ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

Library Technology Conference (March 14) March 21, 2012

Filed under: LTC 2012 — ellie @ 4:15 pm

Minnesota has a wealth of professional development opportunities for librarians. In October I attended a fantastic workshop lead by Char Booth (I’m just realizing I never wrote about that here, so I’ll post my report to my college shortly.) and last week I attended the Library Technology Conference held at Macalester College. I had mistakenly thought this was just a local thing, but chatted with librarians from New York and North Dakota.

Links for the conference include:

The keynote speakers were all engaging, though it was a little disappointing that they were all white men.

In order, the sessions I attended were:

Keynote: Andrew McLaughlinFight for the Future: Libraries, Tech Policy, and the Fate of Human Knowledge

Andrew talked about storage costs going down, computing power going up. He showed a map of Africa getting cables. “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” He gave an overview of the internet and its architecture. Carriers don’t act as editors. Some specialty terms – abstraction (the idea that you don’t have to start from scratch to build tools and services, you mix existing tools, e.g. to make apps & specialty websites), disruption (disruptive of old channels, e.g. Kickstarter is disruptive of old funding models). Khan Academy (note to self to share with our STEM department).

Egypt required all carriers to connect through a single building, thus Egypt was able to shut down the internet. Surveillance from phone companies. Borderless internet vs. bordered nations. Borderless internet worth defending. Goes with American ideals. The government and libraries should be about platform – making data available in machine readable form. Showed a Latvian petition site that lets you get floor time in govt. We the People is modeled on that, but only gets you a response from a White House rep.

His hot issues for librarians:


  • broadband
  • spectrum
  • municipal wifi

Policy directs competition and what spectrums of wireless are available.

Open internet:

  • net neutrality
  • wireless
  • competition (or lack of)

Copyright & the regulation of creativity:

  • copyright office modernization
  • open access to research papers
  • orphan works

There are some open access bills in congress now – write your reps.

Advocacy organizations:

  • Public Knowledge
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Access Now

Internet also weakens traditional methods of communication.

Assessing & Building Digital Literacy Skills for Low-skilled Adults: A Practical Approach

This presentation was very interesting. A group of people created Basic Computer Digital Literacy Standards as well as an assessment and certificate. I would have loved more on how to teach these competencies, but that’s not what the session’s focus was.

Keynote: Chad MairnTransforming Our Vision to Enhance Library Services

He also shared a link to a real-time collaborative notebook, but it looks like it wasn’t used. People were tweeting a lot though.

This presentation struck me as a whirlwind trip through some tech that’s maybe worth looking at. It reminded me to create a LibX toolbar/searchbox for my new library, I learned about the Open Library digitization service and the Booklamp recommendation site.

The thing that I always find difficult with these rah rah technology talks is the insistence on how easy it all is. There was a mention of how easy Google Hangouts is. I am pretty darn good with technology, as is my husband. We tried chatting with his father and another friend who happened to be online and it took us a while to get it working. My brother is as good as me if not better and we tried to use the GChat video feature so I could see my niece, but we couldn’t get his audio working. I think there was also a comment along the lines of, no money for Windows? install Linux! I’m all for open source, but not without acknowledging the drawbacks. He did have a great collection of fantastic programs and plenty of enthusiasm though.

Introduction to the New American Factfinder

This session was clearly for people already familiar with the old American Factfinder (which I am not). It was still easy enough to follow along and do the exercises, but not quiet the ‘here’s the kind of stuff you can find here’ I was hoping for. But like the assessment session earlier, that wasn’t the intention of the session, so I can’t fault it.

Next up, Thursday!