I’ve been back from the American Library Association conference in Washington D.C. for a few days. Took me another few days to recover–took a nasty fall near the Capital and kept walking anyway, so I had to hobble around a bit. Number one lesson learned at the conference? Don’t tweet anything about anyone else in the room at a tech oriented session, because there’s an excellent chance the presenter will say “Let’s look at the #ala10 tweets”.
Here’s what I did at the conference. Not that I imagine my faithful readers are really excited to hear about this, but this way I will remember!
I arrived Friday evening and caught up with old friends.This is the best part about traveling for conferences, no?
On Saturday I arrived at the convention center around 9 to register, and did manage to run into people I knew right away. So that was nice. My first session was “Developing Rich Internet Applications for Libraries”. It wasn’t immediately applicable to anything I’m doing right now, but did inspire me to work on a fun project of some kind. After lunch I went to “What is Your Library Doing about Emerging Technologies?” for a few minutes. The part I saw was basically emerging technologies librarians discussing the history of their positions and what they do on a daily basis. Sounded familiar to me!
Had to leave that session early because I presented a poster at 3, entitled “Research on the Go: Reference in 140 Characters.” (I will have more information in my portfolio section soon). This detailed the process and results of the text message reference pilot at Dominican. I love talking to people individually in the way a poster session allows, and I got a good chance to chat with other poster presenters during lulls.
The less said about my Saturday evening the better, other than that it involved the weirdest Thai restaurant ever, catching up with old friends, and the weirdest cab ride ever.
Sunday morning I went to “Designing Digital Experiences for Library Websites”. Some of this was extremely helpful; most of it reinforced what I already knew. To someone who is new at a job, getting that kind of reinforcement is very comforting. During the course of tweeting through the session I managed to meet up with a friend, and then we went for lunch together and ran into another friend on the street. I love that all of a sudden Washington D.C. felt just like Champaign-Urbana. In the afternoon I kept my resolve and did not go to the cooking pavilion in the exhibits for the whole afternoon, but instead went to the LITA panel on “Top Tech Trends” in libraries. This again reinforced a lot of things I already knew, but again, this wasn’t a bad thing for me.
Monday morning I was a tourist in 98 degree weather. Not my smartest plan ever, but I can’t resist a trip to the National Gallery (which is well air conditioned). I also couldn’t resist racking up the steps for the Dominican pedometer challenge, so I did a lot of walking. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be in the air conditioned convention center for the afternoon. I attended the “LITA Ultimate Debate: Open Source Software–Free Beer or Free Puppy?”. This was entertaining, though of course all the panelists had the same talking points they always do whenever you hear them. I left early to go to the exhibits before they closed completely, which meant a mad dash through the exhibit hall not getting to all the booths I wanted to, but a few useful contacts made.
All in all felt re-energized by the conference. I know it’s not really the best place to learn new skills and trends, but it is a place to connect with a lot of people old and new. I am ready to spend the rest of the summer planning and testing and playing with web services.