Monday, October 19, 2009

Southwest Days Conference in Colorado

I recently attended the Southwest Days in Durango, CO on Oct 8-9. Being a place I use to live and a workshop I use to help organize, I was thrilled to be back and enjoyed presenting both days of the conference on Creating a Green Environment @ your library. We had some great discussions as a group and found some new tips and ideas (such as libraries lending Kill-a-watt devices to patrons) all within the gorgeous new LEED certified gold, Durango Public Library.

I attended a few other sessions as well. Norice Lee - Head of Access Services @ NMSU Libraries - presented on library leadership, based on Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence ideas. She offered ideas on how to be a highly succeessful organization - some non librarian-y ideas worth considering. Norice also mentioned a book worth reading called Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams of Brookings Institute.

Going Social and Two Point Woah sessions with Michael Cox (Youth Services Librarian at pueblo city-county library) and Victoria Peterson (Technology Manager at Mancos Public Library) used the cool prezi presentation software to offer a jumping off place for the group to talk about any of the many subtopics such as Twitter, facebook, friendfeed or any other free online tools. As a group we jumped around to various tools, websites and apps, offering suggestions to each other and sharing since there are always new tools to explore. I discovered zamzar for free online file converting, National Geographic's Wildlife filmmaker/video mashup and animoto - a way to make quick, cool videos w/ music from your images. Irma Minerva also made an appearance as her facebook page was shown as a great example of a library (not a building or librarian) on facebook reaching users in a fun way.

Future of Libraries session was facilitated by Sharon Morris, Library Development Director of the Colorado State Library. Sharon led a wonderful group discussion first asking us what we loved about our job and then what we wondered about the future of libraries. Being a group of school, public and academic libraries, comments ranged but the overall realization was that librarians and libraries provide lots of benefits to users from teaching information literacy skills to providing unique gathering spaces in our buildings or online. One of the big issues is that we don't promote what we do or could do for people (for free!) well enough so people are not aware of the benefits of their libraries. We also need to be willing to shift, change and rethink what libraries are in order to stay relevant in the future. In thinking about the future of libraries, we determined a few ways we can strive to become more relevant to our communities:
  • We are the aggregators and creators of information; lets create ways to make it easier for our users to find what they need and start digitizing more unique resources we own.
  • Schools may be about teaching but libraries are about listening and self directed learning. Lets build our collections and create spaces that engage our community with ideas and stories.
  • We are the leaders in our communities; lets model behavior and ideas to guide us into the future.
  • Advocacy! we may think we are relevant and important but are we telling - and showing - this to our patrons ... or our non patrons?
  • Take time to look at your future: analyze stats, assess your needs (such as what are you demographics?); research changes over time, patterns and/or cycles; and most importantly stayed tuned in to new disruptive or revolutionary technologies to determine where the world might be headed and how libraries can play an important role.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.
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