My intention is not to summarize the meeting (there is a Storify from Lisa Waite Bunker that does a nice job of that) but rather to call out a few things about the presentations and discussion that were noteworthy to me.
- I was expecting there to be at least some discussion about MOOCs – there was nothing. Someone uttered the word once. I don’t even think it was one of the panelists. [You might know that MOOCs, online learning, and the shifts that they may cause in libraries are of interest to me.]
- The meeting was mostly about public libraries, and mostly about youth and a lot about maker spaces. I don’t know a lot about maker or hands on innovation spaces in research or academic libraries. Am I missing something?
- There was a focus on skills for librarians, which of course we hear about all the time, but some of the presentations and discussion talked about using maker and innovation spaces as a way to engage all or more staff in conversations around new skills, innovation, new services.
- There seems (to me) to be an unreasonable focus on creating learning spaces IN libraries (maker spaces, after school programs, writing programs) when libraries are embedded in communities where there are existing, active and credible examples of all of these already. Why recreate learning spaces in libraries? Why not get libraries and library resources embedded in those other spaces? I think this is particularly true for maker spaces, which require equipment, expertise and space that may not be found in the library. The panel that focused on partnerships never called out the library going outside as a feature of those partnerships (the panel focused more on what makes a good partnership — good content, but not what I would have hoped for).
The evening before the meeting, the Internet Archive hosted a reception for meeting participants. We were led on a tour by Brewster Kahle, who told us the big long story of the IA, starting with harvesting the web and ending with recording television news and investing in employee housing for foundation workers. Since I live locally, I’ve attended functions at the IA many, many times and I am always impressed by the ongoing activities and operations there.
My thanks to IMLS and the San Francisco Public Library for putting together an engaging and thought provoking day.