Tuesday, August 31, 2010

June 1, 2009 - "Two librarians walk into a bar..."

I'm back from Montreal and the Canadian Library Association conference. I was a speaker at a very interesting workshop - the organizer (Terri Tomchyshyn) borrowed the concept from the Canadian Law Libraries. Here's the sitch: bring together representatives from all different kinds of libraries (school, public, university, business libraries) and have each person talk for a maximum of 15 minutes on a unifying question (in this case, "what makes your library cool?"). What astonished me was how much these diverse work places had in common - a concern for their users' needs/desires and a willingness to change were key. It was also obvious that the speakers really enjoy their jobs. I'd love to be a student at two of the universities profiled, because they have interactive maps that can either tell you where available computers in the library are located, or what specific shelf your book can be located. I'd love to visit one of the public libraries, that had innovative teen programming like a "Zombie" event and a "Wii Will Rock You" gaming night, provocative seniors book groups that tackle hefty titles like Vanity Fair, or a "living library" where you can borrow a person to talk to for half an hour and have sensitive discussions. I'd love to teach with some of the teacher-librarians that spoke and invited parents to come in and tell stories in their own languages. The 15 minute time limit was tricky as a presenter but delightful as an audience member - if left you hungering for more if you liked the talk, and was bearable if they presentation was dull - surprisingly, none of them were!

The conference was in Montreal, and despite getting lost driving in (je suis tres contente que je me souviens la langue francais un peu!), I was able to get a chance to enjoy the city a bit as well. One of the CLA social events was held at a snazzy bar called The Time Supper Club, so there were more than two librarians walking into the bar.

As my attachment, my PPT is too big, so here are a few more GN reviews.

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