TechFest 2023 Recap

LibraryLinkNJ TechFest 2023
A Unique Learning Experience for Library Workers Across the State

Contributed by LibraryLinkNJ Tech Advisory Group (L-TAG)

TechFest Event Photo Album

LibraryLinkNJ Tech Advisory Group (L-TAG) is thrilled to share the resounding success of our recent TechFest events, which took place on April 19th at Morris County Library and April 27th at Cherry Hill Public Library, co-sponsored by LibraryLinkNJ and NJLA with special support from the NJLA Emerging Technology Section. TechFest brought together library workers, both newcomers and seasoned tech enthusiasts, for a full day of networking opportunities, informative presentations, and engaging discussions to stay up to date with the latest technology trends.

The highlight of each event was the captivating series of eight tech Table Talks, where participants had the chance to explore various aspects of technology and their impact on libraries. These Table Talks with hands-on demonstrations provided practical insights and innovative ideas to enhance library services and engage customers in new and exciting ways. These interactive sessions covered a diverse range of topics, including:

  • Adding Virtual Reality to Programming and Pedagogy hosted by Sharon Whitfield & Heather Dalal, Rider University- Moore Library
  • Creating and Maintaining an Engaging Makerspace hosted by Tara Cooper-Weiss, George Washington Middle School Library
  • Digital Cards and Database Cards hosted by Tricina Strong-Beebe, Hainesport Elementary School Library & Diana Price, Burlington County Library System (BCLS)
  • Digital Citizenship: Copyright & Creativity Resources hosted by Kodi Sohl, High School North Toms River
  • Help Desk Tickets for Patrons & Staff hosted by Jonathan Upton, LMxAC
  • Introduction to Pixton: An Online Comic/Graphic Novel Creator hosted by John Gleason, Springville Elementary School Library
  • Museum Key: Sharing/Lending Technology hosted by Corinne Bowen, Madison Public Library
  • On the Road to Digital Literacy – BCLS Mobile Learning Lab hosted by Cat Janis Wishnefsky, Burlington County Library System
  • Padlet: Your Swiss Army Knife for Curation, PD, and Engagement hosted by Skye Silverstein, Rosa International Middle School/NJASL
  • Streamline Efficiency with Google Tables hosted by Crystal Hooper, Somerset County Library System
  • Technology for Libraries on a Budget: Coding robots for all ages hosted by Mary Fran Daley, Bernardsville Public Library
  • Tech Tools for Marketing hosted by Carina Gonzalez, Piscataway Public Library
  • Using the Gimet App to Track Service Statistics hosted by Rick Heming, Matawan Aberdeen Public Library

One of the focal points of TechFest was the keynote presentations that shed light on the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in libraries - “Empowering School Libraries with AI: Benefits, Challenges, and Best Practices” by Elissa Malespina, Media Specialist Librarian at Union High School and “Libraries & AI” by Jim Craner, Library Technologist with The Galecia Group. These renowned experts in the field delved into the transformative potential of AI technologies, discussing how they can enhance library services and improve efficiency. The thought-provoking discussions sparked new ideas and encouraged participants to explore the possibilities of integrating AI into their own libraries. The attendees provided feedback requesting more programs on this topic, and we will respond to their requests.

TechFest was not just about the presentations; it also provided an invaluable platform for attendees to connect and network with like-minded individuals. The event created a vibrant and collaborative atmosphere, fostering meaningful conversations and the exchange of ideas. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and generosity of the Table Talk presenters who selflessly contributed their time and expertise to make TechFest an invaluable experience. We are immensely grateful to the enthusiastic audience who attended TechFest, bringing their energy and passion to the event. Their active participation and engagement created a dynamic atmosphere, making TechFest a resounding success. We also express our sincere appreciation to Morris County Library and Cherry Hill Public Library for graciously hosting our TechFest events. Last but certainly not least, we would like to thank our planning team of L-TAG and LibraryLinkNJ staff for their hard work and support to host the events.

We are excited about the future of technology in libraries and look forward to hosting more innovative events that empower library workers and propel our field into the future. Stay tuned for updates on future events from LibraryLinkNJ!

The event materials, including handouts, main presentation recordings, and more photos, are available at the TechFest 2023 page!