Friday, December 01, 2006

Creativity and Technology

As I think about ways the library can use technology to extend our customer reach, it is important to have the right frame of mind. And this applies to other aspects of this Strategic Planning process and, well, to everything we do here.

So when you see a new tool, envision how it can be applied to best suit your needs. You don't have to implement some predetermined notion of what the tool should be used for. The growing hatred of PowerPoint can be directly attributed to numerous people who use the built-in templates as a background to dump their paraphrased speech. But when someone uses PowerPoint to extend their message instead of replace, it is a truly beautiful thing.

When librarians came across flickr, it was not long before they started using this tool in ways that one would not think was intended. How could a photo-sharing site be used as a tool to advertise the library?

It is this sort of creativity that is required for libraries to adjust and impact future citizens as they have impacted present and past citizens. And this is nothing new. When Memphis Public Library made the decision to force women and men to mingle in the same room so that children could have a dedicated place, do you think it was seen as the obvious thing to do?

So for a decent visual as to the sort of thinking required for us to move forward, let us watch a recent "presentation". This person had the opportunity to do the same sort of presentation that had been done hundreds of times before, and he chose to do something completely different. Enjoy. It's Friday.

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