I attended the 2016 LITA Forum in Fort Worth, TX. LITA (Library Information & Technology) is one the divisions of the American Library Association. LITA is an annual 3-day conference focused on technology relating to libraries, archives, and other information services.
I have served on the LITA planning committee in the past and have attended the forum but haven’t been in a couple of years.
I arrived on Thursday morning. I had some spare time and walked downtown to Sundance Square where they were preparing for the weekend of Holiday festivities in Ft. Worth. The annual lighting of the Christmas tree was being held on Friday night.
The keynote speaker was Cecily Walker from the Vancouver Public Library. She began her presentation by indicating that she totally changed it because of her fear over the future of the United States after our new President Elect was voted in.
Cecily Walker ended her presentation with a question for the audience:
The 2016 forum featured 2 preconference, 3 keynote speakers, more than 55 concurrent sessions and 20 poster presentations. It was the 19th annual forum and also LITA celebrates 50 years as a division of the American Library Association.
One session that I attended that I was impressed with was The 5-6-7 of Staff Training: tips and tricks for teaching technical skills during implementations and migrations
The library at California Tech had been through many migrations as well has having almost a brand new staff. To help overcome communication and training obstacles, they were able to implement an open forum twice a week with 1 hour sessions. It was usually an open forum unless they had scheduled someone to come in and present a session to the staff. The open forum provided an avenue for staff members to either complain, tell something that is going well or if they had questions about new implementations going on in the library.
I was also interested in the virtual reality sessions. Several libraries have implemented virtual reality for patrons. One University librarian said overcoming the roadblocks from their purchasing department proved challenging. The University is a state institution that has to use state approved vendors and justifying what they wanted to accomplish. Virtual reality can help people see how others live.
The University had partnered with several departments on campus:
- Art -Virtual art exhibits
- Education – Virtual fieldtrips
- Empty room with padded walls (safety issues as persons move around the room wearing a virtual headset)
- Sanitation of the headsets (headsets needed to be cleaned after each use)
- Cable management (cords couldn’t be in the way)
- Which type of headset to purchase
Oklahoma University was given as a go to for questions.
Their advice is to start small to see how the patrons like the set-up.
I also attended several sessions related to the ILS as our library is in the process of updating our system to better serve our students, faculty, staff and other patrons.
Our Winston Salem State IT project manager is currently looking at implementation of migrating Millennium to Sierra with Innovative Interfaces or changing to a new vendor.
Author: Cindy Levine