Labs and Equipment, Uncategorized

SWKLS Tech Day Presentation

The Conversation Business: Learning, Listening, and Connecting in Libraries Today (and Tomorrow)

2013 SWKLS Tech Day

Brenda Hough

There are many ways libraries can be at the center of conversation in their communities:

  • by offering programs that foster discussion,
  • designing spaces that encourage interaction,
  • providing tools for a “workshop of the mind”,
  • storing and sharing stories about local people, places, and events,
  • and listening to what community members have to say.

Technology is sparking new opportunities for enhancing and extending conversations. In this session, examples from libraries around the system, the state, and the country will be shared. Participants will have a chance to share their own successes and to think about the possibilities for the future.Pew Reports:


The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes: The Mission of Librarians Is to Improve Society through Facilitating Knowledge Creation in Their Communities.  Knowledge is Created through Conversation.

Conversations: Connecting, Learning, Creating

Workshops of the Mind.  Hubs of the community.  Inspiration factories.



  • How are you already encouraging conversations?
  • What ideas do you have for more conversations?

Being Systematic:

  1. Mission
  2. Strategic plan
  3. Action
    1. Staffing
    2. $$
  4. Partnerships
  5. Outreach
  6. Advocacy
  7. Ongoing learning

Librarians who are masters of conversation:

  1. Understand their communities
  2. Have a strong vision
  3. Build relationships
  4. Think beyond the walls of the library
  5. Move toward opportunities
  6. Are willing to experiment and get feedback
  7. Make time for learning and reflecting

Path to becoming a master of conversation:

  1. Grit
  2. Learning Community
  3. Action

In conclusion:

  • Keep listening.
  • Keep fostering those conversations that are creating knowledge that matters in our communities.
  • Look for ways to use technology to extend or enhance the conversations.
  • And keep telling people about the workshop of the mind that’s right there at the heart of their community.

Thank you!

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