On Friday, I attended the GALILEO Gold Conference held on the beautiful campus of my alma mater, The University of Georgia.  In addition to being inspired and informed by the sessions I attended, I enjoyed hanging out with friend and new fellow media specialist Roxanne Johnson as well as another cherished friend and colleague, Dr. Bob Fernekes from Georgia Southern University.  I also enjoyed seeing other librarian friends as well as making new ones at the conference—I love the personal interaction with people at conferences.

While there were many highlights of the day for me, the brightest was getting to hear and meet Helene Blowers, one of my library heroes.  I have followed her work for about a year now, and her ability to “think outside the box” and to look at libraries and librarianship through her unique lens never ceases to amaze or inspire me.  Getting to talk to her was truly a “Hallmark” moment in my life as a librarian!


If you have not had the privilege of seeing her in person, I hope you do because she is a dynamic speaker who knows how to communicate and connect with an audience.  In addition, she creates beautiful slidedecks that build upon the principal of minimal text with a key visual image.

Ideas that stood out to me from Helene’s keynote speech:

  • A lot of what we offer is for knowledge consumption.     Libraries can start to shift; shift from knowledge consumption to knowledge production.   How are we encouraging the production and sharing of new knowledge in our communities?   That is where we can start to make the shift.”—I am really thinking hard right now about knowledge production and sharing in my library program.  In school libraries, we are focused on knowledge consumption and disseminating knowledge, but how do we bring the element of knowledge building into the program?  I think one way is to put more focus in incorporating the end products created by students in our collaborative research projects into our library wikis and research pathfinders.  I know that Joyce Valenza has done this with a ning for student video productions; I am envisioning a tangent wiki for my library in which students will upload their end products, and I can organize them by teacher, research project, and date.   I also want to use http://www.lulu.com/ and Blurb to help our students self-publish their work—imagine adding original student work to the library catalog!
  • Mobile services: Helene reinforced my belief that we as school librarians need to start exploring ways to tap into the power of cell phones and other mobile devices.  Helene believes this is where the future is and presented a compelling argument as to why libraries need to look at mobile devices as our “distribution center” for content.

You can see my notes from the keynote speech as well as the first session that I attended, “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste–Reinventing Your Library When the Chips are Down”, at http://theunquietlibrarian.wikispaces.com/galileogold.  I took my notes using CoverItLive and embedded the liveblogging code into wikispaces (since it does not work in WordPress.com, sniff!).

While I enjoyed my other sessions, the afternoon highlight was Courtney McGough’s session on the amazing new GALILEO Toolbar!  Please see my post on the GALILEO toolbar for more info.

Overall, I enjoyed my first GALILEO Gold Conference!  In addition to providing a world class speaker and informative sessions, the conference  was affordable ($30) and participants were treated to a delicious lunch as well as numerous snacks.  I recommend that any librarian in Georgia attend next year’s GALILEO Gold!