The first Lake Superior Libraries Symposium took place at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Superior, Wisconsin. The conference was developed by librarians from Northwestern Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota to "help librarians developed enhanced professional networks, promote resource sharing and communication between organizations, and help increase awareness of libraries and resources." I think that the group succeeded on all accounts, not only having a great showing from the area but from around the state and region with 120 registrants!
The day kicked off with an excellent keynote from Eli Neiburger. Neiburger is the Associate Director for IT and Production at the Ann Arbor (MI) Public Library and spoke about media, digital users, and libraries entitled Access, Schmaccess: Libraries in the Age of Information Ubiquity. Two big points from his talk that I found of interest is that media is meant to be reused and remixed. I found this point interesting as there is this constant struggle for libraries on upholding copyright law and being the advocate for their users. The struggle becomes even more difficult for libraries when the whole idea of copyright for web natives is akin to taking a pencil and paper rubbing from a memorial or a gravestone - seeing it as borrowing not taking. The other point that I took away was the idea, which isn't new, that libraries should focus more on lending physical objects that aren't books, like cake pans, musical instruments, or even telescopes (just a few of the ideas that Neiburger presented.) His whole point with this example is that libraries need to think about other things beyond books or even ebooks for collection development or even services the library provides. Plenty of things to chew on from a great keynote. If you are interested in seeing a version of this talk from VALA (Australia) 2012, check out this link.
There were many wonderful sessions held throughout the day but I want to focus on two that really grabbed my attention. The first session, titled Online Digital History Collection for the Non-Archivist was presented by Laura Jacobs, University of Wisconsin-Superior Archives Archivist and Pat Maus, University of Minnesota-Duluth Archives. As I work with our Legacy project that is digitizing newspapers, I definitely fit into the "non-archivist" category. Both presenters talked about the process they use to determine how to get local history collections online. Advice that I've heard from other presenters on this topic but was reaffirmed in this presentation is the emphasis on starting small and working on a discrete part of a collection. Identify items that relate to a theme, such as an upcoming anniversary of a historic event or a popular local event. They cautioned folks from just choosing a project that are along the lines of "digitizing all of our photos." They gave simple advice on tools to use to track information that will eventually become metadata for digital objects. Since the presenters were from Minnesota and Wisconsin, each was able to speak to state resources that libraries could connect with for assistance in putting together a digital collection. Finally, issues related to copyright and fair use were touched on and kept fairly simple: before 1923, it is in the public domain. After 1923, there's the potential it is still under copyright and needs to be investigated for ownership and permission.
The other session that I attended was something completely out of my usual area of librarianship: The Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. Heidi Hammond from St. Catherine University and Gail Nordstrom from Viking Library System were members of the 2011 Caldecott Committee, which chose A Sick Day for Amos McGhee as the Caldecott Medal winner. Both Heidi and Gail talked about their experience on the Committee and the amount of time and effort that is given in choosing the Medal winner. Without giving away the entire process (lots of secrecy surround it), they told of how the Committee chose the eventual winner. They start off with several hundred titles to evaluate and when they come together as a Committee, the process for winnowing down the list seems brutal. Basically, each book receives a presentation and the Committee votes to either keep it on the table or not. If it is not voted to stay in the mix, it is removed from the process completely never to return for consideration. The presenters talked about how it wasn't the text on the page that received the most attention but the art itself. The elements that they focus on in relation to the narrative in picture book art were:
- Art & Narrative working together
In addition to the narrative, they also consider the artistic technique in picture book art:
- Element of Art
All in all, a fascinating presentation that kept your attention.
Finally, though I generally try not to talk about "how good the food was," there had been quite a bit of conversation around the "Deluxe Taco Bar" that was the lunch selection. I do have to say it was very good and had lots of the trimmings you'd expect, including mild and "Norwegian Hot" salsa.
Definitely a cost-effective opportunity to network with colleagues from "up North" but also from around the region. I'm looking forward to what happens next year. Also, check out some the tweets from the Symposium.