Mar 23

SXSW Interactive: Authors & Keynotes

This is Part 1 of my SXSW reports. After an introduction, the focus is on authors and keynotes.

I’d heard of South By Southwest (SXSW) for many years; the music festival, that is. However, in 2009 I heard about Interactive Conference that precedes the Music Festival when a few librarians reported attending. I’ve always wanted to attend the music festival, but didn’t feel it was justified in mid-semester given the time and the cost. The Interactive Conference, with its focus on technology, was clearly work related and worthy of investigation. Despite no travel funds, I registered early (paying $395), bought a plane ticket with miles, and arranged to stay at a friends house. Low cost and worthy endeavor.

The trip and conference were well worth the time and I came away energized by the technology community. The conference was certainly different from a typical librarian conference, particularly given the primary demographic – young, hip, technologists in a party atmosphere. I wanted something different to shake my brain up a bit; to give me a new perspective. Also, I wanted an event where I didn’t know many people and didn’t have any committee meetings. SXSW paid me back well.

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Mar 18

Make Library Conferences Better

Kenley at SXSW InteractiveI’ve been attending library related conferences for the last 16 years – mostly ALA. I attend to connect with colleagues, contribute to the associations, or attend programatic activities. Recently I attended SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas and I came away with many ideas on how to improve the conference going experience. SXSW Interactive was five days long at The Austin Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Radisson – so relatively small if compared with the American Library Association events, but not if compared with ACRL National Conference, LITA National Forum, or Internet Librarian.

Let’s start with registration. I registered online about six months before the actual event. It was intuitive, easy, and clear. What was different? They integrated a social network tool. Every registrant became part of a community where you could add friends and share short Twitteresque messages. I could search for other conference goers based on geography, business, interests, etc. Totally awesome networking tool. Secondly, as part of registration we were encouraged to upload a photo that would then be included on our attendee badge (if we forgot or didn’t take this step, a photo was taken upon arrival). For the record, early registration was $395.

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Feb 20

I Am Not A Gadget: A Buddhist’s iPad Dilemma

Apple iPadNext month the iPad will be unleashed on the world and I want one. First question, how can I justify the cost against a household with a fixed budget. Second, balancing the desire to reduce consumption and the need to stay current with technology. Third, the balance of ubiquitous computing and family harmony. Finally, the environmental cost of technology.

When is enough enough?

Though I definitely don’t own a great deal of gadget technology compared to many others, it still feels like quite a bit. Specifically, I own a 2004 iPod Click Wheel, a 2008 iPhone 3G, a 2009 Flip HD, and a 2009 MacBook Pro. What does adding an iPad to the mix create?

Each piece of technology comes with its own environmental impact in the production, ongoing use, and ultimate disposal. Aware that I am only one consumer, collectively we consume and waste a great deal. It seems that we often consume without thought or awareness and we easily succumb to desire through marketing and possibly an underlying unhappiness. Continue reading

Jan 26

Library Director: A Day in the Life

Though I missed the first few Library Day in the Life last year, I thought I’d participate this year using Twitter as my primary tool of tracking. This year the selected date was Monday, January 25, 2010. This so happened to be the first day of the spring semester at Santa Barbara City College. Not a normal day.

My day started at 4:00am, followed by 60-minutes of sitting meditation at 4:30am. I started sending tweets at 6:10am.

Here follows my Library Day in the Life as the Library Director: Continue reading

Jan 19

Foursquare, Libraries, and Librarians

About a dozen attendees at the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston used a location based social network from foursquare (launched in March 2009). In some ways, it felt like the first time Twitter reached the ALA scene a couple of years ago. Pushing the boundaries and testing new technologies is one of the things I enjoy. More importantly, I enjoy discovering new ways to engage with my customers.

Foursquare is a combination of Twitter, gaming, and Yelp (in fact, Yelp launched it’s own similar product while in Boston). Users “checkin” at venues using text messaging, web site, FoursquareX desktop application, iPhone, or Droid app. Continue reading

Jan 11

Participation in American Library Association

I just received my American Library Association (ALA) membership card in the mail. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a member for 17 years.

ALA Membership Card

As the Midwinter Meeting approaches, it is a good time to reflect on membership and the Association. In all the years of membership, I have attended almost all the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting events and it has kept me engaged and involved in my profession. I have been able to contribute to our Association and profession and, in return, I have a solid network of librarians to call upon and an organization that supports and advocates for the work that we do.

It took about 7-10 years of participation before I found a groove in the business of the Association. That may seem like a long time, but it took that long to find my calling and direction with my own professional goals. I started as a high school (technology) librarian and therefore was involved with AASL, initially serving on several committees, and LITA. In 2001, I switched to community colleges to joined ACRL and the Community and Junior College Libraries Section (CJCLS). It was a good landing and in the last nine years have served on many organizational committees and taken on several leadership roles, primarily within ACRL but also in ALA level committees. Continue reading

Dec 16

Where are we going with social software?

On my drive from Ojai to Fresno last night I listened to the recent Library 2.0 Gang episode on Social Software in Libraries. A great conversation well worth the 45-minutes.

Further, this week I’ve been setting up a WordPressMU and BuddyPress installation at classes | kenleyneufeld to be used for online instruction and my new course on Social Networking and Social Software.

First the “ouch” from the library gang. The realization that not enough assessment of our social services has taken place in the library environment. There has been anecdotal success but nothing concrete has been reported. In the past several years I’ve simply thrown stuff up to see what stuck and seemed a functional service. It’s worked reasonably well but as a Library Director I see a greater need for assessment. Assessment is Goal #1 in the coming year.

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Nov 25

Being a Library Director: What’s it all about?

My philosophy is the more you are outside the library, the better it is for the library.

Being a library director isn’t always what it may seem to others. For me it has been one of the most rewarding positions, but it moves way beyond work in the library. If you have any interest in this type of role, and I hope you are, I’ll share my experiences from my current position in a California community college.

The Environment

Santa Barbara City College is a community college located in the central coast region of California. We have the equivalent to just under 8k full time students (which comes to slightly over 20k students). Roughly 10% of our students enroll in online classes. The library has experienced a significant transformation in the last four years and has become one of the key places on campus where students congregate. We have increased library visits by 80% and roughly a quarter of the students are in the library on a daily basis. Online services have increased along with the physical changes in the library. In the library, we talk, we share, we learn, we grow. Continue reading

Sep 21

Building a Social Library

Today I had the privilege to speak with 40 high school and community college librarians about building a social library. The event took place at the Powell Library at UCLA at the invitation of Esther Grassian.

Though I created a Keynote Presentation (below) and demonstrated how one could use drop.io with groups, the majority of the presentation just came from the 75-minute conversation. All the relevant links are at the bottom of the post.

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