ILA Conference – Human-Centered Librarianship

I had the great pleasure of attending the Illinois Library Conference. I also got the opportunity to talk with Illinois librarians about the really cool stuff their doing whether it’s building a digital media lab or finding volunteer opportunities for teens.

I also got to present on the idea of Human-Centered Librarianship and the idea that we need to look at our work through the lens of people to be understood and served as opposed to problems to be solved or protecting our stuff. The presentation was really fun and there were some great empowering stories from the crowd about these ideas in action. I included the slides from the presentation below:


Rhode Island Library Association Conference

I had the opportunity of visiting the Ocean State on Friday to present at the RILA annual conference. Rhode Island library folk are really fun to talk to and have a lot of great ideas. One of the highlights for me were the invited speakers on Friday. They were three folks from the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library and talked about how the library space in Zuccotti park was seen as a place of dialogue and public discourse. They also exhorted us to occupy our own libraries and create those opportunities for public discourse around the really big issues that are facing us as a country.

It was a fun conference and there were a lot of thought provoking questions after my session. I’ve posted the slides below:



Lessons From LOEX

I presented and attended LOEX last week in Columbus with my awesome colleague Michele Melia. It has become one of my favorite conferences. It is energizing, teaching librarians are really fun and interesting people and everyone was engaged. There was so much good stuff at the conference (not to mention our presentation), but there were several lessons that stood out for me:

  • Identity work is key to becoming a good teacher¬†- Often librarians look for tips or tricks to improve their teaching and magically help them become good teachers. While a big part of teaching is having different pedagogical tools and methods to draw on, even more important is discovering who you are as a teacher. You need to understand your own strengths an shortcomings and ways that you are most effective in the classroom. No two people teach the same way and the most important work a teacher can do is internal.
  • Bring a skill-share mentality - Char Booth in her awesome keynote presentation briefly touched on this but I also saw it echoed and debated in other sessions. As teachers we are all in this together. We are all at different points and have had different experiences and we need to learn from one another. Instead of creating your instructional materials or lesson plans in a vacuum, share them with your colleagues. Instead of worrying about other people judging you, recognize that everyone has something to learn and has to start somewhere. By sharing our skills we can all become more effective.
  • Storytelling - To be an effective presenter and teacher you need to tell stories. Stories create resonance among people and allow us to connect to the topic. They help you seem more authentic in the classroom…another human being. Information can be communicated much more effectively in stories. As opposed to simply telling people statistics about something like tides or stellar life being able to put it into a visual narrative can be much easier to understand.
Below is Michele and my slides on technology in the classroom, learning styles, and using the inquiry method.