April 25, 2018

Kudos to the ALA Virtual Conference and What I’ve Been Hearing from You | Not Dead Yet

A shout out to the American Library Association (ALA): I loved the 2013 ALA Virtual Conference! (most of it, anyway), because I learned a lot from the comfort of my home library. Here’s a sample.

  • A number of college libraries are providing “making” projects just before finals as stress busters;
  • Here are some nifty ways to engage students in a freshman English course in library research using iPods and a team competition;
  • The J. Murrey Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina Charlotte used the help of an anthropologist and ethnographic methods to transform some of their student learning spaces and introduce very popular new programs;
  • The Cleveland Public Library (CPL) offers a personalized, virtual desktop to library patrons in “the cloud”;
  • A librarian at a small, private school library administers a bevy of iPads among students, over 75 percent of whom are autistic (she also describes how ebooks, with their graphics, audio features, and interactivity can transform the learning experience for students with autism);
  • Chattanooga Public Library transformed a huge, unused storage space in the library into a highly sought-after creative community space that’s used for meetings, entertainment, hackathons, and “making” workshops;
  • A group of librarians from underrepresented groups have implemented the Discovering Librarianship program, an initiative funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and led by ALA’s Office for Diversity, by working to recruit high school and college students into the profession;
  • The Ely Library at Westfield State University has been doing “loud programming” (programs that fill open spaces in the library with noise from music, theater, and crowds) to create positive partnerships with student organizations and reinvigorate students’ use, and appreciation of, their college library;
  • Here are some tips from librarian-hiring supervisors on how to find a first librarian job;
  • The Libraries Transforming Communities ALA initiative helps librarians to lead community engagement programs;
  • Gamification can be used effectively in teaching library skills and to encourage children to read;
  • Little free libraries (neighborhood book exchanges) can work effectively with school and public libraries to encourage reading; and
  • If you want to wake up and grab the audience at your next conference you should definitely get Scott Nicholson (from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and the Director of the Because Play Matters game lab) as your after lunch speaker – he is amazingly lively, engaging, and one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard.

I’m looking forward to the 2014 ALA Virtual Conference eagerly.

What I’ve been hearing from you
Thanks to all you folks who wrote me about Zero to One Degrees of Separation (and Counting), AKA the Library Kevin Bacon Game! Thus far I’m surprised to find that a lot of folks from Gens X, Y, and Z are also turned off by hearing too much personal stuff online. For example, Meagan Bennett (Bloomer Public Library, Bloomer, WI) wrote:

“Unfortunately the “ick” factor online seems to be the same for some people having a casual conversation in the library (I really don’t care to hear someone’s entire labor experience as they describe it to another patron. ICK!!!!!). Online I blog under the name Blooming with Books, and I have a Facebook page with the same name. I use this only to post about books and book-related news. My feeling is if I don’t see the person face-to-face or speak to them personally from time to time in my day-to-day life they don’t need an update on my life. I’ll share my opinions about books and authors, but more information should be shared in a forum that is not public. I loved the book, Cloud Culture, which said something to this effect—you have 10 seconds each day to have the attention of however many people follow you, and you announce to them: “Everyone, I have an important announcement to make,” [drumroll…] “I went to Wal-Mart!” Thanks for the article…(I’m Gen X by the way).”

Thanks again, Meagan and everybody else who wrote; I now know I’m not alone in wondering at the amount of information many folks reveal online.

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Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980s, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early '90s (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.