METRO Conference 2016, Baruch College

I was excited to attend the Metropolitan New York Library Council Conference to see Alex talk about her graffiti archive project Drips Gallery. I also wanted to catch Victoria’s presentation on documenting art collections for the Frick Art Reference Library, and it did not disappoint! The day was delightful all around—with its hyperlocal focus, METRO is like a little library family here in New York, and they really go all out for the conference!

Drips Gallery presentation

The keynote was delivered by Kari Lämsä, manager of an unbelievable public library—Library10—in Helsinki. This library was designed as an experimental community space, and their statistics bear this out. Out of all the people who take advantage of their space and services, only 25% of patrons actually check any materials out from the library at all. Library10 has flexible work spaces for freelancers and small start-ups, and a inquiry-focused makerspace. They’re not totally bookless, but their collection management is pretty radical: Library10 keeps a rotation of recent paperbacks that are not barcoded, offered to patrons on an as-needed basis, and weeded weekly. Library 10 is nothing like any public library I’ve ever visited, and it was awesome that METRO brought Kari to share his experience with us!

I also attended You’ve Done PDA, What About PDW?: Patron-Driven Weeding at the SUNY Maritime Library by Rebecca Hyams and Kristin Hart of SUNY Maritime. They spoke about an innovative weeding program for their vast collection that was more about information literacy than actual collection management, but it had the benefit of being kind of good for both! They set up each information literacy one-shot as as a kind of contest for students to find the weirdest, oldest, or most useless book in the collection; later, they brought in faculty and librarians to serve as judges. Their primary goal was to get students to engage with library resources, but it also helped them identify (and justify!) items for weeding. Out of the 129 books that students selected, 120 were appropriate for weeding. Pretty good stats!

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