Reflections on Midwinter

By Daniel A. Freeman |

Unlike Tom, I actually attended the 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. I spent most of the weekend on the exhibition floor, chatting with librarians and vendors from around the country. Attendees were, as always, curious and happy to chat, discuss products and talk about their libraries.

Still, in talking with other vendors on the floor, a common theme emerged--librarians are always interested in the newest products and technology, but in 2009, most of them simply don't have the funding for updates. When talking with attendees about ALA TechSource products, I was asked repeatedly about issues that deal with cost-friendly alternatives like Open Source Software and Web 2.0 networking tools.

Though I was in Denver, I still attended one event online--The LITA Top Tech Trends Panel, which featured our old friend Karen Schneider and perennial Library Technology Reports author Marshall Breeding, as well as Clifford Lynch, Karen Coombs, Karen Coyle and Roy Tennant.

LITA's online coverage of the event was as impressive as the panel itself. The event was live-blogged, streaming video was available via Ustream (and courtesy of Jason Griffey), with users participating from around the globe.

The panel moved swiftly through a variety of topics, and rather than explore any one trend in-depth, these experts held a fluid discussion that served as a broad preview of the trends we're likely to see in 2009. Topics included how GPS devices might make information searching more location-oriented, the implementation of RFID systems, the future of the print book publishing industry, technology in rural libraries, and many others.