Posted by lpearle on 23 March 2006
Last night was the Big Session: “Dead and Emerging Technologies”. Huge. The “big names” were going to prognosticate. Wild applause.
So, what happened? Well, we opened with a brief primer on what was “1.0” and what was “2.0”. One of the first 1.0 technologies, now supposed dead, was PowerPoint. So, of course, one has high expectations of the following presentations. Let’s just say that rumors of PowerPoint’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
The speakers were clearly playing to a certain crowd: anti-Bush, very liberal, academic and public librarians. No school librarians were included in the panel. Nothing about how to use all this “neat new better than before” 2.0 stuff into our practice, into our community or into our work with students. Just exhortations to Get Out There And Do It NOW. I do not need MySpace or Facebook to let the people at MPOW know that I exist. Blogs may be 1.0, but using them to talk about new books, new resources isn’t. Newsletters work better for my faculty, who can scan and toss or save that easier than they can something on-line that they can forget about.
There was some good stuff, like not counting circulation as a measure of how good a job we’re doing. I buy that. But I do need to count reference questions and classes and individual instruction if I’m going to justify increasing my staffing. I’m still on the fence about federated searching, because there is value to having students know how to use a specific database (more the ABC-CLIO type rather than the EBSCO type), but there is also value to not having them feel that they have to search the entire database list to get their information. So it’s a toss-up and something that I have to figure out. To listen to these speakers, though, it’s got to be federated searching, and it’s got to be now.
I don’t need to “rock the shelves” by including band nights. I don’t need to add an espresso maker to bring them in. This isn’t just anti-2.0ism, it’s simple reality. Libraries cannot be, nor should they strive to be, everything to everybody (þ: Walt). School libraries even less so. Yet this was totally ignored, and tacitly derided, by last night’s speakers.
Of course, this goes back to what I said yesterday: school libraries are not important to this conference. We’re 1/20th of the population here, and those that do attend are the already-converted.