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Mob Rule Learning: Librarian and Blogger Michelle Boule Trashes the Talking Head

October 31, 2011, Medford, NJ—Information Today, Inc. (ITI) announced the publication of Mob Rule Learning: Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head by author, blogger and Library Journal Mover & Shaker Michelle Boule.

In Mob Rule Learning, Boule explains why traditional conferences and learning environments increasingly fail to meet the needs of professionals. She looks at the impact of “mob rule” on continuing education and training, and shows how an array of new solutions—including camps, unconferences, and peer learning strategies—are putting the power of knowledge back in the hands of those who need it most.

“Conferences and other continuing education experiences should be about information and the community that grows from the experience of transferring that information,” says Boule in the book’s Introduction. “Instead, conferences and learning have become things that revolve around talking heads, the experts, and what they have to share. Community has been lost in the process. Thankfully, there is a movement afoot of people who are creating their own mobs outside of the accepted sphere of professional practice.”

“The world around our students has changed, but teaching methods have not kept pace,” says Cole W. Camplese, senior director of Teaching and Learning With Technology at Penn State University. “Boule provides impetus for rethinking the issues and practical ideas for addressing the opportunities.” The goal of an unconference is sharing and learning; instead of attendees listening passively to a speaker who is considered an expert in the field, there are participants who actively engage with one another and who are all considered experts in their professions and passions.

In addition to providing a step-by-step approach to planning a camp or unconference, Mob Rule Learning features numerous case studies, interviews, and examples of emerging education and training models for small and large organizations, businesses, and community groups. Boule wants professionals to start fostering the sense of community that has been lost among the presentations by talking heads and experts who offer personal experiences in their organizations, but don’t give advice on how the attendees’ organizations can benefit from their knowledge.

Praise for Mob Rule Learning:

Mob Rule Learning explores the unconference phenomenon and offers a roadmap for self-organizing learning communities … an important contribution.”

—Mark Kuznicki, co-organizer,
TransitCamp, ChangeCamp

“Boule does a great job describing the benefits and challenges of unconferences and how to successfully run them. But she doesn’t stop there—she extends the unconference idea into classrooms and organizations for corporate and student learning opportunities, too. A must-read!”

—David Lee King, author,
Designing the Digital Experience

Michelle Boule is a geek librarian living in Houston, Texas. She went to Texas A&M University and received her MLS from Texas Woman’s University. In 2008, she was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker. Michelle has created online learning environments, taught in-person classes, presented on a wide variety of technology and training subjects, shelved books, read books, written articles, organized unconferences, and participated in subversive activities in an effort to save the world. Michelle can be found online at A Wandering Eyre (

Mob Rule Learning: Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head (248 pp/softbound/ $24.95/ISBN 978-0-910965-92-7) is a CyberAge book published by Information Today, Inc. (ITI). It is available in bookstores and for ereaders through Independent Publishers Group (IPG) or by calling (800) 300-9868 [outside U.S. call (609) 654-6266]; faxing (609) 654-4309; emailing [email protected]; or on the web at