I was excited to attend this conference because I received a scholarship from the folks at LibTech that covered the cost of registration. I haven’t attended this conference before, but it’s VERY popular and usually fills on the first day that registration opens.
I attended a lot of interesting sessions that really got me thinking. The atmosphere at LibTech is pretty intellectual, so some of things being talked about seemed a bit like pipe dreams for the public library setting, but it was neat to learn about them nonetheless. On Wednesday I attended a session about Senior Tech and bringing technology to seniors at senior residence homes. There were some neat ideas (and the presenter also shared the hardships of the program), but one of the most interesting things was when the group began talking about using virtual reality headsets with seniors — I think this could be a lot of fun! I also attended a program Wednesday afternoon about the partnership between the Hennepin County Library System and the Hopkins Public School System, wherein every single child in the school system (approx. 7,000) will get a library card. I am super interested in this type of partnership and took home some valuable advice on how to go about such a huge project.
Thursday was also packed with interesting sessions, but the best part of the entire day was the keynote speaker, Patrick Meier. He specializes in digital humanitarianism and spent the hour discussing several projects he’s started around the world to help with humanitarian efforts. He started in Haiti, after the major earthquake, doing live mapping of where people needed help — his maps were then used by the UN, the marines, and others. More recently, he has been working in Peru to test drone delivery of necessary medical supplies to remote villages. He was incredibly inspiring!
The LibTech conference is a place that gets you started thinking about new ideas and how to implement new services (and subsequently, gets you asking “why are we still doing things this way?”)