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Computers in Libraries 2013

Anne Heimann
Bryan College of Health Sciences Library
Lincoln, Nebraska

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Thanks to the NN/LM MidContinental Region Professional Development Award, I was able to attend the Computers in Libraries (CIL) 2013 conference. The conference was held in Washington, DC April 8-10. (Just in time for the cherry blossoms!) In the past, I have attended professional conferences focused solely on academic or medical librarianship, so I was excited for something new. One of the great things about CIL is it brings together all different types of librarianship. There were government, academic, public, corporate, school and special libraries all represented. Even though our libraries may be very different, we can all learn from each other.

This was especially true in the “Management Metrics That Work” session. This session was moderated by government librarians from the Federal Reserve Bank, the Export/Import Bank and the Agency for International Development. The focus was on collecting and reporting data in a way that best advocates for the importance of the library. Everything from the usual; patron count, checkouts, ILL count, etc., to things I had never thought of; quantify time spent cataloging materials or average hour of computer usage by patrons. They also showed samples of their annual reports. One in particular used a case study outline and infographics. I plan to implement this into my next annual report. I also attended the “Innovative Library Tech: Practice & Services” session. This session was an impromptu panel allowing us all an opportunity to discuss the ways in which we utilize and implement technology into our libraries. Everything from gaming to 3D printing was discussed. Another session, “Negotiating EContent & Tech Licenses” provided a perspective on selling from both the seller and the buyer. This was a very valuable session because it was the first time I heard a salesperson discuss the ins and outs of their sales approach. Because of this session I have a better understanding of the selling process, which will be a tremendous help come renewal time! I also attended the ‘Library Budget Trends & Spending Priorities for 2013’ session. This session reviewed the annual survey of library budgets. As suspected, libraries still face severe budget cuts. I felt lucky to be one of the few people in the room who has not been hit with dramatic cuts.

In addition to the excellent sessions, there were also excellent keynote speakers. The first keynote “Evolving Community Engagement: What would Amazon and Google do?” focused on the importance of customer service and customer relationship management. Because we are all so busy with the responsibilities of our job, we often forget how important it is to not just maintain, but also foster relationships with our users, something Amazon and Google are very good at.

The 2013 Computers in Libraries Conference provided a wonderful variety of numerous topics from technology to reference to management. There was something for everyone. Along with the excellent content of the session and speakers, the conference was also well organized and very well run.  I highly recommend the CIL conference!

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