I am always at a loss when I do things called “workshops” and people don’t have computers. Replicating the 2.0 world [or heck even the 1.0 world] using pens and flip charts seems a little silly, but I’m generally a tough one to please when dealing with participatory talks/events. I don’t mind interacting, but I like to think it will be worth my while and not embarass me. I like Andrea’s Blog Her “speed dating” idea. Gets everyone moving, a little, doesn’t embarass them, makes them think.

If it were my workshop I think I’d have everyone be in two lines and person #1 would say “I work at [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” person #2 would say “I know [$THING_I_KNOW] about [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” and then they’d move on, 60 seconds, bang. Point being, I think we sometimes have a hard time understanding what our institutions look like to people from outside them and from the outside it can be tough to know what things look like on the inside. I was showing off some Kansas libraries using Twitter this week and naming one library sent a few people in the audience into giggles. I had no idea why. They explained later that it was because of some recent drama concerning the library and the local consortia that I would have had no way of knowing about. Knowing about it was actually a neat thing, more stories, more data.

If anyone’s been in a workshop with an activity — offline if possible though online is fine — that you’ve really liked, please feel free to share in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.

HOWTO give a good presentation

Aaron has a good post about giving good presentations. As always, stick around for the comments. I offered my advice. Even in the short thread, it’s interesting that people have such different ideas about what makes a good presentation. Should it be something that can be repackaged and replayed without the presenter at a later date? Should there be handouts? What’s the balance between charisma and raw data?

Why Kansas is my favorite state I will never live in

Kansas is too far from my family, and from the ocean. That said, I love my travels to Kansas and while I try not to pick favorites I think they are doing some great things with libraries and technology statewide. I just got back from a flyby visit to Lawrence where I gave the keynote presentation at a NEKLS’ Reaching for Excellence Training Program. Much love to the NEKLS people, they let me give a keynote in the afternoon. I also got to eat a ton of BBQ with Josh Neff and family which was another trip high point.

The notes for my talk are here. They are available in Keynote slides, PowerPoint slides, and printable pdf format. I made a custom theme for Keynote so the slides might look weird, the pdf might be easier to read. As with the last talk, I have also included hyperlinks to most of the websites that I discussed, and credit links to all the photos that I used. My talk was beamed to two other sites using an HDTV setup and while it was a little tough getting all the bugs worked out, we persevered and I think it went really well. Big thanks to Shannon from the state library for inviting/hosting me and Heather for doing all the awesome tech work.

You may have noticed that I’ve been travelling at a breakneck pace this year. Since my drop-in time and teaching were curtailed thanks to budget cuts, I’ve been spending more of my free time on the road. I enjoy travelling a great deal and think that getting the word out about sensible new technologies is really a good use of my time and efforts. It’s always a balance between staying put and working within your community and travelling to tell other communities about what works in your own community. I’ll be back in Kansas in a few weeks.

serving patrons with autism

The Joint Library of Fanwood and Scotch Plains received a grant from INFOLINK to make a video and website/resource center for information about serving patrons with autism. The twenty minute video is viewable online on their website and also as a two parter on YouTube (1, 2). If you have a hundred people within your library building, there is a high statistical liklihood that one of them will have Autistic Spectrum Disorder.