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!