Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conferences: The Future of Libraries in the Digital Age

Library 2.0 Virtual Conferences

The Library 2.0 virtual conferences provide an open, online forum for information professionals worldwide to access contact delivered by recognized international thought leaders regarding the future of libraries in the 21 century. The annual conferences are all-inclusive, and everyone is encouraged to participate as a presenter and attendee.

By delivering the conference presentations via online technology, information professionals can pursue their personal growth and professional development and expand their network without incurring travel expenses. As explained by a conference attendee, “Our library does not have the funding to send us to conferences, and even online webinars can be expensive. This conference is not only free, but the ability to hear from people around the world is priceless."

Customized Learning Experience

The virtual format also enables conference attendees to participate synchronously and/or asynchronously and customize their learning experience. “I really enjoyed being able to attend more than one session! There were so many topics I found interesting and pertaining to topics of digital media, humanities and emerging mobile technologies! I also like that there is a whole web page with the recorded links in case we wanted to watch more than one presentation,” said Lisa Reyna, a graduate student at the San José State University School of Information who attended the Library 2.013 conference.

Largest Free Virtual Conference Series

Launched in 2011, the Library 2.0 conferences are the largest free virtual conferences in the information profession. The Library 2.011 Worldwide Virtual Conference demonstrated the power of an open-source, online, international conference. More than 6,000 information professionals from 153 countries in 36 time zones joined the global conversation about the future of libraries during the inaugural conference.

The Library 2012 Worldwide Virtual Conference and Library 2013 Worldwide Virtual Conference also saw huge participation, with thousands of information professionals interacting during the global conferences. “It's a wonderful opportunity for librarians to share concerns across cultures and geographic boundaries,” said Mandi Goodsett, who attended the Library 2.013 conference.

Dr. Sandra Hirsh, director of the SJSU School of Information and Library 2.0 conference co-chair, presented a poster session at the 2013 IFLA World Library and Information Congress General Conference and Assembly in Singapore, in which she discussed the many benefits of virtual conferences. You may view her poster titled “Virtual Conferences Bring Information Professionals from Around the World Together in News Ways” on the SJSU School of Information’s Slideshare account.

The Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference featured an international lineup of keynote and distinguished speakers who enlightened attendees with their forward-thinking presentations. Many attendees took to Twitter to share their thoughts using hashtag #lib2014 like Polly-Alida Farrington, a librarian from New York. She tweeted, “SO many great sessions #lib2014 Library 2.014 Virtual Conference."

The fifth annual conference, the Library 2.015 Worldwide Virtual Conference, was held on October 20, 2015, and sessions supported the theme of Tools, Skills, and Competencies. "This is really cutting edge information about a cutting edge field," said Library 2.015 conference attendee Joanne Andrews. "Librarians need to hear from experts like these to truly move forward."

In 2016, conference organizers planned three topic-specific Library 2.016 online mini-conferences: "Privacy in the Digital Age," "Library as Classroom," and "Libraries of the Future." Each three-hour event consisted of a series of keynote speakers and crowd-sourced presentations.

The Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series was founded by Hirsh and Steve Hargadon, director of Web 2.0 Labs.

The conference is really useful to me as being a presenter, moderator or just a member of the audience. It helps to build connections and hear about really interesting topics. – Marton Nemeth, Library 2.0 conference attendee