In our ongoing eGathering profile series, we go one-on-one with each of our speakers to gain more insights into their professional background, areas of expertise, and presentation topic through short 5 question interviews.

Prior to founding his consulting firm, Evenly Distributed, Jason worked as the Head of IT for the University of TN at Chattanooga Library. Under the auspices of Evenly Distributed, Griffey is the designer and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system. He is also one of eight winners of a Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries grant for his Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces.

Jason Griffey’s Keynote address, “Each Time My Heart is Broken It Makes Me Feel More Adventurous,” is an exploration of what he calls the “bleeding” edge of technology. We all know failure (as an extension of trial and error) plays an important role in innovation.

How did you wind up working in and with libraries?

My initial graduate experience was in Philosophy, and I was introduced to library science by a friend who had dropped out of a PhD program in Spanish to get his MLS. After a tour of the library science program at UNC-Chapel Hill, and talking with some of the professors, I was sold. At the time, my main goal was to stay in academia, but not be forced to specialize in a narrow academic discipline. Libraries have definitely let me find my own way, and explore where needed.

How do you stay motivated when working on a project?

Through the sheer unbridled terror of failure.

What do you view as the primary objective of your work?

I have a few different aspects to what I do, but primarily I want to try and find or develop technology that can help libraries in the distribution of information to their communities. In speaking and presenting, I always try to tell the story of technology in such a way that illustrates its power and ability to change the world.

Why are you excited to Keynote at the LYRASIS eGathering?

I’m excited to get to present to such an awesome set of librarians! I’m also excited to be able to try out some new ideas…this is a completely new presentation for me, and I’m trying out something different. So it’s either going to go really well, or not. 🙂

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring technologists?

Don’t confuse your tools with your solutions.