So, this collaborative effort isn’t so much librarian to teaching faculty, but since we librarians in the SUNY system are considered faculty, I’m going to count this as librarian-faculty collaboration.

Yesterday, I returned from SUNY Potsdam where friends and colleagues within SUNY gather annually for drinks, dancing lessons, drumming circles, kayaking, lots of food, and . . . oh yeah . . . professional development. Despite resistance to attending the conference this year, I am so happy I did. I have forgotten how much I enjoy the SUNYLA conference, but even more, how much I enjoy my friends within SUNY. It’s interesting to me how close colleagues can get when we’re all pretty much doing the same thing (librarianship), but our relationships become so much closer than that. Hello’s and goodbye’s are met with hugs rather than handshakes or waves and conversation over good meals are focused on what’s happening in our personal lives more than what we’re doing professionally. That talk can happen during the presentations. Despite attending the conference without my closest compadres, I had an amazing time and was given the opportunity to get better acquainted with co-workers within my own library and new librarians joining SUNY all over the state. Nothing brings people together like a heated game of foosball. 🙂

The best experience, however, came before the conference. Against all odds, a group of four worked cross state on a 90-minute presentation to be given on Friday the 13th, not once meeting in person. The Membership Enthusiasm Outreach Workgroup (MEOW) did meet once in person last September, but I would say the bulk of the work completed by this group happened online between 4 dedicated librarians that I am fortunate to call friends (excluding myself as the 4th librarian, of course). How did we get the work accomplished? Via phone, e-mail, IM, and the miracle of 2.0. MEOW’s wiki, but more importantly Google Docs, helped us work “as if” we were in the same room. My favorite experience was probably when Nancy and I were simultaneously looking at a google doc, IMing each other as we examined our work, and making instant changes to the document. Nancy told me yesterday that she is now about 1.75 (not quite at the 2.0 level but close!) as a result of this collaborative work, and has even been using some of the tools for personal business.

The other helpful hint is that Gmail can send files of infinite size (or at least bigger than my campus e-mail account can send). That tidbit of info could have helped ease the process of loading my ppts to the LOEX 2008 conference page.

Other google docs allowed the MEOW 4 to maintain a running conversation of thoughts, questions, and suggestions helpful to finalizing our conference presentation. We plan to share these documents with the greater MEOW group, along with suggestions from our audience made during the brainstorming activity of yesterday’s session, before a second in-person meeting. In an effort to get as many of the MEOW members as possible “attending” this meeting, we’ll incorporate a conference call and IM so that those who cannot physically travel can still participate. If we could get Internet2 up and running (demonstrated fantastically during the keynote session of the SUNYLA conference . . . and Geneseo has access to Internet2!), that would be even better, but I’m not so sure we can move that quickly.

The other web 2.0 tool that I’m hooked on is Twitter, thanks to my run-in with Rudibrarian at Computers in Libraries. Being able to take conference notes and write them up later has been a great exercise in reflecting on what I learned at various conference sessions. I love being able to listen to a presentation, takes notes, discuss with Rudibrarian (if she happens to be attending the same session), ask questions of clarification, and even hear Rudy ask those questions aloud. Full circle. 🙂

My final thought on 2.0 for the day is that blogs, wikis, Google docs, etc. have been so instrumental in my work on the RYSAG summer camp. I have been so pleased to serve as the faculty member to lead the planning group in technological collaboration. We are all learning and growing together.

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