Thursday, July 10, 2008

Then & Now

What we've lost:

What we've gained:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Fayette Alliance withdraws its support for CentrePointe!

I just received an email that the Fayette Alliance has withdrawn it's support for the CentrePointe project. This is excellent news, but I wish it had come sooner.

ALA: Notes for next year

What I could do differently at ALA Annual 2009:

Bring cable for downloading photos - I thought about doing this before I left, but decided I would just add photos to this blog and flickr when I got back. What a bad idea. It would have been so much nicer to add these as I posted and a tiny USB doesn't weigh very much or take up much room.

Bring extension cord? - This one I'm not so sure about. It might not be worth the extra weight. There was some amount of competition for outlets, but not too much.

Buy a better laptop? - I really can't can’t afford this, but it would be nice to have a lighter weight laptop with a battery that lasts long enough to get through a meeting.

Make sure committee members are coming to All Committee and/or schedule a time to meet them - This was one of my biggest regrets at this year's Annual. I had assumed (remember what they say about ass-u-me'ing?) that my Orientation Committee fellow members would automatically go to All-Committee. Nope, not a one.

Sign up for Dine Around every night that not otherwise busy - Dine Around, the scheduled dinner plans that anyone can sign up for, I left for the last night and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my conference. I might even sign up to be an Ambassador and lead a group next year.

Make sure hotel has free wireless - My second rate hotel turned out to have first-rate free wireless (I lucked out), but the Hilton where some of the meetings were held charged an exorbitant fee.

Check if friends are going to ALA - I just found out that a close friend who is now a librarian too went to 2007 Annual and I didn't even know it! I need to make sure I ask all the librarians I know and make sure they haven't changed plans.

Suggest that NMRT have ribbons - All kinds of groups had ribbons, including BIGWIG and Library Society of the World. Why in the world wouldn't NMRT have a ribbon? It would be a great way to promote the Round Table.

Suggest that RSS it clear that reviews are by appointment - The seven people who tried to drop-in at the Resume Review Service reminded me of how the promotional materials really should make it clear that appointments are needed.

If I present in the future it would be good to have a "barker" - The guy in the pirate costume really got a lot of people's attention. If I am part of a session, I think it would be great to have someone to stir up interest in the crowd. I think a lot of people create their schedules on the fly or decide to drop sessions that are too far away, so it would be a good idea to take advantage of this.

With all this in mind I think that ALA Annual 2009 will be the best conference yet!

ALA: Things done right

As the conference wrapped up on Tuesday, I began to evaluate how I felt about the conference.

Things done right:

Applied for and got funding! - I would never have been able to attend if it weren't for the EBSCO/ALA Conference Sponsorship. There were only 10 of these given out nationwide, so I didn't know if I had a chance when I applied, but obviously, it worked! I will definitely try again in the future for other scholarships.

Typed out a schedule before leaving Lexington – Last year (my first ALA Annual) I had notes about what I wanted to attend, and then tried to mark them in the conference guide, but the guide is HUGE. It is much easier to have a typed schedule and write in modifications then to flip around in the book.

Attended many New Members Round Table events - Last year people kept telling me to "get involved" without much specifics as to how to do that. I found that NMRT is a good way into the association. Even though I didn't always have a "reason" to be at a meeting (such as the Executive Committee meeting), it helped a lot to attend and learn how things worked and who the main players are.

Volunteered for many things - Sessions can be very informative, but I think the best way to use my time wisely is to work at the conference. I worked at the Orientation, NMRT booth, and Resume Review Service booth, and I found that very satisfying.

Brought laptop and made sure sat near outlets - It's great to have a laptop for notes. Later when I'm trying to remember a speaker's name or what happened at a session, I can refer back to my notes. That way I blogged, not exactly “live” but within a day or so.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fourth (And final?) Day at ALA: Monday

I began the day with the NMRT Executive Committee meeting. I didn't really have any reason to be at this meeting other than wanting to find out how NMRT works, but I'm glad I went. I learned a lot about NMRT and got to match some more names to faces.

After that, I served as a booth greeter for the NMRT Resume Review Service. I really enjoyed this. I felt very useful as I juggled the no-shows and the people showing up with no appointments with the reviewers who were volunteering to stay late or running over with the last reviewees. It was really wonderful to see how devoted the reviewers were. I hope they are receiving really wonderful thank yous. I'm planning to write to the coordinator of the RSS service to suggest that next year that they make it clearer in the promotional materials that the service is not drop-in. I remember trying to drop-in myself last year, and this year in less than 90 minutes I had seven people try to drop in. Seven! A few I could accommodate, but not all.

Next I attended the session: "Your Library, Your Space: Using Research to Make Libraries People Friendly." There were three speakers, but the one I was most interested in was Bob Fox of Georgia Tech who spoke about their Information Commons. Georgia Tech is really well known for its fabulous Commons, so this was really exciting. He talked about all the ways in which they got student input for their second and third phases of their Commons. One interesting thing they did was going around and taking photos of students studying around campus (not in the library) and asked them why they were there and why they weren't at the library. They also have an ongoing Student Advisory Board for continuing advice.

For my last ALA committment, I went to staff the NMRT Booth. This was much more difficult than being a Resume Review Service Booth greeter because this booth was right in the middle of the exhibits in front of a big official ALA sign and people were asking all kinds of questions. I had more than one person who was angry that I couldn't take their money for membership renewals. (I suggested either using the website on the handy computer provided or going up to registration to renew, but that answer wasn't good enough.) Luckily for me there was a very knowledgeable librarian at the next ALA booth who knew lots of answers and gave good advice.

At the end of the evening I went to "Dine Around" where I had signed up to have dinner with some librarians I didn't know. The four of us who had chosen Thai went out and had an amazingly fabulous time together. I'm looking forward to staying in touch with my new friends and (hopefully) seeing them again at ALA 2009!