This year’s Annual Conference on Libraries and the Future took place on October 23rd and 24th, 2014 at Carlyle on the Green, Bethpage State Park and it focused on the theme: Think Outside the Bricks: Embed, Engage, Expand.
The conference kicked-off on Thursday night with hors d’oeuvres and a chance to network with colleagues at our new conference venue, Carlyle on the Green. Our guest speaker for the evening was Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, Assembly District 22, and she presented, “From the State House to the Stacks- A dialogue on engaging State Government.” In her talk, she focused on how library advocates and communities must look for ways to engage government and lawmakers.
With over 100 attendees in the audience, David Shumaker, Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Library and Information Science of the Catholic University of America, kicked-off Friday’s event with his presentation, “The New Net-Centric Librarian.” In this talk, David began by addressing such questions as: what roles will our library staff be fulfilling in the future? What is the job of the reference librarian? To illustrate this, attendees were tasked with drawing a picture of the job of a reference librarian in 30 seconds. David then discussed how embedded librarians, specifically reference librarians, operate in a complex network of relationships: with each other, with vendors of products and services, and most importantly with diverse members of the communities they serve.
Up next: Erin Cannan, Associate Director of Bard College’s Center for Civic Engagement and Erica Freudenberger, Director of Red Hook Public Library, who demonstrated how the key to the future of libraries is in dynamic partnerships. In their presentation, “Innovation and Transformation Through Partnership,” Erica began by discussing how the Red Hook Public Library redefined its goals as a small rural library by seeking partnerships, including the one it forged with Bard College. They both shared their experience as public innovators, where a partnership led to personal and professional transformations both for their organizations and the communities they serve.
Lunch was served following the two morning presentations and attendees had an opportunity to network and enjoy the grounds of Bethpage State Park.
The conference concluded with an engaging presentation from Christian Zabriskie, founder and Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite, who presented, “Street Librarianship: Going Where Your Users Aren’t.” In this presentation, Christian shared how Urban Librarians Unite has been doing creative advocacy and active outreach for libraries in New York City. Attendees got a glimpse of this through photos of events, including zombie librarians walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and the Annual 24 Hour Read In. This example, and many others provided, help to illustrate the work of Urban Librarians Unite as well as demonstrate their own brand of “narrative advocacy.” He shared the importance of advocacy and how dynamic library activism as well as doing direct community outreach via street librarianship has had a huge impact.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s event…we look forward to seeing you all next year!
Special thanks to:
Conference Sponsors: H. W. Wilson Foundation, Nassau County Library Association, Baldessari & Coster LLP, Palmer School, Emerald Island Supply Company, Hometown Insurance Agency, Inc., Island Industrial Boilers, Kevin A. Seaman, Esq., National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, Pronunciator, Regan Agency, Inc., Sandpebble Builders Inc., St. John’s University, Suffolk County Library Association, and Thermal Solutions, Inc.