I attended the LibTech conference at Macalester College. The first session I went to — “You’ve Got Mail: Tales of Form-Based Readers’ Advisory” — was put on by librarians from the University of Minnesota, but I can definitely see how such a program would appeal to public libraries. These librarians are essentially book matchmakers; patrons submit a form detailing what kinds of books they like to read (including three examples of books they’ve loved) and the team from the U of M gives them three suggested reads for the future. There are no algorithms or computers involved — the matchmaking is purely human-driven and sounds quite fun! The presenters did mention that the University sometimes promotes this service unbeknownst to them and they then have to deal with hundreds of requests with no time to plan for such an influx. I think this would be fun to try in a public library setting.
I also attended a session on virtual reality — “Virtual Reality in Libraries: Three Methods for Offering Access to VR Technology to Your Users”. I have tried very basic VR technology in my libraries, so I was interested to hear what other folks are doing and what the future holds. Unfortunately, most of what was presented went over my head and was move involved than what I’ve got time/energy/money to do. So it’s back to Google Cardboard for me (although I would be interested in purchasing a stand-alone Occulus…)
The keynote speaker on Thursday was incredibly awesome — DeRay Mckesson. Mckesson was such a powerful speaker. He presented a myriad of statistics and talked about the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. I immediately put a hold on his book “On the Other Side of Freedom: A Case for Hope”. I am so glad that LibTech was able to get him as a keynote speaker for the conference — he was engaging, alarming, and eye-opening.
After the keynote, I attended “Untethered: Utilizing an iPad Flashcard App to Interactively Engage and Educate Attendees at Outreach Activities.” This was interesting and useful because the presenter showed how she used an iPad to create flashcards for games. She uses this technology at outreach events (such as the state fair) where it’s difficult to get people to engage with you (when you’re sitting behind a table). I liked the idea — people love games — and could see trying it at future events (after some initial work).
Another great conference, as always (and great food!) I appreciate the opportunity to attend.