Michael Stephens made a presentation this morning at work (8 a.m. and I was there! be impressed!) and it was totally worth the lack of sleep. Stephens is an assistant professor at Dominican University GLIS. He spoke about a lot of different things, including how libraries should go outside their buildings to connect with the community, IMing a librarian (I believe I mentioned something about this!), applying gaming principles to libraries, being a trendspotter, and how technology is a cultural shift, not a shiny new toy (love that phrase), and how we don't have to be perfect before we launch something.
One of the points the he mentioned that I connected with is applying gaming principles. I suppose I would fit into the category of "gamer" even though I got a late start compared to my peers. In my apartment there are more game systems than I care to mention, and I (as I type this) am using one of them (which is making this take a very long time because I'm only typing while the game is loading). And it's true. Gamers, in general, have a mentality that if you fail, you try again. (I can't help but think of Futurama when Fry gets eaten in a PacMan game and comes back saying, "It's okay! I had another guy!") I never really thought about how this applied to real life, but I agree with it. If there's a good idea out there, run with it, and if it doesn't work, try something new but don't give up on it. So there. Video games are good for you.
Another point I thought was interesting was the idea that things don't have to be perfect before we put them into practice. The truth is, nothing is perfect, even if it's the final product and we're no longer trying to improve it. But the idea of purposefully putting a product out there before it's ready, well that goes against my perfectionist side (could you imagine publishing a book before it was completed? no? I didn't think so), but when it comes to technology, it really is an interesting idea. In fact, I might even go so far as to call it a good idea. Except when it comes to video games and video game systems, because I don't want to have to download add-on packs just so the thing will work right. So let me rephrase. When it comes to the Internet, I think it's a good idea. Because who knows better what they want than the people using it? Here we have to come back to Google, because they have an amazing system. You can actually see and test the new applications they are coming up with (Google Labs) and then give them feedback. How awesome is that?!
All in all, I think the presentation was great. Michael Stephens gave us some great ideas on how to connect with our patrons and become more technology-savvy. I'm glad I went.