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The library is dead. Long live the library! The rebirth of libraries in the 21st century

Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 9am – 4pm

MIT Media Lab - Bartos Theater in Cambridge, MA
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Library closures, slashed budgets, user apathy - everything's online, right?  It's a story many of us have heard too often or experienced ourselves, especially with the recent downturn in the economy.  But many libraries are re-inventing themselves, offering new services and transforming into very different entities while still at heart performing the same role they always have - helping communities connect with information.

Come to this NEASIS&T program to hear:

  • How changes in publishing are driving changes in libraries.  How can we radically change an ancient institution that evolved from providing shared print copies into one that effectively provides online content (that we often don't even own).  It's time to get past the kludges in our processes and organizational structures and embrace our future.
  • What it takes to be a librarian these days.  What skills and interests are necessary?  In 10 years will we be librarians or technologists?
  • Success stories from libraries that have radically changed their roles and services.
  • How to design your library around user expectations and keep your organization relevant.

We'll provide breakfast, lunch, and network access for all!


9:00 - 9:30 Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:30 – 9:40 Welcome & Introduction
9:40 – 10:40 John Palfrey, Henry N. Ess Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School
Talk title: TBA
Abstract: TBA
10:40 – 10:50 Break
10:50 – 11:50 Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian for Research & Instructional Services at Temple University's Paley Library “Designing the Future-Proof Library: Technology Will Take You Only So Far”
If you could put an impregnable bubble around your library to shield it from uncertainty, ambiguity and the rapidly evolving disruptive technology that pervades our times, then you just might be able to keep irrelevancy and marginalization at bay. If only future-proofing was that easy. But there are some strategies academic librarians can use to keep their libraries thriving and relevant in times of turbulent change. Technology can help, but it’s not always the answer. Understanding user expectations and designing an experience that exceeds them is something librarians need to examine more closely as part of or in lieu of a technology strategy. In this presentation, Steven J. Bell will share his ideas for using design thinking to "problem find" in order to identify and implement ideas and solutions for an innovative, future-proofed library.Handout [doc]
11:50 – 12:40 Shana Kimball, Publications Manger at the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library"Remixing the Library to Support Scholarly Publishing at the University of Michigan"
Dissatisfied with the current copyright and economic climate for scholarly publishing, and equipped with a preservation mission and a robust technological infrastructure, the University of Michigan Library started the Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO) several years ago in order to provide sustainable, scholar-friendly publishing services. This presentation will discuss the past, present, and future of library’s role as a publisher at the University of Michigan.
12:40 – 1:40 Lunch (provided)
1:40 – 2:30 Marguerite Avery, Senior Acquisitions Editor at The MIT Press “Some possible futures of scholarly publishing and the work of the scholarly press” How has scholarly publishing evolved? How has it resisted change? Publishing is a very traditional discipline that is being challenged by new technologies and modes of communication. How can scholarly publishing embrace these changes to meet the needs of its academic audience while still retaining the values of publishing?
2:30 – 3:30 Cyril Oberlander, Associate Director of Milne Library at the SUNY College at Geneseo "Transforming Library and service with cooperative migration strategies"
Each request for library service is an opportunity to transform the library.  Discovery, access, and delivery have a variety of new paths - search engines, Wikipedia, etc., with traditional content sources such as publishers taking on many disruptive strategies.  Cyril presents current and emergent strategies and tools that help libraries provide transformed Acquisitions, Collection Development, Document Delivery, and Interlibrary Loan services; and more broadly, help library service provide context and convergence in new services; project management, publishing/digital scholarship and more.Presentation [Power Point]
3:30 – 4:00 Panel with Marguerite Avery, Shana Kimball, & Cyril Oberlander


Students / Retirees: $50
ASIST & SLA members: $60
General public: $75

$5 discount if you promote us on the web!
All you have to do is mention this event on your blog, website, or one of your social networks. Then email Bill Helman at: with the link to your site. You will be provided with the Discount Code for $5 off the price of registration. (Note: Please request code before registering.)

If you tweet: please use the #hashtag: #neasist09 for this event.

Speaker Bios:

Marguerite Avery is Senior Acquisitions Editor at The MIT Press where she acquires books in Science, Technology, and Society (history of science, history of technology, science studies), information science, and local history. She has done masters work in history and holds a masters in library and information science from Simmons.

Steven J. Bell is Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University. Previously he was Director of the Library at Philadelphia University  and Assistant Director at Penn's Wharton School Library, where he also earned his Ed.D.  He writes and speaks about academic librarianship, learning technologies and library management. An Adjunct Professor at Drexel University's College of Information Science and Technology, he teaches the academic librarianship course. His website and blog, “Steven Bell’s Keeping Up Web Site” and “The Kept-Up Academic Librarian” promote current awareness skills and resources. Steven is a co-founder of the Blended Librarian’s Online Learning Community on the Learning Times Network and has participated in numerous virtual presentations. He blogs for ACRLog, ACRL’s official Weblog, and Designing Better Libraries, a blog about design thinking and library user experiences. More recently he began contributing the “From the Bell Tower” column to weekly issues of Library Journal’s Academic Newswire. He is co-author of the book “Academic Librarianship by Design”. For additional information about Steven J. Bell or links to his projects, point your browser to

Shana Kimball
Shana Kimball is Publications Manger at the Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO) of the University of Michigan Library. In that role, she serves as project lead on the digitalculturebooks project, a hybrid imprint of online and print books, published in partnership with the University of Michigan Press. She also coordinates the publication of Open Humanities Press monographs and the Journal of Electronic Publishing. She has an MA in English literature from the University of Michigan, and brings to her publishing career a strong interest in the intersection of web 2.0 technologies and scholarship.

Cyril Oberlander is the Associate Director of Milne Library at the SUNY College at Geneseo since January 2008.  Prior to that, he was the Director of Interlibrary Services at the University of Virginia Library 2005-2008; and Head of Interlibrary Loan at Portland State University from 1996-2005; and before that served as the Assistant Supervisor and the Staff Trainer for Access Services.  His consultation experience includes independent consulting services through OCLC Western, and workflow design with various vendors.  Research interests include: organizational development, workflow design, mobile technology, information visualization, and knowledge systems.

John Palfrey is Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.  In these roles at HLS, he is director of the school’s library and co-chair of the IT committee.  He is also a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. John’s research and teaching focus on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world.  He is the co-author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Basic Books, 2008) and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008).