This guest post is by Graham Lavender, a mentor for the upcoming Startup Weekend event. A former librarian-turned-coder, Graham recently completed the Bitmaker Labs programming bootcamp.
Are you a librarian, a developer, or a designer? Can you spend the weekend of March 28 – 30 in Toronto? If so, you should absolutely check out Startup Weekend Toronto EDU: Library Edition. Read on to find out why.
First things first: what is SWTOLib all about? Developers may already be familiar with the Startup Weekend concept: people from diverse backgrounds come together and form teams to take innovative ideas from the concept stage to lay the groundwork for startup businesses. If this sounds intimidating, it shouldn’t; you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are all working toward the goal of improving libraries through technology. If you’re a librarian, you don’t need any technical experience, and developers and designers don’t need to know much about libraries. You can find all the details on the SWTOLib event page and on Twitter: @SWTOLib, but I’m here to tell you why you should join in. There are a ton of good reasons; here are 5 of the best:
1. You’ll meet some amazing people. You might meet your future business partner, and even if you don’t, the bonds you form here are sure to have a lasting impact on your professional network.
2. Everyone loves libraries (except, perhaps, the mayor and his brother). Even if you haven’t been to a library in years, you can surely imagine the possibilities when free access to information meets bleeding-edge technology. Help build the future for citizens of the world.
3. You’ll have the chance to work on cool ideas you might not have the opportunity to try out at work. Even if you work somewhere as awesome as Google, you can’t spend *all* your time doing whatever tickles your fancy, so come try out some wild ideas.
4. You’ll be part of something massive. Over 45,000 people have participated in Startup Weekend, in countries all around the world. Or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, consider that you’ll be among the very first to harness the power of Startup Weekend and aim it at libraries.
5. No matter how many good ideas you have coming in, you’ll have even more when you’re finished. Even if you don’t actually launch a new business venture, the ideas you’ve worked on will continue to percolate in your mind for the weeks and months following the event, so make sure you connect on LinkedIn or trade business cards with all the amazing people you meet, because your project may very well take on a life of its own.
So go sign up now! I’ll be there as a mentor, which means I’ll be floating around and helping groups however I can. I hope to see you there!