or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Recap from #nelaconf13

   October 24th, 2013

nela2013I was at the New England Library Association's annual conference this past weekend, and had a great time meeting people and finding out what's going on around the region. This year's conference had a very complete website with links to handouts and notes, as well as an ongoing blog of notes from attendees, and the hashtag #nelaconf13 was interesting too.

I blogged the sessions I attended, below, and am looking forward to reading the posts from other sessions too:

A few of my favorite moments from NELA didn't make it into the notes:

  • While addressing concerns of data privacy and security when using cloud-based library services, Michael York, State Librarian of New Hampshire, simply said: that ship has sailed - no one should expect any privacy or security anymore.
  • Also, Michael drives the state delivery van whenever the primary driver is off on vacation - how cool is that?
  • Overheard: "we're doing R&D, which in the library world means 'rip-off and duplicate'"
  • Based on what I learned from the feng shui program, we need more plants in the library
  • The 3M Cloud Library integrated into the Polaris ILS is amazing - checkout of ebooks is seamless, and holds and checkouts show up right in the patron's account, along side other library items. And, 3M handles Adobe Digital Editions at the vendor level, which means patrons never need to mess with it - this is how all ebook vendors should operate
  • An amazing true story: a couple years ago in New Hampshire, a patron requested an item through early one morning. The library that owned it got the request shortly thereafter and pulled the book. Shortly after that, the delivery van arrived, picking up the request. And, it just so happened that the next stop on the route was the library where the patron's item was to be delivered - when they got it, the patron was notified his item was ready to be picked up. So, due to the coincidence of timing, this patron got his request in a matter of hours - and reacted by calling for funding cuts to libraries, because he felt they didn't need to be spending so much money on this gold-plated delivery system.

It really was a good three days (not to mention good nights in Portland, too), and I'm looking forward to going to next year's conference in Marlborough Boxborough, MA - see you there.

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