Baruch College (New York, NY) will be hosting Library Camp NYC, a free event on Tuesday, August 14, 2007, from 9 am to 4 pm. This event will be run as an unconference and will focus on finding solutions to common problems and issues in libraries. For those who may be unfamiliar with unconferences, here are the basics:
- The program is determined by the actual attendees of the conference. The meeting starts off with each attendee introducing him or herself and detailing what topics he/she would like to see covered in a discussion group that day. A meeting facilitator helps finalize the agenda (attendees may end up voting on what discussion groups are needed) and a schedule for the day is mapped out.
- Facilitators help keep individual discussion groups moving along.
At the last library camp event, Library Camp East, which has held in September 2006, I found this informal approach to conferences to be really exciting and fun. If you’d like to read more about this event or past ones, please visit the Library Camp NYC wiki:
If you are planning to attend, please sign up on the wiki. Attendees have already begun to propose topics they want to hear about or lead a discuission on. You can review those topics at this page of the wiki:
What is a “Library Camp?”
The first Library Camp was held at the Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan in April 2006 as an “unconference” to talk about opportunities and challenges regarding Library 2.0. It was organized by John Blyberg, and went over so well a Library Camp East was held in September 2006 at the Darien Public Library (CT) with about 50 attendees (organized by Alan Gray).
So what’s an unconference? Unlike a traditional conference, where people have to pay registration fees to sit in an auditorium and listen to someone read off PowerPoint slides, there are no registration fees and everyone is an active participant. Whoever shows up are the right people for an unconference. The discussion topics are decided by the participants when they arrive, as well as topics that are brought to the forefront during discussions that are deemed as particularly important and are thought to be worthy enough by members of the discussion groups to have these topics break off into their own core discussion groups. The format has gained popularity in the technology field in recent years, because it promotes collaboration and engagement.
If you’ve got something to share or present, please bring your slides, handouts, or simply your voice. It’s essential that we have a critical mass of folks willing to actively participate. Discussions and presentations need not be that formal. As much as possible, we want to encourage an atmosphere of collegial sharing, debate, and brainstorming. This event is about exploration, discussion, and working together to find new solutions to common problems.