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Session Notes: Computers in Libraries

This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Carla White
Carla White

 

by Carla White

Through the Professional Development Grant, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the annual Computers in Libraries conference, in Arlington, Virginia, at the end of March. I am a technology librarian at the Monroeville Public Library and I’m in charge of our newly opened makerspace, called the Create Space. I’m always interested in knowing more about our field, especially when it pertains to technology!

During the four-day conference I was able to meet many wonderful library professionals, listen to interesting and thought-provoking presentations and engage with new technology that would benefit my library and our patrons. Conferences are a great way for people to come together to share ideas, warn others of failed ventures and get excited about success stories. For me, a library has never just been a place for books and at the Computers in Libraries conference, you really get to see how technology is changing our profession and shaping our communities.

If you are able to go to the Computers in Libraries conference, I highly recommend that you sign-up for the workshops offered the day before the full conference begins. One of the sessions discussed the technology trends in 2017. it was very relevant for me and I gained a lot of knowledge that I plan to move forward with in making changes and additions to my library, but there were many other sessions that you could have chosen from; with topics ranging from library leadership to community engagement.

The next three days of the conference I was able to enjoy the many wonderful sessions while taking copious notes so I could come back to my library and get started on all the new ideas I had. One session, presented by the New York Public Library, explained how they created their TechConnect Department and programming. I sat in wonder as they told us about all the classes that are offered, including assessment tests, computer basics and programming. At the end of each class series, students are given a certificate of participation. I believe that this is a life changing opportunity that NYPL is giving to people. A chance to reach out, teach and inspiration to people. Moving forward, I would love for that to be a goal in my career as a technology librarian. Though it is fun to play with the 3D printer and teach coding classes, giving people new skillsets and tools to add to their resume is an aspiration for me.

There were so many other great sessions, including the logistics of 3d printing and implementing a memory station into your library. Fortunately, my director and our IT person were also able to attend and we were able to sit down and talk after each day of the conference about what we liked and what we would like to try in our library. Next year I would love to go back as a presenter and give a session on how our makerspace is making an impact in our community.

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