I went to the METRO conference to see Alex present on her amazing graffiti archive Drips Gallery, but found so much more! The conference was intimate, the keynote speakers were inspiring, and there were cookies!
— Laura Costello (@lacreads) January 21, 2016
The first keynote was Kari Lämsä, the manager of an incredible public library in Helsinki called Library 10. This library was designed to be played in rather than read in, and their numbers hold this to be true; only 25% of patrons actually check materials out from the library. Most users take advantage of their space, including event spaces that are almost completely scheduled by patrons, and their services which are aimed at bringing people together as resources for one another. They have flexible work spaces for entrepreneurs and freelancers and a makerspace where the staff assistance policy is “let’s figure it out together.” They also bring this radical spirit to their book collections. They keep a collection of recent paperbacks that is weeded every week and their policies are set up for frequent circulations. The resources that they stock are tinder for the collaborations and work that go on in the space, not the main event. Library 10 is experimenting with the future of libraries and it was awesome that METRO brought him to speak to us!
I also attended the conference to see You’ve Done PDA, What About PDW?: Patron-Driven Weeding at the SUNY Maritime Library by Rebecca Hyams and Kristin Hart of SUNY Maritime. Rebecca is a former intern of mine from EdLab who is now my SUNY colleague at Maritime! Rebecca and Kristin spoke about an innovative weeding program they used which was integrated into the one shot library instruction sessions at Maritime. They set it up as a kind of contest for students to find the weirdest/oldest/randomest book in the collection and they brought in faculty and librarians to serve as judges. They found that this helped students engage with library resources, but also helped identify items for weeding. 120 of the 129 books that were discovered through this program were appropriate for weeding. Respectable numbers for a bunch of non-librarians!