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I volunteered to help with the Inspiration, Innovation, Celebration: an entrepreneurial conference for librarians held at UNC-G. As it was, they had a plethora of volunteer, so I was able to simply attend. However, by the time my dentist was through with my on Thursday, I was only able to attend 1 1/2 sessions.
I hear the conclusion of the session- Horses and Hoops: New Approaches to Oral History in a Digital Environment” given by Doug Boyd from the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky. Mary Beth wrote about this session, which showed an innovative oral history software tool- OHMS- which allows keyword searching. some day, this kind of thing may filter down to us mortals- hopefully after further improvements to voice recognition software. This session was fascinating.
The closing keynote was from Stephen Bell, Associate University Librarian from Temple University in Philadelphia. Bell is considered a rock star of sorts in certain corners of the library world. He was a dynamic speaker and had a lot to say. Bell started by telling us about his Dad, a car mechanic who”could fix anything”. Bell’s Dad devised a way to keep his boisterous kids from accidentally opening the rear door of his 1958 Cadillac by removing the door handle and installing sharp pins (ouch!) in it’s place. I guess this device worked-and I guess it was innovative………you decide.
the next part of Bell’s lecture was video of him asking librarians if they knew any ‘library entrepreneurs’. No one did. They had heard of Bill Gates though, whom most of the video-ees named as an ‘entrepreneur’.
Bell next got to the pith of his presentation and named 7 characteristics of successful entrepreneurs:
1. Opportunistic- example- Israel recycles 70% of it’s waste water
2. Creative Genius- example- intermittent windshield wipers
3. Customer Focus- example given was Zappos shoes
4. Persistence- example- the guy who invented hyperlinking
5. Connect the Dots- ie. spot trends
6. Passion- example- The Blended Librarian community
7. Risk Taking- I can’t remember the example Bell gave-but it might have been his Dad’s back seat child-proofing device

Bell next mentioned a number of ‘design thinkers’. among those mentioned:

Dan Heaton- mountain unicycling
Deep Dive videos- IDEO corporation
Chip and Dan Heath- Made to Stick: Why some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Daniel Pink- A Whole New Mind-Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
Seth Godin- This is broken
To Improve what you Do- Study People– ACRLog, May 15, 2006

Finally, Bell listed 10 tips for “Library Entrepreneurs:

1. Listen/Observe- keep your antennae up
2. Accept hard work
3. Something is better than nothing
4. Break some rules
5. Ask open questions
6. Balance risk and evolution
7. Develop sticky ideas
8. Take time for getting ideas- Google Wave!
9. Keeping up with new ideas outside of librarianship
10. Use the ‘zoom out’ lens look at the big picture
11? (He said there were 10, but…) Know your core values

Bell is intriguing because he is interested in the future of libraries and where we’re goon. I was glad to realize that ZSR is already THERE on many of the points Bell mentioned.

Craig Fansler