Considering the Implications of the Library 2.011 Conference

This week, over 6,000 people registered to attend any number of sessions in the all online Library 2.011 Conference. It’s been interesting to read responses to the conference – including this one:

In about 90 minutes, we will see a fork in the road to Libraryland’s future. In one direction, we have the main road…the path that we’re currently on that has librarians following along with the rest. In the other direction…the path to a digitally integrated education-centered future where librarians are the leaders in using old technology in new ways.

On this new path, San José State University is sponsoring Library 2.0: The Future of Libraries in the Digital Age Conference, with participants from all over the world who are able to meet virtually. The conference isn’t using new technology or software; it’s using Meebo Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). If you were enrolled in college anytime over the past 10 years you may have used a similar “courseware” package such as BlackBoard, WebCT, or for law students…West’s TWEN. Conference speakers aren’t talking about radically new ideas. For instance, some of the Day 1 topics include “library conference standards” such as metadata, storytelling, information literacy. Yet, this conference does mark a new beginning for professional collaboration across library types, national boundaries, economic barriers, and even time zones.

Right now, I’m physically on my way to attend the American Association of Law Libraries’ Futures Summit where we’ll be discussing the future of the profession and ways in which we can move the Association forward. I wanted to say “Perhaps we should have all stayed at home and virtually attended the Library 2.0 Conference and been a part of the future of the profession”, but I realize that is too harsh. Instead, I’ll just say this: there is a marked difference between those groups that go out and do things and those that spend countless hours talking about those same things. Perhaps law librarians should take a cue from our “library school” colleagues.