TTW Mailbox: Emerging Technology Committee at Monroe County Library System

Patricia Uttaro, Assistant Director, System Services at the Monroe County Library System in New York, writes:

I’ve been meaning to write to you for awhile to fill you in on activities in the Monroe County Library System since your visit here in 2006.  The system now has an Emerging Technology Committee that just celebrated its first anniversary. At our last meeting, I asked if anyone was ready to drop off the team after a busy year, and the response I got from one and all was “No Way! We’re having way to much fun!”

 

The ETC has produced three Technology Camps for system staff in the last year that have been extremely well-received. We’ve covered gaming, music and audio book downloading, web-based applications, and social bookmarking so far. Creating and using video in the library is our next topic. The ETC meets monthly in various coffee shops in Monroe County (caffeine boosts the creative process, after all!), but we sometimes move from the coffee shop to places like Radio Shack, Best Buy, the Apple Store and other places where we can discover new toys. The Tech Camps have been so successful that we’ve been requested to produce two Camps for Library Trustees in June.
 
We also just finished up a training series based on Helene Blowers Learning 2.0 and I can say it was a resounding success. The 8 week series was extremely popular with system staff and resulted in the creation of a network of people who are using various web 2.0 tools and also connected via Meebo, which makes them available to other staff who are interested in learning more about the Learning 2.0 training.
 
During April & May, the MCLS has produced a Big Read grant program funded partially by the NEA. We chose Fahrenheit 451 for our Big Read, and have incorporated some web 2.0 concepts in the our programming. One that I thought would interest you is a book burning and discussion that will be held in Second Life at MCLS Amphitheater in Cybrary City II. We thought it appropriate that we hold at least one event in SL given the theme and imagery in F451. We’re hoping for a good turnout and a lively discussion.
Patricia – Thanks for the update and information about the ETC. I think you described the workings of a model ETC. I especially appreciated the off-site meetings – we used to do this with our team of internet trainers at SJCPL. It always made the meetings more interesting to get everyone together somewhere different.
Please let us know how the Second Life event went!

 

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2 thoughts on “TTW Mailbox: Emerging Technology Committee at Monroe County Library System”

  1. I am a member of the committee, and as they say it is WAY too much fun. It’s been a great expereince and we hope to light a fire under others in our system so that they see and take advantage of all that technology has to offer

  2. The Second Life book burning and discussion went really well. We had 15 people at the event (plus a few others who popped in and out) and it lasted over two hours. It was nice to be able to attend from the comfort of home and not have to cut things short due to the library closing. :-)

    We talked about the book, about Bradbury and science fiction, about censorship and libraries. We talked about the pluses and minuses of media saturation, the fact that people are reading formats other than traditional books, user-generated content, etc.

    The visitors were mostly our real-life (Rochester area) constituency, which was good because I’d hoped to set this up as another medium for participation for our real patrons. We also had two people from South America (one from Peru and one from Colombia) who found out about the discussion because Facebook automatically connected our Fahrenheit 451 announcement to the Ray Bradbury fan page. The magic of social networking is pretty cool.

    The best part was having people say they were glad they came and that they would come back again!

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