LibTechConf 2014 Keynote: Connecting Communities

Presented by Barbara Fister @bfister

Start with a confession, probably know less about technology than everyone else

It’s not about Technology

It’s about understanding people and how they connect with each other, how they share information.

Provide is the common words when looking at mission statements.

Underestimate how much libraries are appreciated. 95% of Americans think public libraries are important.

This role to provide has somewhat hobbled us. Should be thinking of inspire.

Books are still important. Convey information, dreams, journeys, our stories.

Something went wrong when libraries were told they should be like bookstores.

We assumed retail store design was better because they’re good at customer service, but they got it from us. We need to take that iconography  back.

Now that e-books are popular, some are saying we should look like an Apple store and deliver books to the device they want, which has allowed the extortion by publishers.

While we supposedly live by 5 laws, after listening to Mita’s talk, tried rewriting the ‘laws’.

Providing stuff is shrinking because of the budget, but still a big thing, but we don’t have the same budget or global size.

We work local. We have a special role in shaping how technology will look like in the future. We have the power to establish norms.

It’s important that we keep that power, that we’re not simply just providing what the corporate powers.

We need to stop thinking of ourselves as provider, and get together to connect to the communities that they care about. It’s about actively shaping the world.

We need to find ways that are alternatives to consumer based process.

We have had to give up our values to prove our value.


Faculty survey: over 50% interested in open access (lower in sciences and math). Interested in short form publishing as well. Tenure criteria to publish.

Anything open access immediately gets attention because want work to be read, not just a line on a CV. No normal person would buy it because of the cost.

Much more positive than expected. Want traditional publishing values to be respected, but open access.

We make things because that’s how we understand,

because that’s how we interpret, conserve our inheritance, make it anew. How communities are fostered, span time and space.

If we act on our values, we can build and alternative framework for the future.

It’s about people and communities sharing what they know,

using our resources and knowledge to restore the intellectual commons.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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