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Cache Valley Library Association hosts its first “Unconference”

By Nicole Cowdell
nicolecowdell.wordpress.com

Improving collaboration.

That was the ambition behind the Cache Valley Library Association’s first “Unconference.”

The event, which was hosted by the North Logan Library on Nov. 7, came from an idea by Dory Cochran, the academic member-at-large for the CVLA.

While a typical conference is very structured and has a precise plan, an Unconference is less formal. Attendees were simply asked to think about topics and issues they would like to discuss prior to the start of the event.

“The idea is to provide a structure for people to share ideas but it doesn’t limit participation,” Cochran said. “We provided a very broad theme for this event of libraries and collaboration.’”

One specific form of collaboration discussed was a focus on communication between school and public libraries throughout the valley.

“A lot of students have assignments and go to their public library,” Cochran said. “It’s good for the public library to have a heads-up about those projects so they can have resources available to support them.”

Joseph Anderson, the past president and webmaster for the CVLA, noted that although the Logan, USU and North Logan libraries served somewhat different constituencies, “the more we share our experiences, the better experience all our users will have.”

Academic, public, school and special libraries all have unique hours of operations, so scheduling CVLA events can be tricky. In all, around 14 members attended the Unconference.

“I was happy with that,” Cochran said. “I think it was a small but mighty number.”

The Unconference was deemed a success by attending members and they are hopeful to plan another meeting soon.

“I didn’t know much of what to expect going in but we had a good turnout, good participation and good ideas,” Anderson said.

“I would hope the CVLA continues it next year. I would be rooting for it.”

-mr/mdl