What I Learned at the Library Technology Conference

time_alone2_hiresLots of people wanted to go to this year’s conference, but registration closed crazy fast when the 450 seats were full within 30 hours! Macalester College is the conference site, and as is typical, the crowd at this conference is a mix of library types; maybe a bit more of the academics. However, this year I saw an increase in the number of K-12 school media/tech integration people too, which was great!

I could bore you with reporting on sessions I attended, but rather, I include some themes and observations.


  • One common theme I saw, was that no matter what kind of librarian, maker spaces and 3D printing were far and away most prominent.  However, one thing remained clear in the breakout sessions. While it was acknowledged across library type how much library users enjoy maker spaces, presenters were admittedly a little short on data to support how maker spaces were tied to, or supportive of, curriculum. Everyone was in agreement that more work is needed on that issue. In the K-12 setting, leaps in self confidence were cited as good enough for now, with hopes of deeper integration with curriculum in the future.

Short on space? You don’t necessarily need dedicated space for makerspace activities. What you do need is space for tubs of materials to pull out when it is makerspace time! Seems obvious now!

New Maker Space resources I learned about include:

Theme Two: Social Media and Librarians

For the first time this year, there was no printed conference schedule, but rather the entire conference was on the mobile app, Sched. As attendees had their morning coffee, they created their schedule for the day and mixed it up with  Facebook and Twitter friends at the conference too.

Both in sessions, in hallway conversations, and even  at dinner, I am reminded of how social media has put a fresh new face on how librarians network and stay up to date.  A number of people I talked to said they had never used Twitter until they came to this conference and decided to give it a whirl. Now, they have no idea how they ever “kept up” professionally before Twitter. The people they follow online keep them up to date and sometimes, when they are excited about new discoveries, they share those discoveries too! This is called collaboration.

Breakout session materials are located here and are being added every day as presenters make them available. Videos of all keynote presentations will also be added to this repository site shortly. Please check back often to see what’s new on the site.


 Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/qzmpeb2