Friday, October 24, 2008

Michigan Librarians gather in Kalamazoo

Michigan Library Association Conference 2008
October 22-24, 2008

, MI

Though I had some obligations at work, so I was traveling back and forth between downtown and campus, I still feel I got to attend all but one session that I wanted to see. If you have time to read only one thing, read about the last session I attended – I think that was the most important one for me.

Slammin Around the World
Nice presentation by five public librarians of books and films that introduce us to different parts of the world. One presenter talked about graphic novels, one about films, one about “intellectual books,” and the other two had general fiction books that addressed different parts of the world – the kind of books I really like. I will check to make sure we have all the books and films they have on their list. I should also make a guide listing these books, and include ones like this that I have read, maybe other librarians could contribute. This would make the list personal and not overwhelmingly long.

The Psychology of Influence and Persuasion
Dan Norris – keynote speaker
This was an interesting look at how small things make a huge difference in how people perceive things, commit to them, etc. The applications to library work were a bit tentative, but still there. Here’s what I got out of it:

  • Don’t say “it was nothing” or “no problem” when someone thanks you for your help. At least say “thank you”, or even something like “I’m sure you would have done if for me.”
  • Maybe hand out something after an interaction like at the desk. (People like gifts that are personal and unexpected.)
  • When trying to convince others about a project – give stats on other libraries doing this.
  • Gain trust by subtly showing authority –“over the last 10 years I have seen…”
  • Get commitment by asking people – and have them commit in a public arena.
  • Let people know if there is a budget cut coming up, so can prepare to help.
  • Ask people what the library meant to them when they were growing up.
  • Frame it cooperatively: “here’s how we support you in the community,” “here’s how we can work together.”

Tech Tools for Reference: A Public and Academic Library Perspective
Holly Hibner from Salem-South Lyon District Library and Christine Tobias from MSU introduced a wide variety of tools for use in our daily work.

The Michigan Evergreen Project – Michigan’s First Open Source Group Catalog
With presenters from MLC and the Grand Rapids Public library, they described a new open source ILS system that has been piloted by GRPL and recently come online. It is mostly being researched by public libraries and MLC is acting as the facilitator. I was mostly interested in hearing about this as a possiblity for my union catalog for small Latvian libraries project. It looked good until they showed the cataloging module. I will be working with non-librarians and the MARC record will not be comprehensible to them. I will still look into this.

Web Presence of Instructional Materials
Two librarians from Wayne State presented on ways of ways of saving and sharing instruction materials with other librarians and users.
This repeated some of the tools mentioned in the previous section on tech tools, but had more for our academic work. We may want to share files in many formats: Powerpoints, PDF/Word documents, Screencasts, Audio, Video, Images (of library, screenshots, etc.), Multimedia (more than one of the above), Link lists, HTML pages. Each of these formats can be saved for free on one of the many open source tools on the Web, and that provides a URL for each item. These URL’s can then be saved in a database, which they created in Zoho Creator, with metadata for each item. This is now a searchable database of instructional materials.

Re-visioning the Reference Collection
Last, but definitely not least, and I would say the most important ideas I took home from the conference, was Wayne State’s tale of reducing their Reference Collection by 81%. I actually saw the collection when I visited Wayne for a meeting earlier this fall, and I took pictures of their minimal reference book collection. Now I got to hear about the process.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, you wrote, "I will be working with non-librarians and the MARC record will not be comprehensible to them. I will still look into this." Would you like to speak with the Evergreen community a little more about this? Are you looking for a simplified copy-cataloging interface?