10 Things I’ve Learned Presenting at Library Conferences

1. Always be prepared. Arm yourself with multiple digital versions of your presentation, a USB storage device, a cable for your laptop to attach it to ANY projector you may encounter and a back up plan if any or all technological links in the presentation chain fail. Could you do the material cold from your notes and handout?

2. If presenting in a track, try to be present for the other speakers. It?s respectful, can be useful in augmenting your talk on the fly with other ideas and examples (i.e. ?This morning Person X discussed blogging and using blogs internally for libraries, here’s my take on that??) and it provides a cohesiveness that track-based schedules perpetuate.

3.Share! If co-presenting or presenting with another person on two topics in one session, be mindful of the time frame and make sure folks get to ask questions of both parties ? especially if you go second.

4. Have fun!Don?t hide behind a piece of paper reading or stand so straight and stiff that you look uncomfortable. The audience is just folks –library folks — and we’re a pretty encouraging group of people.

5. Know your stuff, yes, but don?t mind or falter if someone asks a question you cannot answer. There is nothing wrong with saying ?I don?t know.? Someone else might or you can chat after the talk.

6. Be mindful of acronyms. Define, even if you think everyone in the place knows what you are talking about. At ILF, I off-handedly mentioned RFID and plowed right on with my talk. Afterward, a nice lady came up and said: ? I have a stupid question: what?s RFID??

7.There are no stupid questions.

8.Deliver a clear message. If you are explaining some technology, do your best to put it in everyone’s terms or help them understand it with analogies, etc. A presenter who can present technology-laden topics to people without putting them off with techno-babble is a good presenter indeed.

9. Humor works, but not at the expense of anyone ? our users, our colleagues, ourselves. (Well, a little humor about ourselves is good: ?I?m a librarian, I can?t go anywhere without handouts??)

10. Don?t think: ?I could never speak at such-and-such conference.? If you have something good to say ? look for ways to say it! InfoToday conferences, ALA, PLA, state meetings, local meetings ? look around! Get involved! Propose!

BONUS Remember: It’s not ME ME ME… it’s “what can we talk about and learn that will help our library users get to information better, faster and in a way they will recognize the great value of libraries?”

NYT Library Article

Via LISNews:

And Internet-connected computers are clearly bringing more people into libraries.

Don’t miss today’s NYT article “Libraries Wired, and Reborn” By Steve Lohr. Lohr explores how libraries, the gates Foundation, and access have helped turn around public libraries. It renewed interest. It gave people a chance to learn and unserstand the online world. How cool!

I love this line, which could be about anywhere public library:

For the library, supplying patrons with access to the Internet and the Web has become central to its mission, an updating of its long tradition of providing information free to the public.

A library in rural Louisiana is highlighted and it’s fascinating. The last line is a quote from Mary Cosper LeBouef, Head Librarian, that to me speaks, pardon the pun, volumes:

In Houma, Mrs. LeBoeuf walked through the bustling new library as mothers with toddlers gathered for story time, the staff stocked shelves with books, and people of all ages sat at clusters of flat-panel PC’s. Computers and the Internet are changing libraries irrevocably, she said.

“Books are never going away, but the future of libraries is much more as community centers,” Mrs. LeBoeuf observed. “I worked here for 22 years and never thought we’d have something like this.”

I’m sayin! The future of libraries is all about access and space. It’s about building spaces that welcome folks and give them access to stuff that makes them want to stay awhile. It’s about planning for our users and the future.

Tame the Web Kudos to Steve Lohr, Mrs. LeBouef and all the folks at the Gates Foundation

Develop an Organizational Content Strategy Now

Steven points to this article about blogs in corporations and it’s a good one:

http://www.marketingprofs.com/4/wreden5.asp

He urges us to apply it to library blog environments. I agree. Note:

“10. Develop an organizational content strategy now

Email, blogs, wikis, Web, voice mail, faxes, newsletters, advertising, PR. No wonder it is so hard for organizations to speak with the consistent voice that is so critical for branding. An organizational content strategy can ensure consistency, vibrancy and value for employees, customers, suppliers and others.”

WOW! Does your library blog exsist in its own vacuum? It shouldn’t. Library Web sites, blogs, fliers, cards, letterhead, everything should carry the same message and same voice. Guidelines for writing for the Web will help your blogging staff to be consistent and still satisfy their creative urges. I love Joe’s posts at the SJCPL Lifeline… He has his own voice but still maintains the goals of the Web site and out marketing plan.

“Silver Tsunami”

CJ at Technobiblio writes about our older users and a study from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. “While we often talk about the younger generation and how their expectations will/are changing how libraries provide services, remember that there is also a large base of users who, once they get online, are just as enthusiastic about technology as the younger generation.”

Well said and I wholeheartedly agree! We teach a “Senior Seminar” Internet series at SJCPL and it is POPULAR!

Who’s NextGen?

Dale Prince, who I blogged about a few days ago, e-mailed this question and I responded:

Dale asks: Hey, do you consider yourself to be a Next Gen librarian? The criteria seems to be Gen X or Gen Y. Coupland, I believe, puts people born between 60 and 72 in Gen X. I tend to agree with that assessment since the 60s and 70s are not watershed times for me. The eighties were my defining moments, I think. What about you?

I have wrestled with this. I will be 39 in a few weeks. Sometimes I think I’m over the Next Gen Librarian Hill…sometimes not. Then again, is it an age thing at all? Maybe it’s a state of mind…

Rachel Singer Gordon writes:” A personal relationship with new technology allows NextGen librarians to think of new possibilities and of countless small creative options in a way the big-name trendsetters can’t. It’s one thing to read about it, to think about it, but it’s another to live with it and watch our friends use it.”

I like to think I use technology in a personal way and I have a pronounced technolust gene. But I also try to see the big picture for libraries when adding tech stuff.

Hmmmm….

Big on Blogging at Indiana Library Federation Meeting

Yesterday I was scheduled to speak at the Indiana Library Federation statewide conference. My talk was called “Big on Blogging” and what FUN it was! We had a packed room, with folks standing in the back. What that said to me is Indiana librarians are very curious about the blogging phenomenon!!!

We talked about blogs as external communication, internal communication and “keeping current” tools. We discussed setting up blog software, who writes for library blogs, where to place them on the library’s Web site and all kinds of other issues. One person asked how to wrench control of his library’s web site from the techie people!

I showed them LISNews and they were very interested in such a clearinghouse of all things library-related.

By the end I was evangelizing a little bit (as is my way) — Make sure your library has a strong message, that you communicate it with every tool at your disposal, and that you focus on the future and USERS. It’s all about our users, right? Blogs fir in perfectly there.

Here’s my presentation.

AND DON’T MISS:

PeterScott’s Index of Library Blogs!

Or this one! (from LISNews)

Thanks to Dawn Matthews, Head of Reference at SJCPL, for coordinatiing the session and introducing me!

Visiting ThommyFord

While in the greater Chicagoland area, after my Dominican lecture, I zipped down to Western Springs, IL and dropped in on Aaron at Thomas Ford Memorial Library.

NICE library. Friendly folks. Cool Technology… or shall I say, they have some sexy wifi and an official library IM presence. Well done.

Aaron and I go to chat about libraries and conferences over dinner with his wife Kate. We had a great time at CIL this year and I hope we are all together for IL this year as well.

Here’s a gallery….

(Oh..and I got to meet Mao!)

People, Libraries & Technology – A Weblog by Michael Stephens