“Technology for Boomers”

I’ve been tapped to give a 1.5-2 hour presentation to a group of Alaskan public library directors. (This sounds very impressive for a newbie librarian, but here’s the full disclosure: their original half-day speaker had to cancel, and then their backup speaker also canceled. Now there are several local librarians giving shorter talks, instead. So I’m psyched, but I’m also aware that I’m third-string. ;)) They—not I!—named the talk “Technology for Boomers.”

Now, because I love talking about social media and showing people all the cool stuff that’s happening out there, I totally agreed. Even though it’s in 2 weeks, and I’ve never put together a 1.5-hour talk before. Figuring out how to pace the talk, what to cover, and all of that kind of thing is going to be a challenge, but I’m sure it’ll work out.

So you’re wondering where you come in, dear reader? I was hoping you’d be so kind as to look over my brainstorming list and help me figure out which of these things are keepers and what I’m missing. What is new (or newish) and cool and trendy and interesting (and ideally useful), that a bunch of busy library directors wouldn’t otherwise know about? There aren’t tons of technology talks happening in the Alaskan library community, so some of these topics, like Twitter, will sound old to you guys, but my experience is that there are still a lot of people who really don’t know anything about it, besides “it’s on CNN sometimes.”

Things that sound to me like a good idea:

  • Twitter – including my library’s, Anchorage Public Library’s, AK State Library’s, and Alaska Library Association’s, as well as this incredibly clever use of Twitter, that library who tweets their reference questions, proactive reference (which I’m doing), and hopefully some other innovative and library-specific uses of the service
  • Facebook – my library’s, APL’s, AkLA’s, UAS Eagan Library’s, and a few really good ones I’ve found from other places, some best practices
  • Blogs – we all know how they work, probably, but a reminder that they’re still a good information medium and some tips about how to make a library’s blog fun and interesting, maybe a few good examples to follow, maybe show them how to follow blogs in Google Reader?
  • iPads and ereaders – My library loans out iPads, so I can talk a bit about that. There will be a Kindle and a Nook in attendance, I hear. I want to give them the scoop about how an ereader is different from something like an iPad and talk about some of the DRM issues and stuff that go along with them. They will have heard some of it, but they’re probably too busy to have synthesized it all. … For that matter, so am I, so this will take a little bit of prework.
  • YouTube – Libraries do cool promotional videos (and lame ones), and it doesn’t take that much time or technology know-how to have, for instance, a short video tour of your library on YouTube. (Full disclosure: we don’t have that yet.) I want to show them the Old Spice library ad and at least part of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s music collection video, which I think was pretty well done
  • QR Codes – There are some neat uses of QR codes on library websites right now (or so my mailing list traffic implies), and I keep meaning to put up a flyer on our door with a QR code pointing to our website. I also hear rumors about a video tour based around QR codes, coming up sometime in our future.

Things I’m less sure about:

  • Pecha Kucha – It’s not strictly a technology thing, but it’s cool and trendy and easy enough for a library to host, either internally, to hone instruction skills, or externally, for the community.
  • Facebook for personal use? A quick overview of privacy issues?

About Coral Sheldon-Hess

Python dev, librarian, engineer, feminist, maker, bird nerd
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