Saturday, June 14, 2008

Newbie Unconference

Yesterday (6/13/08) I attended a "Newbie Unconference." This was my first experience at an unconference, and I loved it! What a wonderful format for sharing ideas with like-minded people. It was hosted by Christine Ayar and Elizabeth Bollinger at the Southfield Public Library.

I was invited to facilitate two sessions. The first was a discussion of "synergy" between departments and libraries. We discussed ways to increase communication and understanding between departments, such as job-shadowing through "Take Your Co-Worker to Work Day." Another idea was to take someone from another department to lunch to create a personal relationship with them. Other ideas we came up with are listed on the Newbie Unconference Wiki.

The second discussion I facilitated, along with my co-worker Mary Kelly, was about programming and bibliographic instruction/instructional literacy. We came up with programming ideas and had a good discussion about making our programs relevant to our communities. BI/instructional literacy at the public library level provides lifelong learning and also prepares teens for academic settings. Bureaucracy at the library administrative and also municipal level can sometimes hinder library programming, so we discussed ways of proving the value of programming. I realized how lucky I am at SSLDL to have such freedom to try new things. I believe that quality programming can be provided on no budget at all through community partnerships.

Finally, I was a member of a three-person panel titled "New Librarians, New Trends, and the Future of the Profession." I spoke for about ten minutes about trends in librarianship such as changes in formats and the delivery of answers to our customers, virtual services, digitization, the nature of reference service toward tech support, and the idea that librarians are teachers on how to find and use information. You can listen to an audio file of the panel discussion here.

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