Computers in Libraries Conference: Day 2

Welcome back to the Bionic Librarian’s CIL Recap. I’m your host, Brad. Allow me one comment on my notes before we dive into the sessions.

On Day 1, I was making my first attempt at taking notes and live tweeting at the same time. On Day 2, an unexpected benefit was revealed.

If you’ve never live tweeted anything, I strongly suggest you try it. It’s tough but very valuable. You get to see not only what other people are thinking but if you’re like me and use bionic ears to hear, it can act as a pseudo-closed captioning service if you stupidly sit too far back and the keynote speakers du jour don’t e-nun-ci-ate.

And now, on with the show.

Making Site UX Rock

Presenter: David Lee King (Digital Services Director, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library)

This dude is a bit of a rockstar in the library world and this presentation proved the rep is well-earned. His use of big pictures with few words on slides is how slideshows should work. However, it can only work if you’re comfortable talking in front of a crowd. Here are 3 other things I learned:

  1. You should design your site Mobile First. That means make sure it works on a mobile screen before tweaking it to look good on a wider screen.
  2. Front load the content of blog posts and paged. Think like a newspaper article. Get to the point!
  3. Kill the clutter! Don’t be afraid of bulleted lists and white space.

Bonus: Get user feedback. This means both staff and patrons. Ask the following questions:

  1. What’s working well?
  2. What’s working not well?
  3. What’s clunky?
  4. What’s missing?

Kiosks & Interactive Displays

Presenter: Amanda L. Goodman (User Experience Librarian, Darien Library)

I’ve been following Amanda on twitter for a while and she’s always got good stuff to say on UX. I was surprised that this session wasn’t more web based. But then again, the displays ARE web pages.

  1. The 3 kinds of displays are:
    1. Kiosk- think maps of the library
    2. Interactive- think OPAC (I was happy to realize we already have this)
    3. Digital Signage- think event promotion
  2. When testing stress that you’re testing the design NOT the user. It’s amazing how self-conscious people get when helping to test.
  3. Raspberry PIs are a bit underpowered. This is something I’ve noticed with the one we use. I’ve got two Wowbrary sliders on one and they are sluggish to load.

Web Driven Revolution for Library Data

Presenter: Richard Wallis (Technology Evangelist OCLC)

This was less about libraries and more about information. So I’m going to deviate from my formula for this one and just give a quick definition. Linked Data is different from a hyperlink, though it can be a hyperlink. The idea behind it is that there’s an ultimate source of truth for data. If all the disparate vocabularies link back to a central definition, people from different fields can more easily communicate.

A great example of this in action is the library button on the details page of a book in Goodreads.It links to the Worldcat entry for that book. From there you can see if your local library has a copy of the book(If they subscribe to WorldCat that is). A great example of where this could go is having a Request a Hold button next to Google Search results for a book.

Digital Habits of Pub Library Customers

Presenters: Deirdre Costello (Senior User Experience Researcher, EBSCO) & Christi Showman Farrar (Senior Product Manager, EBSCO)

The simple question “Tell me about the last time you visited your public library” launched a 2 hour discussion when they were researching these habits.

  1. There are 7 distinct library usage milestones:
    1. Storytime (or, as one live tweeter said “the gateway drug for libraries!”)
    2. Middle school
    3. High School
    4. College
    5. Moving
    6. Having kids
    7. Lost job
    8. Kids Age
    9. Retirement
  2. Some libraries have frequent flyer cars: fill up the card by coming to events or checking out different items. Once filled up the card they were invited to special events and/or given swag.
  3. People really like the bookstore model. So bookstores are NOT competitors to library. This was fantastic to hear, since my library rearranged the nonfiction section into neighborhoods that mimics the arrangement of bookstores. (Think: Sports section, Arts section, History section, ect). It’s great to know we’re ahead of the curve.

Community: Engagement, Partnership, & Impact

Presenter: Sue Considine (Executive Director, Fayetteville Free Library)

The FFL has one of the first Makerspaces around. This session was how they do it.

  1. They actually used volunteers to run programing. There are a lot of talented people in your community, find them!
    1. 3D Design
    2. Robotics
    3. YA Book discussion
    4. Sewing clubs
    5. Series like home repair, yoga, gardening
  2. They used an In the Stalls campaign where they put flyers up in the bathroom. Genius.
  3. They also create videos of their success stories:

So that’s it for Day 2. I noticed that as the days progressed I leaned more on tweets than traditional note-taking. It’s tough to maintain a high energy level throughout a conference. So the next day’s recap is going to be a lot shorter than these two.


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