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Our favorite time of the year...

on Sat, 03/05/2016 - 16:51

It's the most wonderful time of the year... SXSW Interactive 2016 is upon us, and the lib*interactive crew is pumped to hit the streets of Austin once again.

This is always a great time to remember why this group exists:

First, all of us at lib*interactive believe it's so important to look outside of our industry for inspiration, and SX offers a bounty of new ideas. Everything from the hottest wearables, to the newest apps, to marketing techniques and maker trends. SX provides an opportunity to connect with the individuals who are out there getting their hands dirty - inventing, building, designing and promoting. This is a fantastic opportunity for library pros to establish new partnerships, tap into the brains of big thinkers and find inspiration for that next service, that next program, that next direction.

Second, we get libraries in front of these thought leaders so they understand the impact we're having on our communities and how we can help individuals like them to be successful. Libraries and librarians are embedded in our communities to support the big ideas of entrepreneurs, innovators, and local thought leaders. SX gives us a platform to share that message, and that's a lot of what we'll be discussing with attendees at the lib*interactive booth in the exhibit hall at Booth 438. Thank you to the American Library Association for sponsoring this booth and for their ongoing support of lib*interactive!

Finally, our convening at SXSW Interactive and EDU allows us to connect with other creative library professionals from across the country and around the world. Connecting with other passionate library folks in such an electric setting is energizing and inspiring. Here are a few of the places we'll be getting together:

IdeaDrop House - Once again, the fantastic crew at ER&L is hosting the IdeaDrop house. Content is streamed from this location to people tuning in from around the world, bringing the ideas and inspiration from SX to the masses. For those in Austin, this a great place to gather, take a load off and join in the discussions. This year, they will also be hosting Knight Foundation office hours, just in time for the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries, due March 21.

Official Librarian Meet-up - Monday morning, start your day off right by connecting with peers and other SX attendees interested in libraries. Find out what everyone's been up to, meet new colleagues and hear what's inspired attendees so far. (Add it to your SX schedule here.)

Librarian Afterhours at SXSW - An annual lib*interactive tradition, Monday evening we'll gather at Mugshots, our favorite Austin bar, to enjoy adult beverages and hang with buddies new and old. This one's not to be missed! Thank you to our partners EveryLibrary and LGBT Tech Partnership for sponsoring this annual event.

Follow along with lib*interactive happenings on Twitter @lib_interactive, and don't forget to tag your posts #liblove.

Of course, we have to give a shout out to the whole lib*interactive team. They work year-round to build awareness of the benefits of attending SXSW, promoting library-inspired programs, and creating new partnerships.

Have a fantastic SX, everyone! See ya next week.

Vote lib*interactive

on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 13:52

The SXSW PanelPicker is now open for public voting. Our goal is to get as many lib*interactive-related panels on the docket for 2016 as we can, but we need your help. Thirty percent of the decision to pick a panel is based on public input; learn about the other variables here. Sign up for an account, and get your votes in before Friday, Sept. 4. Please add comments to the proposals to show your support, and share far and wide! Selected panels will be announced starting Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.

Below is a handy list of lib*interactive panels. Let the voting begin!

SXSW Interactive Panels

140 Characters, Zero Context

Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers

Can we achieve something amazing in under an hour?

Hacking Bureaucracy: a DO Tank

Get Messy in the Library: Art, Making and Tinkering

LGBT Censorship in Schools & Public Libraries

Library Volunteering: Your Path to Nirvana

Rock the Casbah: Shaking up the Library Experience

Technology Adoption as Policy Linchpin

Let Data Bring the Drama to Your Pitch Deck

SXSW Music Panels

Gain Fans *and* Get Paid with Library Distribution

SXSWedu Panels

Achievement Unlocked: Recognize Informal Learning

Disney Infinity for Reluctant Learners in STEAM

Flipping the Script on Your Assignments: Using Dig

FYeahCopyright and Fanworks

Improving 3D printing workflow to boost learning

Nonprofit Digitarians: A Love Story

Nonprofit Digitarians: A Love Story

Teaching Open Source in our Schools

From Library to Innovation and Design Center

What is a makerspace and why do I need one?

Design Challenges in Your Makerspace

SXSW Film Panel

Honorary lib*interactive member (Carson’s daughter Jess):

Underage@SXSW: No Parties, No Problem!

A few of our faves

on Tue, 03/24/2015 - 01:01

The lib*interactive team compiled a list of some of their favorites sessions from 2015, listed below. We'll link to audio/video as it becomes available. Enjoy!

Is Social Good the New Killer App?

Sex, Lies and the Internet

MAYDAY: The Fight to Save American Democracy

The Biggest Issues in Digital Ethics

Making the Museum of Food and Drink

Coworking, Collaborating, Creating at Your Library

#YesWeCode: From the 'Hood to Silicon Valley

Hubble: Touching the Universe

A Conversation with Henry Rollins

Diversity in STEM: Nurture or Nature

Curious Bridges: How Designers Grow the Future

Mark Duplass Keynote

LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner in Conversation w/ Dazed's Tim Noakes

Find the Librarians at SXSW Interactive

on Thu, 03/12/2015 - 19:28

If you've stumbled upon the lib*interactive site (formerly #sxswLAM) during SXSW Interactive, and you're interested in meeting some lib*folk, we invite you to join us at any of these social activities. Everything except the official meetup is  free and doesn't require a SXSW badge. We hope that you will come out and join us! We're a friendly group and we love meeting new people.

Be sure to check out the list of library-related sessions on the official Interactive schedule here. Full schedule, including the sessions happening at the IdeaDrop house are here.

Friday, March 13th, 5:30 PM
Unofficial Meetup - Sponsored by EveryLibrary
Mugshots - 407 E 7th Street
Saturday, March 14th, 9-10:30 AM
Breakfast at IdeaDrop - Sponsored by ProQuest and Mobile Beacon
1706 Garden Street
Sunday, March 15th, 9-10:30 AM
Breakfast at IdeaDrop - Sponsored by ProQuest and Mobile Beacon
1706 Garden Street
Monday, March 16th, 11 AM-12 PM
JW Marriott, Room 508
110 E 2nd Street
Monday, March 16th, 5:30 PM
Unofficial Meetup
Mugshots - 407 E 7th Street

Librarians continue to bring energy, ideas to SXSW Interactive

on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 02:47

The lib*interactive team issued the release below this morning to help spread the word about library- and museum-inspired sessions and lib*interactive's advocacy work at SXSW Interactive.

Librarians continue to bring energy, ideas to SXSW Interactive

lib*interactive showcases how libraries are ‘not the same old shhh’

AUSTIN – March 9, 2015 – To raise awareness of the innovation and technology happening in libraries today, and to highlight the ways in which librarians support entrepreneurship, library advocates and industry leaders from across the U.S. will attend the 2015 SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, March 13-17.

Advocating as lib*interactive (formerly sxswLAM), this volunteer-led group of library thought-leaders have attended, presented and actively recruited their colleagues to participate in SXSW Interactive over the past several years. This year expands upon the group’s success with new energy and ideas, including a plethora of library- and museum-inspired programs.

“Librarians are creators in the digital age,” says Carson Block, a library technology consultant and lib*interactive organizer. “We want to share with and learn from other creators. It’s as simple – and profoundly effective – as that.”

lib*interactive encourages librarians to be a part of the SXSW Interactive conversation to learn about emerging and interactive technologies, develop partnerships and find new ideas to take back to their libraries and communities. SXSW also provides a venue on a national stage to help people understand how libraries have changed in the 21st century.

“EveryLibrary goes to SXSW Interactive to talk to starters, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists about librarians and libraries,” says John Chrastka, executive director of EveryLibrary, a library advocacy organization dedicated to preserving local library funding. “Librarians are early adopters who train the public on how to use wearables, apps and devices. Librarians provide important business reference, market intelligence, and supply-chain analytics to help businesses grow. Libraries are huge data centers, and librarians are the original taxonomists. EveryLibrary wants to bring a renewed awareness of these valuable institutions and the informational professionals who run them.”

Media are invited to learn more about the evolving role of 21st century libraries by attending some of the SXSW Interactive sessions recommended by lib*interactive. Follow all of lib*interactive’s on-site initiatives via Twitter at @lib_interactive and #liblove on social channels.

Coworking, Collaborating, Creating at Your Library

Sunday, March 15, 9:30-10:30 am
JW Marriott, Salon 1

Starting in mid-2013, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., embarked on a journey to transform itself into a place for residents of diverse backgrounds and interests to connect, learn and "make" ideas into working realities. The space is called the Dream Lab, and the library already has attracted more than 87 local entrepreneurial projects. One of these projects is MapStory, an online social cartographic platform that empowers anyone to map historical change over time using open data.

In exchange for membership in the Dream Lab, each project commits to offering one hour of programming per month to engage the public in their efforts and ideas – extending the social network and empowering the community in a transformative way. Nicholas Kerelchuk, manager of the D.C. Public Library Digital Commons; Jonathan Marino, director of content and strategy at The MapStory Foundation; and Larra Clark, program director at the American Library Association; will discuss these collaborations and how libraries are helping to catalyze learning and action, building a stronger knowledge economy for all.

Anythink: The Brand that Sparked a Revolution

Sunday, March 15, 1:15-1:30 pm
Austin Convention Center, Ballroom B

Fueled by a combination of necessity, tenacity, creativity, collaboration, authenticity and straight-up guts, Anythink transformed itself from the worst-funded library system in Colorado to one of the most recognized brands in the industry. By focusing on creating amazing experiences for its customers, Anythink has designed a new approach to library service that has sparked a revolution in libraries not just in Colorado by around the world.

In this Future15 presentation, Anythink Director of Innovations and Brand Strategy Stacie Ledden will share how putting the customer experience first, building a strong culture and embracing change can help build word-of-mouth marketing that shifts perceptions and inspires brand loyalty.

“At Anythink, we’ve developed a brand inspired by our vision to put customers first, whether they visit the library to discover something new, learn how to start a business, use our tools to design a new product or collaborate on a project,” says Ledden. “While this evolution has been happening in libraries for some time, we need to change how we tell our story and market ourselves. This challenge isn’t unique to libraries but to all industries, so we are excited to share some of our lessons learned with the SXSW Interactive community.” 

Do You Library? Meet Up

Monday, March 16, 11 am-12 pm
JW Marriot, Room 508

Do YOU library? Connect with some of the nation’s most creative, forward-thinking library professionals and supporters to find out how to leverage libraries as a platform to fuel your passions and successes. By gathering with other thought-leaders in this informal setting, you’ll learn how libraries (and librarians) are fostering entrepreneurship, transforming their spaces into showrooms for prototyping and discovery, and helping to build more knowledgeable communities. Libraries have evolved into places that support ideas, creativity and exploration through participation, where users take the reigns to define their own experience. This informal meet-up is designed the same way: Bring your ideas, questions, challenges and good spirits no matter from which industry you hail to learn how libraries are not the same old shhh.

Big Data Startups Should Hire Librarians

Monday, March 16, 3:30-4:30 pm
JW Marriott, Room 408-409

For startups and technology companies looking to harness the power of information, expertise can be found in the form of librarians. Jeffrey Lancaster, former emerging technologies coordinator at Columbia University Libraries and current senior project manager for New Water Culture, will give both startups and libraries a vocabulary to understand how skills practiced by librarians translate to technology companies. From their expertise in a variety of diverse startup-centric issues like copyright, standards and open information, librarians have a skill set especially important to growing technology companies.

“The traditional meaning of ‘librarian’ no longer fully describes what librarians do,” says Lancaster. “Library and information professionals are adopting new roles and startups, specifically big data startups, should look to librarians for expertise in information organization.”

For a full list of lib*interactive-recommended presentations at SXSW Interactive 2015, visit

About lib*interactive

lib*interactive is a passionate group of library professionals and supporters who promote the intersection of libraries and technology at SXSW Interactive. Their advocacy is rooted in the need to shift perceptions of libraries, as well as innovate and propel the industry forward. By providing early access to technology and data, makerspaces, coworking opportunities and the expertise of information professionals – librarians – libraries are helping to support the emerging information and technology landscape. Learn more at

sxswLAM is now lib*interactive

on Sun, 03/01/2015 - 23:31

In anticipation of SXSW 2015, sxswLAM is now lib*interactive. lib*interactive represents the evolution of our group, and as we continue to build on past successes and widen our reach, we wanted a name that supports our vision and opens frontiers - just like libraries do for people in our communities.

Still the same great group of people with continued energy and passion - now with a new name!

The best way to stay in the loop on all lib*interactive happenings is via our Facebook group. Follow @lib_interactive on Twitter as well. Contribute to the conversation via all your favorite social channels with the #liblove tag.

Thanks as always for your support! We appreciate your help in spreading the word.

Your 2015 Guide to LAM Sessions

on Sun, 02/22/2015 - 23:02

With just a few weeks away, here's your annual round-up of library- and museum-inspired sessions for 2015. Part of our vision for attending SXSW Interactive is to break out of our normal bubbles. We also attend to help propel libraries and museums into the forefront of people's minds. We do that by getting as many LAM-related topics on the docket as we can. Show your support for the LAM movement, friends and colleagues by peppering your session schedule with a few of these great programs.

Anythink: The Brand that Sparked a Revolution

Big Data Startups Should Hire Librarians

Coworking, Collaborating, Creating at Your Library

Do You Library? Meet Up (Not to be missed! Connect with colleagues from around the country during our official SXSWi meet-up.)

Gaming for Good: Using Games to Create Change

How a Library Visit Will Differentiate Your Brand

How Latina Moms Are Raising NextGen Coders

Life in the OASIS: Emulating the 1980s in-Browser

Making the Museum of Food and Drink

Museums Today: More than Social Media Posts

Sparking True Imagination in a Digital Environment

When New Businesses Hatch at The Public Library

Don't see your presentation on the list? Post a link to the comments below, and we'll get it added!

Vote sxswLAM! Panel voting is now open

on Thu, 08/14/2014 - 04:02

The SXSW PanelPicker is now open for public voting. Our goal is to get as many LAM-related panels on the docket for 2015 as we can, but we need your help. Thirty percent of the decision to pick a panel is based on public input; learn about the other variables here. Sign up for an account, and get your votes in before Friday, Sept. 5. Please add comments to the proposals to show your support, and share far and wide! Selected panels will be announced starting Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.

Below is a handy list of sxswLAM panels. Let the voting begin!

SXSW Interactive Panels

Anythink: The Brand that Sparked a Revolution

Big Data Startups Should Hire Librarians

Coworking, Creating, Doing Business @ your library

Digital roadmap for bookstores and libraries

How Not to Irk & Alienate Your Fanbase

Libraries as Playgrounds for Digital Natives

Measuring Mom? Quantify What Really Matters

Sparking True Imagination in a Digital Environment

We want to be your showroom

When New Businesses Hatch at The Public Library

Your Hometown SuperPowerHouse: Library as Platform

SXSWedu Panels

Animation Makerspace: Digital Media & the Library

Connected Learning Networks in Austin

Creating Citywide Connected Learning Ecosystems 

Free on the internet! Open Educational Resources

Hacking the Culture of Learning in the Library

How To Distribute Docs to the Educational Market 

Librarians: Superheroes in Danger of Extinction?

Play & Learn: Games and Instructional Practices 

Schools & Libraries Together: Rethinking Learning

Schools' Vortex: Innovative Library 'Makerspaces' 

Other Awesome Panels You Should Vote For

Underage@SXSW: No Parties? No Problem!

Don't see your panel listed here? Leave a comment below or post to the sxswLAM Facebook group, and we'll get it added to the list.

Food for thought

on Sun, 07/13/2014 - 17:38

As part of our planning for SXSWi 2014, we put together some criteria to help us evaluate our onsite ideas. With so many players and partners, we needed a few guidelines that would help us really look at the "why" behind our ideas so that we could put our energy towards the ones that would have the greatest impact.

After recently revisiting these criteria, we realized some may also be useful in thinking about panel submissions, due Friday, July 25.

A few things to consider when shaping your proposal...

Does it help people think differently about libraries?

Does the initiative help break the stereotypes about libraries (and librarians)?

Does it help people understand how libraries are relevant to them?

We’ve found that counting on people’s altruistic nature isn’t always effective (e.g. talking digital divide). Does the panel help communicate how libraries can impact their lives/biz in a way they can relate, understand and be inspired?

Is it daring?

SXSW is all about breaking the mold - our panels should do the same.

Is it active vs. passive?

They call it  SXSW "Interactive" for a reason. In libraries, we're seeing a shift from a passive>participatory experience. Does your panel proposal reflect this shift? Rather than just talking at people, can you engage them as active participants?

Do you have other criteria you're using for your own proposals? If so, please share!

Impact by Collaboration: A SXSWi Phenomenon

on Tue, 03/11/2014 - 15:06

Beyond the gadgets, apps and mind-blowing new ideas at SXSWi, the most powerful takeaway from this year's festival was collaborative impact.

Our group of passionate librarians and supporters infiltrated this year's festival in a big way, and we even surprised ourselves at how far-reaching our impact was in 2014. Our most effective tool was the conversation - one-on-one advocacy with tech leaders, students, entrepreneurs, innovators, fellow librarians and even celebrities. The conversation went like this: Libraries and the tech industry are a perfect match. Libraries are now places that support creativity and content creation, the perfect location for prototyping and user testing new products. They provide the perfect space for co-working and collaboration. They are spaces that inspire ideas, creativity and innovation. Most importantly, librarians are your trusted partners, here to support your personal and entrepreneurial success.

Most of the people we talked to didn't need much convincing. More than once we heard, "My mom is a librarian!" or "My dad is a librarian!" Also, "I take my daughter to the library every week." One man even spoke about how he started his business at his local library.

"We needed a room and a white board," said Zachary Barker, founder of Opportunity Machine. The first place he thought of was his local library.

That is the purpose of this wild librarian adventure: Let's get libraries at the forefront of people's minds. By facilitating these conversations, the next time one of these SXSW attendees launches a new product, starts a new business or researches a new service model, we hope they'll remember our conversations and know the library's on their side.

These conversations were wide-reaching, influenced by the depth of collaboration between this year's partners.

The sxswLAM team specialized in their fun, on-the-fly street advocacy through it's "Do you library?" campaign. Attendees were asked to tweet to their local libraries to say hello, good job, see ya soon, or even sorry about those overdue fines. In return, they got a sweet coozie that proudly displayed, "Not the same old SHHH..." This was a great way to connect SXSWi attendees from all over the country with their local libraries, and in turn, the libraries learned about sxswLAM. Our goal was to tweet to 20 libraries, and our team will wrap up today well beyond that.

The team's success this year was largely due to our presence on site in the SXSW Trade Show. Through the help of Joe Murphy, Innovative Interfaces sponsored a booth - not just to market their products but to market librarians. This was a space where we could talk with attendees in an informal, fun setting and have those important conversations about how libraries fit into people's lives (and business plans).

Sandy and Bonnie Tijerina from ER&L found the perfect location for this year's IdeaDrop house, a space not far from the convention center where people came together to connect, share ideas and discuss important topics in libraries and beyond. With the help of their fabulous AV tech Albert, the house not only live streamed conversations from librarians and thought-leaders, there was a "confessional" where people could record their thoughts on SXSW and librarianship. They also live streamed the Ed Snowden simulcast so we could avoid the crowds, enjoy mimosas and watch together from the comfort of the couch.

EveryLibrary ensured we were well fed and well connected over the course of the weekend, sponsoring breakfast each morning at the IdeaDrop house and meet-ups at our favorite Austin jaunt Mugshots. John Chrastka, this week named a 2014 Mover and Shaker, talked with start-ups and venture capitalists about how investing in libraries is investing in a healthy economic future. At breakfast each morning, we'd discuss our successes from the day before, what we were excited about, what we had planned for the next day.

A serendipidous and delightful addition this year was the presence of the Labrary, Library Test Kitchen's prototype library space out of Harvard. Jeff Goldenson and Jessica Yurkofsky are two of the coolest people you'll ever meet and converged on the lawn of Austin's O'Henry Museum to show off their student-designed library machines. They provided inspiration and participation to SXSWi attendees, showcasing the possibilities and creativity that abound in libraries.

The radical team of Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito took to the streets of Austin as the Volunteer Library Brigade, conducting story times and street reference for awe-inspired passersby. The passion of this power duo is infectious, and they brought fresh ideas to this year's efforts.

The turnout of librarians this year was astounding. The long list of partners impressive, so much so that it's difficult to list them all here.

Fueled by undeniable passion and hundreds of volunteer hours, this year's initiatives culminated into five days of determined, strategic, effective library advocacy. This model of collaboration was an important reminder of how powerful we can be when working towards a common goal and the greater impact we have when supporting each other, inspiring each other and working together to help push libraries forward.