I didn’t get much computer time for the rest of the conference, so I’m just now getting a chance to post. Monday ended really well. I gave my poster for the final time, with great feedback. One person even said they wished it had been a program rather than a poster! I re-met another Twitter friend, and finally had a minute of unscheduled time to relax.
Later, some friends were having a wine reception in their suite, so I was able to catch up with a few folks. I had to leave early, though, to catch up with my Twitter friends. I missed the first meet-up and the Facebook social, so this was my chance to put faces with the people I’ve been talking with for the past year and a half. It was great fun, and nice to meet some strangers that weren’t really strangers. It made for a late last night though!
Tuesday I finished up with my last COSWL meeting. I mostly do tech work for the group, and am now tasked to investigate spam solutions for the blog and a wiki option that will meet our needs on the caregiver issue. The flight home was smooth, and I was lucky to have two friends on the way. It makes the wait in airports go quickly! We got in at midnight, and just five hours of sleep later I was back at my desk.
This was my best ALA so far. Though a few hotels were far out, most of the things I did were pretty close together. The things I had responsibility for went well, and I was still able to go to a few extra things. The thing that really set this conference apart, though, was Twitter. Before showing up, I knew people. Twitter kept me in the loop for programs I wasn’t able to attend. It let us arrange impromptu meet-ups, and meant there was always an option for something to do. Blogging started this trend. From my first ALA, I’ve been keeping tabs on programs by reading others’ reports, and I’ve known a few people because of this. But Twitter expanded on this exponentially. Let’s hope the service gets things under control before everyone jumps ship!
After the LITA president’s program, I found some coworkers for a while and we chatted. It’s good to catch up with local people at conferences. It’s strange to go across the country and not see them at all! Luckily, the blogger’s salon was in the same building. I was a bit shy last time, but found folks to talk to this time, both new and old. I actually wanted to stay later, but had to rush out to meet with some colleagues for the Ex Libris customer reception at the Jazz Kitchen. It was a really nice event, and good to see folks.
This morning, bright and early, I went with my Emerging Leaders group to tell the IFRT board about our Emerging Leaders project. They had some good questions, and seemed to like the project. I was pleasantly surprised to see a colleague from COSWL in the room, too.
I had to leave early to get to the LexisNexis breakfast to see my boss, Susan Sharpless Smith, win the 2008 ACRL IS Innovation Award. She gave a nice thank you speech, and even had the crowd laughing. Dana Milbank was the main speaker at the breakfast, and was very funny.
Now, for the first time during this entire conference, I have a few unscheduled hours. I’m going to give my poster at 1:00, and then see if I can find some Twitter friends to meet up with for dinner. If you want to get dinner, send me a dm!
Isn’t it Great to Be In the Library (wherever that is)
Mark Beatty started by giving a few remarks on his term as president. He then introduced the main speaker: Joe Janes
- Started by talking about Seattle public libraries
- Then spoke of the university library
- Showed a picture of an old reference desk and said we should all look at it and see ourselves behind the desk. Should bother us. Picture taken in 1906. Medical tools from then not recognizable today. We really love our history and tradition, but there are things we have to get over.
- Information environment evolves: more and more information in fewer and fewer specific organization’s hands
- What does it mean to be in the library? Physically: walk through threshold; what about in a bookmobile? The idea has always been a little bit bigger than the library: branches, bookmobiles, etc. In a virtual world, this is a bit more difficult. “In the library” whenever they’re in chat or on the website. Possibly simultaneously in other places, too.
- The library is: by implication the place, the stuff, the support, the interaction, and the values. Take away one: bookstore; take away another: an archive; etc. Many of these are up for grabs now.
- This implies an extended notion of “library” or “librarianship.” When you begin to think this way the library has power.
- We also have presences, and can be in several places at the same time, with several identities. (Twitter, facebook, IM, texting, Meebo rooms, in person, etc). These all have information needs and are tied to environments.
- They will come to us, but they won’t go very far. Where ever they are, whatever they want to do, we must be available, positioned, and ready to support on their terms, visible presences, not unlike building new branches or bookmobile routes.
- We know how to plan for new service areas, here’s another one. Digital citizens.
- We have to be better online.
- Said prehistoric cave-art is like YouTube. “I was here, I mattered.”
- Basic human urges: to communicate, learn, organize, search for and make meaning, inherently ambiguous context of language. This stuff is hard, we help make it easy. It’s what we do.
Then the OCLC Bloggers panel spoke. George Needham, Eric, Chrystie Hill, and Alice Sneary.
- Talked about turning the question around… when do we *not* want to be in the library?
- If collections are everywhere, what we have specifically is less important.
- The actual tool doesn’t matter as much as why you use it. Twitter can be carried with you, it’s fun, etc. Can we incorporate these characteristics into our services?
- We might use libraries in different ways.
- Need to get away from the cool step-back-view of the profession, and back to user-as-center enthusiastic view.
- It’s not going to be about the stuff. It’s going to be about the experience we create around the stuff.
- Sure we’re doing the work right, but are we doing the right work?
- Ex. Need: quick ubiquitous type of thing. One possible solution: Twitter.
Can I just say that I love LITA had chairs by each of the outlets for the bloggers? Fabulous!