10 April 2008

First Thoughts on Computers in Libraries

First word that comes to mind when I think Computers in Libraries: WOW.

It's going to take me a few posts to decompress, discuss, and distribute even some of what I got out of this conference. But WOW sums it up nicely. Let me take just a moment to present a few stand outs:

1. People: I was amazed at the people I met at this conference. People who are doing innovative and exciting things at their libraries, people who are taking risks, people who are asking questions about technology, usability, and access, people who are sharing and learning from others. I am all about all of that. Part of this evening is all about updating the Feevy with new blogs to keep my eyes on. Part of the next few days will be playing with tools and applications that I either had dismissed too easily or just hadn't ever heard of. Awesome.

2. The Dutch: three librarians from the Delft Public Library presented a Keynote on Tuesday about their tour across the United States to talk to people about their experiences in libraries and the stories we create. So creative, so interesting, so original. Here is a helpful run down of the keynote. I had the very good fortune to sit down with Erik Boekesteijn to talk for a while about his impressions of American libraries, our focus on technology, libraries in the Netherlands, and the impact technology could or does have on society. I am all about all of that. One interesting tidbit we discussed, and I will think on and blog about later, is librarian’s obsession with blogging. More to come on that in a different post.

3. Local 2.0: Charles Lyons made an amazing presentation about ways libraries can engage their communities to tap our knowledge about our own communities to make the web and 2.0 technology more meaningful in our own backyards. Again, I am all about all of that! It was inspiring, interesting, and flat out awesome, especially to this Vermonter. My next job is to find a way to get Charles up to VT to speak: I think a lot of people here in the Green Mountain State would enjoy hearing what he has to say and would act on his suggestions for doing more locally with the web.

4. A refreshed belief in the power of libraries: as the end of the school year roll’s around and winter is only just beginning to fade in Vermont, I was feeling a tad tired before Computers in Libraries. But this conference refreshed my belief in what interesting places libraries are, how diverse our perspectives are in terms of how libraries can be important and effective in our communities, how many cool technologies there are to help us in that pursuit, but also, how important it is to advocate for deliberate decision making without sacrificing a sense of play and exploration. That is one thing I tried to get at in my own presentation. And certainly something I try to get at here in my blog.

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