Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Jane Dysart and Brian Pichman about the conference Computers in Libraries. My interview with them is below.
Lauren: Please briefly introduce yourselves to our readers.
Jane: Jane has been a partner with Dysart & Jones Associates (www.dysartjones.com), a consulting firm specializing for 3 decades in planning, organizational development and customized event management for libraries and information-intensive organizations. She is part of an extensive international network of information and knowledge management thought leaders, authors and practitioners. She is the former manager of Information Resources at the Royal Bank of Canada, instructor and Advisory Board member at the iSchool of the University of Toronto, currently on the International Advisory Board of the San Jose State University iSchool and the University of Southern California Center for Library Leadership and Management. Today, her main focus is on conferences and events for information professionals. Jane has used her professional training as a librarian to develop and manage information resources in a corporate setting and continues to develop leading edge continuing education for information professionals, not only in international conferences but also customized events. She has created more than 200 conference programs in Canada, the US and the UK. She currently develops and curates conferences in the US and Canada, and chairs:
Computers in Libraries 2023 https://computersinlibraries.infotoday.com/2023/Default.aspx along with the Library Leaders Summit (www.librarysummit.com)
Internet Librarian 2022 https://internet-librarian.infotoday.com/2022/Default.aspx
KMWorld 2022 https://www.kmworld.com/Conference/2022/Default.aspx
Brian: Brian is the Director of Strategic Innovation at the Evolve Project. Much of Evolve’s work includes building innovative works geared towards interaction and collaboration and helping libraries bridge the digital divide, break away from traditional library views and become trendsetters.
For the last 15 years, Brian has been working with other entrepreneurs and helping them strategically plan their growth and build work streams into educational ecosystems.
In his work with these start-up companies around the world, he promotes libraries and encourages people to work closer with libraries when developing new ideas and concepts. Through building his network of librarians, educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs he has helped thousands of start-up companies, libraries, public and private schools, universities, and colleges.
Brian is dedicated to bringing libraries into the future using cost-effective measures, strategies, and partnerships. He presents his core passions – innovative technology, security, and leadership.
Lauren: Describe the conference Computers in Libraries.
Jane and Brian: Computers in Libraries is in its 38th year! The theme this year is
Libraries: Tech Partners for Community Sustainability
Our world and our communities have been disrupted and changed in so many ways, it is difficult to see the way forward for libraries and information professionals. Our information industry has so many solutions, passionate advocates, and experienced and customer service-focused info pros that we will take a leadership role in rebuilding our communities, so they have a sustainable future. Whether that is a smart city, rural township, corporate organization, academic campus, K–12 school, or any other information-intensive community, we can and do make a difference. Computers in Libraries 2023 highlights novel examples of libraries innovating, taking advantage of leading technology, and making it happen in their communities.
The primary mission of libraries (offering equal access to information for everyone) is even more important today because of all the division in our society, rampant mis/disinformation, inflation, etc. We all know that libraries help build healthier communities; provide free and safe places to learn, grow, and be social/entertained; and give access, insight, training, and opportunities to work directly with a variety of emerging technologies that are clearly changing our world while ultimately giving people the tools to take with them into an ever-evolving workforce. Computers in Libraries 2023 focuses on how we can use technology to help improve our libraries and, more importantly, the people using them. Using emerging technologies to improve the quality of living standards for all citizens definitely impacts the sustainability of our communities, as does our outward attention to nonprofit and entrepreneur communities.
Hear from forward-thinking libraries, creative fablabs, and centers of information excellence; network and learn from leaders in the field; and definitely be an active participant in the 38th Computers in Libraries—the most comprehensive North American conference and exhibition concentrating on all aspects of library technology. The conference offers a multifaceted program designed to meet the needs of librarians, community and information managers, systems professionals, e-resource managers, researchers, webmasters and web managers, archivists, content and museum curators, digital strategists, XR leaders, and information specialists. The focus of the conference is on emerging and leading-edge technology that allows us to engage with, and bring strategic value to, our user communities. Using the latest information, practices, and technology to help you make informed choices, this event looks at how to experiment and excel, escalate and delight both the human and digital experiences in your community—whether it is an academic, corporate, nonprofit, public, or school library community.
Program Chair: Jane I. Dysart, Dysart & Jones Associates
Program Coordinator: Brian Pichman, Evolve Project
Lauren: What are the goals for the conference this year?
Jane and Brian: As noted above, Computers in Libraries aims to share practices, experiences, tips and techniques – knowledge sharing between libraries in all different fields. This is one of the only conferences that combines the practices of academic, public, special, government, health, law, etc. libraries and their communities. We can all learn from others and looking at the larger landscape of our communities, finding appropriate partnerships, and being stronger together is critical for libraries.
Lauren: How has the conference changed over the years?
Jane and Brian: For sure, beginning as Small Computers in Libraries we have seen technology sweep us up many times with the Internet coming on board in the late 90s, the web accelerating in the 2000s, Google and social media making strides over the last number of years, and of course, libraries marching into their digital futures! But even though the technology changes, our focus of sharing what libraries are doing in their communities, articulating lessons learned for other communities, providing spaces for networking and learning from others in the field, is our goal.
Lauren: What are new technology trends you are seeing in special libraries?
Jane and Brian: Many special libraries are part of knowledge sharing activities in their organizations today whether that’s part of the taxonomy/metadata groups, the intranet/social platforms development and management such as communities of practices, always the search and discover including expertise identification within and external to the organization, content negotiation and management for organizational wide platforms, and more! Many opportunities to be aligned with many ways with their fellow employees. AI is one technology that is coming on strong and will be highlighted in many ways at Computers in Libraries 2023! Libraries are also looking at organizational technologies, like customer management software (and we have a CIL speaker sharing info on that), not specific to libraries but with broader reach. I think that will be an interesting trend in the future.
Lauren: How can special librarians stay current on technology?
Jane and Brian: Definitely a challenge to keep up with all the changes in technology and library practices, and that is what Computers in Libraries works to provide for the info pro community. We include key thought leaders and practitioners as speakers and provide many opportunities for attendees to meet and connect with them. We have an extensive exhibit hall where our sponsors share their latest technology, products, and services.
Lauren Hays, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri, and a frequent presenter and interviewer on topics related to libraries and librarianship. Her expertise includes information literacy, educational technology, and library and information science education. Please read Lauren’s other posts relevant to special librarians. And take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all types, sizes and budgets.
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