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Internet Librarian Wrap-up

October 29, 2010

Internet Librarian 2010 wrapped up on Wednesday and it was a great conference. It was wonderful meeting people in person that I have been following on Twitter or reading about their ideas via their blogs. There were many fantastic presentations (some of which I’ve already written about) so today I just wanted to write a little bit about some of the recurring themes at the conference.

Community
One of the overarching themes of Internet Librarian 2010 was the importance of community. Whether John Blyberg of Darien Public Library was discussing how the library stayed open very late to provide people a place to go when there was a snowstorm knocked out power to most of the town, or Jody Turner telling us how getting attention for our organizations requires us to be empathetic and social, community was the strong concept that tied together much of what was talked about at the conference. I was reminded again and again of Seth Godin’s book, Tribes (excellent book, by the way) while listening to the sessions; we need to not only understand the tribes, as Mike Ridley said, but we need to become part of the tribes and make librarians integral via fostering community.

Community was also evident in the interactions among the librarians, both those physically present in Monterey and those linked in via Twitter, blogs, the virtual conference, and other social media information streams. It was great to be around so many passionate, creative, and knowledgeable librarians. I had a blast, and yes, being recognized as The Waki Librarian was one of the highlights of the conference for me (it’s nice to know I’m not sending out these posts into the abyss without anyone reading them.)

Innovation
Obviously, we come to Internet Librarian to hear about innovation and all the creative, wacky, successful (or not) projects and programs that our fellow librarians have created and implemented. It was amazing and very useful to hear about not only the successes but the failures of innovation at this year’s conference so that we can help each other move forward instead of using up our limited resources by re-creating the wheel at our separate institutions.

I hope we can all take back this spirit of innovation to our organizations and create more wonderful projects to share next year.

Design
There were many wonderful talks on the importance of design in creating an awesome user experience (UX). As a bit of a geek when it comes to design, I was excited to hear all about branding, typography, and designing both for the built environment and the online environment. Beauty is not just for beauty’s sake, but because it makes the experience in our libraries better for our patrons/users/collaborators/participants/selves. If you are passionate about design, I highly suggest checking out the Before & After magazine website for tips, tricks, and advice on design.

Mobile Web
With the Mobile Monday track, sessions and information about mobile content, resources, and design dominated much of the conference (with good reason). Mobile is definitely one technology that no one can ignore without seriously bad consequences for their organizations. I learned a lot from the sessions on mobile technologies and one of the themes within this track was that we should focus on designing and creating content for the mobile web rather than standalone apps that are specific to a device. Not only does this focus in our design and efforts save us time, but, as was mentioned in one session, more librarians can probably code for the web versus for apps. So go Team Mobile Web! (And hopefully I can get my colleagues to buy into this idea as we work towards optimizing our site and services for the mobile world.)

Conclusion
Internet Librarian was filled with wonderful people, great sessions, and more information than anyone can process in a few days. Hopefully more insights and conversations will continue to be shared even though the conference is over.

Have a fantastic Friday and a lovely weekend filled with reading and relaxing. The Waki Librarian will be back next week with more library and technology fun.

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