“The Conversation Business.” was held on Wednesday, March 21 from 2:00 to 4:00. The presenters were Brenda Hough and Heather Braum, both of the Northeast System, and Shannon Roy from the State Library of Kansas.
Brenda Hough shared some ideas from The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes. Lankes says that “Libraries are in the knowledge business; therefore libraries are in the conversation business. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation. Be it in practice, policies, programs and/or tools, participatory librarians seek to enrich, capture, store and disseminate the conversations of their communities.” He encourages librarians to view their libraries as “workshops of the mind” with conversation as the catalyst for knowledge. The popularity of digital media in a rapidly changing world is sparking new possibilities for libraries and requiring librarians to re-think the roles their libraries will play in the community.
Heather Braum shared stories from around the state about lifelong learning activities that will play an increasingly important role in the future of libraries. These included classes, programs, demonstrations, discussion groups, special interest clubs, 6 by 6 activities, and other ways in which Kansas libraries are enriching life and knowledge in their communities.
Shannon Roy shared ideas from around the State on how Kansas libraries are making their facilities more welcoming and their websites more interactive and rewarding.
All three presenters were delighted with the ideas and stories shared by the participants in the workshop. “The Conversation Business” may be a fairly new term, but Kansas librarians are in the business as they welcome their library users and interact with them in so many ways.