My second day at SAMM lasted only until noon, but was full of several interesting sessions. I began the day hearing Jason Battles from the University of Alabama, share insights on “Building Environments and Tools to Engage Library Users.” The problem as he states it is that libraries wait until new products, new web pages and new programs are 100% ready before they share them with their users. Users need to be engaged in the production stages. Battles feels that marketing is the first step in engaging users, you must publicize the existence of new products and demonstrate how useful they are. He suggest using the google labs concept and Code4library programming to create databases where users are informed, engaged and invited to share opinions in the production stages. Battles used code language created by Vanderbilt University and has developed it for sharing. AJAX functionality was added to creat the comment box and ratings field have been added. The only glitch is that you must have an Intel based Mac for development. Here’s the link to the test sight at Vanderbilt. http://testpilot.library.vanderbilt.edu/
My next session featured Kathleen Imhoff of Lexington Public Library, Kentucky who spoke on the importance of allowing “Creativity in the Workplace.” Upon entering the room all participants were given a fuzzy, shiny or brightly colored pipe cleaner. Our first assignment was to build something and share it with the group. We then answered most of the following questions. What color is a wish? What color is imagination? How does purple taste? What is the texture of a whisper? What color is today? These questions were examples of how supervisors can challenge staff to look at things differently. These are also options for making worklife more fun and for eliminating fear. Fear distorts perception. Our second assignment was to find one other person and create an object with our fuzzy pipe cleaners. My partner and I created a flower. Our final assginment was done in groups of four. This time my groupcreated three dogs and used the final pipe to walk the three dogs. These activities supported the concept of one works well, but sometimes two or more can be much more produtive. Our projects were all more complex and came with stories as more people joined the group. Imhoff concluded that libraries need to identify their most creative and also find ways to change attitudes so all are looking forward to the future.
“Trending Toward Lyrasis” was the topic of choice for Dr. Richard Madaus the closing keynoter. Madaus reviewed the path of libraries. The first mentality of libraries was to “search and locate.” Then with web 2.0 we became the ones to “find and deliver.” To be effective today we must equip others to “click and know.” Eighty-five % of our users are not in the building and will probably not come. How are we meeting their needs. How are we engaging them? Have we gained their support? Do we know what they are? Where is the library’s place within the google world? Have you ever noticed how often google repeats its mission. In every new product they release within their labs, they share their mission and how this particular product helps them tomeet it. Have libraries who dismiss Wikipedia as unreliable, noticed how much library terminology they have chosen to use?
If you have ever heard Madaus, you know he is famous for introducing new technology. He spoke of “Wolfram Alph” which is thought to be the google killer. Tonight at 8:00 pm. it was to be released. Its focus will be to make the world’s knowledge computable….? Universities will purchase Kindles for their students, download textbooks and and sell them for the price of the actual books. Madaus thinks our reference areas should have these type computers. http://www.digitaltigers.com/zenview-trio20pro.asp
What is the value added by the library to the knowledge research process? Who are we? If we cling to the printed book we are in an ever shrinking box. Information is no longer site bound. The world is boldly moving into the “twisted network of strangers.” Strangers who visit a restaurant decide is wasn’t to their liking, post that and cause a multitude of folk to not eat there. Strangers assuming the role of those in the know. Libraries should be the strong voice for authenticity in information, realizing that they are a business as well as a service provider. Libraries need to move beyond our traditional comfort zones and actually stop giving costly services and activities that fail to add value. We are not who we are by the stuff we know, but by the choices we make.