Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Conference Buzz

I just returned from the annual American Library Association's Conference in Washington D.C. With 27,000 attendees and nearly 900 exhibitors this was one of the largest ALA conferences ever! I came away inspired and with a suitcase full of samples from the vendors, and examples from award winning libraries across North America.
So here are a few random thoughts from the conference:
* Radical Trust. People just loved to use this term. Trust your staff, your students, let people make anonymous comments on your blogs, etc..... Interesting, but I keep thinking it would be wise to radically trust only trustworthy people. ;-)
* It is perfectly fine to be imperfect. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, libraries need to move forward - quickly. Don't be paralyzed by fear of making an error.
* Library 2.0 is so 5.0 minutes ago. Here I thought we were ahead of the game, but big technological advances are on the horizon.
* OPACs Suck. Mostly librarians under 30 expressed this sentiment - LOUDLY. I guess they are too young to remember filing those little cards in the card catalog drawers. I'll take my imperfect online catalog over those card catalog drawers any day.... err, except the days when the power is down, or we are having problems with our phone lines, or the server is down.....
* Librarians need to play. We need to have time to play around with new technologies so that we can explore how we can adopt them to improve library services.
* The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Rock. There are so many libraries doing so many fabulous things, but PLCM name seemed to pop up everywhere during the conference. I want to learn more about them, what they are doing, and how they are doing it.

My hat is off to ALA for planning and implanting such a wonderful conference.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director


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