When I started at SJSU SLIS in August 2011, the university Provost spoke at our faculty orientation and presented each of us with a gift – an allotment of funds to attend the conference of our choice! Last spring, I chose to use my funds to attend the R-Squared Conference. From the Vision page:
In February 2011, a group of Colorado library professionals began brainstorming how libraries can avoid extinction, reinvent themselves and strengthen their role as vital parts of their communities. With that, R-Squared – The Risk & Reward Conference was born. Members of the Colorado State Library,Colorado Library Consortium (a 501(c)3), Anythink, Wilkinson Public Library and others have partnered with Denver-based marketing agency Ricochet Ideas to develop a way to share the philosophies that have inspired some of the most inventive libraries in the nation with others who are interested in creative thinking in libraries.
I can tell this is not your run of the mill conference. Registrants had to select an “experience” for part of the conference.
R-Squared is what we like to call an “immersive experience.” Rather than select from a plethora of sessions and speakers, each attendee will register for one of our four experiences listed below. Over the course of two days, attendees will stay within their selected experience, participating in hands-on sessions that will have them venturing beyond the walls of the conference center.
After much deliberation, I chose Customer Curiosity:
Curiosity is the driving force in the search for information, and the library plays an important role in connecting curious customers with what they’re looking for. Libraries no longer merely provide information, but curate information. Customers no longer just consume information, but explore and create it. As the information needs of library customers evolve, it becomes critical for libraries to find new ways to celebrate and encourage curiosity, discovery and creativity.
- Experience a sense of creative discovery by exploring different ways to engage customers
- Learn tools to assess and address the challenges to creating a participatory environment
- Establish a professional network to develop creative ideas, both during the conference and in the future
Day 1 led by Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, and Day 2 led by John Bellina and Tasso Stathopulos, founders of Denver marketing firm Ricochet Ideas.
Take a look at the other experiences and explore the conference site. I am intrigued and excited about this adventure and plan to be sharing a lot with my students and with TTW readers. I am also looking forward to meeting up with some respected colleagues and friends attending this unique gathering. If you are attending, please say hi!
A special thank you goes to the university administration at San Jose State University for this opportunity.