Sunday, April 26, 2009
What a Show!
The UGame ULearn symposium was not only a great success, but a great show as well. The keynote speakers both made spectacular entrances. In the morning, Helene Blowers was led into the auditorium by a batch of babes in boas. She then spoke about trends in libraries and introduced the idea of the "library phoenix."
The legend of the phoenix, or firebird, is about a mythical bird that lives for 500 - 1,000 years, then lights a fire in its nest and burns itself in order to be rise from the ashes again and be reborn. The concept of relating this to libraries is one that she and I came up with while talking at the CIL conference last month, and we both based our talks on the idea of "finding the phoenix" for your library. Many libraries are struggling; how long can they continue to exist in their current models. How long can they go on, or should they just allow themselves to be reborn in a new way? What would your library's phoenix be?
I spoke after the keynote in a breakout session, where I posited that you can find your library's phoenix through true marketing: Ask what your patrons what they want your library to be and make your future plans according to a user-centered model. My talk was deeper than this but it's too much to post here right now...
The afternoon keynote was delivered by Father Roderick, a podcasting priest from the Netherlands. He entered the auditorium in grand style, following a choir of chanting, robed monks.
The crowd wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first! It was grand and beautiful beginning to a great talk where Father talked about new media and bringing the church more into the present day (as he does with his podcasts). Though he spoke in Dutch, I could follow enough with the help of his slides to know that he was referring to popular media like Star Wars movies and Johnny Depp. He was wonderfully entertaining, and quite a hit!
More to report on and think about after I get home. I have lots of photos to post too. At the moment I'm still in the Netherlands , today seeing Amsterdam with my good Shanachie friend Jaap. Stay tuned for more...
Posted by ~Kathy Dempsey at 7:18 AM