Friday, April 16, 2010

Computers in Libraries 2010

April 12-15, Hannah, Amy, Lynda and I road tripped up to the Computers In Libraries conference in DC. We presented as a panel on Instructional Technology "its a team thing" and got some rave reviews from some librarians we admire including some blog posts (go us!) Lynda and I did an interactive presentation on Productivity Tools (read a review at But we also attended some great sessions. I particularly enjoyed:
  • Library Engagement through Open Data Session - visualization: This session talked about data - how yes it can be boring and poorly used, but used correctly, it can be a an asset: to library benefactors - by highlighting where the library is lacking and generate additional funds; to Lib admin – justify, activities, success/trends, internal PR; to general public - marketing, clear msgs (ex: google map mashup of admissions and visitors to site) ; and to Librarians - find anomalies or data outliers and determine if on the right track. The panel discussed various data source and tools. Some worth mentioning: IMA dashboard, IBM Many Eyes, and Google Chart visualization tools. They ended with some key lessons learned: Get support from admin, Define audience, Define your story, A lot of data manipulation, Google doc as repository, Leverage your coworkers efforts, and Do and redo.
  • Gen X Librarians Leading from the middle: The panel discussed Gen X and Tech, @ work and w/ leadership. Gen X is only ½ the size of the generation before and after. They explained how we grew up seeing technology quickly evolve so we can (generally speaking) more easily adapt to tech changes (vs those before us who didn't have computer as kids and those after us who expect it and have always had it) An interesting comparison: 40 years ago a $10,000 mean income – $10, 600 "kitchen computer" and today $57,000 mean income - $3,499 home computer. At work we tend to be the sandwich generation, in the classroom & w/ coworkers, helping to bridge the gaps from print to electronic, understanding both sides, and become good trainers. With leadership, we show independence, innovation, and individualism (OR - is it self centered, skeptical slackers :) Generally speaking we are good at mediating change, translating cultural norms, promoting innovation and also tend to be loyal to our workplace. Some one posed a question at the end why aren't more Gen Xers in leadership positions - do they not want to lead or is it the org just not flexible for us? ... or are the position just not available yet.
  • Training in the Cloud: 30 things in 20 minutes was awesome and be sure to check it out on their google site.
  • Mobile Libraries panel was interesting - they mentioned tools and idea like:
    Boopsie (customized mobile library aps); walk in mobile msg center (dok) that sends txt msg automatically to phones "Welcome to the library" along w/ some general info; offering charging stations in library; market the library w/ mobile – no print bookmarks please; group texting textPlus (like a blast email); offer contests - people like FREE; Terra (MSU); browser detection & feature detection (ex: NCSU – WURFL); mobilize your content now- start with lowest common denominator (even a simple mobile page will work w/ smart phones) - they compared lack of ada compliance (like elevators) to lacking access to mobile for those people today.
  • Ebooks - check out Copia, a social ereading experience; in California, everyone is moving to electronic textbooks; when getting started think about relevance to your library, cost, impact for your library, implementing correctly, cataloging (talk to them/include them!), possible problems (user error – training programs needed!)
  • Help us out here! Adapting library programming to other audiences: remember in training, you have to deal with the range from curiosity and fear; ask the public services staff, do you know what the patrons are asking for? awareness is a start; their goals are not the same as your goals; get them to feel comfortable; encourage coop and collaboration; fishing cowboys concept (think “shane”); we are coaches not teachers.

1 comment:

Lea said...

Great synopsis, thanks especially for the mobile devices and ebooks info!