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System Director’s Report:

October 2008

There were a number of interesting programs at WLA in Green Bay in the middle of October. Sessions on topics like Google Books, which is changing our long-term thinking about archives and access, were balanced with standing-room-only sessions on more traditional topics such as weeding. And though you may not have been there, this year you do not have to miss these conference programs. In a perfect illustration of the practical uses of tools described in Project Play, you can read about many of these WLA sessions at: http://wlaweb.blogspot.com/ Many thanks to those who blogged the conference!

Two reports of interest to libraries were released in October. A new OCLC Report: Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World: A Report to the Membership (http://www.oclc.org/reports/sharing/default.htm) is based on a major survey of attitudes and perceptions about sharing, privacy and trust of people in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. It follows Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition (2003) and Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005) as the third major report in this series. Some of you may remember that the Emerging Issues Committee of the board gave several talks about the findings of that first report. I have not finished reading the new report, but have read enough to convince me that it is important. It concludes that libraries must become more engaged in social networking, just as their users are: “The rules of the new social web are messy. The rules of the new social library will be equally messy. But mass participation [by users] and a little chaos often create the most exciting venues for collaboration, creativity, community building—and transformation. It is right on mission.”

The other report, Perceptions of Idaho's Digital Natives on Public Libraries, describes research to help us understand how teens and young adults view libraries. (http://libraries.idaho.gov/files/default/2007-digital-native-rpt.pdf) SCLS staff and our members have recently been devoting considerable effort to understanding how best to serve this age group. A “Teen Symposium,” held on October 4, allowed participants to “examine teen development, learn about innovative teen programs, discuss what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to planning teen programs and begin working on plans of action for teen services for their libraries.” An SCLS “Brain Snack: Working with Teens and Millennials” offered in September,  helped participants “learn more about the characteristics of this generation, discover what recent teen brain development reveals about their behavior and communication styles and to hear about ways that libraries from across the country are addressing the needs of contemporary teens.” This timely report should be a helpful tool as libraries continue these efforts.

And now I’ve got to rush home for the trick or treaters. See you on the 12th!