Tech Summit for Libraries 2024 - Embracing Innovation and Practical Solutions

Contributed by Heather Lubchansky, Sussex County LIbrary & the Chair of Tech Summit 2024 Planning Team

Tech Summit 2024
[ Tech Summit Photo Album: Photos taken by Jon Braun, LibraryLinkNJ/L-TAG ]

On May 9th, 2024, L-TAG (LLNJ’s Technology Advisory Group), in collaboration with the NJLA Emerging Technology Section, hosted the return of the Tech Summit for NJ library staff. After a 5-year hiatus, the Tech Summit was once again held at the SHI facility in Somerset County. This day-long summit featured a keynote by Brian Pichman of the Evolve Project, which covered an overview of emerging technologies and how libraries can both adapt to new technology and adopt it into their strategic plan. AI topics featured heavily in the keynote and in two of the breakout sessions later in the day, also led by Brian Pichman.

Following the keynote, attendees worked their way through 4 breakout sessions which featured nine different topics, including: cybersecurity, website accessibility, software licensing models for Google & Microsoft, a discussion of bleeding edge technology, implementing AI ethically, mobile device management, AI tools, assisting patrons with technology, and e-Rate. Attendees had opportunities to network with other library staff throughout the day and had the chance to take a tour of SHI’s CIC Innovation Center at the conclusion of the day.

Here are some comments from the summit attendees:

  • “Amazing experience learned so many useful tools and strategies”
  • “The Tech Summit was very informative and engaging. The speakers were knowledgeable and welcoming. Overall, this was a great experience.”
  • “Loved the event. Looking forward to the next one”
  • The Bleeding Edge (Open Discussion Table) - “It was nice to have a space to hear from others on various topics. I think it is important for something like this to take place so that the attendees can decide what is of importance to them and their library rather than be limited to only a choice of one or two topics.” “It was nice to hear that other libraries have some of the same concerns we have.”
  • What I learned today that I will apply back at my job is “Translation software for helping patrons with foreign languages, general tools I didn’t know about like remote assistance.”
  • “JerseyConnect has free resources that we could (and very possibly should) be using in our libraries. I had no idea that there is remote assist capability or that they can provide a "Chat" feature to be used on our website. I also plan to use the information I got from the session on making your website accessible.”
  • “I was amazed at the amount of technology out there can be overwhelming. But now I am able to share the information with my coworkers and patrons. There is still so much to learn but I am eager to jump in.”
  • “I'd never heard of a couple of the AI tools. One of them allows you to create a chatbot based on data that you feed to it. I can think of several uses for that, including a chatbot that can answer questions about the library's digitally indexed local history collection. Can't wait to try it.”

The day was filled with cutting edge technology, lively discussions, and excellent networking. The Tech Summit planning team - comprised of Ann Hoang, Doug Baldwin, Maureen Langley, Richard Loomis, and Tricina Strong-Beebe, and chaired by Heather Lubchansky - would like to thank SHI for providing us space on their campus to host the Tech Summit and for providing many of the speakers for the breakout sessions. The team would also like to thank the NJLA Emerging Technology Section and the LLNJ staff for offering their support of the event.

All presentation slides are available in PDF format on the Summit info page!


Tech Summit 2024 - Photo Album