Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Future of Libraries: VALA 2010 redux

In February this year Mal Booth, Belinda Tiffen and I made a big splash at VALA 2010 with this presentation on our vision of the future of libraries. We showed 3 videos, audio, slideshows, tweeted live and wore green as a sign of our committment to sustainability! Yes, we know how to put on a good show! We were blown away by the support and interest that was shown face to face, via twitter and by bloggers worldwide. The biggest concern people had was how they can make buzz words like trust and creativity - a reality? If you read my blog you'll know some of the things we're doing to try to promote trust and creativity among staff but what works for us may not work for you. Our best advice is to experiment, play, allow mistakes, communicate and share!

I was going to blog about our VALA 2010 presentation (much) sooner but held off because we've recently been asked to present it at a number of places, including the State Library of NSW Public Libraries Futures Forum #plff2010 last week. At VALA 2010 we presented our session with Keynote but we've rejigged it using prezi which we've used for our recent presentations. We've added the Google searchstory for fun (see previous post) and refined the words a bit but otherwise it's all the same.

As you can see there are three scenarios explored: what the future may hold for students, researchers and staff in our library of the future. The text accompanying each video are the key points we want you to get out of each scenario. We talked briefly to each point and summed up at the end while showing the wordle of our paper which can be found on the VALA website.

The most popular video by far is the one about staff. Not surprisingly, because it's about US! Now with over 6000 views on YouTube it continues to be shared by librarians the world over! Of course we're interested in how our lives will be affected in the future and yes, I think we've given quite a rose coloured vision but why not? And it's not just lip service (as some of the YouTube comments suggest). Experimentation, fun and play have become de rigueur around here and that leads to trust, more open communication and sharing among staff. Within this month I've run workshops for staff in our interactive teamboard room on developing skills for writing and delivering papers, how to use twitter and how to use prezi! Our annual planning day included group craft activities and live tweeting #libpd! We just ran our second Earth Hour competition to find new ways we can be more green and sustainable (we were surprised that no-one else brought up sustainability at VALA 2010). So we're not just talking the talk with this presentation. We're actively trying to create the future we want!

The student video in the prezi was actually made by some of our students with very little guidance from us! We gave them a few things to include like mobile devices and the ASRS but we wanted to see the future from their point of view. The researcher video was made using, (a text animation program) to create a video blog in the year 2015.

We are really excited about the buzz this paper and presentation have received all over the world. It's sparked the beginning of some exciting things, not just for us but for many people working in libraries who are wondering what the future will bring. Thanks to all who saw the original at VALA 2010 and who came along to #plff2010 last week at the State Library of NSW!

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