Library Technology Conference

I had juuuuuuuuuuust enough in my professional development funds to attend my very first Library Technology Conference at Macalester College in St. Paul. My local mentor, Jason Roy, recommended the conference to me. Though I could only afford to attend one day, it was such a good conference. I did my best to get as much out of if as I could! Judging by the boost in my twitter followers, I did a really good job.

The morning began with caffeine, sugar, and keynote speaker Lauren Di Monte, who talked about data, data collection, and the internet of things. I was hanging out on twitter (#LTC2017) during the keynote and a lot of the chatter was about the ethics of harvesting that information. Should we archive someone’s information from their smartphone, especially private information like their health tracking apps? Probably this topic was too much for Di Monte to address during a keynote address, but it set the tone for conversations all day. (Which is what you want from a keynote!)

The first breakout session I went to was “My Resources Are Digital But My Staff is Still Analog!” with Brian McCann, which was a really engaging discussion on training staff and patrons on emerging tech tools.  The second I went to was slightly less helpful to me personally (I was really torn on this and another session, but that’s the way the conference crumbles). It was “Launching the Learning Commons: Digital Learning and Leadership Initiative” with Mandy Bellm. She did amazing work in her school district, revamping the library for 21st century use, but I would have liked to hear more about her process and experience writing the grants

My third breakout session, “Digital Texts and Learning: Overcoming Barriers to Effective Use” with Brad Belbas and Dave Collins turned out to be rather emotional. Digital text formats in theory have a ton of ADA capabilities, but ultimately, tech companies and digital publishers don’t seem to have any incentive to make their digital texts readable to as many people as possible! My tweets from this session were still being passed around a day later.

The final session for my LibTechConf experience was the cherry on top of a great day, “Giving a Voice to Audio Collections” with Christopher Doll and Joseph Letriz who talked about their experience bringing oral histories into their online collections. Their project was to highlight the 100 year history of African American students at University of Dubuque, Iowa. They highlighted tools they used, such as the Oral History Metadata Synthesizer, to get the project on its feet as quickly as possible. It was fascinating! Make sure you check it out:

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this conference. I met librarians and digital content folks from all over the country. There were tons of good presentations at all different levels and entry points. The conversations were fun and productive, and as you might expect, the conversations on twitter were just as rich and full as the presentations themselves.

This post was written by Kate McManus, resident at Minnesota Public Radio.

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