Future of Libraries summit 2015

I know, I know, the future of libraries is to endlessly discuss the future of libraries, I had the same level of skepticism going in to the day as well. I have to admit that a lot of my cynicism comes from the overabundance (and let’s be real here, 1 is 1 too many) of self described futurists in the library world.

Happily though this was not one of those come and listen to someone lecture you on what he (and it is pretty much always a he) thinks the future is going to be. I have science fiction books for that, and they are a lot more enjoyable.

This was instead a day of guided group discussions, which I think resulted in some actually useful outputs. While these kind of days are always a mix of frustration and useful discussion, I think that by the end we had more of the latter. This was due to the people in the room, but also due to the desire of the organisers for the day to result in some concrete outputs. Which meant we were pulled back on track a few times when it felt like we were going in circles.

I am not going to say that I think the day has resulted in people having a clear idea of where libraries are going to be in 2025 but I think that it resulted in some ideas, and some more ideas how to get there.  I am not going to try to summarise them all here, I am sure there will be much better write ups than mine.  But I  will list some of the takeaways I had. First of all from my kids 2015-07-31 11.13.25

In our group we consistently returned to the role of Libraries being all about people, and that equitable access to information is a major driver. We talked a lot about the need for better collaboration and cohesion in the sector. Funding of course was mentioned more than a few times as something that will be a major influence on what libraries are like in 2025. We also talked about training, and how to bring in and keep new workers.

This happened 

Then I learnt about the 3rd man rule, to paraphrase “If two men have just spoken, don’t be the third one” which is a great rule.

Karaitiana had some great advice (as always)

And as always happens, I managed to get myself an impossible job

It was near the end of the day when I went into full on random blurt mode.

Cath chipped in too

All the random blurting may have resulted in this

Or it may have been this

Finally I’d like to leave you with this image, which came from one of Wendy’s typos, but I think it works as it is

A conversation on evolution

So this morning I was doing my impression of a T Rex making breakfast (don’t ask) and Atarau said “they don’t make that noise you know.” I said “you are probably right but no one has ever heard one”. That caused Kahu to jump in with “well what about homo sapiens?”
That started me on explaining neanderthals, cro-magnon, homo sapiens etc.
Which prompted the where did they come from question. So as I was making sandwiches for their lunches I attempted to explain evolution in 10 minutes, which resulted in the following comments.
Kahu: Oh, like upgrades.
Atarau: That’s why I like bananas eh?
Kahu: Oh and that’s why some kids are sometimes silly, they are still growing out of being a monkey.

I’d call it a moderate success.

In part two of explaining concepts before being fully awake, tune in for Chris trying to explain sexism and racism.

Unsung heroes of Koha 30 – Heather Hernandez

We have a few Heathers in the Koha community and they are all pretty great. I’m singling out Heather Hernandez here as she has been really helpful to a lot of other Koha users and developers.
Heather not only takes time to answer a lot of questions on the Koha mailing list, but she answers them in a comprehensive and positive manner. If you combine that with her enthusiasm on Twitter, it adds up to a person that makes you happy to be developing on Koha.
I often say that someone saying thanks is a powerful reward, and Heather never fails in doing that.

So here’s some thanks back to you Heather. I hope to buy you a beverage of your choice at a Kohacon someday.

Koha Kindness

The Koha community is a great community to be part of. Not only do we create a great piece of software but we try to make the world a better place in other ways also. Here are just a few examples of how we do this.

I have run a server (since 2010) that hosts bugs.koha-community.org, download.koha-community.org, paste and a few other services. I haven’t minded funding it, I think of it as penance for making the bad decision I made in 2007, but recently I wanted to upgrade it. So I thought I would give patreon a whirl, to get some funding to increase the ram and and a couple more cores.
Within days I had more than enough pledges, and the recurring cost is more than covered. I promised each person who pledged a haiku, so here they are, can you guess who is who? (be warned I write crappy haiku)

In the northeast of
Kansas, libraries love software
freedom and koha

In Greece a lovely
woman translates software to
help grow its usage

Norway can be cold
but there lives a man with a
warm heart and kind soul

Because he cares, he
donates both time and money
to help the project

She moved to nz
but that wasn’t enough so
she donates things too

She walks the walk and
talks the talk documenting
everything in sphinx

The next example is that earlier this year Tómas, the current release manager, had his house broken into and things, including his computers, taken. Within days Kyle had set up a gofundme campaign and in I think 3 days we hit the $2000 target.

There is another gofundme campaign running at the moment as well. Nicole (our documentation manager) has had a tough time of it lately and is currently seeking funds to help pay the medical expenses for one of her gorgeous dogs. Please help her out if you are able.

The last example I wanted to mention is the Koha Kiva team. We have loaned out $3275 in 131 loans to small businesses all around the world. Pretty neat huh?