A Report on Computers in Libraries Conference by Dee Dee Dockendorf

Thanks to a VALL grant, I was able to attend the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference in Arlington, VA held March 30 - April 1. I’ve always wanted to attend a CIL conference to learn about new technologies and ways different types of libraries are applying that technology. This year, two of my colleagues and I were accepted to give a presentation on our collaborative digital project (more on that in a future post!), and with presenting comes free registration. Yeah! With the VALL grant to help offset some of the travel costs, I was ready for CIL!

There were many practical sessions presented at the conference. I learned more about Wikis and the opportunities for use. Some libraries are using Wikis for instruction, while others use them as “administration” pages, containing library policies, procedures, tasks, and schedules. Yet another library discussed the ways they use an internal WordPress blog to share administrative information. The blog replaced the library’s shared internal drive and cut down on email. I also learned about Content Management Systems (CMS) and mobile applications. While some of these technologies may not apply to my library (at least not in the near future), it was great to see what is out there and what’s coming down the pipe. For those involved in strategic planning, this conference is a great introduction to some new and innovative concepts and applications.

The conference also presented a lot of conceptual programs. While the tools and gadgets out there can be fun to play with, many presenters stressed the need for goals when it comes to implementing new technology. Using technology for technology’s sake is unsustainable. New tools should address current problems or goals at an institution. It’s also important to remember about buy-in when introducing new technology. Many times, people focus on getting patron buy-in, which is important, but forget about staff buy-in. In order for projects to really get off the ground, it’s important to have the staff excited and on board.

All in all, I had a great time at CIL 2009 and I came back inspired and invigorated. I even made time to go see the cherry blossoms in DC! For anyone considering attending next year, I highly recommend it. It’s a great opportunity to meet librarians from different walks of life and learn about new and exciting trends coming to libraries!

The Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms by Dee Dee Dockendorf

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