Notes from AzLA: Jamie LaRue Keynote & Wrap-up

Today I offer you a guest post from AzLA attendee and ASU Librarian Linda Shackle. Thanks, Linda! She took notes on keynote speaker Jamie LaRue’s opening and closing speeches. From Linda’s notes:


Jamie LaRue

I really liked that our keynote speaker started us off on the morning of the first day and then stayed and helped us wrap up the conference on the second day.   That was a great idea (I don’t know if LaRue wanted to do that or if we asked him to do it – either way I thought it worked out great).

Another thing I liked about LaRue was that he not only gave us “theory” (the world is changing, libraries and librarians need to change, too) but actually gave us concrete examples of how his library has gone about changing staff activities/roles/responsibilities and the results of those changes.

What I copied from his keynote speech was:

  • For changes, expect more opposition to come from within than from without
  • Displays and exhibits can increase circulation
  • Librarians like to search; our clientele like to find (An oldie but a goodie that I like to keep reminding myself)
  • Find out the questions that your clientele will never tell you
  • Our greatest asset is our credibility (this was in relation to the reference work that one of their librarians had done for a community project)
  • Hates the term “embedded” – does that mean we’re still asleep?
  • Be community-centric; that’s where your power lies.
  • Be rockstar reference librarians and community leaders
  • For goals, ask what decisions  are you going to be making in the next 18-24 months
  • Recommended “Being Wrong: Adventures in the margin of error” by Kathyrn Schulz
    • ASU Libraries:
    • WorldCat:
    • Eric Larson (author) told Jamie that half of Larson’s current sales are in the e-book format
      (Which matches EXACTLY my collection of Larson’s works;  I have “Devil in the White City” and “Issac’s Storm” in print and “Thunderstruck” and “The Garden of Beasts” on my Nook)
    • Once people get an e-book reader, that becomes their preferred format (In my case, so true!)
    • Two-thirds of what is being published today is not in our libraries
    • His favorite quote from a customer’s book review “A decent book, not really worth reading.”
    • LaRue’s Laws of Leadership:
      • Anything is possible
      • It’s a miracle anything works (so celebrate when anything goes right)
      • Fun can change behavior
      • And last but not least …
        “Are you going to Disneyland or Boise?  If it’s Boise, you’re on the wrong bus.”


In case you missed it, Jamie LaRue posted a follow-up blog post to his speeches, including further notes on his closing address. Furthermore, Library Journal picked up on Jamie’s thoughts from AzLA and elaborated upon them in an opinion piece. (Thank you to ASU Librarian Anali Perry for spotting this!)

I’m still waiting on hearing about where presenters’ slides from AzLA will be posted online, but I’ll definitely share that information as soon as I get it.

Do you have notes from the conference? Please share them!

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