I thought I’d jump in and do my post before all of the “good” sessions got reported on by others. BUt in truth, they were ALL good.
In the keynote by Joyce Ogburn, she talked about some of the entrepreneurial initiatives that they’d done at her institution, the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The coolest was the Western Sound Scape where they are capturing and cataloging western sounds from nature. We could to that! Couldn’t we? The “Eastern Sound Scape.” I’ll go out to the mountains of Western North Carolina with a backpack and a microphone any day…well maybe not TODAY, but any sunny day!
My first session on Wednesday was with Gillian McCombs and Rob Walker from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a presentation entitled “Carpe Digital, or Reinventing a 1980s AV Center as an Entrepreneurial Digital Services Center.” The two presenters discussed how they took a center that had been entrenched in classroom support, (delivering materials to campus classrooms, providing overhead projectors, DVD players, and slide projectors), and being the videographers, filming campus events for their archive, to a center located in the library that provides digitization assistance and a video and film production lab to users. Getting there was a hard road and took lots of convincing as at the outset, they had no interest from the faculty or students for such a center in 2001. But, with vision and determination, and a great deal of hutzpah from the two presenters, they looked forward 7 years to what will be needed, and worked to make it happen. They got very little additional funding, but creatively worked through all of the obstacles a little at a time.
The second session on Wednesday was the one that I presented on the WTL 5K. It was sparsely attended, with just a handful of people I didn’t know in the audience. (Mary S., Patty, Ellen, Heather, Lynn and Bill were there and they were, literally, half the audience.) It was fun to relive the good times. At the end of the presentation I was approached by the rep from EBSCO who suggested that he might be able to get a donation for our 5k this fall, and that at the very least he will run in it. He lives in Charlotte. I also got a high five from the director of High Point Public Library who said he might be interested in running an event like this. I said I’d be happy to help, just so long as he picks a different weekend than ours.
The final presentation of Wednesday was given by Camilla Baker and Michelle DeLoach at Augusta State University who gave a presentation on “Study Space for Students with Young Children.” They took an innovative approach to providing services to students who had no choice but to bring their children along when they needed to study, and created a study room for them. The school is a commuter school that has a large population of students who have small children and they were worried about retention of these students if they didn’t find some way to meet the need. They retrofited two small computer labs that had a connecting door and turned one into the study lounge, and one into the play area. They fitted the study lounge up with traditional furnishings, (desk, table, chairs, whiteboard, 3 computers) and put in bean bags, a book shelf with kids materials, a DVD player and DVDs and an assortment of games for the kids in the adjoining room. The parents need to sign in at the circulation desk to get the passcode to enter. They’ve had good response from some parents who admit that but for this study room they would have had to drop out of school.
The afterhours reception that was held at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery on UNCG was quite the elegant affair. We took great pains to have just the right food and drink and kept the galleries open to allow for quiet contemplation and viewing by all of the conference attendees. Unfortunately, the thunder and lightning and rain stole our thunder. Ask Lynn about her harrowing trip down Spring Garden and the floating trash can that almost took her out. This will be known as the Conference that survived the great Greensboro Flood of ’09.
Thursday morning’s presentation I attended “Meeting an Unmet Need: Extending the Learning Commons Concept Through On-Campus Partnerships and Branding”. La Loria Konata, from Georgia State University discussed all of the ways that they have marketed the library, and the Learning Commons to campus. She discussed the training that was provided to staff; the creation of new programs called “Write Right” (a writing center) and “Cite it Right” (Zotero and End Note training). “Reference-to-go” is a program that they created to put librarians in the Student Center the week before exams to make them more available for consultation. She also said that when they started to make study rooms bookable, they contemplated calling it “Get a Room!” but decided against it since it’s a little too salacious. They’ve also undergone a big change to their website and embedded some home cooked video meant to get the word out about different services. They call their finals study break “Chillax” , serve pizza and show “Family Guy” episodes on a smart board in their computer lab. They had so much going on to engage the students and get them excited about library services, and the students are responding.
The final session I attended was called “Horses and Hoops: New Approaches to Oral History in a Digital Environment.” Doug Boyd from the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky gave a great talk about how he leveraged opportunity to expand the size, endowment and presence of their oral history project on campus. The most exciting part of the presentation was his demonstration of the OHMS (I think it stands for Oral History Metadata Software) software which is being developed by them that allows for people to search for key words or phrases within the text of a transcribed document, read that portion of the document and then, with a click listen to the chunk of the digital recording. He demonstrated the methodology to us. It was really well done. When I asked him when we might get our hands on this software, he grinned and said something about patents and testing, etc. So I’m thinking this won’t be an open source product.
It was a really good conference. A great deal of variety, and a good number of ideas that can be brought back to each institution for ultimate implementation.