What? Another Conference?

I have tossed my hat in the ring to attend the Risk and Reward conference in Colorado in September. Infopeople, the lovely little outfit that runs the Eureka! Leadership Institute, is footing the bill to send three of its fellows to take part in discussions that will keep public libraries from going the way of the Dodo bird.  Here’s what I said in my statement of interest:

I began LittleeLit.com with Genesis Hansen (a 2008 Eureka colleague) in late 2011 to review apps and interactive media for children aged 2-5. Since then, our little website has grown to a digital storytelling resource and a forum for radical new ideas in librarianship. We have established ourselves as experts in digital media for young children. We have been contacted by app developers, academics and educators who are all looking for guidance in this brand new world of digital publishing for children.

Most recently I was approached by a group of students at Stanford University who are developing a brand new distribution model for book based apps. They have big name authors on board, they are in talks with large publishing houses, their creative lead was an animator with Pixar for 10 years, and they want to launch their product in public libraries. There is a social media and content creation component to the platform, plus the development of an algorithm that calculates a child’s reading level according to how the child interacts with the app.

Another children’s app developer approached my library with a similar model, only their model incorporates workflow technology to enable collaboration between developers, artists and writers. Who even knew these things were possible? And what’s even more mind blowing is that these new developers/publishers are looking to LIBRARIANS for guidance, because we know content, and we know distribution. The publishing industry is about to change, and libraries will be on the very front lines IF we seize this kind of opportunity.

I want to develop a distribution platform for book-based apps in public libraries, and I want to develop the public library as a digital content creation space. I spent hours at ALA recently talking to OverDrive, Freegal,and all sorts of other ILS and digital content vendors about these ideas. I told them I wanted a mechanism to circulate apps and they all said “Gee, what a good idea. We’re not doing that.” It’s time for come creative thinking, collaboration and the busting of old-school librarian paradigms. It’s time to acknowledge that the old publishing business models are dying, if not already dead, and that libraries can serve as the end-user distribution mechanism for interactive media if we develop the right skills and relationships.

Send me to this conference and I will share my ideas of app circulation, content creation and creative collaboration. I see librarians around me who are not only unaware of how libraries NEED to change in order to stay relevant to people’s lives, they aren’t doing anything to help themselves learn. I want to become a better advocate for the changing role of libraries, and to help make some of these technical concepts more accessible to my colleagues. I want to learn to harness the creativity of my community, both within the library and without. Please help me to be a part of this dialogue.

Also, I believe I have the chutzpah to be a real and true rock star, so I will be participating in the Rock and Roll Academy Preconference session.

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Posted on July 9, 2012, in conferences and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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