation and measuring value by the enterprises that undertake a KM approach. I believe we need at least equal attention to both parts of the process, and I’ve observed that even the best tools don’t solve the problem if people don’t utilize them appropriately.

Banked Turns & Boolean

Out of all the MLIS classes I’ve taken so far, Knowledge Management is the one I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s one of the core modules for the Knowledge Management specialization and it consisted of a two and a half hour seminar once a week, which was reduced to around two hours part-way through the semester. This was because we had a small class of only 5 students (and usually there was at least one person absent), so we did not need that much time to cover all the material. This itself is an example of two things that were great about this class – one, the group was small, which meant that we all had the time to contribute, and two, the instructor was responsive and flexible.

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Knowledge Management tools and software: A real value preposition or marketing pitch?

Even the best new tools, software, and assorted gadgetry can’t overcome inherent business process issues. We do a disservice to Knowledge Management when we throw a new tool at an issue without addressing the company culture of learning, collaborating, and information sharing, and how it fits into the organizational workflow. Furthermore, if there is no incentive (or worse, a disincentive) for people to seek experience before making decisions, or to offer experience when it’s sought by others, no repository of any sort will help.

Microsoft recently announced the launch of Infopedia, a tool which seeks to exploit the myriad Sharepoint and Office components in order to thrust forward knowledge sharing and creation…