Day 3 at ALA: Committee Meetings

by Kara Wagoner

Sunday at the ALA Annual Conference was a day of subtlety, in stark contrast to the colorful excitement of the SF Pride Parade happening right on Market Street. My Saturday included listening to danah boyd in an audience-filled auditorium and an evening at Hotel Nikko to celebrate the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. My Sunday, on the other hand, focused on the work to create such programming.

The Emerging Technologies Section (ETS) of RUSA converges public services and tech in an engaging way that encourages participation and inclusion. Throughout the conference, I had followed @rusa_ets on Twitter, so I was thrilled when I saw a tweet inviting everyone to the all-committee meeting on Sunday afternoon.

Stephanie Graves, director of learning and outreach at Texas A&M, led a discussion where members thought about the structure of ETS, possible opportunities for future webinars, and hot topics in emerging technology. Here are some of the highlights:

• Opportunities for collaboratives exist. The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) empowers libraries through its exploration of new technologies. Crossover programs between ETS and LITA could lead to a more cohesive message when talking about applied science in the library.

• Consultations are key. As a library adopts a new system, such as self-serving kiosks for laptop checkouts, it would be helpful to talk to a person or group who has already experienced the growing pains and successes of that same implementation.

• Tech areas of interest evolve quickly. Professional development has to be adaptive to reflect this. Proposals for programs at the ALA Annual Conference have to be submitted more than a year in advance. Framing technology in terms of over-arching themes rather than specifics allows for more flexibility in the planning process.

In 2016, we may see programs, discussion groups, and webinars examining the issues surrounding user-centered design, big data, or the Internet of Things. It was exciting to participate in a small group where behind-the-scenes brainstorming makes such events possible.