Professional Development Grant Report: Internet Librarian 2023

Thank you to NCNMLG for awarding me the professional development funds to attend the Internet Librarian Conference in 2023. This year, the conference was held online from October 16 – 19, and included access to the session archives through the end of December.

One of my favorite sessions was titled ‘Decision-Making Dartboard: Watch your Aim’ and delivered by M.J. D’Elia, Associate Chief Librarian, University of British Columbia, Okanagan and Scott Hargrove, CEO, Fraser Valley Regional Library. During the session, they shared a graphic dartboard that can be used to identify what type of decision you are making and what type of method should be used (for instance: an emergency in the library may require immediate executive decision-making by the Library Director whereas other types of decisions may be more appropriate for seeking a consensus). I found this presentation extremely useful and am planning to share these concepts in my library in 2024.

Due to my professional role (which includes supporting library technology), a few sessions that I especially found relevant were ‘Fostering Tech-Savvy Staff,’ which was delivered by Nick Tanzi, Assistant Director & Library Technology Consultant, South Huntington Public Library as well as ‘Readying Staff for Innovation,’ by Eric Kokke, Marketing Manager, Go School for Information. An element of Tanzi’s session included best practices for delivering tech instruction to library staff plus specific tips for how to format training materials and evaluate tech-related proficiencies. The presentation also included a discussion of soft skills and ideas for developing a work culture that encourages interest in technology. Kokke’s session shared some different types of innovation, reasons to innovate, as well as insight into why we and our teams may be resistant to innovation and change. Kokke also discussed drivers of successful innovation and provided specific tips for encouraging innovation in the library setting.

Many of the sessions for this year’s Internet Librarian Conference were focused on exploring artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications in libraries. One of the workshops I attended that discussed AI (including a chat conversation around how librarians and library staff are experiencing AI along with their patrons) plus many other technologies was ‘Tech Trends for 2024’ hosted by David Lee King. King discussed how different technologies are being used in libraries as well as how they are impacting our larger world.

In previous years, I have attended the Internet Librarian Conference in-person, but this was my first time attending virtually. I learned a lot and was so grateful to NCNMLG for providing me with the funds to participate! For any librarians or library staff who are in technology-related roles or just have an interest in technology, you can check out the 2023 program and see if it looks like a conference you may be interested in attending in the future:

And for any NCNMLG Members, I highly recommend applying for one of NCNMLG’s Professional Development Grants to support your own professional growth!

– Submitted by Marina Aiello