Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Handheld Librarian Conference 2 - Day 1

SU was able to offer students free admittance to the Handheld Librarian Conference 2 (HHLIB2) at Bird Library, which I gladly took up.  On day 1 I attended the keynote by Tom Peters, Mobile Tagging and QR codes and the second keynote by Joan K. Lippencott.

Tom discussed the future of mobile reference.  Mobile phone usage is the fastest diffused technology in history and, as such, it is important for librarians to tap into this market.  Any information a library has should be available on a mobile phone with internet.  From catalogs and reference, to instruction and library tours, this is what todays students are looking for.  Additionally, he discussed items that to me, with my customer service background, seemed completely logical and forward-thinking.  Watching the comments, however, it is easy to see that not all librarians feel the same way.  It is important to go into the library and talk to patrons, not just wait for them to come to you.  This is well known in the retail world, as most people who have a question will not ask, but will just leave the store if they cannot find something.  It was interesting for me to see how my background will help when I am working in a library.

Mobile Tagging and QR(quick response) Codes was a fascinating workshop and has given me a multitude of ideas for the future. For genealogy, archives and historical societies, QR codes are a fantastic invention with many opportunities for use.  QR codes are black and white squares with embedded information that anyone with a cell phone can take a picture of and a link, document or photo will open through the internet.

Joan's keynote was on mobilizing the library for todays students.  The Net Gen, those born in 1982 to 1991, grew up with computers and the internet and expect to be able to find all the information they want there.  According to a recent poll, the one piece of technology a student would keep is the cell phone.  As such, librarians need to be using mobile technologies such as QR codes, twitter, and YouTube.  They also need to be using the words students use, like stressed or confused.  One example is Google's library guide, which speaks to students in terms they understand.  Libraries need to develop a plan and strategy for mobile services.  By doing so soon, they will be ahead of the curve, which is necessary in todays society.

After this presentation I had to leave to go to work, but I look forward to day 2 tomorrow.

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