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GCN : March 2013
EDITOR'S DESK BY PAUL MCCLOSKEY HOW TO REACH THE STAFF You can reach staff members of 1105 Government Information Group. A list of staff members can be found online at www.gcn. com. Go to Contact GCN andclick on GCN Editors, Writers, Staff and Beats. Staff members of the 1105 Government Information Group can also be reached by e-mail, phone, fax or mail.E- MAIL: To e-mail staff members, please use the naming convention of rst initial followed by their last name @1105govinfo.com. So John Smith would be firstname.lastname@example.org. PHONE OR FAX: The switchboard is open weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. After 5:30 p.m. you will be directed to individual extensions. VIENNA OFFICE: (703) 876-5100; Fax (703) 876-5059. 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215. CORPORATE OFFICE: (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m. PT) Telephone 818-814-5200; Fax 818-734-1522 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: Go to gcn.com/pressroom REPRINTS: For all editorial and advertising reprints of 100 copies or more,and digital (Web-based) reprints, contact PARS International, Phone (212) 221-9195, E-mail: 1105reprints@ parsintl.com/QuickQuote.asp EDITORIAL STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF PAUL McCLOSKEY MANAGING EDITOR KEVIN McCANEY EDITORS/WRITERS MANAGING EDITOR ONLINE SUSAN MILLER MANAGING EDITOR PRINT DAVID HUBLER MANAGING EDITOR HEATHER KULDELL SOCIAL MEDIA SENIOR EDITOR RUTRELL YASIN GCN LAB DIRECTOR JOHN BREEDEN II SENIOR WRITER WILLIAM JACKSON STAFF WRITER GREG CROWE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MICHAEL DACONTA, KATHLEEN HICKEY, PATRICK MARSHALL, SHAWN MCCARTHY, EDITORIAL/ONLINE PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR JEFF LANGKAU ASSISTANT DRAGUTIN CVIJANOVIC ART DIRECTOR SENIOR WEB BISWARUP DESIGNERS BHATTACHARJEE MARTIN PEACE PRESIDENT & CHIEF ANNE A. ARMSTRONG CONTENT OFFICER CHIEF OPERATING ABRAHAM M. LANGER OFFICER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT JENNIFER WEISS & GROUP PUBLISHER VICE PRESIDENT, CARMEL McDONAGH MARKETING PRESIDENT & CHIEF NEAL VITALE EXECUTIVE OFFICER SENIOR VICE RICHARD VITALE PRESIDENT & CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER EXECUTIVE MICHAEL J. VALENTI VICE PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT, CHRISTOPHER M. COATE FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION VICE PRESIDENT, ERIK A. LINDGREN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT VICE PRESIDENT, DAVID F. MYERS EVENT OPERATIONS CHAIRMAN OF JEFFREY S. KLEIN THE BOARD www.gcn.com Volume 32 Issue 3 Bexar County, Texas, caused a stir among librarians recently when it announced it would launch a bookless library branch this fall. The project, called BiblioTech, would offer about 10,000 titles that patrons could check out and access remotely via e-readers and mobile devic- es, as well as about 100 tablets, laptops and desktop comput- ers that will be made available inside the branch. Technical help with computers would be offered to patrons, but reference assistance would be cut. The plan represents an at- tempt by the county to pro- vide traditional public library services in a low-cost, digitally accessible and commercially inviting style. And that s no accident: "If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wol told the San Antonio Express-News. Except that Apple stores don t serve café lattes. BiblioTech would. Will it fly? It could. However the public feels about the new mix of services, the business proposition is hard to beat: access to the latest books and videos at no (retail) charge. But there are some caveats. Over the long run, simply o er- ing digital or mobile access to its collection is a pretty old technol- ogy model. It s the equivalent of giving the public one-way access to public documents over the In- ternet, a staple of e-government for nearly 20 years. To maintain a healthy level of patronage, libraries, like schools, will have to keep up with the latest media formats, including social media, intelligent browsing and educa- tional gaming. And doing away with human reference assistance, while a cost-saver, might be a mistake, taking the library a step further from being a center of both research and learning and a step closer to being just a publicly funded Internet café. Even so, Bexar County should be credited for having the civic wherewithal to bet on a new model for public libraries, a battle for relevance that other agencies with educational and training missions must also confront. For instance, although the Defense Department is not fac- ing extinction anytime soon, it is also dependent on the latest training techniques to keep its fighting edge and attract recruits. Today s recruits, like contemporary high school and college students, are digital natives whose learning habits are heavily influenced by multi- channel social media sessions, texting formats and hyper-defi- nition video "worlds." That s part of the reason that Thomas Mastre, director of the Naval Postgraduate School s Center for Educational Design, Development, and Distribution, says it is essential for education- al courses to be designed specifi- cally for these new technologies. "If you take a course that has been designed for the class- room and simply port it to the [mobile learning] environment, that will be a poorly designed course," he told GCN in a story on mobile learning technology in this month s issue. The usual methods for research, learning and training must be constantly reinvented as these new tech- nologies emerge, he warns. And over the long run, success in doing so might mean the dif- ference in whether courseware catches fire with learners and projects like BiblioTech become libraries or just a nice place for a cup of co ee and texting with friends.• LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE -- OR STARBUCKS.ORG? 6 GCN MARCH 2013 • GCN.COM GCN (ISSN 0738-4300) is published monthly by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Ste. 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Periodicals postage paid at Chatsworth, CA 91311-9998, and at additional mailing of ces. Complimentary subscriptions are sent to qualifying subscribers. Annual subscription rates payable in U.S. funds for non-quali ed subscribers are: U.S. $125.00, International $165.00. Subscription inquiries, back issue requests, and address changes: Mail to: GCN, P.O. Box 2166, Skokie, IL 60076-7866, call (866) 293-3194, outside U.S. (847) 763-9560; fax (847) 763-9564 or email GCNmag@1105service.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to GCN, P.O. Box 2166, Skokie, IL 60076-7866. 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