David Lee King

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More Info about iBeacon Technology

Tue, 2015-03-24 21:30

My last couple of articles have looked into iBeacon technology. Interested in finding out more? This article has a bunch of links for more reading on iBeacons, and what’s happening with them. Enjoy!

My articles on iBeacons:

Library-related iBeacon articles:

Even More iBeacon Articles:

I’ll possibly re-visit this topic as I play with these things, so stay tuned!

Categories: Library News

iBeacons and the Library

Thu, 2015-03-19 09:30

I’ve shown what iBeacons are, and what they do in non-retail settings. Can they be used in a library setting? Definitely – because some libraries are already experimenting with them!

There are currently two companies in the library industry working with iBeacons (that I know of, anyway):

What are these companies focusing on?

Bluubeam sends out location-based messaging. For example, if you walk into the teens area of the library (and have the Bluubeam app on your mobile device), you might get a message about what’s happening in the teen section that day, or get a message about an upcoming teen event.

So think location-based promotion of events and your stuff.

Capira Technologies does location-based messaging. They’re also working on more personalized info. For example, here’s what they say about circulation notices:

Patrons who have authenticated their account information in your library app can receive notifications about items due that day, items ready for pickup, and much more when they enter the building. Library staff know that patrons often visit the library and forget they have items due that day. Automatically reminding them to stop by the circulation desk and renew them before they leave is a great customer service.

What types of things could you do with iBeacons in a library? Here are some ideas:

  • Event notices that are location-based
  • Promotion of new library services. For example, if a customer walks by your new makerspace, they could receive a message explaining it, and maybe an “ask the librarian” prompt for more information.
  • Building tours!
  • Around-town tours. I’d love to see iBeacons connected to a historical walking tour, for example. This has the potential to be much better than portable headsets, and definitely better than QR codes.
  • Art gallery explanations. We have an art gallery. It might work to have explanations of art pieces or more information about the current exhibit.
  • Shelving notices. What’s on this shelf? Capira goes much further with this idea – “For example, if a library offered a row of shelves with New Releases, a patron could view items released that day using their device and a beacon located on the shelf.”
  • Patron Assistance (again from Capira). Devices can time how long a beacon stays in range. Staff can be notified if a patron spends an excessive amount of time in a specific area or room without moving, possibly indicating they may require assistance looking for items.
  • Beacon Tracking – Anonymous tracking via iBeacons can capture how library customers move around in your building, along with how much time is spent in each area. Retail stores already do this, and then move their products around to where customers gather. Something to think about!

Again – there is potentially a LOT of possibility here. What do you think? Please share!

iBeacon image by Jonathan Nalder

Categories: Library News

Non-Retail Uses for iBeacons

Tue, 2015-03-17 09:30

In my last post, I explained what iBeacons are and a bit about what they do, especially in retail stores. There are some pretty cool non-retail uses of iBeacon technology, too.

Here are some examples:

  • CES: At CES, if you had the CES app installed, you could play a scavenger hunt and win a prize
  • Education: Teachers are using them to automatically take attendance. The iBeacons recognize when a student has entered the classroom
  • Museums: Hanging around a painting? iBeacons could send you more information about the painting and the artist
  • Hotels: automated check-in and check-out
  • SXSW: install the SXSW Go app, and you’ll be connected to over 1000 ibeacons. The beacons will tell you what’s happening nearby (if you’ve ever been to SXSW, you’ll know that is important!), and who else has arrived.
  • Disney World: Disney has created an iBeacon-compatible wristband that acts as a room key for their hotel room, pays for stuff in the park, acts as a park pass, gets you into the fast lane, and helps collect photos.

In my next post, I’ll talk about using iBeacons in a library setting.

Pic by iotlist

Categories: Library News

iBeacon Technology

Thu, 2015-03-12 09:30

Have you heard about iBeacons? It’s possible this new technology will change many things about how we interact with our world. I’m still learning and experimenting with iBeacons – here’s what I know so far.

For starters – what exactly is iBeacon technology? It’s basically a low-level location and broadcasting technology that is built into smartphones. Here’s how it works: A beacon is a small BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) device that’s battery powered. It broadcasts a small amount of data, and smartphone apps can receive the signal and perform actions or share locations.

Apple has jumped into this big-time. Newer iOS 7 and later devices have iBeacon transmitters and receivers built into them. Newer Android and Windows devices also have BLE compatibility built in. Because of Apple’s involvement, you’ll see this technology referred to as both iBeacons (the Apple version) and as Beacons (no “i”).

Basically, iBeacons do two things:

  1. They are awesome at location. They can find you (or, more accurately, your smartphone) within a few feet.
  2. In conjunction with an app, they can send you information – either general or personalized info, depending on the app.

These two things help create the “magic” of iBeacons; ambient context identification. This simply means that the iBeacon can send you personalized, pertinent information, based on where you’re standing (depending on the app and what location services you have turned on).

Retail stores have been early adopters and experimenters of iBeacon technology. Macy’s and Apple have installed them in all their stores. If you have the appropriate app installed (Shopkick for Macy’s, the Apple Store app for Apple), you will be sent “helpful” messages about sales and other deals, depending on where you are in the store. Apple will alert you when your order is assembled.

My next couple of posts will cover more about iBeacons. Stay tuned!

Image by Jonathan Nalder

Categories: Library News

Addicted to your Smartphone?

Tue, 2015-03-10 09:30

In my last article, I talked about the silliness of a CEO’s belief that smartphones are bad. There is another side to that coin – some people are really, truly addicted to their favorite mobile device. Or at least “have issues.”

If you are one of those, what can you do? Here are some suggestions, culled from the depths of Google (ok – just the first 8 or so articles that I found):

  1. Turn off notifications. I do this with email (because I get too much). I manually check email on my iphone, rather than having my iphone alert me to email every minute or so. Works great.
  2. Uninstall apps if they become a problem.
  3. Turn on Airplane Mode when you need to focus.
  4. Don’t answer the phone/text/email/tweet/etc. Some people even schedule times during the day to process emails/voicemails/social media replies, etc.
  5. Charge your phone somewhere other than your bedroom. Or, some smartphones let you set a “no notifications” time.
  6. Use a “smartphone addiction” app like Moment or Breakfree
  7. Do something that doesn’t involve your phone.
  8. Or, just turn it off. You’ll save battery life, too!

Control your device – don’t let your device control you!

Image by Buzzfarmers

Categories: Library News

Put the iPhone Down

Thu, 2015-03-05 09:30

I just saw this article (via Beth Kanter’s Twitter feed) about the evils of smartphones. In this particular article, Sheldon Yellen talks about being a more effective CEO by continuing to use his old flip phone.

He says this: “… keeping my flip phone and saying “no” to constant interruptions was one of my most profitable business decisions.” He then goes on to talk about all the distractions that a smartphone introduces (like he’d know, since he still uses a flip phone).

He then talks about how distracting smartphones can be: “One of the main factors in my decision was the distraction that smartphones introduce. I’ve seen people stare under the table in meetings, glued to an app rather than contributing.” Yeah. So, when you were noticing your employees checking their email rather than being attentive in your meetings? That means the meeting was boring. Stop holding boring meetings! Problem solved.

Then Sheldon provides four “benefits” to going without a smartphone. Here’s the list of benefits with my comments:

1. Increased efficiency. He thinks that freeing oneself from smartphone apps makes you more productive. Then he talks about how Facebook costs U.S. employers $28 billion in lost productivity annually. First of all, the article Sheldon points to doesn’t mention anything about the Facebook mobile app, so it’s a bad comparison for his article. Secondly, there are quite a few articles that talk about how Facebook makes employees MORE productive at work. And of course, there’s the added irony that his own company has a Facebook Page.

2. Direct Communication. Here, he’s confusing his preferred method of communication (phone calls and taking notes by hand) with something that works for everyone. Simply not true. For example, I type faster than I write, and when I want to remember something, I email it to myself and stick it in a folder for later recall.

3. More mental exercise. Sheldon thinks that doing things like calculating tips makes your brain work better, rather than relying on smartphones. Hmm … have any proof of that? Because there are plenty of articles that claim our digital devices just might be making us smarter.

4. Business diplomacy. Sheldon doesn’t really talk about “business diplomacy” here. He talks about Facebook friends not being real friends, and how it’s better to talk to people offline. Sure. Agreed. But … that doesn’t really have anything whatsoever to do with owning a smartphone. So … ??

I’m pretty sure most of you lovely readers know this – owning a smartphone is not the issue here. Here’s what I’d suggest to Sheldon: get a smartphone and really learn how to use it. Use it for 3-6 months. Have someone help you find some really useful productivity apps.

Then write another article about the experience. Hard to write about the evils of a smartphone if you’ve never owned one!

Phone photo by Thord Daniel Hedengren

Categories: Library News

Changing People is Harder than Changing Technology

Tue, 2015-03-03 09:30

Just a follow-up thought to my post on strategic and technology planning. I’m sure y’all know this, but guess what? The technology planning and implementation is the easy part.

The hard part is the people.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Last year, my library’s biggest technology project was our RFID/Self Check project. It included tagging every item in the collection with an RFID tag and installing eleven self check kiosks throughout the building.

The technology part was easy – we worked with our vendors to make sure the kiosks worked, the new RFID gates went up, and the RFID tagging stations worked.

The hard part was “everything else,” which included:

  • planning a bunch of RFID tagging teams and schedules (we closed for a week and staff did the tagging)
  • rethinking customer flow in our circulation lobby and around the building
  • teaching our customers the “new way to check out”
  • Working through a new process for our technical services and circulation departments

And I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Has the technology been flawless? No – it’s technology. Something WILL go wrong.

But the “people” part – that affects everyone. You want to make sure the technology parts are done right. But also make certain to get the most important parts of your project right, too. The people parts.

Image by Jonny Wikins

Categories: Library News

Books to help your Presentations ROCK

Tue, 2015-02-24 09:30

Just a follow-up to my last post. There are a lot of books out there that have some great tips on improving your presentations. Here are some good places to start:

And some awesome online resources:

What books, blogs, or other stuff would you add? Please add em in the comments!

Categories: Library News

Which Comes First – Strategic Plan or Technology Plan?

Tue, 2015-02-24 09:30

Last week at the Future Tech Strategies for Libraries symposium, Rebecca Jones (of Dysart & Jones Associates) spoke about digital strategy. She always has good things to say, so I always listen closely.

She said this (my summary of it): Technology drives what the organization does. So, should the organization’s strategic plan come first, or should the technology plan come first? It’s starting to shift to the technology plan.

On the one hand, if you have a good strategic plan that is including technology … meaning that your tech manager is with it and has helped develop those strategies … then following a good organizational strategy makes sense. That’s how I’ve always operated. There’s no need for a real technology plan, because it’s embedded in the plans of the library.

On the other hand, today’s technology is driving the organization in many ways. Even something as “traditional” as new computer purchases, updating an OS, or replacing a telephone system (doing that this year!) can have a big impact on the organization’s budget, on planning, on training, and on organizational capacity for the year.

Then, when your “new phone system” is moving from an out-of-date system to a VOIP system with unified messaging, hand-off capabilities to a mobile device, internal chat messaging, etc … that can have a HUGE positive impact in how the organization does its work, and can … yes … have a big impact on the library’s strategic plans.

So – what do you think? Chicken or the egg? Strategic plan first, or technology plan first? Please share!

Pic by Kyle Van Horn

Categories: Library News

Mobile Technology Presentation

Fri, 2015-02-20 09:30

I just gave a presentation on mobile technology for the Future Tech Strategies in Libraries symposium for the University of Toronto iSchool. Here are my slides! This presentation have two parts:

  1. current and emerging trends in mobile technology devices
  2. eight ways libraries can respond to these trends

Enjoy!

Categories: Library News

Two Ways to Improve your Presentations

Thu, 2015-02-19 09:30

In the last couple of days, I’ve been working on a new presentation that I’m giving up in Toronto for Future Tech Strategies for Libraries. I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be giving the presentation around the same time you’ll be reading this

Over the years, I have given and attended a TON of presentations. Some I’ve learned from, some I’ve been entertained by, and some … honestly … have bored me to tears.

Here’s what I’ve learned – there are two things most of us could work on to raise the level of our presentations.

  1. Tell a story.
  2. End with Next Steps.

Let’s look a bit closer at each of these:

Tell a Story: We like stories. Heck, most of you work in libraries – places full of stories! Stories are good. One way to greatly improve your presentation is to treat your presentation like a story, or at least incorporate elements of a story into your presentation.

Why do this? Stories are easy to follow, and easy to remember. Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, which works great for a presentation outline. Stories have chapters, which can be individual slides, or sections of your presentation, complete with visual queues and themes. Stories have pictures – so emphasize visual elements on your slides, rather than a wordy outline.

Here are some examples stories you might tell in your presentation:

  • The story of how your library improved something.
  • The story of what you do (your job, your coding, your new service).
  • The story of why your organization needs more funding.
  • The story of what’s on the horizon (emerging trends).
  • The story of … fill in the blank…

End with Next Steps: So many presentations just end. With an embarrassed “and that’s my last slide, so I guess I’m done.”

First things first – work on transitions and writing a good ending to the presentation. But even better – end with what’s next for your listener/participant/attendee. Here are some examples of next steps:

  • What can I do next week after hearing your presentation?
  • What can I do different or change?
  • What are three steps I can take tomorrow to improve something?
  • How should I respond to emerging trends?
  • etc.

See how that works? Share stories and next steps .. and immediately improve the quality of those presentations!

Categories: Library News

Fun Interview – Check it out!

Thu, 2015-01-29 09:30

I was recently interviewed by Angela Hursh, the Content Team Leader for the Marketing Department at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Angela has a cool new blog called Content Marketing for Libraries.

Go subscribe to it right now!

Anyway … it was a fun interview. Here are the questions she asked me. If you want to see my answers, you have to visit her blog!

The questions:

  1. It amazes me that, even today, libraries have an image of being stodgy and traditional. I think there are so many libraries doing amazing, forward-thinking things. So we obviously have a promotion problem, individually and as an industry. How can we do a better job at spreading the word about the cool things happening in the library space?
  2. What’s the biggest marketing problem libraries tell you they are having right now?
  3. Share your top three tips for improving a library website.
  4. Social media still seems to intimidate many libraries. Can you give three tips for libraries looking to take their social media game to the next level?
  5. You’ve written a book about using social media as a tool to make customer connections. Why is it so important to libraries to connect with their cardholders?
  6. Many library marketers have told me they just don’t have time to do all the things they want to do. You do a lot… you have your full-time job, your blog, your speaking engagements, and your personal life. How do you manage it all? Do you have some tips on time-management?
  7. What’s an emerging technology trend that libraries and particularly library marketers need to pay attention to?
  8. You worked a lot of jobs before landing in the library world… and you’ve stayed here for a long time. What’s so great about working for a library?
  9. What book are you reading right now?
  10. If you could send a message to yourself ten years ago (in 2005), what would you say?

Enjoy!

Picture from Angela Hursh’s Twitter account

Categories: Library News

Use a Different Browser for Work Stuff

Tue, 2015-01-27 09:30

My last post talked about some tools to use when managing multiple Instagram accounts. When I was writing that post, I realized that I had another tip to share … here it is!

And it’s an easy one. Use separate browsers for work and personal stuff. This works great for me. For example, I’m logged into my personal Google account (for gmail, Google plus, Google Apps, etc.) all the time at work. I use Chrome for that. Chrome is also hooked into Facebook, my personal Twitter account, etc. – pretty much anything “me related” goes on Chrome.

For work-related web tools, I use Firefox. This gives me an easy way to log into separate social media accounts at the same time. For example, I can be logged into work and personal Twitter accounts, or work and personal Google accounts at the same time. No logging out of one and into the other one.

So – a simple tip that might work for you. Have any other tips to share? Please do!

 

Categories: Library News

Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts

Thu, 2015-01-22 09:30

I recently created an Instagram account for my library (and you can find my own Instagram account here, if you’re interested).

So far, we are having fun with it! I’m in the process of planning (i.e., gathering a team and setting up our first meeting), and we’ll be setting some goals for 2015. More on that later.

After creating the library’s account, I quickly noticed a problem. It’s sorta awkward managing multiple Instagram accounts on my iPhone. If I want to do something on the library’s Instagram account – post a photo or manage the account (i.e., follow people or respond to comments) – I have to log out of my own account and then log into the library’s account, and then back again.

Thankfully, there are some web and app-based tools to help manage multiple Instagram accounts:

  1. Fotogramme: Fotogramme is an Instagram management iPhone app with multiple account support. It allows me to view photos, post Likes and comments, manage followers, and Favorite users and hashtags for easier recall. It also sends alerts to my iPhone, so I know when there’s activity on the library’s Instagram account.
  2. iconosquare: Iconosquare is a web-based tool that lets you manage an Instagram account. It allows you to browse and comment or like photos, and manage your Instagram accounts comments. But the best part of Iconosquare are the statistics. It provides a variety of statistics and trends on your photos, followers, likes, and follower interaction.
  3. unfollowers: This is a handy tool to quickly manage followers. For both Twitter and Instagram, it shows you who’s following you, who unfollowed you, etc. It can help you figure out who to follow. I’m playing with the free version, which limits the activity you can do on a given day. But still – it’s easy to use, and cheap ($6.90 per month for one account) if we wanted to actually pay for it.

What’s missing from each of these tools? Actually taking photos. So yeah – I still have to take a photo, log out of my Instagram account, then log into the library’s account. And then back out again so I don’t post to the wrong account. But the management and statistics help is appreciated.

Here are a couple of articles that mention these and similar Instagram tools:

Have anything else that helps you manage your organization’s Instagram accounts? Please share!

Categories: Library News

How Engaging is Your Website?

Tue, 2015-01-13 09:30

I just read Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, by the Aspen Institute.

On page 15, they talked about the library as place. I was struck by this:

The library as it exists within virtual space must be considered as a wholly independent but highly integrated experience; that is, the library’s virtual presence must be as engaging as its physical space and fully serve the library’s mission built around equitable access, learning and civic development.

Wow. Did you catch that? ” … as engaging as its physical space…” and “fully serve the library’s mission …”

Are we there yet? Look around your building, your service points, your programs. Your most popular stuff. Then look at your digital spaces.

Are we there yet? I don’t think so.

Pic by Quinn Dombrowski

Categories: Library News

Managing your Library’s Social Media Channels

Fri, 2015-01-09 09:30

Just an FYI – my new Library Technology Report is out! It’s titled Managing your Library’s Social Media Channels. What’s it about? From the introduction:

“The process of implementing, managing, and measuring social media channels in a library setting will be discussed. Tips include:

  • creating strategy and goals for social media channels
  • creating teams to run the library’s social media channels
  • connecting and communicating with customers using social media
  • tracking usage and engagement levels using analytics and insights”

Here’s a brief summary of each chapter:

  • Chapter 1 – why use social media. Yes, you still need to explain this to people.
  • Chapter 2 – the “landscape” of social media in libraries. It outlines what social media tools are being used and why, with some examples of stellar social media use in libraries.
  • Chapter 3 – How to connect & communicate with customers. I wrote a whole book on that, if you’re interested
  • Chapter 4 – Social media teams. How to manage the work of a social media team. What they should post, how they should post, and how to deal with problems.
  • Chapter 5 – Analytics, Goals, and Strategy for Social Media. What to track and why, and how to connect social media to those large, multi-year library strategic plans.
  • Chapter 6 – What to do from start to finish. Pretend there’s a new, hot social media tool that appears next week. This chapter provides an organizational approach to incorporating that new tool into your library’s workflow.

There you have it! Get it at the ALA Store.

Categories: Library News

Moo Cards and Customer Delight

Tue, 2015-01-06 10:30

Moo Cards really knows how to make me smile. They recently did just that – by sending me some free stuff!

Right before Christmas, I received a small package from Moo. Odd, because I hadn’t ordered anything from them. What was in it? Some blank cards and envelopes. Designed by Rob Lowe (not the movie actor).

The note that came with the package said this: “Did you know you’re one of MOO’s best customers?” My best guess is that they thanked all their 2014 customers by sending stuff out to them.

Pretty nice of them. And sorta cool, too. I know I’m NOT one of their best customers. I’ve ordered some business cards from them … a couple of times. Nothing more!

And yet, the way they treat their customers – like you really are one of their best customers – is refreshing.

And makes me want to buy from them again.

So … do we work on delighting our customers? I’m not sure. If we work really hard at having the best, newest books in the library, or having the fastest internet, or setting up a new bookmobile stop … that’s not customer delight. That’s business as usual. Delight comes from something unexpected, and these types of things are something our customers expect. All good things – just not something that warrants customer delight.

If you really, truly worked harder in 2015 on delighting your customers … what three things would you focus on?

Hmm… I’ll have to think on that one myself.

Categories: Library News

Playing with my Site Design

Sun, 2015-01-04 23:36

I’m guessing that most of you reading this are subscribed to my blog in one of many ways, and don’t really visit my actual website much, which is cool.

But if you DO visit this blog by going to davidleeking.com, you’ll notice it looks really different! That’s because I’m in the middle of pfutzing with a new look for the site, and will be tweaking it over the next few weeks.

I’m switching from using a Thesis framework to a Genesis framework/theme. So – same content as always, just a different look for 2015. Enjoy!

Categories: Library News

Hacking, Making & Creating at the Library – my Makerspace Talk

Thu, 2014-12-18 09:30

In November, I was at Rutgers, talking about makerspaces as part of their Rutgers University MLIS Colloquium Series.

It was a fun talk, and they recorded it and uploaded it to Youtube! So … if you have an hour and are interested in creating a makerspace of some sort at your library, you might find this talk helpful.

Thanks, Rutgers!

Categories: Library News

Cheap & Easy Audio for Videos

Tue, 2014-12-16 12:00

I recently picked up a new lavalier microphone, and it works great! The audio in this video was recorded using it – give it a listen (ok, and while you’re at it, check out my daughter’s GoFundMe campaign – that’s why I made this video).

So what’s the microphone setup? Pretty simple. It consists of two things:

I found out about the Azden microphone from this guy. I’d agree – it works great! Here’s what I did in this video:

  • Video – recorded with a DSLR camera
  • Audio – recorded separately. The Azden mic plugs directly into the Zoom H1 recorder. I turned off the Auto Level setting for more control. I also turned on the Low Cut setting (to keep rumble down), and recorded in MP3 format (the Zoom also records in WAV format)
  • To sync up the separate audio and video files, I used the PluralEyes app, which automatically syncs up the audio and video. Nice.
  • Then I edited the video in Final Cut Pro.

The beauty of this audio recording setup is that for about $123 or so, I have the “budget version” of a wireless lavalier microphone setup that can cost much more. The Cable on the Azden mic is about 3′ long – long enough to plug into the Zoom, then put the Zoom in a back pocket, on a chair, etc. (if you need a longer cable, get the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Microphone. It has a 20′ long cable, and is still under $30. Here’s a video of me testing it out).

And for $23, it sounds great! What’s not to like about that?

Do you have any “budget-minded” ideas for making videos better? I’d love to hear them!

Categories: Library News

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