Shifted, Tamed and PUMPED!

July 20, 2006 at 4:24 pm

A great, big, huge, grateful and very impressed thank you goes out to CJRLC and Princeton Public Library’s Leslie Berger (current ALA President!) and Janie Hermann for having Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine come to Princeton to present their workshop, “Conversation, Community, Collections, & Collaboration:Practical, New Technologies for User-Centered Services”!

Thanks Leslie for having the inspiration to invite Michael and Jenny to NJ and also thanks to Janie and CJRLC for all the hours you spent coordinating and making it happen.

This program was very well-attended and successful on so many levels!

I was very excited to meet Michael and Jenny for the first time in person, and to attend one of their workshops, and even all of my own building-up of these two and their “roadshow” didn’t result in any disappointment!

Michael and Jenny are fabulous presenters who share their information in measured, easy-to-understand ways, while managing to convey excitement and interest in the topics. Even though not everything in the presention was new to me, I was never bored or disinterested.

They managed to go over blogs and blogging, RSS (VERY important!), wiki, flickr and so much more! I think everyone was having a great time and learning so much, all while enjoying the comfort of the Princeton Public Library – and no, I’m not being paid by anyone to say these things! Though I did go out to a great lunch with Janie and Robert after the program! ;-)

The event was really well managed and seemed to come off without a hitch – the catered lunch was terrific and the room set up was accomodating, despite the full house! Even the technology didn’t seem to hit any snags! ;-) It was so great to see so many people come out and take advantage of this great program.

There are so many points that Michael and Jenny brought up that are so important – maybe I’ll just try to mention a very few here! I hope others will either add to this post or post comments about what great stuff they got out of this workshop! Share what you’ve done since attending the program! I know of at least one person who went back to her libray and started a flickr account, and posted on some blogs (yes, I’m talking about YOU, Mary!)!

While the actual technology teaching was very interesting and informative, it was the more intangible lessons that I personally got the most out of!

THESE ARE FREE PEOPLE! FREE!!!!!! AS IN, NO MONEY OUTPUT FROM YOU OR YOUR LIBRARY!!!! You can be a “hero” here – lots of excellent results for no investment of money!

- Blogging is informal and doens’t have to be perfect (in fact, I am leaving that typo in there on purpose to remind myself of this and to try to personally overcome my “perfectionism” problems!)

- It is important to put a “human face” on the library: this makes it much more difficult to cut funding for the library for one thing! ;-) And you can use many of these new technologies to do this, i.e., start a flickr photo sharing account for your library (it’s really easy I promise!) and post pictures of your programs, your patrons (who agree to it), your staff, etc.!

- Celebrate and share your successes! When/where have you shared positive feedback from your patrons with your community or even wider? You can do this on a blog! This also really helps to humanize the library.

- Consider your policies – are they more of barriers between patrons and services/staff than anything else? Do they just cause more work for library staff? Are they “librarian-centered” rather than “user-centered”? I know *I* will be reconsidering some of the policies in my library after the workshop!

- Start a blog! Just start one! Open a flickr account! Just try it! Play with these things!

- Check out what other libraries are doing and how they are using these technologies! For example, Ann Arbor District Library has a blog (in fact IS a blog – can you imagine!?) with OPEN COMMENTS on it (gasp! the horror! the fear!) Guess what!? Nothing bad has happened!

DO NOT BE AFRAID!

Onward!

P.S. You can read more about the workshop on the NJLA blog where Jessica Unger has a great post!

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Flickr’s "Tubes" are clogged! Library Garden gets Tamed and Shifted


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