Librarians should not be afraid to discuss both positive and negative implications of collecting and analyzing patron data, library technology consultant Carson Block said during the Library and Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Tech Trends panel during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference on June 28. “We’ve limited ourselves by saying, ‘We don’t want to touch [the topic of data collection] because we might be infringing on patron confidentiality and privacy,’” he said. “I think that’s too simplistic of a view. I think, in fact, we have to embrace looking at data collection to serve our patrons…and protecting confidentiality and privacy. I think we’re the only organization[s] that really care about actually protecting that pile of data.”
As proof positive that, even with their superior powers of observation and vision, librarians can’t predict the future, the planners for the American Library Association 2015 annual conference definitely underestimated how many people would be attending the program Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries, sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS). Every seat was filled, as well as all available floor space, with attendees eager to hear the panel’s thoughts on what the future may hold for academic libraries.
The opening general session of this year’s American Library Association (ALA) conference in San Francisco was a feel good fest, thanks largely to the good luck and good planning that ALA demonstrated in booking Roberta Kaplan, lawyer for the Supreme Court case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, as the opening keynote. On the two-year anniversary of that case, the Court found in favor of marriage equality, turning Kaplan’s speech into an emotional victory celebration punctuated with standing ovations.
Newport Beach, CA-based NetObjex, developer of turnkey “Internet of Things” (IoT) device management solutions for commercial enterprises, recently announced the launch of SmartLibrary, a system that enables libraries to transmit targeted, location-relevant messages to their patrons’ smartphones and mobile devices. The company joins library app developers Capira Technologies and BluuBeam, which each separately announced the launch of beacon services in the fall of 2014.
Five experts discussed the latest in library tech during the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter 2015 conference in Chicago. In front of a full house despite the snowstorm outside, the lively discussion of trends ranged from coding classes for girls to the growing infrastructure demands of open access publishing.
On January 30 the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (KF) announced the winning 22 projects for its Knight News Challenge on Libraries. A total of $3 million will be distributed among the recipients, representing libraries and organizations from across the United States who brought a wide range of innovative ideas to advance the mission of libraries.
In a time when the mission of libraries is rapidly evolving, how can we craft buildings that not only endure but thrive when meeting new challenges? This question underlined the learning at LJ’s Design Institute (DI) held May 16 in Salt Lake City. Presenters and peers asked attendees to redefine how they thought about sustainability, exploring the idea in terms of conserving energy and being environmentally responsible and looking at the sustainability of a building holistically—from how comfortable patrons and employees are to how the space can change to support new ventures, some of which designers and librarians might not have imagined yet.
On June 6, the City University of New York (CUNY) held its first library assessment conference. Called Reinventing Libraries: Reinventing Assessment, the event grew from its initial target of 100 attendees to almost twice that many, and positive feedback from many attendees included calls for the conference to be repeated, or even turn into an annual event. Several recurring themes became leit motifs running throughout the day: turning from an emphasis on exclusively quantitative to qualitative assessment, libraries partnering with faculty on instruction, and the intersection of outcomes measurement and predictive analytics in a new granular portrait of individual students’ library use.