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- Under which circumstances we might hold an unconference as opposed to a more traditional staff development event, and,
- How to facilitate an unconference that is productive, fun, and educational.
The second take-away is in order to have a productive unconference the theme should be something that's flexible yet long-standing. For example, customer service has many facets and has not yet yielded any quick and easy results. Therefore, a topic such as this would lend itself well to an unconference because it would ideally generate lots of discussion. One topic that would not lend itself well to an unconference format would be, "how to teach patrons Microsoft Excel."
The third take-away is that in order to be successful, an unconference doesn't need to result in deliverables. The discussion and ideas and connections made during the process of the unconference is success in and of itself. Although, should deliverables happen, then they happen.
I actually had an ulterior motive for coming to this unconference. I had recently been volunteered to investigate how MD libraries could make use of video streaming technology such as UStream and since I did not have any experience with UStream I thought the unconference would be an appropriate venue for picking the brains of other folks who may or may not be involved in this project. And I was right. It was extremely valuable. Working with Shayna Siegel, Sam Eddington, Helen Blumburg, and Kim Smithson, the group of us walked out of there with 3 events that we're going to attempt to stream live to UStream.
- What I learned at the SLRC conference & why you should attend, too (Dec. 17)
- MLA Conference Updates with Emily Gamertsfelder and David Dahl (Dec. 19)
- Technical Services: Top Trends in an Ever-Changing Library World (Jan. 22)
- Start small. Your first unconference shouldn't be a group of 200+. How about 20 or 25 instead?
- You can apply the unconference flavor to all sorts of events: un-meetings; un-performance reviews, etc. Be creative!
- The space for your unconference should be very flexible - able to move chairs that are lightweight; lots of white boards and markers; etc.