Computers in Libraries 2015

I am not a “sketcher”

I virtually attended the first day of Computers in Library 2015 Presentations (CiL2015) in Washington, DC as I manned the reference desk. I did this by watching the twitter stream #cildc hashtag. I had a chance to look over presentations of sessions I missed. Librarians are very good at sharing their knowledge, and never more so than when gathered for a library conference. I salute them! I had to finish a blog post before the end of the day and saw that David Lee King’s presentation on Writing for the Modern Web posted a new (to me) tool to help with writing for the modern web. I’ll run this post through it when I am ready to edit.  I used Mary Ellen Bates slides from her Super Searcher Tips & Tools to learn how to search twitter. [Try it on Google “sketching” #cildc ] Lots of people were sharing their sketchnotes of the sessions during the day. I tried to “sketchnote” without an app on Day 2 – in person – and found I am not a sketcher! I don’t have enough “fonts” in my physical pen or my imagination.

Speaking of conference notes, some of mine were done on the laptop, some were done by hand with pen and notebook and some “notes” hit the twitter stream. I am in awe of people who have shared their notes of every session on Google Docs. I found that I paid better attention and was more “in the moment” with the presenters when I was writing by hand and holding a phone or tablet to tweet.

The importance of keynotes presentations

As the keynote goes, so goes the day is my conference experience. Thank you David Ferriero and John Palfrey for the just-in-time-to-save-this-librarian keynote. I needed your potent awesome informing engaging delightful public democracy and serious library world view. I could listen to John Palfrey speak for ages. His turn of phrase and use of language made my neurons light up.

He reminded us that as we reduce the physical objects in our libraries, empty space is not the answer; think about creating knowledge. How do we design for physical and digital space? This needs more creativity to combine information architecture and physical architecture (space planning) to create future magical spaces that speak to the public good of libraries. John Palfrey alluded to a nice test – as he exhorted us that we are not in this line of business for ourselves but for others. I have pre-purchased his new book BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google. I am dusting off my fife and drum to join his library revolution. Sign me up!


I am always a little wary of vendor presentations at these conferences. I did attend two of these. In Big Data Driving Innovation, I was intrigued to see the global aggregate of research. [A205 and hoping the slides get up soon.] #SpringyTalia (Talia Roberts of Springshare) gave an excellent presentation on 8 tips for great customer service. This was a well-timed session for me. We are in the last weeks of the semester and are working with less library staff BUT it isn’t about us or these circumstances. It is about:

  • High HQ
  • Going the extra mile
  • Being empathetic
  • Participating in the dialogue
  • Being on the offense – offense as a positive
  • Building communities
  • Using the power of humor, or just a smile
  • Being a good human

Thank you for the statement – Don’t say NO – be creative.

 Technology & Tools

There were “computers” in my computers in libraries experience this year. I am going to reacquaint myself with Zotero and pair that with IFTTT to work on researcher publications and bibliometrics. Following the Big Data track for most of the day on Tuesday, I appreciated H. Frank Cervone’s (A201) introduction to the Adobe Hadoop Ecosystem (as a series of tools and workflows) – he mentioned it was  a complicated ecosystem! Amy Affelt was sublime as she preached that it’s just data and librarians have always dealt with data. I have already purchased multiple copies of her book The Accidental Data Scientist for myself and others. It is very well done. Value is where data meets storytelling. See this link for her presentation for the cool big data apps.

Libraries Make Our Communities Smarter

Wednesday at CiL2015 was all about combining the technology and libraries to build better library experiences. Mary Agusta Thomas from the Smithsonian Libraries told us that technology used well to understand, participate, develop, and embed knowledge in museums, libraries and archives is imperative. The combination of librarians asking “what is it you really want to know?” and the technology that can digitize and include character recognition quickly will be the future treasure house of knowledge.

Liz McGettigan gave us a broader perspective on reimaging library spaces and services. Her emphasis was on access to new technology for all – if not the library, then where?

Change or Die

How do we all keep up the technology, and the new spaces and the new services that 21st century libraries need? Well, conferences like this one are important. Thanks to all the presenters for their perspective and generously sharing their knowledge.

Tools & sites to check out




About Kimberly Hoffman

Twitter: KMH_nowinVA
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