I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Library Camp Kansas 2011, my first library “unconference” a few weeks in Manhattan, Kansas at the Hale Library on the beautiful campus of Kansas State University.  This innovative and participatory model of learning allows participants to determine the topics for breakout sessions and focuses on conversation and discussion as the medium for learning rather than formal presenter driven presentations.  As we crowdsourced our topics, participants could volunteer to facilitate the session; each session also featured a volunteer who served as a “notetaker” in Google Documents that were set up ahead of time for each session and linked to from our agenda that was created organically in the initial morning planning/session from 9:30–10:15 while we enjoyed coffee and tasty breakfast pastries.

We cranked up our creative energies after our group planning session with a round of lightning talks in which people could volunteer to share a technology tool or resource they were finding useful.  We then attended our first breakout session and followed that with lunch; lunch was followed by a riotous Battledecks competition, which included the winning tag team of Heather Braum and Liz Rea!  The afternoon then concluded with two additional breakout sessions and a final closing gathering before we left for the day.

I attended three breakout sessions on:

  • Rethinking Lifelong Learning (facilitated by good friend and fellow librarian Heather Braum)
  • TED Talks :  how can libraries use TED Talks in programming and instructional services?  How can librarians participate in TEDx events and possibly sponsor their own through their library?
  • Book Talk:  what books are inspiring you professionally or personally?

I enjoyed all three sessions and enjoyed how the conversations all focused on supporting learning in libraries in each session.  My favorite new idea I gleaned from the day was the “Silent Library:  Using MTV Programming as Library Outreach Programming” from Heidi Blackburn.  This program focuses on cultivating relationships with students and emphasizes students getting to know librarians as people as a starting point for creating enchantment by establishing a starting point for building trust, likability, and exceptional service.  I would love to adapt this idea for The Unquiet Library!  You can read more about this fabulous and innovative idea on Heather Braum’s blog by clicking here.

Not only did I get to network with some innovative new colleagues from all areas of librarianship, but I also now have experienced a model of learning I’d love to pilot with students as well as our faculty; I’m also interested in working with other Georgia librarians to create this kind of learning experience in our state.

I’d like to give a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors who made this wonderful day of learning and fun possible for all of us who attended:  The College and University Library Section of KLA, The Public Library Section of KLA, Kansas State University Libraries, and The Northeast Kansas Library System.