Computers in Libraries 2009

I’ll be at Computers in Libraries all next week, the premier technology conference for libraries. Since some libraries are pretty leading edge in using technology to reach their clients, and generally to support their missions, it may be interesting for Slawyers to have some updates, which I’ll try to supply.

This year Web 2.0 is still a pervasive topic, but since libraries have been using social software for a few years now, the content seems pretty down to earth. Presenters are looking at how to marry library strengths, such as in-depth personal reference interviews with mobile and other technologies that present limited opportunities for “F2F” (face to face). There is a strong contingent of presenters looking seriously at how open source software works in libraries. One of the highlights will be Roy Tennant’s presentation Moving Libraries to the Cloud, and Stephen M. Cohen will present What’s Hot in RSS and 130 Web Tips, Tricks, Tools and Resources in 160 Minutes (sound like a wild ride).Additionally there are a number of great workshops (see the program).

Here are the descriptions of the Keynotes, which give an idea of the flavour of the conference this year:

Friending Libraries: The Nodes in People’s Social Networks
Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project

Rainie discusses his organization’s latest findings and why they suggest that libraries can play a role in people’s social networks in the future. He’s not going to describe how to set up a Facebook profile. Rather, he’s going to talk about the reasons that people rely more and more on their social networks as they share ideas, learn, solve problems, and seek social support. He’ll describe why the internet and cell phones have changed the way people construct and operate social networks and why libraries can act as the “node” in people’s networks.

Library Without Walls: Meeting Place of and for People!
Paul Holdengraber, Director, Public Programs, New York Public Library
Erik Boekesteijn, Concept Developer and Projectmanager, Science and Innovationdepartment, Delft Public Library ShanachieTour

As the founder, curator, and voice of “LIVE from the NYPL,” an innovative series of public talks, debates, performances, it is Holdengraber’s responsibility to “think up programs that will stimulate intellectual fervor, inspire discussion and dissent, and create forums to bring books and people together.” He defines what he does in two words: “cognitive theater!” He has interviewed, moderated or, as he prefers to say, instigated—conversations with writers, artists, world leaders, humorists, cooks, psychoanalysts, and filmmakers from around the globe. In a passionate and engaging interview Erik Boekesteijn will goad Paul Holdengraber and have him reveal why he believes that public conversations are one fundamental way to make libraries irresistible to ensure their everlasting importance for the future.

Digital Strategies & Knowledge Commons
Michael Edson, Director of Web & New Media Strategy, Office of the CIO, Smithsonian Institution

If libraries, museums and other institutions exist for the increase and diffusion of knowledge, how do we do it digitally? Edson discusses the Smithsonian’s emerging digital strategy and shares the vision of a Smithsonian Commons–a critical mass of content, services, and tools that could be given to the world for free, no strings attached. This talk will be relevant to anybody thinking about the future of libraries and information services. He is passionate about his work and illustrates his ideas and plans with examples from other progressive organizations. Gain lots of insights and ideas for creating your tomorrow.


  1. I’m looking forward to your report back, Michael, since I’m not making it this year. Get there early for Steven Cohen’s talks since it is always a full house (closest I’ve managed to get at CiL was the overflow room to watch him on livestreaming video). He doesn’t usually advertise it, but did you know he is a law librarian?

    Have a great time!