Computers in Libraries 2016 – Day Two

Today was the second day of the Computers in Libraries conference.  Much like yesterday, there are a few sessions I want to focus on more than some of the others.

The first session I attended today was on Electronic Resources UX & Accessibility by Ranti Junus from Michigan State University.  Basically what she did was test some of their research database sites with a student who was visually impaired to see how the accessible the sites were.  This was very illuminating, and after watching some of the videos of the student navigating the research database sites with vocal reading and commands, I am very blessed with vision.  The sites were not optimized for this, and the student had to navigate by keyboard commands, this doesn’t sound so bad, but when you figure that the software reads every link and shortcut on the site, it can take a long time to navigate.  Also most research sites have a left navigation bar, or one with facets, that gets read well before any actual search results.  It was frustrating to watch the navigation, I cannot imagine how frustrating it was for the visually impaired student.  Ranti did say the student was all too happy to help, if it meant that the navigation will be easier for others based on the results.

The second session I attended was on Evolution of Training.  Mariana Long discussed how the Justice Libraries had moved to online training using Adobe Connect to bridge the training gap across their many locations.  She discussed how they are hoping to being online on demand training soon as well.  I was proud to think that SELCO had already been able to begin that path of on demand training for our users at the libraries.  And that this trend, was one shared by other libraries and regions around the world.

The third session I wanted to talk about was called Multimedia Learning Stations by Jen Spisak from Henrico County Schools.  Originally I thought this session may have to do with actual computer stations, but it was much more than that.  The learning stations were activity based stations, that sometimes used technology, and other times not at all.  Jen has found a way to teach students on a topic, such as civil rights, with different stations the students can go to in groups.  Some of the stations would have pictures, play music, videos, or even do database research.  What is really clever in this, the students were having fun, learning, but they were also being taught how to use the media center, access it’s research databases, and cite sources.  I think this was a great way to make the media center an active part of the school.  So many times I think the media center and its staff get lost in how to interact with the students, especially when the schools are introducing one to one iPad initiatives.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find where the library and media center fit in this kind of environment, and I think with the Multimedia Learning Stations, Jen has found a way to make the media center active and important in their schools.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and I am eager to see what new sessions it will bring.