SLA 2011: KM Cafe: Competencies and Careers

Thanks to Ken Wheaton, SLA PNW President-Elect 2011, Web Services Librarian, Alaska State Court System, for this guest post about the KM Café on Competencies and Careers held at the SLA 2011 Annual Conference & Info-Expo on Monday, June 13th from 4:00- 5:30 PM. Cafés and unconferences bring a new spin to conference attendance and Ken’s post will give you an idea of what you could expect from a Café session. As Ken noted to me in an email about this post, “Governments can be very complex and are constantly dealing with change from globalization and advanced technology. A KM café can help expose and provide a better understanding of issues. It can also help bring on new ideas for better solutions.” I agree.

Ken Wheaton at the 2011 SLA Chapter-Division Joint Cabinet

Ken Wheaton at the 2011 SLA Chapter-Division Joint Cabinet


At the SLA 2011 annual conference this year I was asked to facilitate for a program called “KM Café: Competencies and Careers”. Anne Rogers, Director, Scientific Knowledge Services at Cargill was the session moderator. Anne started the session by providing a quick overview of KM, the KM Café concept and about the division. I was one of six table facilitators. Each facilitator was assigned a topic and a table. The topics included KM educational programs, KM taxonomy, tools/practices, employment opportunities, as well as well as several practitioners. I was one of the practitioners and talked about the skills needed to participate in KM. I put an emphasis on four key skills needed for KM which included being a content czar, a leader, being part of the organization goals & objectives planning and being a change agent.

The program was scheduled for a total of 90 minutes with a ten minute introduction, followed by 15 minutes at each table for discussion. Participants had to switch tables 3 times for another discussion and the final half hour was used to see what everyone thought of the session.

Overall, most who attended were students or people new to KM. Most thought that the café style encouraged people to have an open, relaxed, creative conversation. Participants felt that they took away new ideas and made some new connections.

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