What a trip! As usual, ALA was crazy--so much to do, so many people to see, and of course, lots of great sessions where inspiration and learning made an appearance, which was pretty terrific. One particularly fun session was the WebJunction and MaintainIT Project Library 2.0 Forum, in which librarians were invited to chat in small groups about 2.0 technologies and ideas.
Here's the deal: we all sat at round tables of about 5-7 people, and we considered one broad question, "how can 2.0 tools be used to engage your community?" The tables were covered with butcher paper so we could record our thoughts, which came into play when we moved to different tables with new people, and then returned to the original table to report back to the entire group. The ideas jotted down on the tables presented the range of discussions, ideas, and experiences all of our fellow tablemates shared. WebJunction plans to use the artifacts from our tables in some way--stay tuned to find out how!
Now that I'm back, I've been thinking about the ideas that were shared at my table. A few were pretty terrific:
- Alcuin Library at St. Benedicts College in MN uses Flickr to promote their catalog. They take a photo of bookshelves or displays, and using notes, link the books directly to the catalog. Very cool!
- Another library has an audio clip in spanish of how to apply for a library card. Spanish-speaking patrons can put on headphones and listen to how its done. OR, a patron could watch a video, or a patron could accees an audio clip or video from the library's home page. What a clever idea for offering services to multiple languages and learning styles.
- One librarian shared her idea of demystifying HR policies--like taking maternity leave--by filming a short video that distills all of the policies into a friendly conversation, started with, "congratulations!"
These sorts of exercises where librarians share experiences are so powerful. While we don't often get a chance to do it in person, the MaintainIT Cookbooks do the same thing without the butcher paper and the friendly faces (although I can pretty much guarantee that there were smiles on the faces of the hundreds of librarians we've interviewed when they shared their stories!).
If you haven't yet checked out a Cookbook, please do, and keep your eyes on our web site for new content in html--in addition to pdf for printing--coming out this summer!