Monday, March 06, 2006

Phoenix Rising

Sunday and Monday, I had the good fortune to participate in the Arizona Convocation, an annual event sponsored by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. I delivered a talk Sunday night called "Living in the Amazoogle World." (Thanks, Lorcan, for the neologism "Amazoogle;" people get it instantly!) The convocation is unique, I think: I'm not aware of another conference that brings together representatives from all sorts of cultural heritage organizations the way this one does. GladysAnn Wells, the state librarian of Arizona, has responsibility for assisting all of these institutions, and this gives her a great position from which to call this type of meeting.

Today, Karen Smith, the Director of the Water Quality Division of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, delivered a fascinating program about water management for the 21st century. For someone like me, who has spent all but 7 of his 50 years in states bordering the Great Lakes, the whole idea of even having to talk about water was an eye-opening experience. But even an Easterner like me sees the craziness of importing all sorts of thirsty, non-native plants and sports (like golf) to a city in the desert.

Today, there were two sets of breakout sessions, one by type of institution, and one by geographic region. The geographic discussion revolved around what libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions could do to increase awareness of water issues in the state.

There were some great quotes. One gentleman was talking about the difficulty of introducing change into an institution. He said the attitude is generally "Change is great: you go first!"

The museum group talked about ways to find out how people are reacting to their exhibits. One person suggested using the docents to gather guest reactions. It reminded me of how libraries are looking for ways of incorporating the circ staff into the planning process.

Marisa Ramirez introduced the new Arizona Memory Project. The site includes photos, video, documents, and other artifacts. It would be way too commercial for me to mention that the project is powered by CONTENTdm, so I won't.

1 comment:

George said...

This morning's USA Today has a short article about a lawsuit in northeastern Ohio over the city of Akron allegedly using more than its fair share of Cuyahoga River water. So I guess water issues are really everywhere, if we take the blinders off!