Speaking of libraries doing 2.0 things just to look cool, there is an organization that I’ve criticized about that in the past. I’ve been concerned that many of the hip, 2.0-ish things ALA has done have been mere window-dressing to make the organization look cool to new members. I didn’t see a lot of changes that required a rethinking of the way things are done and I didn’t see a lot of the issues that concerned many members being addressed. But they have finally done something that required a real re-thinking of their profit model, and fortunately, they made the more user-focused choice.
I have to give the ALA — and Jenny Levine in particular — props for making the talks from the Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium available for free as podcasts (here’s the feed). Lots of conference organizers make their organizations a lot of money by selling recordings of conference talks. ALA usually charges a bundle for any learning opportunity, much to my chagrin. But the ALA TechSource folks and ACRL decided to give these wonderful talks away for free. There is nothing more user-centered than making a change that requires the organization to lose money or that goes against the way they’ve always done things. This does both and I couldn’t have been happier to see them make the right choice.
Kudos to ALA for hiring innovators like Kathryn Deiss, Jenny Levine and David Free. Keep rocking the boat y’all!