Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians sponsored by
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#236, January 7, 2005

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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My Writings
A bibliography of my published articles and columns, with links to those available online.

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Order My Books

Net Effects: How Librarians Can Manage the Unintended Consequences of the Internet, and The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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E-Mail Subscription?

For a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and return to the page to enter the new address.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. Corollary: Who Cares?
  3. The answer depends on the question
  4. Research is a multi-stage process
  5. Ask a Librarian
  6. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  7. Information can be true and still wrong
  8. Pay attention to the jokes

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer
  19. Walt Crawford
  20. Molly Williams
  21. Genie Tyburski
  22. Patrice McDermott
  23. Carrie Bickner
  24. Karen G. Schneider
  25. Roddy MacLeod, Part I
  26. Roddy MacLeod, Part II
  27. John Hubbard
  28. Micki McIntyre
  29. Péter Jacsó

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 750 and 1000 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Write me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related.

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How To Find Out of Print Books
Suggested strategies, resources, and finding tools.

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/default.htmThe directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
an occasional column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page


By Tia Dobi

"Having lost hope of ever returning to the source of everything, the average man seeks solace in his selfishness." - Carlos Castaneda in his book The Power of Silence.

I'm a copywriter. And this is my confession: Only the power of intent propels.

Propels what? Everything. You. Me. Metro buses. Sales. O.K. This you believe. Or you find yourself ending up in the wrong place a lot of the time. But how 'bout Castaneda's quote? Thankfully, in the human realm libraries are the source of everything. And librarians are not your average women. Or men. (Fact check:; And librarians certainly aren't selfish. Just take a look at their salaries. (Or see previous 2 statements).

So what is propelling librarians, or at least libraries (and even the image of) into 2005? Well, for starters, the American Library Association (ALA) has signed a 4-year deal with TV sitcom star and comedian George Lopez. For some of his storylines to include literacy, reading and libraries. (Will the producers be literate enough to film at America's favorite library just 35 miles down the road in Cerritos?) The ALA has also introduced its national library campaign "The Smarter Card." An across-America first, is 'smarter' the smartest word for a smart card? (Stay tuned to this series as we uncover copywriting secrets that propel your intent - in future issues).

Here's something fun. And profitable. "Their long legs sliding smoothly over the soft, backlit couch, eyes making contact with no one, lest their piercing stares be seen, 12 Dallas County Librarians posed for a 2005 calendar shoot," says a Dallas County [IA] News Online article (

God bless America. God bless those librarians. Indeed. Their product is selling like hotcakes. (Note to marketeurs: Include area code in all published phone numbers. And Internet link to product. Ensuring both work will also appeal to your customers spending choice).

Of course, the grandest futuristic library announcement (for today anyway) is that Google is creating a digital card catalog and searchable library for the world's books, scholarly papers and special collections. Will libraries have to rethink their central missions as storehouses of printed, indexed material? What is the core intent of a library? Because of its vastness, is it realistic to think a library can have just one core intent? Stick with me and let's see.

Brand stickiness

"Our world is about to change in a big, big way," said Daniel Greenstein, university librarian for the California Digital Library of the University of California, which is a project to organize and retain existing digital materials.

Instead of expending considerable time and money to managing their collections of printed materials, Greenstein said, libraries in the future can devote more energy to gathering information and making it accessible -- and more easily manageable -- online.

But Paul LeClerc, the president and chief executive of the New York Public Library, sees Web access as an expansion of libraries' reach, not a replacement for physical collections. "Librarians will add a new dimension to their work," LeClerc said. "They will not abandon their mission of collecting printed material and keeping them for decades and even centuries."

Hmmm, not being a librarian, my life is constructed around this mission. "[The desire] to create campaigns and write the words that send the sale of products through the roof [is irresistible]." For me, personally, I attempt to return to the source of everything on a daily basis, and I refuse to be the "average" that Castaneda describes. And last month's article invited you to delve into deep library questions like: Who are we?" (Just in the knick of time, given the immediate future posed by Google and others.)

The Power of Intent

Now, Google's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have long vowed to make all of the world's information accessible to anyone with a Web browser. Which exemplifies the intent of intention: Learning to co-create your world your way. Brin and Page need libraries. You need customers. Google lives its intent naturally. It's ingrained. Intention is something you can feel, connect with, know and trust. It's the source of all creation. In all its forms. Thoughts. Behaviours. Products. Business decisions.

Purpose carries with it a vibe that cannot be denied. It's the law of attraction. (Thankfully, we didn't manufacture it or we'd snuffed ourselves out eons ago). But we can tap into it! Yes, there are extraordinary benefits linking to indexed texts on the web. Too, there are infinite benefits increasing the library experience for yourself and others when connected to a shared intention. Afterall, who will own the Google project? Google? The Ivy League of Libraries? The book authors? Corporate sponsors? Banner advertisers? Someone on the other side of the world? Me? You?

United we brand

Remember that ad "Be A Model. Or Just Look Like One"? We know the campaign worked really really well. How? Because its premise was an undisputable law. The selling words of modeling school are based on this Truth of human behaviour: "Ownership is everything." Actually, the feeling of ownership is enough. Feeling = reality. We own via experience. This may be 'the experience economy,' and in actual, it always has been. (Circa caveperson days.) How can we make participating at the library a better experience?

For the answer, let's turn to a man who has won 300 national and international advertising awards. As an art director, then writer, this always creative director has built companies into household names. Dell, Apple, Kia, Cisco, California Cooler, Reebok. And smaller, local establishments. Black Angus Restaurants, Jerome's Bar-B-Q, and David Grisman's Acoustic Disc Records.

Today, Mike Moser gives his time and talents to schools, non-profits and small businesses that were having a hard time being seen and heard in this marketing-saturated culture. More than 2 decades of working at the top with the crème de la crème sales talents resulted in Moser creating a brand roadmap. Because all successful marketing campaigns and companies use a similar tool, and theirs are proprietary, Mike has published his. And right now you can cash in on the first key to projecting a unique, external brand. Which is understanding your company's internal character.

Solid to the Core

I touched on this last month ( Some of you wrote in asking for more guided specifics. You either had: too many words. Not enough. Or word choices that you felt didn't reflect your organization. Here's a list compiled by Mike and the book "America's Greatest Brands" (2001). Circulate it to each of your departments and let them convene. The goal? Choose up to 8 items. Then narrow it down to: 4.

Community Nurturing
Innovation Value
Diversity Reliability
Trust Positive Outlook
Irreverence Underpromise, overdeliver
Teamwork Family
Competitiveness Entertainment
Connection Authenticity
Commitment Disclosure
Fun Performance
Simplicity Comfort
The Golden Rule Health
Responsiveness Education
Pragmatism People
Sense of urgency Precision
Safety Affordability
Integrity Knowledge
Quality Cleanliness
Fairness Security
Honest Advanced Technology
Growth Customer focus
Creativity (Pick your own)

The rules. When making your choices, keep the answers to these questions in mind:

  • Which values (behaviours) are so inherent, that if they disappeared your company would cease to exist as it is?
  • Which ones does your company consistently adhere to in the face of all obstacles? What are you committed to 100% of the time?
  • Does the word passionate come to mind as you apply a value?
  • Which core values does the culture(s) you serve value?
  • Write your company's tombstone epitaph. "If we went out of business today, what would our customer miss?" (i.e.: "" I would miss their selection and value".)
  • Are your core values people oriented or product oriented?

    Get personal

    Essentially, we're answering the question: "Why do you exist?" So you can return daily to that 'source of everything'. And furthermore, what sets you apart? So you can embrace your stamp of individuality.

    To get people outside your organization (that would be everyone else except you) to understand and buy into the core values you've listed, including a paragraph explaining why that particular value defines your company is good practice. This can help new employees, too, understand how and why you position yourself in the marketplace the way you do. By the way, it also prevents management schizophrenia. And empowers employees to make consistent, in-the-moment decisions without running to ask "the boss".

    Here's one example from a brand roadmap:

    Expertise and substance (from Corporation for Supportive Housing): "Every message should be grounded in facts. Every solution should be actionable and relevant to the lives of our tenants. Every message should make that person or organization want to be a part of our workable, proven solution to relevant information having to do with supportive housing for the chronically homeless. Information is power in this culture. We need to have the information and wield that power to get things done."

    The best information gadget this Holiday

    There is no limit to the press profit and provocation one establishes with intention. Each community needs community. Every business needs data - especially marketing, advertising and communication firms. (OK, add the other trade types here.) All schools need learning. People crave entertainment. What are you waiting for? With $billion deals in the news, you can enjoy what the big boys have. Publicised intent.

    Why wouldn't it be juicy to send out a sparkling press release announcing your library's brand in 2005?

    A-ha. I thought so. And now, gentle reader, I'm going to ask you to check out a book. And then delve into it. United We Brand, by Mike Moser. Use the detailed, easy worksheets. To propel your intentions into 2005 and beyond. Transition into a happy New Year. Carry this vision: "During an earthquake, a bowl of blue jello." For instance: Sudden moves may be on the horizon. Expect fresh ideas or actions to soon initiate an unusual business alliance. Promotions, improved income or fresh opportunities may all be on the agenda. Stay alert to highly creative projects. This will help you to master the pro-communications industry. And reap its sweet rewards.

    Let me know how it grows.

    Tia Dobi is a copywriter and library fanatic in Los Angeles. Reach her now at [email protected]

    Other articles in this series:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
  • Part 6

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    One of the biggest challenges facing librarianship is relevance... We struggle to remain relevant because we are a hidden profession.

    Myra Michele Brown. "Can I Have Your Autograph?" American Libraries, November, 2004.

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    Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2005.

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