10 November 2011

Charleston Conference, Part 5

On the final day of the conference, Saturday, I attended a morning plenary session by Brad Eden, Dean of Library Services, Valparaiso University focussing on change management and making risk taking change work for libraries. Particularly in technical services, he suggested that libraries can make radical changes - for example, by moving to open source library management systems (Koha, Blacklight, OCLC web scale management, Open Library Environment etc) rather than letting commercial vendors hold library data. Similarly, he argued that libraries, acting collectively, could fundamentally change current publishing models - if we're prepared to accept the possible instability which may result. Details of a report for university provosts and extensive quotations from another unpublished report were included in the presentation (I'll include a link to it when it's available). The talk closed with a discussion of self improvement and personal effectiveness techniques which can help to lead and deliver change.

Next I attended an innovation session looking at how LibGuides course pages can be used to find out about the information needs at course level by undergraduate students. This talk by Michael Matos and Robin Chin Roemer of the American University, Washington D.C. explored how librarians can use collaboration at a course level to find out more about emerging subject areas - particularly in really challenging cutting-edge fields. This talk seemed to reinforce the idea that course level guides are more valuable (and better used) than subject guides.

The final session I attended was a Hyde Park style discussion between Melody Burton, Chief Librarian, Okanagan Library, University of British Columbia and Kimberly Douglas, California Institute of Technology. Some key messages to take from this exchange:
  • We need to be committed to transformational change, but it may be unlikely in our lifetimes;

  • Move emphasis from reader services to author services:

  • Start thinking like economists;

  • The internet will go on surprising us;

  • Be relevant;

  • Initiate the change.

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