Infopeople at CLA: Mini-Demos and Bits of Knowledge

If good things really do come in small packages, attendees at the California Library Association 2008 Conference and Exhibition in San Jose are going to find plenty of treasures through the Infopeople Mini-Demo sessions which begin this evening and continue through Sunday afternoon (November 16, 2008).
While many of us extol the virtues of learning sessions which include preparatory time and extensive follow-up, we also find a great deal of charm and useful information in these brief sessions which bring trainers and learners together for 10-minute tip-laden teasers that cover a variety of topics. It’s an enticing format for trainers and learners alike, and gives all of us food for thought in how we approach our own training-teaching-learning experiences.
With more than four dozen time slots filled with mini-demos and more than two dozen presenters scheduled, there is something for nearly everyone working in libraries. Trainers will see plenty of examples of how to break their material into concise and effective sessions from Infopeople presenters including Linda Demmers, Beth Gallaway; Cheryl Gould; George Needham and Joan Frye Williams; and Mary Ross as well as State Librarian Susan Hildreth and Deputy State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. Learners, at the same time, will be able to pick and choose from a variety of topics including spontaneous programming; planning book clubs; using library mashups; what open source software can offer libraries; bringing creativity to the workplace; creating exciting and memorable user experiences with minimal expenditures; and strategic positions for libraries in today’s changing environment.
Those of us used to much more in-depth presentations stand to learn a lot from these sessions, and the sessions promise to be fun as well. All events will be held in Infopeople’s space with the Exhibitors’ Area (Booths 410, 411, and 511).

Infopeople at CLA: John Ward and Vision

John Ward, familiar to longtime Infoblog readers from previous postings about his work, wants to leave us with a vision. And if you’re in San Jose this weekend for Infopeople “Master Speaker” series events at the California Library Association 2008 Conference and Exhibition, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to share and help construct that vision.
Ward, as a graphic facilitator, visualizes meetings and other events—but not in a text-based way: “I won’t be interacting with the speaker or the audience. I’ll be listening hard, and whenever I hear anything important come down, I’ll find a few words and an image and get it up on the wall…It’s not a recording process, it’s a capturing process,” he explained.
What Ward and other graphic facilitators capture in real time are simple, memorable images and a few key words. Combining these simple elements, they produce a finished mural on paper. Digital copies are made accessible to participants and serve to create a visual reminder of events which otherwise might quickly fade from memory.
The process will be on display to conference attendees throughout the weekend. Ward himself will provide a brief explanation of how the process works in a session which begins on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. in the San Jose Conference Center, Ballroom A, and will invite attendees to join him in graphically recording what they are experiencing. The mural-in-progress will remain on display for more contributions, and additional murals will be created by Ward as he captures presentations by Daniel Pink Saturday afternoon and William Crossman Sunday afternoon.
What attendees will be left with is a cohesive exercise in creatively combining words and imagery as they interact with Ward and two master speakers whose presentations themselves are meant to inspire us all to think beyond the constraints which we usually create for ourselves. And for those of us who are involved in training-teaching-learning—as most of us working in or around libraries these days are—what could be better?

Infopeople at CLA: Daniel Pink and A Whole New Mind

If we are looking for permission to be creative, have fun, and tell stories, we don’t need to look much beyond Daniel Pink and his popular nonfiction book A Whole New Mind. And if we want to spend a little time face to face with him, we won’t need to look much farther than San Jose this weekend when he appears as one of the presenters in the Infopeople “Master Speaker” series.
Pink will be onsite at the California Library Association 2008 Conference and Exhibition signing copies of the book and talking about the idea of developing a whole new mind as well as how the book itself was developed.
Although the author himself, in a conversation this afternoon, described the 2005 release as “a book about business…and economics,” many of us have appreciated how far he goes in describing what he sees as the new essential skills—moving from left-brain to right-brain thinking—which lead us toward success in many of our endeavors: engaging our senses through design and story; developing a sense of invention and big-picture thinking while incorporating empathy into everything we do; incorporating humor and laughter into our work; and recognizing the importance of meaning in our day-to-day activities.
As he guides us through the process of changing the way we work and think, he enthusiastically acknowledges what this can and will mean for those who work in libraries: “Libraries in general have to do some rethinking about what their role is. At one point, they were repositories for information. That monopoly has been broken. They have to do things that are more high concept and more high touch” and ask questions including, “how do you serve your patrons in ways that delight them and surprise them?
“It requires a different set of skills,” he continued, and “in some ways, this can return libraries to their first principles: they’ve always been great civic organizations…They’re situated to democratize society…to become places where they (library users) can talk about their ideas.”
Pink, in his work and in his upcoming presentation, challenges us to push ourselves beyond the limit which we set and inhabit, and he infuses his work with plenty of examples to lead us toward that goal. Those unfamiliar with the book will find excerpts online, and those of us lucky enough to be in San Jose this weekend will find him on stage in what promises to be an engaging opportunity to hear him speak and respond to questions from his audience.
Pink’s CLA/Infopeople presentation is scheduled for Saturday, November 15, 2008 from 2:15-3:30 p.m. in the San Jose Conference Center, Ballroom A. He will be available in the Infopeople section of the Exhibitors’ Area (Booths 410, 411, and 511) that afternoon from 1 – 2 pm to sign copies of his book.

Infopeople at CLA 2008: William Crossman, Librarians, and the End of Reading/Writing

Philosopher-futurist-professor William Crossman believes that reading and writing will be lost skills by the middle of this century, and he’s going to be at the California Library Association 2008 Conference and Exhibition in San Jose next month talking about and signing copies of the book which he wrote to support that thesis.
“I think by 2050 we’re going to recreate the worldwide oral culture driven by talking computers,” the Founder/Director of the CompSpeak 2050 Institute for the Study of Talking Computers and Oral Cultures said during a conversation we had this week. “This might scare people, but actually we’re talking about something very positive: we’re democratizing the flow of information worldwide. We’re erasing the digital divide worldwide—even in the electronically underdeveloped countries—to access to the Internet…I think this is going to change every aspect of human society and interaction—education, business, international relations, politics, the arts, and even human consciousness itself—our brains.”
As a presenter in the Infopeople “Master Speaker” series, Crossman says he is looking forward to discussing his ideas with CLA conference attendees. He will also be talking about the critically important role he believes librarians will play during the transition from reading and writing to a world in which voice-in/voice-out computing—talking computers—will bring a new form of literacy to much larger numbers of people throughout the world.
The rapid change, he suggests in Vivo [Voice-In/Voice-Out]: The Coming Age of Talking Computers, is no different than any other shift from an outmoded technology—in this case, the use of the written word as a technology to preserve and provide access to information—to something which more effectively meets the needs of those who use(d) it.
Librarians, he predicts, will play a key role in helping people make the transition from reading-writing to the VIVO world while “remaining as the guardians of information….there needs to be a bridge that helps people walk into the oral culture. That means helping them develop the skills and accessing the information which, more and more, you’ll be able to access by all-sensory skills.”
Crossman’s CLA/Infopeople presentation, “The Coming Age of Talking Computers: Implications for Culture, Democracy, and Social Change, is scheduled for Sunday, November 16, 2008 from 3:15-4:30 p.m. in the San Jose Conference Center, Ballroom A. He will be available in the Infopeople section of the Exhibitors’ Area (Booths 410, 411, and 511) that afternoon from 2 – 3 pm to sign copies of his book.