Hope for ALA pt 3/3 (or: Another Association of Change)

Hope for ALA pt 1/3: ALA/LITA Elections
Hope for ALA pt 2/3: Why I Love ALA Connect

After attending ACRL (for the first time), I think there’s something to talk about there, too.

Roz rocks it out

ACRL was a cosponsor of the first virtual conference I ever attended. That was three years ago, and it seems like every year since then, there’s been some kind of large-scale virtual offering. This conference offered an in-person and virtual option. I feel pretty strongly about allowing people to participate in professional organizations even if they are unable to physically attend, so that there was an offering like this, so early in my career, helped shape my expectations that this should always be a possibility.

This was my first ACRL conference, and though there were a few things I would adapt and change, I was overall impressed. Some of the strengths included:

  • The conference worked hard to be Green.
  • Twitter was fairly widespread, and provided a pretty good conference backchannel.
  • ACRL embraced social networking by providing a tag, and encouraging its use across networks. At the end, this content was tied together in a slideshow for the closing session.
  • The Cyber Zed Shed continues to be a big draw for people, and many people had very positive things to say.
  • ACRL conducts focus groups during the conference. I attended one for those under 35. Soliciting this type of information from members can help the organization shift to better meet needs.

In general, I was impressed with how ACRL embraced social software to make the conference be useful to more than just those there. So, while I cited LITA as an organization that can be a model for ALA, I am citing ACRL to be a model for how conferences can work. I would like to see some changes: for example, the Zed Shed could have two tracks: one for really emerging, cutting edge information, and one that is about where it is now. But over all, I’m impressed.

And, really, though I’ve been very involved with ALA for about five years, I don’t know all the different groups and conferences. (I haven’t made it to a LITA conference yet.) But these are the shining examples I’ve seen. What have you seen that gives you hope for ALA?

If Fish Markets Can Do it, So Can We: Designing Memorable Library Experiences for Students and Faculty

The last official program I participated in on Saturday was my panel, Mapping Your Path to the Mountaintop. Steven Bell organized the session, and he, John Shank, Brian Mathews, and I were on the panel. The session was about strategic career planning, but early on Steven was wise to begin discussion about how to make the session more interactive and interesting to the people who would attend. We had an audience of about 300 people, talked for short pieces, showed videos of other librarians who spoke for short bits, and made space for audience contributions. Afterwards, people said very positive things. Very kind write up on The Sheck Spot. Somethings for me to keep in mind, as so many of my professional talks are much less participatory.

So, on Sunday morning, I went to hear Steven Bell and Brian Mathews give their next panel, along with Valeda Dent Goodman of Rutgers University. I missed out on an information literacy assessment tools session, but plan on listening to that on the virtual conference site.

Here are the notes from the UX panel:

  • 1888: Kodak camera took the process of taking photos from 18 steps to 1. “You push the button, we do the rest.”
  • Wasn’t about the product; the experience is the product
  • User Experience is a system that has to be designed
  • Experience doesn’t just happen at one point. It’s an entire system that has to be designed.
  • Showed a video of the fish market: how many people went this conference? and no one wanted to buy fish. You could buy fish all over Seattle, but you go there for the experience.
  • Then, the panel conducted a fish toss into a barrel

Valeda Dent Goodman introduced the subject:

  • UX: Simple, compelling, memorable, meaningful at Iceland vs.Painful, difficult: wisdom tooth pulling
  • Experiences that stick with us, through mind and heart
  • No one definition, but Valeda Dent Goodman likes “User Experience is the quality of the experience a person has when interacting with a specific design.” (of anything: web interface, service, vacation, etc.)
  • Psychological component is very important. Memory becomes the most important aspect of the product.
  • The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore discusses a move from “transaction-based to interaction-based”
  • Starbucks is selling a commodity, but their large and loyal customer based is centered around the Starbucks experience
  • Cited Peter Morville (yay!) on facets of user experiences
  • Discussion of Google
  • Focus on people, be trustworthy, dare to innovate, embrace the power of simplicity (simplicity is a strong thread for all user experience design)
  • Apple’s iPhone and Blackberry’s product design is about user experience

Steven Bell spoke next

  • Pointed out Starbucks is hurting in this economy, so recession impacts how effective User Experience can be.
  • Not as much need for the hi-fidelity experience
  • We might have highest fidelity experience in terms of our resources, but it might be a lo-convenience
  • People might not expect great experience, so if we can exceed the low expectations, we will be delivering a “wow” experience
  • We all have things that don’t work in our libraries
  • We have to figure out what’s broken, figure out how to fix those things
  • Totality of the experience: web, reference, opac, systems, circulation (every touch point in the library)
  • It’s hard, that’s why only certain companies have risen to the top of the experience economy
  • People are transitioning from “stuff” (clothes, ipods, tv) to “meaning” (restaurant, travel, etc)
  • Libraries have a lot of stuff, and we probably focus on it more than the meaning
  • Making Meaning by Stephen Diller, Steve Diller, Nathan Shedroff, Darrel Rhea
  • Accomplishment, beauty, creation, community, enlightenment, freedom, truth, wonder
  • People find meanings in relationships, people interested in experience of working with you, rather than the product
  • Right now, most people don’t think of libraries as any different from any other place they can go for information. But if we focus on User Experience, we can distinguish ourselves from other places.

Brian Mathews talked about applying UX to libraries

  • Started with a slide of a photo of a tent in his library: he said “students literally live there.” :)
  • We’re good at stats, but we miss how people feel about the library
  • Needs that are going unfulfilled, so using techniques to find them and create better experience
  • Dentist with a whole different experience…. not even worried about going.
  • Domino’s allows you to track your pizza… makes a fun ordering process
  • Libraries look at group work: how much do they use google docs, what type of group study do they do, etc.
  • Instead of why is reference going down and how can we increase it
  • where are people getting their resources and what grades are they getting
  • how can you create a better research experience/
  • How can you create a better study experience?
  • How can you  (missed the last one)
  • space remodeling: planned it based on research, put it out for comment, created a few 3-d models and asked for feedback, then started the remodel
  • Work in teh space yourself, have meetings.. how does the experience work for the library staff?
  • Instruction meet with advisors of the group, get a list of all the classes those students take, meet with the students who have taken teh classes and ask what was easy and difficult about assignemnts to inform instruction approach
  • USe storyboarding to map out experience
  • Try ot interview two students a week for 15 minutes
  • Try to undersatnd why it works for some people and why it doesn’t
  • Psychodemograhpics
  • Mapping, decision tree making
  • Looking at laptop us, how does that affect hte library in terms of furniture, power, wireless, lighting, etc
  • Next steps
    • Subject to Change by Peter Merholz, Brandon Schauer, Todd Wilkens, David Verba
    • dbl.lishost.org
    • Start UX discussion in your library
    • look for what’s broken, then fix it
    • always be on the lookout for good an bad UX encounters
    • Consider joining national, regional, or local UX associations

Great talk with fun slides, including some using this style:

funnest slides ever

Great session: fun and informative!!

Assessment to Innovation: Creating a Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing Online

Kate  McCready and Cecily Marcus of University of Minnesota

I got here a bit late after the focus group, and it was just a half an hour, so here are my notes:

  • Humanities social sciences: about resources used
  • Scientists about who they worked with
  • Looking for efficient ways to deal with online materials
  • If you’re going to do something someone else is doing, you have to do it better than anyone else
  • You have one chance to make a first impression, so it better be good
  • Align ourselves with trusted content
  • Graduate students more comfortable with social spaces
  • Choose not to use “tag” because students don’t necessarily know the word, so said “user supplied keyword”

Now…. off to get ready for my panel!