Image: Sarah Houghton-Jan by Bryan Loar
Yesterday I spent part of the day at OHIONET's annual meeting. The keynote speaker was Houghton-Jan, who was one of LJ's 2009 Movers & Shakers.
Sarah's presentation entitled "Sustainable Technology in a 2.0 World" focused on developing the right technology plan for one's organization.
Some highlights* include:
- Users are much more ahead of the curb regarding wants and needs than librarians
- Users (of San Jose's Public Library) want text messaging services and RSS feeds for everything
- Get feedback from users, non-users, and staff through surveys, focus groups, etc.
- Non-user opinions are very important in a world where libraries are not the first place users go to find information
- When conducting interviews, don't ask what the library can do for them. Ask questions that hit on their daily needs
- A great way to gather non-user feedback is conducting intercepts at grocery stores
- Set up a technology hierarchy (think Maslow) based your local users and non-users wants and needs
- Use technologies that fit your users needs, but don't try to implement too many new technologies at once--it will result in poor outcomes
Finally, Sarah emphasized the "engagement of continuous learning environments." She stressed the importance of incorporating daily or weekly time to professional development, particularly within new technologies. I wholeheartedly agree. A good extension to this ideology is Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.
*Note: The highlights primarily cover the user-centric parts of her presentation. Another resource that might be of interest is Char Booth's Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University which is also available as a free digital publication (as of May 7, 2009).
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