A busy season of travel came to an end for me at 12:04 PDT this morning, when Chrystie and I returned to Seattle from Indianapolis, IN. And, with it comes a long blog post to catch you up on just some of the happenings over the past few weeks.
First, our trip to Indiana was wonderful, all 36 hours of it. Indiana is one of four states (AL, IL, & ME are the other three) joining as a WebJunction Community Partner this summer and our visit was spent talking about the many ways WebJunction Indiana will be a useful resource for IN library staff. After spending 6 hours with the enthusiastic staff of the Indiana State Library Development Office, not even airport security & turbulence could bring me down.
At all four of the state library visits this spring we’ve shown a tag cloud generated from the 900+ answers we received on our last member survey to this question:
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your library job in the coming year?
And, at CIL, I promised a few folks that I’d post the cloud here as well (we generated it using http://tagcrowd.com/, btw). While the responses are not that surprising, it’s a great visualization of issues libraries are dealing with. I think the words that speak to me most are “finding, funding, getting, keeping”…that’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? And that’s what we’re all working toward, regardless of whether we’re talking about staff training, 2.0 technologies, or a new building project.
With our next member survey we’ll be offering respondents an opportunity to tell us about their greatest success over the past year. I look forward to seeing (and sharing) the tag cloud generated by those responses (I’m already wondering where we’ll see similarities and differences…).
In the mean time, I’m excited about being in the office full-time until June, which will give me plenty of time to figure out the shift my world has taken since I joined twitter (suddenly, mobile online community is “real”) and help our new states launch their WebJunction sites while keeping up with all of the great projects our existing partners are doing.
As CIL wraps up this week, the word on the marble floors of the Crystal City Hyatt is “2.0.” Whether it’s Web 2.0 or the even fancier Library 2.0 and Learning 2.0, forward-thinking librarians from all over are catching on and doing some really amazing stuff with emerging web technologies, and in the process bringing communities together in fun and creative ways. The following people happened to catch my interest and pique my inner geek.
Getting your 2.0 feet wet
There are way more than 23 cool things about Helene Blowers, Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. Helene’s project, Learning 2.0 combines learning with play, and encourages library staff to become familiar with wikis, blogs and podcasts through the exploration of 23 new web technologies. The Learning 2.0 project has helped library staff at PLCMC overcome their techno-trepidations by creating supportive communities of online learners who share their experiences through blogs that they learn to set up during the program.
The road to 2.0
Meredith Farkas and Michelle Boule are two university librarians who have come up with a master plan for “unsucking” online education and giving your library a 2.0 makeover. Their project Five Weeks to a Social Library gives library staff a road map for navigating social software technology through staff hands-on experience with tools such as Flickr, MySpace and Second Life. The five week course emphasizes learning by doing and culminates with library staff putting their new found skills to practice by creating proposals for how they will implement social software in their own libraries.
Taking 2.0 to the next level
Karen Huffman is the Manager of Knowledge Initiatives for the National Geographic Society and can show you a thing or two about creating communities around technology. Using tools such as wikis, blogs, RSS feeds and Google gadgets, Karen has woven together bits and pieces of Web 2.0 technology to create a robust intranet for the NGS library to use internally for managing, communicating and collaborating on projects. When she’s not experimenting with killer mash-ups you can also find Karen (a.k.a. Grayce Dryke) foraying into the virtual realms of Second Life. If you happen to run into her though, be a friend and spot her a few Linen dollars–as her green-haired avatar seems to have lost her clothes somewhere in cyberspace.
At the conclusion of this year’s CIL conference I am heading back to Seattle with this thought: Technology is continuing to move libraries forward into new spaces, connecting communities in profound ways. Now is a great time to explore, play together and learn from each other. Just try not to lose your shirt.