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Technology in Libraries: Providing Access, Linking Communities

This one day symposium, held at the Cerritos Public Library on Friday, March 6, was an overwhelming success, thanks to the efforts of Co-Chairs Cheryl Bartel and Jeff Williams and of all their diligent and hardworking committee members! The Symposium focused on the application of innovative technologies that build a sense of community, connecting users both within the library and the greater organization.

Cheryl Bartel and Danielle Linden

Engaging, interactive presentations explored the role of libraries in connecting communities and investigated issues of accessibility to electronic resources and tools. Michelle Kraft, author of the well-known blog, “The Krafty Librarian,” gave the keynote presentation, The Evolving Library. Her discussion of differences between two generations of library users, the Net Generation and the Net Learners, led to her exploration of strategies that work best to accommodate the needs of each of these user groups.

Before Keynote

Other invited speakers were Patricia F. Anderson, Emerging Technologies Librarian for the Health Science Libraries, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and author of “Emerging Technologies Librarian” a blog about current web technologies, tools, and trends; and Tracey Hughes, GIS Coordinator for the Social Sciences and Humanities Library, UC San Diego. Patricia’s presentation, Online Healthcare Communities in Social Media and Virtual Worlds, gave listeners a snapshot of the work she does in this area and of the online health communities (especially the homebound and caregivers) for whom social media is a lifeline to relationships and resources. Tracey’s presentation, Geographic Information Systems and Their Application in Health & Medicine, illustrated how GIS is being used in health and medicine, and highlighted the potential of spatial analysis to answer complex questions.

The contributed papers and posters were outstanding and met the symposium goal of increasing attendees’ knowledge of how to incorporate low cost/high impact and easy-to-use technologies into the library experience, focusing on real-world examples and custom-tailored implementation that appeal to librarians and users in various library settings.

Jeff Williams

Delicious food, ample break time, and the impressive Conference Center and Library in Cerritos supported learning and networking throughout the day. The day concluded with tours of the Library, which recently received a prestigious five-star rating in Library Journal’s competitive evaluation, and technology “expeditions,” guided by a host of competent “Sherpas” who were on hand in the Hi-Tech Lab.

Networking at the Symposium

Symposium participants (more than 90!) included medical librarians, public librarians, corporate librarians, vendors, and library students from throughout the Pacific southwest. As part of the evaluation process they were asked to provide feedback during and immediately following the symposium. They will be given another opportunity to respond to a survey 3-6 months after the symposium, when they can evaluate the impact it has had in helping them to integrate technology solutions into their work. For those of you who missed the event, presentation materials from the Symposium will be posted at http://www.mlgsca.mlanet.org/events/symposium_2009.htm.

Funded by NN/LM PSR to enhance the use of technology at Network Member institutions, the symposium was developed and conducted by the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona (MLGSCA) in cooperation with Hawaii Pacific Chapter, Medical Library Association (HPCMLA) and Northern California and Nevada Medical Library Group (NCNMLG).

Deborah Klein’s remark to the co-chairs captures the effort and outcome of the Symposium:
“…your vision for the day was very clear, and you made it a beautiful reality!  This type of one-day symposium was a novel event for us, and since it turned out so well it can be a good model for future years.”

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