Olivet University's Head Librarian, Amy Menon, was among the 20,000+ attendees at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. The event covered technology, content, and networking, with speakers presenting on the latest trends and the future of libraries.
Additional sessions also included Career Development, Services, E-Books, Technology, and User experiences. Speakers shared experiences and case studies that could benefit other professionals in the library field.
One session entitled "The Unstaffed Library: Challenges and Opportunities" shared a case study involving the City of Livermore’s branch libraries scaling back hours. Rather than limit the library to opening once a week, they developed a solution through a self-service project called Easy Access Library. The system utilized security cameras, keycard access, holds lockers, automated materials handling, and other technology that would allow patrons to enter the building and use the Easy Access Library.
Another session featured speakers from various University libraries sharing the latest trends on technology being used in library services. Somerset County Library systems in New Jersey featured digital signboards that created cost effective methods of promoting programs and resources in high traffic areas of the library. The Edmonton Public Library in Canada featured "ME Libraries" which allowed customers with a library card from one library to create an account with and access collections at another library with no staff intervention or additional library cards.
Other sessions shared research information such as how international students access library services. Students from the University of Washington found that some international students viewed libraries as a place to hold books and not a place to ask questions. Also students use the library homepage as their starting point for research, but beyond that, they did not know how to access online materials such as articles. Many international students would use the library for group study, but prefer to study alone in their dorm rooms.
The American Library Association (ALA) and its annual conferences are the largest library-held events in the field. The annual events provide information, news, events, and advocacy resources for members, librarians, and library users.
For more information about the 2014 ALA Conference, visit http://ala14.ala.org