Libraries, the universe and everything

#SLA2014 closing session
July 26, 2014, 11:08
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , ,

Following the business meeting, which rather to my surprise I found informative and interesting, the conference closing session rounded off the whole event in style. Four speakers gave short, dynamic, TED-talk-style presentations, and I felt that their enthusiasm and eclectic subject matter was the perfect conclusion.

Brandy King began by talking about having it all, and her personal strategies for balancing her business, personal and volunteer priorities. She believes that managing the interface between personal fulfillment and professional ambition is the key to having it all. Not only is this different for different people, but it will likely change for an individual at different times, so you need to work out what having it all looks like for you now and be prepared to reassess.

Next up was Josh Maleeff to talk about elearning. Adult learning apparently requires engagement, so recognise the need for sharing and hands-on activities. Learners should be engaged every 4 minutes, even with something as simple as polling. Gamification is a nifty strategy for maintaining motivation, even just the promise of points & a place on the leaderboard works for many people.

Third, Heather Piwowar encouraged us all to get excited and make things! She used the analogy of elevator technology enabling skyscrapers to advocate for a move towards open computer interfaces, text mining, data portability and open source solutions. She reminded us that being driven solely by customer demand is not the way to the heights of the future – just as elevators weren’t built because somebody asked for one, so should we be prepared to innovate and see what happens next.

And finally, Sarah Glassmeyer delivered a vivid account of her personal take on professional communication (subtitled “how I learned how to stop giving a f***”!). She asked us to consider why we encourage children always to tell the truth but find it shocking when an adult does so. Speaking up is often seen as disrupting the status quo, and we shouldn’t be afraid to do that – if something is scary it probably needs saying, do what’ s best for the community you’re serving. Disagreement doesn’t mean that someone’s necessarily wrong, respect other opinions, don’t be afraid to apologise, acknowledge mistakes and move on – the aim should be to reach a solution, not win. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room – ride in on it!

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[…] 17:00 Closing general session […]


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