Halfway through Electronic Resources Conference

I am at the halfway point of the Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference in Austin, Texas. The conference has been pretty good so far, with a nice mix of thinking pieces and practical case studies. And Austin is a great place to visit for live music!

Some key highlights so far:

Amy Sample Ward yesterday emphasised the library should be thinking of working with the community (or your user group), not for your community (or user group).

A couple of presentations yesterday looked at presenting your library’s story ( your story to management or other stakeholders) in a more effective light by using good data and effective data presentation for your data to tell your “data story”. My only criticism was the lack of focus on the stories (narrative) from the library user group or your clients. Naturally, I made a comment and let the audience know about what SenseMaker might offer.

Library promotion was another topic of interest from Day 1. Nothing revolutionary to me in that presentation, although it did focus my attention on executing marketing strategies back at work when I can find the time to escape the daily minutiae of my administrative library work.

Yesterday afternoon we heard a passionate “rally to the library cause” from Michael Porter of Library Renewal who advocated public and academic libraries needed to organise more effectively to combat a growing threat to library budgets and library work. I do wonder how much impact “the intrinsic value of the library” has on governments looking at slashing budgets; and that’s exactly what US states are trying to do across the country at the moment. A more focused argument needs to be made on how libraries service the needs of community and what the impact that has on people and their ability to get things done both socially and economically. And enlisting the support of people (voters) is something libraries also need – so, libraries need a more politically focused approach.

Today we had some presentations of a more practical nature. We had a great presentation on analysing ejournal collections from database vendors. Nice MS Access database used as an effective tool to compare database collections.

Well, gotta get back to it. The afternoon session is about to start shortly.

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