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Helene Blowers visits ACPL

April 29, 2008

About a month ago, ACPL staff visited Columbus Metropolitan Library to meet Helene Blowers and chit-chat with some of her ITS staff about technology, innovation and libraries. Helene returned the favor today by visiting ACPL. We were very pleased that she gave two presentations about technology in libraries. If you were not able to come to hear her talk, you can view her Reality Check presentation here and Libraries, Learning & Play here.

Some things I took away from her visit:

  • Librarians should create and fuel patrons’ curiosity, creativity and collaboration
  • Become a discovery guide (not a teacher)
  • Challenge the classroom model (my ears perked up on this one since my own son is not a traditional learner)
  • We are more valuable when we empower than when we control
  • We need to recognize the shift in how patrons are using the web–from searching for info to seeking community with others. How can users incorporate ACPL stuff into their own space?  Widgets are being used more and more.  We have them; do patrons use them?
  • The homepage is no longer the patron’s last stop.
  • More people blog now to share information and express themselves than to make money.  We need to “squeeze the creative juices of our community”, allowing customers to express themselves in ACPL space
  • There is a niche community for just about everything.  Example: Ravelry is wildly popular among knitters and crocheters.  Helene’s husband is addicted to site where woodworkers who turn wood on lathes gather and share.
  • We need to meet users in their communities and don’t assume they will find ours.

Another idea that I’ve been thinking about since lunch is, how do we create tutorials and other guides for patrons that don’t talk down to them? Helene stressed the importance of not talking to the lowest common denominator of skill, but talking up to people’s intelligence. This gives me food for thought as I plan making a site map / pathfinder for the ACPL website.

We really enjoyed having you here, Helene!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2008 5:54 am

    hi melissa… ditto! looking forward to my next trip to acpl. i had a great day too! 🙂

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