May 1, 2018

Thinking about user groups and community

As many of you may know, in my earlier role as the “marketing guy” at Innovative, my team and I were responsible for working with the Innovative User Group Steering Committee and its conference planner to plan and conduct their annual conference. It was one of the real pleasures of my time at Innovative.

Since I left III to launch Patron Point, it’s been an interesting switch to be on the “outside” of the conference looking in. What’s even more noteworthy is the fact that, over the past two weeks, my business partner, Ted Fons, and I, not only exhibited at the IUG but also at the SirsiDynix COSUGI 2018 conference. Through a happenstance of scheduling, it was kind of a “User Group Season”, if you will, with COSUGI occurring a week before the IUG Conference. If you would have ever said, while I was still at III, that Ted and I would be attending a COSUGI conference together in a few years, I would have said you were crazy. But, there we are. I guess you should never say never, right?

Ted Fons (left) and I holding down the Patron Point fort” at IUG 2018

While not privy to much of the content of either conference’s programming, the SirsiDynix folks allowed exhibitors to attend their opening session. So we had the opportunity to hear from their executive team. I was impressed with the candid nature of the presentations and strong rapport then executive team seemed to have with the attendees. And, while the IUG Conference doesn’t allow exhibitors the same access, the solid progress the IUG and Polaris users have made in unifying their two groups was evident throughout their conference. Ted was pleased to share the podium with Maisam Nouh, Technology/Cataloging Librarian from The Ferguson Library and to present on their progress in helping the Library achieve its marketing goals. As expected, the discussion afterward was lively and showed that there is significant enthusiasm for more effective marketing in public libraries. 

However, if there was any takeaway from the two events, it was the affirmation of how bringing librarians and library technologists together in these environments, nurtures a powerful sense of community. And, it’s not just among the users, it’s also that all of the vendors–whether it’s the ILS, whose software is critical to each library’s operation, or any of the exhibitors participating in their event–that we are all contributors and partners in the success of the global library community. Being able to help it grow and thrive is a special and unique part of what we do every day.

So, for the foreseeable future, you’ll be seeing us at these two and other user group conferences. So, don’t hesitate to stop by our booth, say “hello” and see what we’re up to.

Shimshock Out

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