Friday, January 20, 2006

Omar Wasow

He's a groupie, this is his 6th or 7th library audience.
"Power corrupts, Powerpoint corrupts absoutely."

Thesis: Libraries must both inform and transform.
*The experience of being in a library can be as important as the information available.
*Libraries must recommit to their core values and emphasize their distinct qualities as places to learn critical thinking and research skills, for communities to come together, and for individuals to reflect.

He used the words, "Sacred space," which is pretty cool!
Omar shared his personal history of using libraries--which was not so much about books and database access--but the actual space itself. That libraries for him have represented a place to think, to learn, to write.

Clicker question for Symposium attendees: My library is beautiful.
Yes 58%
No 42%

"Part of the magic of libraries has nothing to do with has to do with the experience."
It's not about trying to compete with Google, it's about building on our unique place as an experience.

Omar himself went from being an Atari player (passive experience) to building programs (active participation with technology)....and libraries' transformation parallels that same trajectory.

Service to transformation?
A personal story: Omar used libraries as a place to write, a place to think. There is something very powerful about libraries that is an elevated, noble space. Anecdote about Rockefeller libraries all have staircases--literally elevating the patrons as they enter the experience.

The Experience Economy
is a great book he recommends.
Key points from this book:
From Agriculture to Industry
From Industry to Service
From Service to Experience
From Experience to Transformation
(The product you're selling is a changed person.)

Sack of coffee beans is a commodity
Tin of Folgers is example of industry
Cup at a diner is a service
Starbucks/Barista Brava is an experience
Tasting class is a transformation

How does a library transform?
For libraries, schoools, churches, gymns, etc. the product is a changed person. Can we communicate "why you should come here" for a library....the 3rd space. (My words, not his.)

Clicker question: My library is a wonderful place to read, write, think and reflect?
Yes 69%
No 31%

Clicker question
: My library offers a popular lecture series?
Yes 38%
No 62%

Technology transforms real estate.
ATMs hollowed out banks--opportunities for restaurants
Deindustrialization enabled loft-living

"It's like a public park for your brain."

Access is not enough--you have to offer transformative experiences to keep people conncted.

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