moving to LIS host is easy!

thanks Blake for all of your help. everything looks in order.

Survey … Take Two

On further analysis of our online survey collecting stories and info from your community building adventures, we realized that many of you did not complete questions 4-10 (in other words, anything beyond the first page). Did you get bored? Did you think it was over? Was the survey too long?

Whatever your story, we’ve edited the survey a bit to (hopefully) facilitate more info from you about your specific community building projects. Please, dear readers and community building comrades, take a moment to complete the full survey (if you have not) or pass the word around, again (if you have).

As always, thank you for your time!


Thank yous.

Many of you have been very generous with your blogalicious love. Surveys are rolling in and we appreciate your efforts in helping us get the word out. Which leads me to my next moment of gratitude. The survey responses I’ve reviewed thus far are amazing.

Here’s an example – a tidbit from Jan, a library media specialist at the Scotia-Glenville High School in NY:

I’ve worked in a variety of library settings, including school, public, academic, and university. My belief is that libraries are the “great space” that pulls together any kind of community. The library is community building as well as being a community building.

So here’s my blogalicious love to Jan and all of you who have sent us your LBC thoughts thus far. Keep it coming!


Survey’s Up!

Thanks to everyone who worked with us on our survey to library workers about their community-building work in libraries. Several of you suggested additional questions, commented on scope, and even did some editorial work – thank you. A labor of love!

With all your help, we’re now pleased to present our fabulous little 10 question online survey. Please spend a few minutes, or even half an hour, and tell us about you and your projects. And then – if you’d like to take that extra step – help us spread the word. We’d like to make contact with as many people as possible, so don’t be shy about sending it on.


interview questions

Steven and I finally have a list of standard questions for our interviews of library staff working on community building projects. I’ve been working on finessing the language so that the questions get right to the point, yet are wide enough in scope to help us get to the unexpected! Here’s where we are…




Tell us about you and your career path as it relates to libraries.

Tell us about your library now – including your role there.

What draws you to community building as a framework for library practice?

What are your library’s short-term and long-term goals for community building?

Can you think of a project or program you’ve worked on as an example of community building in libraries?

What was required in terms of cost, hours and staff involvement?

Where do the resources (staff, funding) come from to support this project? Are they resources sustainable to support the project long-term?

What have been the impacts or outcomes of the program/project? Did you meet your goals? how was this measured? (Alternately, what are the expected outcomes? How will you measure them?)

If you could offer any advice to other libraries about community building, what would it be?

What do you wish you could do, but don’t have time or resources for?

Anything else you think is important that we may have missed?

We’d love to get some feedback on this question set. Any ideas or comments? We were also thinking of putting this up as a web form on the blog site, but wonder if we should just do an online survey through survey monkey or the like. Any suggestions on that front would also be much appreciated!


Dirty Laundry

This just forwarded from a colleague of mine (thanks Nancy via Jeff) from a list of “student wants” in regards to their libraries. “A laundry mat inside the library so that we can do our research in between loads!” Now there’s a community building idea I hadn’t thought of before.

u be techier than me

We have been working on a standard set of interview questions for our research. I think we’re almost there, and I’ve even tried them out on two “real” librarians (thanks John, thanks Sharon). The idea is that we’ll put up the questons here on our contact page, and then take submissions from y’all about you, your libraries, and your community building projects. We hope to get lots of them, we hope that the standard questions will help us stay organized.

That said, I haven’ t had time to figure out if there’s any easy way to put up a Web form in our happy little WordPress blog. Anyone know how to do that? Want to volunteer to help us out?

Online Community Faves

Meredith sent me a few questions as part of some research for her forthcoming book on social networking and libraries. One of them was: what are two of your favorite online communities and why.

For someone who spends, I don’t know, every day thinking about online community for librarians, you’d think this would be an easy one. On the contrary. This question totally stopped me dead in my tracks.

It has been several weeks now since Meredith’s reply email has been marinating in my drafts folder while I’ve pondered my list of … top ten or fifteen online communities. (I probably should send her the answers to the other questions she asked!) They all have something different to offer, and I like them all for different reasons. Some of them are commercial (Netflix) others are totally personal (Flickr) others bring commercial and personal together (Amazon) still others are professional (WebJunction) and then others bring personal and professional together (Library Thing) and others have been completely temporary (event wiki) and these can be anything from personal to professional to commercial, or all three. And I’m not even gonna go into the online communities I admire, but am not personally a part of.

Then I realized that I was focusing, against my own religion, so to speak, on the tools and not the people or purposes behind them. And when I realized that, I realized that the question was maybe asking which part of my life I like best, and which groups of people are my favorite. The answer would have to be that I like them all.

Do you think this is a cop-out? Is there an online community that you’d call your fave? Is it about the tools there? Or the people behind them?


I’ve been reading Putnam’s “Better Together” and he’s got me thinking. Our book proposal outlined a basic process for building community through libraries. The process wasn’t anything magical. Steven and I came up with it based on our initial research along with observed experiences of the libraries we work with. We sent it off to ALA and they liked it. From what we hear, they liked it a lot.

Now the idea is to talk to as many libraries as possible as we move through the writing. Put our process to the test and see what bears out. But … I’m sitting here with this process and I already can’t help but wonder: what are we missing? Is the process itself going to keep us from new discoveries?

Coming up with any type of community building process or framework is bound to have flaws or be incomplete in some way. The alternative is just to tell the stories. Stop trying to systematize something that’s really organic and maybe comes from experience, or maybe even magic. Maybe we should just tell the stories of libraries that are connected to and thriving in their communities … just put them down and see if any insights emerge.

I guess I’m a little bit stuck. Is it best to stick with the stories – or to a system? Or something in between?

Some kind of community building…

I just realized (though I must have known it before) that comments were previously moderated on this blog. Oops. That’s no way to build, or talk about building, community. Please, comment freely.

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