Participants in the 79th ABQLA conference were treated to an engaging and thought-provoking opening address by Dr. Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in Illinois. Michael’s diversity of research interests provided the springboard for an insightful overview of the emerging trends in our profession, ranging from library and librarians’ blogs, to social software, to virtual communities, to Internet users’ information needs and behaviours online, to the provision of reference services via instant messaging.
A blogger for the past eight years, his current blog entitled Tame the Web - Libraries, Technology and People is rich with content on libraries and emerging technologies and includes a white paper on the Hyperlinked Library, the subject of this presentation.
The varied questions that Michael tackled included: What emerging trends are changing library services? What does a connected world of “continuous computing” mean for 21st Century libraries? How do we create services when the world of information is accessible through mobile devices and ubiquitous wifi?
Envisioning the library’s role as linking both physical and virtual space where users connect, collaborate, create and care…. this vision is ...well...cool! What an exciting time it is to be working in this field, given the importance of our role as librarians to lead in this regard. This progressive and forward-thinking talk proved to be a fitting start to a highly successful conference which provided a venue for discussion of many other innovative projects and initiatives.
Readers may view Michael’s ABQLA presentation on the above-mentioned blog.