Computers in Libraries Conference, Crystal City, VA

Riding on the train on the way to the conference, passing former Vulcanizing plants, brickworks and other remnants of America’s Industrial age, I reflected on our rapid progress toward the Technology Age. Empty factories and run-down tenements that once housed workers make me wonder about the people who worked and lived there. How has technology impacted our society? Is it inevitable that jobs are lost as technology advances and automation becomes the norm on the workroom floor?

We who work in libraries are poised to embrace technology and to help the public embrace technology. Libraries, in their move to advance, do not leave their patrons behind, but attempt to propel them forward into the future. This is our job and should be one of our primary concerns. Technology has advanced upon some so quickly that they feel overwhelmed and intimidated. These people may even have lost jobs because of technological innovations in their work place. We have a mandate to provide free instruction to all groups of people and to reduce the amount of anxiety people feel at the deluge of information and the need to develop computer skills. But first, we must be knowledgeable ourselves, and ready for what advances are to come.

I hope that this conference will help me as a professional to become aware of technological changes that are happening in our field. I want to leave this conference feeling confident that I will be leading my community and bringing them forward into the future. My goal in these posts is to track my impressions and thoughts during this Computers in Libraries conference and to evaluate what I am taught and how those teachings can be applied to my community and my library.

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