Archive for June 20th, 2007

Cambridge

June 20, 2007

I enjoyed last week’s meeting of East Anglia Online User Group (EAOUG) at the Royal Society of Chemistry. There were several interesting speakers from the library world talking about ways in which technology was changing their working practices and introducing the need to learn new skills. Some of the presentations are now available online at the group’s website.

There were some interesting discussions and I learned a lot about some of the everyday realities of working with new technologies in libraries. There was a definite feeling that an issue for library staff is a developing ‘digital divide’ between the younger users, who are steeped in technology and have expectations as to its use, and the staff, who tend to be older and have less time to learn about new things. One delegate recounted how she had resorted to using Facebook in order to contact a young borrower who had failed to return a textbook as all other forms of communication, even email, had failed. Several people concurred in the view that students, in particular, viewed email as rather old fashioned!

As ever, a quick note on the lunch. My offline feedback is that I don’t devote enough time to lunch and that I need to try harder, so here goes. You may remember that I was a little bit worried about how far the Royal Society of Chemistry might go in the preparation of lunch. As the clocks on the wall had chemical symbols instead of numbers I was concerned that this might demonstrate a rather unhealthy interest in all things chemical. However, I’m pleased to report that this was not reflected in the either the choice of ingredients or the means of preparation. Lunch, in fact, consisted of a tasty spread of sandwiches with an interesting twist – the brown and white bread mixed together on the same sandwich. It’s these little touches that I find interesting. Desert was a platter of exotic fruit slices, so, an overdose of fructose rather than anything less healthy.