Thursday, June 30, 2011

ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans - Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!

I had an amazing conference.

My flights to and from New Orleans were a bit stressful but successful. My flight from Pittsburgh not only boarded a bit late, but it was slow boarding. Once boarding is completed, we push back from the gate. Where we sit for about five minutes. Finally the captain announces over the intercom that there is a medical emergency on the flight and we have to go back to the gate where we'll be met by the paramedics. We return to the gate, the door is opened, and after 10 minutes a man is escorted off the plane by EMS staff.

As usual, my schedule was packed. Thankfully I was able to squeeze in three trips to Cafe Du Monde. Two times I walked there from the Hilton, so that made it okay in my mind.


I attended a lot of meetings. The Executive Board had three meetings. These were held on Friday morning, Monday afternoon, and Tuesday afternoon. We also had a [Thursday evening reception] and a joint reception with the American Booksellers of America board on Saturday afternoon. It was a nice group of people and we were even treated to an early evening rainbow.


The opening speaker was Dan Savage. I really enjoyed his presentation and the positive tone he set for the conference. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of "It Gets Better" signed and thank him for reminding me how important my role as an advocate continues to be as a librarian, a faculty member on campus, and a friend.

Personal highlights from the conference include attending the Library Journal Movers & Shakers recognition luncheon. It was exciting to meet others recognized this year and in previous years. It was humbling to be surrounded by so many good people who have made truly amazing contributions to the profession. I particularly cherished feeling that I was surrounded by friends, both old and new.

LJ Movers & Shakers Luncheon
Sue Polanka Courtney Young, and Lisa Carlucci Thomas

I'm very proud that my mentor, colleague, and friend Susan Ware received the inaugural RUSA RSS Service Achievement Award. I didn't make it into the room to see her receive the award, but I did manage to congratulate and toast her at dinner with two colleagues.

The closing speaker was Molly Shannon. It was very exciting to meet and introduce her program. Shannon will publish her debut children's book Tilly the Trickster in September.

Courtney Young with Molly Shannon

The conference closed out with the Inaugural Banquet. The new division presidents and new members of the ALA Executive Board were introduced. Among there were my friend and colleague, RUSA president-elect Gary White.

Gary, Courtney, Dan
Gary White, Courtney Young, Dan Mack

Roberta Stevens passed the torch to Molly Raphael. The ALA 2011-2012 year begins!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Annual Conference preview and early numbers

New Orleans will be library central in a couple of days. Librarians and staff, library school students, vendors, and their friends will fill the Morial Convention Center, hotels near and far, and the French Quarter. I suspect attendees are doing what I'm doing: frantically packing and planning for meetings, events, and socializing with friends and colleagues.

A few facts and figures from HQ as of June 20, 2011:
  • Paid registration is at 10,007, compared to 11,163 for DC (2010) and 11,775 for Chicago (2009). The week-to-week gain in paid registration was 231.
  • Total registration as of this morning is 11,273, compared to 12,967 for DC (2010) and 12,966 for Chicago (2009).
  • There are 845 non-members registered, plus a couple of one-day registrations.
  • There are 328 international registrants, including all categories (e.g. students, members, non-members.)

 Want to really dig into what's happening? Check out this fantastic document put together by Mary Ghikas.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NOLA Free WiFi Guide with librarian's touch

If you're heading to ALA in two weeks and are looking for internet access beyond the convention center or your hotel, check out this post by Michael Golrick. I'm particularly pleased to see the airport has free wireless.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Play, Learn, Innovate.

I attended "Play, Learn, Innovate. An OCLC/Library Journal online symposium." You can playback or download the event. I did take some notes during the session, but not as many as I wanted.

I also had the opportunity to ask Erica Rosenfeld Halverson a question live after her presentation. As a part of her response, Erica mentioned that "libraries understand the connection between tools and ideas." I think this was an important point and one we need to continue to market to our constituents. It is applicable in terms of information literacy as applied to library instruction and reference, as well as how we develop our collections as the University Libraries. The collections piece is going to be of even greater importance moving forward. Our shrinking collections budget, duplication policy, and rise of electronic access to scholarly content amplify the need to make that connection between tools and ideas. Concepts of holdings and format have shifted, but I don't think we have developed strategies to inform or educate our constituents about these changes. We're not compromising access to key scholarly content, and we're allowing for faster access across all campuses.

Admittedly my question evolved during the course of Erica's presentation, but it did get me thinking more actively about our campus' digital commons, the products student produce using the equipment, and how we are or are not engaged in that process. At my current campus, the flip cameras, digital cameras, and other materials to produce digital media are available for checkout in the library, but the actual lab with workstations and green screen are in the building with the computer center. At my previous campus the library did not have any of this equipment. I know other Penn State campuses have the entire digital commons in the library. Even in one university geographically dispersed there isn't a single approach to this process. Of course there are some space and access considerations in each location. I need to keep this in mind once I start moving forward with a knowledge commons task force.