Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Creating the Ultimate Information Experience from the AISTI Conference

This morning at the Alliance for Information Science and Technology Innovation (AISTI) Conference we heard from Tom Frey, Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute. In his presentation, "Creating the Ultimate Information Experience: Planning Our Next Generation Libraries," he talked about how we are moving from a product-based to an experience-based economy. How can libraries create a better experience for our users? How can we create that third place for our users? Our users are increasingly moving from consumers to producers of information--how can we best support that? Here were a few of his ideas, which I just had to share:
  • Create a Search Command Center. Isn't this just a reference desk? This would be a space where the library would have expert staff there to help users devise good searches and get what they need. But why not call it something like this? Does it resonate better than "Reference Desk" for the users of the future?
  • Blogging stations. He points out (rightly so) that users can blog on any library computer. But why not label a few stations as this and have staff on hand to help with blogging. Wouldn't that be more appealing and compelling?
  • Podcast studios. Some of us are doing this already, of course. He does have an interesting suggestion--involve corporations and have them provide the equipment. Maybe they'd even do training for library staff. It's good advertising for the vendors.
  • Audio/video capture and editing studios. Same as above.
  • Band practice rooms. This is a really clever idea. I can only imagine what some of our more traditional colleagues would think. But as he points out, there are 2.2 million bands in MySpace and all want to use your garage! Why not offer them a (soundproofed, of course) space for practice?
  • Time capsule room. Libraries archive information about the community, so why not set up a space for community members to share information and artifacts--you could even involve community members to support this project.
  • Mini theaters and mini planetariums. We know that Google is indexing the stars, so why not have a space to look at them?
  • Second Life stations. Similar to the Blogging Stations concept--computers labeled for this purpose and staff there to help.
  • Exercise areas. Now this is pretty out there--offering exercise equipment for patrons to use. As he points out, many of us want to do something while reading a book or listening to one, so why not?
We might not be ready for all of these ideas yet, but I really like exploring them and thinking about the future. I admit I'd love to offer bands a place to practice in the Hub! :-)

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