My new conference mantra is: Humility opens doors.
I had a good first day of my first ALA conference. Started out at a conference orientation held by the New Members Roundtable. Did some productive networking there and gained some valuable conference going tips.
After that, I hopped on the (free) shuttle bus (okay, I waited in line then patiently got on) to head to McCormick place where the exhibits are held and the balance of action takes place. Picked up my badge and starting wandering around the exhibits.
My first “real” session wa “Libraries after 2.0,” on social networking tools and libraries. The presentations confirmed many of the lessons that I’ve learned at the Newberry.
The central, core lesson being: use 2.0 services and tools to respond to specific needs. An initiave to get out onto the web and engage a community of users will work best when a problem is identified and a particular tool seems to fit that problem best.
The other big theme in the talks was that you should empower your community and become part of a conversation, rather than the leader or director of that conversation. This theme cooresponds the the exiom that “communities are out there and doing things without you.”
Yet at the Newberry we are using 2.0 tools to respond to an institutional need, namely that our collections are obscure and under-utilized. So, I wonder how one can apply the key concepts of empowering and engaging users in the context of meeting this (very valid) institutional need.