Assistant Director of Content and Access
A.R. Dykes Library of the Health Sciences
The University of Kansas Medical Center
My experience at the Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) 2018 conference was educational and enlightening. Prior to attending the conference, I had heard reports from various colleagues about how wonderful the ER&L conference experience has become. Electronic resources in libraries are constantly evolving and staying current is essential for providing access and assistance to users. The Electronic Resources & Libraries conference provides new visions for managing e-resources, collection development, assessment, strategies, and building relationships. The various tracks offered represented a diverse range of library focus areas. The conference did not disappoint and proved to be an informative experience. As a first-time attendee, I was astounded at the wealth of knowledge the conference offered.
The conference was well setup. All of the volunteers were exceptionally friendly and always willing to help with suggestions for making the most out of the conference. The conference was held in Austin, Texas on the campus of the University of Texas. This provided a great setting with many opportunities to explore the campus and city. Many thanks for those helping ER&L first timers, like myself, navigate the conference center.
One of the most beneficial sessions held at the conference centered on ways to measure academic library value. One of the trends we are seeing in the profession is the need to demonstrate the value of libraries to increase/stabilize funding. One of the highlights of the conference was putting together all of the different avenues of data that libraries collect today and realizing that we’re in better shape today to help illustrate our value to stakeholders.
A key focus area in many sessions centered on user experience in the library. With increased data available for review, libraries can now focus in on patron behavior. Using this information, we are better positioned to adjust our services and resources to better serve our customers. Many libraries are reporting that data is becoming an integral component in their day-to-day operations; influencing acquisitions, collection development, student success, and library space decisions.
The conference provided an opportunity to bring back new ideas to create new workflows and to review with a new lens our current operations to ensure they are running efficiently as we prepare for system updates. ER&L helped widen my view of our upcoming initiatives not only related to our library but to our Information Resources group. ER&L 2018 was a fantastic opportunity and a conference I hope to attend again.
-Eric’s attendance was funded by a Professional Development Award from the NNLM MidContinental Region.