Wednesday, October 29, 2014


As has been the case for 10 years, now, I conclude this gathering with a mixture of awe and gratitude, and also maybe a little regret. I am most definitely a victim of sensory overload but at the same time wish it went on a little longer. I want to write an overview and then go back and write in more detail about specific ideas and/or sessions. First I am going to sit and think, and then I am going to briefly list a few highlights that rise to the top of my mind upon reflection. I will limit myself to no more than five of these.

I did pause for a few minutes and asked myself what surfaced I my mind without looking at my program or my notes, and I came up with four things. Here they are:
·      I try to never miss a keynote, and came into the last of the three mornings without even bothering to see who was speaking on what topic. This allowed me to be happily surprised to realize I would be hearing Josh Hanagarne, aka The World’s Strongest Librarian.  He also spoke last year and thus I knew I was in for a treat. His topic today was…are computers changing the way we think? Of course they are! I will write more about his speech. It is causing me to engage in self-examination as well as to reflect on the larger meaning for all of us and our brains, separately and collectively.
·      Next to pop into my brain is Tuesday’s keynote by Nina Simon, Executive Director, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Author, The Participatory Museum, & Blogger, Museum 2.0. The title was Radical Transformation & Co-Created Magic! She gave a fascinating and inspiring account of her institution’s turnaround from bankruptcy to enjoying community support and financial success. This was done largely by conducting a series of public events that cost little or nothing but brought in citizens from all walks of life, from traditional museum supporters to people from the local homeless shelter.  Most of her ideas could be springboards for ways to engage patrons at any library, and I am also thinking about how to adapt for use with my students.
·      The third standout from all sessions was Tuesday afternoon’s opportunity to hear Ken Haycock. I have followed him since my days as a doctoral student, and have heard him speak before. This time the relatively small room allowed for a much more personal feeling of connection with him and fellow members of the audience. His topic was…ADVOCACY. He has been a leader in this arena for longer than I have been involved in librarianship and his advice has influenced my career both as a school librarian and as a MLS professor. I need to write more about his common sense ideas that are quite simple, but hardly easy for many of us.
·      The final thing to come to mind as a highlight is not a speaker but rather a large part of the conference experience, and that is collegiality. I had so many great conversations with old and new friends, some of which bear repeating later. In particular I enjoyed spending time with Dave Hoffman, Carolyn Foote, and Diane Cordell.
Every year I approach this conference with great anticipation. It is an annual gift that provides me with ideas and information that I call upon all year and in some cases for longer spans. Often I hear about devices or trends for the first time, weeks or months before they reach me in Texas. This year did not disappoint. I gained more than I can tell, and once again leave knowing I will hope that I get to return in 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment