Innovation in Libraries deemed a great success

Innovation in LibrariesWhile Karen is off at Code4Lib Mid-Atlantic in Philadelphia learning new things, I finally found some catching-up time to assemble some follow-up thoughts about the Innovation in Libraries event. And load the slides! (Click the "Presentations" arrow to show all 16 presentation slide decks.)

Phil Simon kicked off the event with a great keynote, to help us level set on what platforms are, the "Big Four" Platform players and what we can do as libraries to take advantage of platforms going forward. What we realized was that many of the library staff presentations that followed were awesome--and focused on something I would term "micro-innovations." These are small-ish things people have done in their libraries that they've taken on or created to make things better, cooler, faster, more fun. And they were projects that your library could basically steal-the-idea and implement once you got home. But then Simone Kortekaas's presentation, "Thinking the Unthinkable: A Library without a Catalogue" pushed us into the macro-innovation level. She basically threw down the gauntlet to say

  • What are we doing in our academic libraries--as staff, as faculty, as students?
  • What are users doing in terms of information gathering online?
  • Looking through this lens, what should we stop doing as a library?
  • Where are our opportunities? Where should we grow, as a community/industry/profession?

Her presentation sparked a lively discussion about whether a discovery layer was helpful for users, or actually just perpetuating the library's investment in systems that eventually need to cede to other places, such as GoogleBooks or GoogleScholar. Many of the attendees--including me--had come fresh from LITA Forum, where at least a few of the sessions emphasized the massive work their library had undertaken in terms of data clean-up in order to make their various discovery layers work better. It's hard to think about not continuing a service that you've just invested a LOT of time and effort into making better. But Simone's presentation raised the question: are discovery layers an interim step in library evolution? Are there differences in Europe versus other places?

It was a wonderful two days of absorbing new ideas, making new connections and pushing our collective thinking about how we serve our users and manage our libraries. We're working on loading the videos of each presentation to YouTube, and we'll also post links and summaries of each presentation. So stay tuned for more!

If you attended Innovation in Libraries, what did you think? What might we change for next time? Should there be a next time?

Let us know. Looking forward to sharing the videos soon!

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