People Are the Future
Almost everything today has a technology-based solution. This fact highlighted what was one of the biggest take-aways from my first SLA Annual Conference: the best information solutions walk around on two legs.
The idea of connection and service on a personal level played out in both keynote speeches, the few sessions I was able to pop into, and impromptu conversations and comments such as this one: “He was giving me materials I didn’t even know I was interested in, and on topics that I didn’t even realize related to my project.’” (Someone on the convention center support staff recounted this story to an SLA member during a chat between sessions on Monday.)
The member he was speaking to was quick to point out, “And that’s the best kind of librarian. They know what you want before you even do.”
I almost snuck away to write this exchange down, but realized it wasn’t necessary. It really stuck with me. Yes, we use technology all the time to improve our efficiency, and it’s a necessity to embrace its use. But no tech tool will ever be able to learn about people the way people can learn about each other. “What kind of information aids this decision?” “How is that info delivered so this person will absorb the results most effectively?” These are questions that are answered by human beings.
We’ll be highlighting some of SLA 2011’s content in the September issue of Information Outlook. In the meantime, keep the blog posts, session slides, and #SLA2011 tweets flowing.
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