EKU Librarians Participate in International Book Fair
Eastern Kentucky University made an international impact on February 10 by participating in the 2012 Minsk (Belarus) International Book Fair. EKU librarians Clay Howard, Trenia Napier, and Emily Aldridge (with technical support from Emily Bayma) answered questions from Belarusian librarians during a thirty minute video conference hosted by the American Embassy, Minsk. Questions ranged from “Do EKU Libraries have copies of Benjamin Franklin’s original books?” to “What does the library of the future look like?” and “How do EKU Libraries use social media and emerging technologies to connect with students, staff, and faculty?”
Despite the geographical and language barriers, the flash conference was an immense success, bringing together two groups of distant—yet like-minded—professionals, in real time and without the scheduling conflicts and jet lag that normally accompany such a meeting. Using a Samsung Galaxy phone and an iPad equipped with Skype, the Embassy was able to connect to EKU’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and broadcast EKU librarians to the Embassy’s booth on the floor of the book fair, providing a diverse audience the opportunity to connect with peers on the other side of the world.
EKU Librarian and Reference & Instruction Team Leader Clay Howard spoke to both the present and future impact of the flash conference: "Participating in the flash conference at the Minsk International Book Fair was a great experience. It was really fun to speak with librarians half a world away and to hear what they were interested in knowing about libraries in the U.S. We are now planning another web conference with Embassy staff to brainstorm future projects."