At my school (LREI), our Library and Edtech departments merged a few years ago. We are in a bit of a unique position since two of our dedicated tech people are degreed librarians, and the Department Chair of the Edtech department is actually our high school librarian. So our joint department numbers 9 strong with 6 of us holding MLS degrees. We are fortunate to work and play well together, but our sense from attending conferences and meetings was that we are a bit of a rarity.
In the fall, we hosted the first #libtechcon14 where we invited librarians and tech folks to come in pairs or teams for an unconference style day that would touch on some of the hard questions about communication, working together and the future of libraries. The event sold out quickly and once it was over, we were asked to consider hosting the conference again.
This time we widened our view and decided why not partner with another NYC independent school to co-host the event. I strongly believe that broadening the conversation and sharing resources is essential to our success in libraries and we soon partnered up with Ethical Culture Fieldston and their librarians and tech folks to host #edtechcon15 up in the Bronx. We looked at what had worked well the first time around, as well as the reflections from participants that let us know what they wanted more and less of. We added an essential question portion asking big questions about collaboration, literacy and future job descriptions. One of the most powerful activities involved all participants anonymously writing down their hopes and fears on separate post-its in terms of library and tech. As job descriptions morph and lines blur, librarians and tech integrators are finding themselves redefining their roles in ways that are both exciting and scary.
I hope this conference will become a bit of a wandering staple the NYC independent school world. I can see this model working not only for schools, but for public libraries as well — to foster community between branches, departments or counties. I know that I left energized with plenty of ideas as well as new contacts.