Friday, April 13, 2007

Suggested reading list of non-library books, Part 1

Over the past few years, I've been reading a number of books that aren't library-related, but have had a major impact on my ideas on librarianship. Here's a suggested reading list, somewhat annotated and in no particular order:

Books I've Read
The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell. Ah, the book that started it all (at least for me). Reading through Gladwell's theories on how information and popularity pass through a population woke my brain up and got me rolling. I may have been late to the party, but I'm trying to make up for it now.

The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida. Near as I can tell, the members of the Creative Class are the folks that we are losing as library patrons, year after year. They're connected online, they want experiences over "stuff" and they are want everything as close to now as possible. Florida gives us a good idea of who we're dealing with and how we might best serve them.

The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garrett. His primary topic is website design, but his theories on what makes a good user experience apply to what happens every time a patron enters our environment, be it online or through bricks and mortar. A short, quick read.

Naked Conversations, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. This is a seminal book on the increasing expectation of transparency from businesses and organization on the part of customers. Through blogs and other social computing spaces (review sites, etc), organizations have an opportunity to interact with their users in ways that will make everyone happy. Scoble and Israel explain why; Michael Casey and Michael Stephens will be explaining why it's specifically important for libraries.

Ambient Findability, Peter Morville. To quote the FatDux: "A fabulously eloquent work that describes, questions, embraces, and exposes the tools and techniques we use to gather inspiration and wisdom in our brave new world." Exactly that. Also, a short read.

The Long Tail, Chris Anderson. I was mentally writing up the blog posts about this book as I was reading it. If you read nothing else, make sure this one ends up on the nightstand. With consortia and larger systems growing and resources diminshing, the principles of the Long Tail should have a serious impact on how libraries approach obtaining and maintaining their physical resources. A vital read.

Books I Haven't Read....Yet
Everyware: the dawning age of ubiquitous computing, Adam Greenfield. FatDux: "Adam Greenfield has graduated from “information architect” to “messiah.” Here, 81 theses, in seven sections, proclaim that traditional computers will disappear. In the future, info will appear, as if by magic, when and where we need it. We like the title."

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Henry Jenkins. The website for the MIT study group.

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. The website for the book

Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell. For completions' sake, really.

And, just in case you're looking for some more technical stuf, check out the FatDux list of books.

This is just Part I in a series, mostly because I don't have all my (paper) lists in front of me. Enjoy!

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