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!

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