The Transformative Power of Libraries
This year’s Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, CA focused on the constantly shifting nature of librarianship, and ways that we can prepare ourselves and our libraries for whatever comes next.
Storified by Cecily · Fri, Oct 26 2012 00:42:17
Monday, October 23 – Building Usable & Accessible Websites
While we still do a fair amount of brochure-style “microsites” at my organization, we’ve started to purchase more hosted products so that we can bring more polished products to our patrons in a fraction of the time it takes to build them. Because of this, I’ve wondered how valuable my role as a user experience/web services librarian really is when we don’t get to test these products with users before signing license agreements.
Talking about usability. When we buy, not build most of our web products, how valuable is usability testing? #internetlibrarianCecily Walker
I’d like to have enough time with vendor products to test with users before we sign licenses. #internetlibrarianCecily Walker
Recurring #internetlibrarian theme: why doesn’t our online presence get the same kind of care and maintenance as our physical buildings?Emily Clasper
My answer to this is that because people don’t think ‘website’ when they think library, they think building. Librarians know this hasn’t been true for years, yet we still distinguish between so-called virtual services and in-person services.
Turned out to be a beautiful day in Monterey. #internetlibrarian http://pic.twitter.com/Hy912p8GCecily Walker
One of my favourite sessions of the conference was The Next Big Thing. I enjoyed hearing conference goers talk about the trends and personal successes they were most excited about.
I think the next big thing is embracing all our libraries as hyper-local treasures, connected to big shared data #il2012 #internetlibrarianCarson Block
Aw – libraries love helping people. Is it a wonder that we often try to be all things to all people? Too hard. #il2012 #internetlibrarianCarson Block
Lee Rainie of the Pew Internet & American Life Project was this year’s keynote speaker, and had some fascinating data to share about the library habits of young adults. Many of the attendees were surprised that young adults read more, visit the library more often, and use technologies like ereaders far less than adults. Pew also found that smartphone/tablet use increases at night because people read tomorrow’s news before going to sleep.
The Reading and Library Use Habits of Younger Americans http://pewrsr.ch/PNALyT #internetlibrarianLee Rainie
Ppl are reading tomorrow’s news before going to sleep… #pewcenter #internetlibrarian —> I like this.Adam Burke
The statistic that was most sobering to me was learning that while libraries meant more and fostered more good will among African Americans, Latinos, and less affluent users, people who fall into those demographics tend not to be library card holders.
Libraries appreciated more for meaning to community than personal use. @lrainie keynote #internetlibrarianDonna Feddern
Pew’s research also uncovered that the book format used by most people in libraries is changing. Book use is dropping, while e-reader use is increasing. The implications for this are that more library staff are dealing with patrons who expect us to be able to troubleshoot all problems with their devices. Showing them how to load a text on their Kobo/Kindle/Nook is no longer enough. Some library staff are balking at this (which isn’t surprising). Athena Hoeppner’s response succinctly answers the frequently asked question “Why do we need to fix all this stuff?:
Librarians need to be tech support for the world because information literacy requires use of technology. #InternetLibrarianAthena Hoeppner
My Tuesday Night session “Transforming Roles: What Do You Want to Be” was well-received, I think. You can read the notes at the URL below.
Transforming Roles–What Do You Want To Be? The Tuesday Evening Session http://www.libconf.com/2012/10/24/transforming-roles-what-do-you-want-to-be-the-tuesday-evening-session/#.UIlNClfLlII.twitter via @libconf #internetlibrarianNicole Engard
During the panel, I explained that one of the reasons I insisted on reminding people I was a librarian when I worked for banks and software development companies was because I wanted to challenge people’s perceptions of what a librarian was capable of. This quote (uncredited to me, but my words all the same) was retweeted a fair amount, which, I must admit, made me feel pretty great.
Whatever you think a librarian is, you’re wrong – great quote from #internetlibrarian panel.Jane Dysart
The biggest takeaway from the evening came not from the panel, but from the audience:
You know what librarians are? Ambassadors of knowledge, no matter what our business card says #internetlibrarianMichelle Boule
@nataliebinder What was the one main takeaway from #internetlibrarian? (those who went and those who followed online)Librarianry
I’d say: wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers, hydrate, and drink less booze, but the following are probably more useful in a professional context.
I’m thinking there’s a lot to be said for transforming our jobs rather than just trying to add to them. #internetlibrarianEmily Clasper
"Fail often, fail hard. Don’t be afraid to be told your ideas suck." Best advice of the day; from @benbizzle #internetlibrarianSusan
Common themes at #internetlibrarian are: have fun, encourage curiosity, have VERY moveable shelves and furniture, JUST DO EPIC SHIT.Justin Hoenke
RT @skeskali: Be unapologetically, fully yourself, but know you have a duty to others. #bindersfullofsnowflakes #InternetlibrarianAnna Creech
My experience this year more than made up for any uncertainty I felt last year, and I’m going to be looking for more opportunities to become involved with the conference as an organizer, moderator, or some other role. See you next year, Monterey!