KLA 2010 Notes and Observations

As the slacker NEKLS presenter, I was able to attend a lot of great sessions.  My thoughts:

I absolutely enjoyed the energy and message from Tracie Hall’s keynote, “May I Please Blow Up This Reference Desk?

  • She talked about ‘prepaid services’ and embedding staff and making people uncomfortable.
  • Shake stuff up.
  • Pages are reference staff – they’re the ones being asked by patrons for help, so make sure they have the training they need to GIVE that help.
  • Learn how to use our own tools (Ideas for future NEKLS training): Audiobooks, music and more | Kan-ed databases | Polycoms, ELMeRs and projectors | Online Catalog (advanced searching) | Quiz users about what they want and need from staff
  • Libraries need to adopt the Nordstrom’s model – which is better, having a lenient policy and keeping a customer for life or a $10 fine or $20 lost book?
  • Place a premium on customer use and celebrate heavy library users – how about a GOLD CARD for patrons with more than 1,000 transactions?
  • One of the trends she discussed is the “infallibility of the informal peer review” (aka Amazon book reviews) and this is a feature of Koha (comments and tags) that I want to see used more…can’t wait for the Amazon content fixes in 3.2.
  • Mediating the Learning Experience – Donna Roe and Moody ACRL article The Librarian as Mediator (pdf) – What do people do with information?  How do they turn information into knowledge?  What is our role as librarians in that transition/transaction?  Yonker’s library has a program where patrons can check out a staff member, even a tech staff member!  (Liz doesn’t like this idea, but I do).
  • When managing and bringing in change, you have to walk the walk and repeat the phrase, “we can always revisit this decision.”  Let everyone know ahead of time to expect to feel uncomfortable – fewer feelings hurt that way.
  • Rule: “Everything we buy must circulate” – love it.

Kathy Sexton’s presentation on “Planting Seeds to Grow New Buildings” about the Derby library was fabulous and I think having her at our Trustee Training this summer would be great. She is the city manager of Derby.

  • It’s all about relationships – with your patrons, with the city council, with the mayor, with the city administration and with your Friends and Board.
  • Personal and institutional stories matter and you can’t assume those stories are common knowledge.
  • Librarians need to be aware of what’s going on in the city – what sales tax is about to expire?  what big projects are in the works?  what are the possible sources of funding for a new building?  where does the library fit in with the city’s overall plan?
  • What reasons can the library use that will resonate with city leaders and politicians?
  • Buzzwords: economic development, competing demands, joint use
  • Advocacy and Leadership – it takes times to build credibility and strong relationships, don’t start building them when you need the building, but long before.  It’s 90% relationship and 10% task -
  • Build standing | trust | respect, model behaviors and ‘servant leadership’
  • Communicate – reuse content – FB post, newsletter, newspaper article, blog post, flyers
  • Draw on different points of view (find storytellers) – a child’s story, a teacher’s story, a viewer’s story, an official’s story – sell with passion
  • Good Board members should learn about the organization they represent, understand what’s expected (job descriptions), realize that the best decisions come form the synergy of a shared experience and should consider all of the information, but speak with one voice (buy in is a MUST)
  • Good volunteers should be able to articulate the mission, believe in the cause, share their enthusiasm and use good judgment in determining WHEN to take action – take turns, wait through a recession, be thoughtful
  • Financial issues (could be session unto itself): How much needs to be spent? Where is the $$ coming from? Which financing mechanisms are available? who will make decisions about which taxing source  financing mechanism will be used? – Savings in a CIF or Bond or USDA loan or Sales tax?
  • Leadership that lasts the longest inspires the most… and Do it, don’t just talk about it.

I went to hear Jeff, Patti and Marc talk about “Broadband, Kansas Libraries and Gates Foundation” because it seemed appropriate.  It was all stuff I’d heard before from Kan-ed.  The State Library will have an e-rate coordinator who can help with capacity planning, filings, best practices, tech planning and training/support.  Gates says that a T-1 is adequate bandwidth for 6 public access computers.  Good to know.

While some argue that transliteracy is ‘information literacy’ with a fancy new term, I found the message refreshing and enjoyed Bobbi’s presentation on “Libraries and Transliteracy“.  I wish her luck in changing the American education system…but aside from that, here were the points that struck a chord with me:

  • Librarians as already seen as community teachers of technology
  • Critical content is online – banking, job applications, insurance claims, unemployment and taxes, as well as social support networks – not just ‘fun and games’
  • Access to technology is more affordable ($300 netbook) and the need for a savvy understanding privacy online is increasing
  • Transliteracy is the “ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media.”
  • Convergence of technology, art, music, social/cultural exchange – and the ability to move seamlessly in a constantly changing environment with fluidity and flexibility.
    • Example:  You have pictures on your phone you want to share.  Who will need those pictures printed and mailed? Who knows enough to open them in an email attachment?  Who is comfortable viewing them via flickr or Facebook?  When are we taught to discern that?
  • Creation of 2nd class citizens who can’t discern – “The future is hear, it is just not evenly distributed” – William Gibson
    • Hardware/Technology – what good is broadband without a computer or the money to pay for it?
    • Broadband shouldn’t be a privilege
    • Lack of digital skills – can they use the technology? | Do they know the benefits of the technology? | Who will teach them?
    • Issues to discuss: ethics, critical thinking, collaboration, filtering, ability to both read and be computer/technology competent because critical information is online.
  • 21st Century Literacy is the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn
  • Libraries – if we aren’t teaching transliteracy, then who is?
    • eReader support and help, Facebook basics for parents, computer support
    • Who teaches computer classes in libraries?  Who taught the teachers?  What are they teaching – how can NEKLS support this?
  • What can we do? (Bobbi’s conclusions):
    • Stop fighting amongst ourselves – it’s not books v. technology anymore – What would Reader’s Advisory for technology be like?  Find the solution that works for the patron and their needs
    • Get educated – 23 Things Kansas, Tech training at staff meetings, share stories and make emotional connections
    • Explore – continue to learn, cross train, explore, and play with technology
    • Experiment – set up a room with all the necessary technology to podcast or video cast and see what happens
    • Book a librarian/ Book a techie (same as what Tracie was saying)
    • Be Fearless

Whatever it takes…Getting Patrons into the Library” by Janet Reynolds and Chris Waddell from the Library District#2 of Linn Valley in LaCygne was full of good information and pictures of my best friends’ kids!  They’re so cute.  I’ll keep looking, hopefully they’ll submit their powerpoint to the KLA web site.  They did a holiday homes tour, complete with a festival of mini-trees (ala Tonganoxie Public Library) so of course that made me proud.  Janet works for my Superintendent friend, so I shared with him how much I enjoyed hearing about very successful school/public library collaborations and fundraisers.  Note:  Requiring event sign up is the kiss of death in LaCygne.  Their Summer Reading Camp sounded like a lot of work, but worth it.

The Public Library Section meeting and KEGger rounded up my KLA 2010 experience.  KLA is $28,000 in the hole and wanted a loan from PLS…we declined.  More about that on the KLA Facebook page.

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