Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Wanna Know What Happens at a Library Conference?
Here at the library conference, so my blog isn't exactly going to be mindblowingly well formulated today (left the laptop at home). But you're all okay with that, right? And you promise to ignore all the spelling errors, of course. Because I have no spell check on this interface. A lot of people have been asking me what sort of a conference this is that I'm attending this week. (WARNING: Library-oriented stuff to follow. If you're into the whole library scene, or curious what exactly a librarian would do at a library conference, read on. Not sure if it'll be interesting, otherwise. Then again, as we all know, any time I put my fingers to a keyboard, fascinating things happen. Right? Right? On we go.) It's a tech conference, primarily aimed at how technology is used in libraries. So far, it's been much better than when I went two years ago. Of course, this could be because I've only been to three sessions, and two of them happened to be good ones. But I'm hopeful that it's a sign of good things for the rest of the time. The key note was all about innovation, and the presenter wasn't really library-related. More of a talk on innovation in business, and it left me feeling a whole lot of meh. The first session I attended, on the other hand, was 7 Essential Elements for an Awesome Website. I was quite apprehensive about this one. There are six tracks going at once, and I'm having to decide carefully what to attend and what to miss. Some of the choices are easy--Unleashing the Power of Your People sounds like a motivational speaker nightmare. Pass. But do I go to the Awesome Website panel, or the Strategic Approaches to Mobile. I've been to Awesome Website panels before, and they've been anything but. However, that hasn't stopped me from hoping that I'd finally go to one that was worth while. That paid off today, as the presenter (David Lee King) had actual, real, helpful suggestions on how to make a library website work. Highly useful, and I actually found myself (gasp!) taking notes. What was surprising to me was how many things seemed like "Duh--why am I not doing that" elements--things like sharing good book suggestions on your library's Facebook feed--and asking for book suggestions from your users. The second panel was about using website search logs to figure out what users are searching--and what they're doing wrong--and then use that information to help users find information more easily. Not sure if I can apply this info to my own library--I'm part of a library system, and it's hard to do things at a library-specific level. But it's good to know stuff like this is out there. So--there you have it. What I Did at My Conference Up to Now. If you can't tell, I do a lot of techie stuff at my job. Web design, tech trends, marketing--in addition to other stuff like teaching classes, doing collection development for the DVDs and media, cataloging books. I work at a small university library, which means I wear a lot of different hats, all at once. I like the variety, though. And on that note, it's time for me to go back to conference land. Lunch break is almost over, and I'd like to try and get some creative writing in while I have a few more minutes. (On today's agenda? Figuring out the voice of the main character in my next book, tentatively titled the St. Valentine's Day _______. Not sure of the last word yet, even for a tentative title. Heist? Affair? Job? Caper? Mission? Time will tell. For my books, so much of the book's success rests on getting a voice down--in Vodnik, it was an introverted movie-obsessed teen. For Tarnhelm, a teen who views himself as a modern day Sam Spade. This book? I'm thinking the main character is somewhere between George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the Oceans series. I know generally how he acts, but how does he narrate? There's the rub . . . )