10 Things I Learned at Internet Librarian 2005
Finally things have calmed down. Here goes a long overdue summary of what I took home from Monterey.
#1 Public Librarians Rule
I had high hopes for the track when we got the go ahead from Jane to put it together. I am super-pleased with the feedback I've received. (and send more if you haven't...) There was such energy in the room... so, one thing I learned is the folks that work at PLS really seem to be interested in new technologies and serving their users. Public Librarians rule because they care about their users and their buildings and the profession. Many seek out learning, and try new things and aren't afraid of technology or failure. And many of them spent time with us in the De Anza 1 room.
One of my most striking moments was when Ken Weil, super-cool director of South Huntington PL (they are the ones that circulate iPods!) in South Huntington, NY said: "Our staff isn't afraid of change..and we are not afraid to try new things."
I wish every PL staff was like that! Can we foster that culture elsewhere? I think so! Ken and Joe Latini, the assistant director there, should let us know what their secret is!
#2 It's still a struggle for some folks
During a talk about technology and people, David King and I, however, had a question from the audience that made both of us stumble a bit: a lady stood and said "I'm not interested in new technology, and I don't have time for it and i'm not one to play with technology..what about me?"
Wowza! I did a slow turn to my right and said: "David."
So David says: "We're at the beginning of a huge information revolution. We have to change, or we'll be left behind..." (He sums up IL05 here)
And I add: "The wave of technological change is not going to stop. In fact it will only get bigger as newer stuff somes along..."
Here are some more thoughts, a few days later: If you are not engaged and learning right now about how libraries are changing and adapting in the world of Google, digital content, the Read/Write Web, Electronic Resources Management, and everything else... you may be in trouble. A library director stopped me after that presentation and told me that he had found a way to free up some staff time for technology exploration and made it mandatory as part of his library's strategic plan and the staff's development. I was overjoyed. Look closely at processes...what can chage to free up time? Or is it just a mindset we librarians fall into so easily: No Time..No Time..No Time... I think there is time...we just need to find it.
Take a lesson from Ken and the other director who spoke to me. Admin must be behind change and learning or your library may be in trouble, because...
#3 The wave of change is not going to stop and we need to plan for it
Darlene Fichter and I taught an "Organizational Weblogs" workshop and this was the first time I've heard librarians actuall say that blogs and such are becoming part of planning. It's in our "strategic plan" one said. It's part of our long range plan, said another.
Jenny summed it up perfectly at our Future Trends panel: "2005 is the year that librarians got it."
Aaron and I did a workshop on technology Planning and did some exercises to get the group thinking about what they needed to do to implement some HOT tech. It was fun, engaging and the threee hours flew. Here's what the group voted on as HOT HOT HOT:
#4 Little Libraries can do the same things that the big libraries do
Sarah Houghton spoke the truth and engaged the crowd when she discussed what any library can do, not just the huge ones with loads of money and staff. Don't have $20,000 for bloated virtual reference software? How about IM? Need a way to disseminate infor easily without a huge Content Management System? Try a blog -- but lose the word, which i agree with! Need a collaborative web-based workspace for your reference librarians to build useful pages? Guess what?
Many of the social tools are free to use, adapt and share. Try it!
#5 Librarians should all be given a Tech Toolkit
"If I had a million dollars.." If I could, I would outfit every librarian on my staff with a Tech Toolkit to help them do their jobs and serve users as effectively as possible: a super nice laptop filled with useful open software (and to be realistic some of the necessary evils), a big USB drive to swap files and move content, wifi everywhere, and an iPod. (Well, just because...) If I had a billion billion dollars, I'd buy a tech Toolkit for every librarian in the WORLD! I would hope every library would see this as money well-spent. That said...
#6 We all need a playground! And administrators should give time to play and learn...
In my talk on Staff Buy-In, I urged folks to consider some mechanism for time to play with new technologies. It really helps staff feel informed and on top of what the library is doing. Like the above examples, directors and adminstrators must understand they have to be involved as well. If your director is blogging (AADL anyone?) that speaks volumes about how the adminstration feels about the tools we can use to communicate. Ignored tools lead to a disinterested, out of touch staff.
#7 Speaker's gifts can be most entertaining especially combining them with Social Software
#8 We need to put a face on the library
This was one snippet of Glenn Peterson's part of the Web trends panel... the Subject Guides at Hennepin Co. PL contain little pictures of the librarians who take care of the pages. This is a Cluetrain alert: let's make our conversations human. Let's get the library a human face. Sign blog posts. Use images. Have a voice. It's not technology, it's people.
Glenn said there were varying degrees of buy in for putting folks' pictures up and offered a tip: let the librarians choose how their picture looks or what prop they use. Hot!
#9 Training is still HOT
Scott Brandt and I had a great workshop with 28 folks who were there for tips on teaching new technologies. Have you looked at your class content of late? Have you updated? Are you promoting Web access to the OPAC, the library blog, the library IM name, etc?
#10 Finally: the Techie types are all over the social tools
This was pretty amazing to watch play out and participate in. Posts were tagged..folks were flickr'ed...wikis were born. Sessions featured serious topics for library bloggers! This wave is not stopping...
The Technorati tag for the conference was IL05. Take a look to see the posts still coming in.
Sherri has a conference category:http://blog.uwinnipeg.ca/schwagbag/archives/conferences/
Liz lawley did a nice "Parting thoughts" piece: http://mamamusings.net/archives/2005/10/26/internet_librarian_05_parting_thoughts.php
Aaron used a category this time: http://www.walkingpaper.org/index.php?c=internet-librarian-2005
Jessamyn had a few things to say: http://www.librarian.net/tags/il05
Libraryman, who i never get to spend enough time with, just rocks: http://www.libraryman.com/blog/archives/000196.html
Some folks were even inspired. Look at this little blog that crossed my path: http://superturbo.blogspot.com/ - Ok Superturbo, let's see how blogging plays out for you. I'm glad you were inspired. :-) Did you learn about ethics? Nice start! And I like your little Pug too!
It was a good time in Monterey. I got to hang with some good friends, chat with folks I seldom see, and join in a great ongoing discussion about libraries, tools and the future! See you next year!
Update: Don't miss Erica's Blog at http://queequegs.blogspot.com/. She has some cool ideas!