Saturday at Midwinter

So, I had this vision of Midwinter. I would do what I used to do, and write up a thorough post of every meeting I attended. I would include lots of links and my own thoughts on the content. I would write these posts in sessions and get them online before the meeting even adjourned. 

But then, real life took over, and I realized that the Midwinter I attend now is nothing like those first few. For one thing, my schedule is packed. With no down time, I might be rushing into a meeting at the last minute or ducking out a minute early, it’s hard to get the polish of a post done when a session doesn’t have a cushion before or after. For another, I know more people at ALA now. When I knew less people, posting filled up dead pockets of time. Now I’m often running into folks. And, I am at a point where I feel good enough about my position within ALA to contribute in most meetings, so I want to focus my attention more on the communication (nonverbal and verbal) going on in the group to know how to contribute my perspectives most effectively. It’s hard to do that while blogging. So, I’m going to leave my notes as they are in Evernote, and just post summaries here.

The LITA Committee and Interest Group Chairs Joint Meeting
This meeting is for the chairs of all the LITA committees and interest groups. It’s a chance to get all the LITA leadership into one room: board, chairs, staff, etc, and to make sure we’re all on the same page. I’ve been attending these for a little while, and this meeting has some of the most interesting discussion that I can remember. We talked a bit about transparency in scheduling and decided to use the LITA wiki for this purpose. We talked about the LITA Forum, which will have amazing keynoters (David Weinberger, Liz Lawley, and Joan Lippincott) and is still accepting program proposals. (Man, I’ve got to get on that!) Thanks to Walt Crawford, we also had an interesting discussion on the similarities of a “publications” and “communication” committees, and where are the lines of publishing for a group with print publications, electronic ones, a website, a blog, a wiki, a listserv, etc. Good stuff!

Distance Learning Interest Group (I’ll be posting real notes for this session here, on the LITA blog, and on the DLIG blog.)
I always leave that meeting to actually chair my interest group. Truthfully, I was a bit worried about the DLIG this conference. We don’t have a set membership and different people show up at the discussions at each conference, so it’s hard to know ahead of time how it will be. I thought with it being cold, in Denver, and with the budget issues so many people are facing we wouldn’t have hardly anyone. Instead we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 (you know how that goes, with people coming in and out). So we had good turnout, and, I think, great conversation. We talked about text messaging, screencasting, and a little on embedded librarians and content management systems. We’re establishing a discussion list and will hopefully be doing some exciting things in the near future. I know we have strong leadership in the pipeline, so I think the DLIG has a good future ahead. Again, more specifics on this meeting as soon as I have time to format the notes and hunt down URLS.  

The Emerging Leaders Town Hall
I figured I’d see what this meeting was like since I’m just one year out, and I was really impressed. I know many of the ’08 cohort had some issues with the program, but from this session, and what I have heard from current participants, so far the ’09 program is going really well.  Leslie BurgerMaureen Sullivan, and Connie Paul ran the meeting as usual, and Pat Wagner led parts of the session, as well. They ran a number of useful (and not too stressful!) networking exercises and solicited feedback from participants on what ALA should look like in the future. 

SPARC-ACRL Forum on Open Educational Resources
This was a large program so packed with information that I feel particularly bad about not including detailed notes here. This talk ran the gamut, with engaging panelists. They were Richard Baraniuk, an architect of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration and founder of Connexions, David Wiley, also a leader of the Cape Town Declaration and Chief Openness Officer (cool, no?) for Flat World Knowledge, Nicole Allen, leader of the Student PIRGs‘ Make Textbooks Affordable campaign, and Mark Nelson, Digital Content Strategist for the National Association of College Stores, the trade association representing the higher education retail industry. Great presentations and interesting topics. Some practical issues were addressed (like getting started on your own campus) as well as more theoretical ones (do textbooks even make sense in a constructivist environment?). The most striking point, to me, was if the government requires open access to publicly funded research, why don’t we require open access to publicly funded educational materials?

I got dinner with coworkers Sarah and Steve. I found a noodle place that is particularly friendly to vegans, so we all trekked down 16th street for dinner. It was a good time with fun discussion (even a little shop-talk… I learned a bit more about FRBR, including that I really know hardly anything about it). On the way back we ran into our former associate director, Debbie. It was a good evening out. 

CLENE Reception (hosted by Pat Wagner)
After dinner, I went to the CLENE reception in order to meet one of my local Twitter friends face-to-face, Lori Reed. It was a great time, lovely setting, friendly people, and I learned about another whole section of ALA, this one focused on training. It was good to meet up with Lori, and I also Peter Bromberg, who I know from various online networks. In fact, meeting up with Peter was fun, because he helped facilitate the Emerging Leaders Town Hall, so we followed up on some of the activities from earlier in the day, and I got some good advice on some of the areas I want to work on. I plan to check out the CLENE discussion group on Monday.

So, Saturday was busy, from beginning to end, but it was very good! If you want any more information, let me know… I have somewhat coherent, detailed notes on most of the meetings I attended.