The day’s general session was much more in line with my expectations. David King, Digital Branch and Services Manager at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas gave an engaging talk about “Change, Library 2.0, and Emerging Trends”. He identified what he considers the major transformations that have taken place in libraries since the advent of the web: commenting (old way: letter from a patron; new: blog replies from patrons), friending (old: no good parallel; new: facebook, myspace), content (old: printed pathfinders; new:staff and patron generated) , tagging (old: catalogers; new: user generated) and mashups (a new concept). He talked about why we should let go of the past and should jump on the bandwagon with these technologies. He doesn’t think that fear of learning new technology should be a reason to ignore these trends – sometimes we have to do something scary to remain relevant. Being relevant is essential to libraries’ futures; as we all know, if we aren’t our users will turn elsewhere. One of the many examples King cited during the talk had to do with a project conducted by the National Library of New Zealand where they asked conference participants to complete the sentence “In 2017 libraries will be……” and then posted the 200 responses on Flickr.
The conference provided lunch for everyone and this was a good opportunity to network with those sitting together. I ran into Andy Morton who is still at University of Richmond. He was with Nancy Woodall who I had never met but who I’ve talked with over the years when we’ve been doing various technology projects. They were also an Endeavor site and it was interesting to hear what their reaction has been to the migration to ExLibris. I also met a couple librarians from East Carolina who talked about their first gaming event (they had Giz come out and present to them on our gaming experience). They said that they had over 200 kids show up!
Just a brief note about Denver this weekend. It turns out that it is one of the busiest event weekends in their history. There was a Columbus Day Parade (83 protesters were arrested), the Colorado Rockies played (and won) against the Phillies to win an NCLS spot in the playoffs, Octoberfest, Denver Arts Weeks, the largest Susan B. Komen race (today), a Genesis concert….Well, you get the picture. This translated to an expected weekend downtown crowd of over 80,000 people. So it was a no-brainer to head to the 16th St. Mall (2 blocks away) to people watch after the day’s sessions ended.
There are sessions through noon today, so I’m off to see poster sessions, another concurrent session and a closing general session. Then off to the airport and home by midnight!