Professional Development

Lauren’s Weekend at ACRL

Sunday, March 15, 2009 3:58 pm

Saturday and Sunday were busy enough that I’m just now getting down to posting about them!

Officially, here are the notes posts:

That doesn’t look like a whole lot, though so here’s the story :) :

Saturday started bright and early with a Roundtable that I co-facilitated with Lauren Ray of the University of Washington. The topic was Learning Objects, how they save time and can allow us to provide better service, and how collaboration between institutions and within them can help in their adoption. I felt like we had the internal collaboration down in the RITS group, and had good tips to share based on our experiences. Hopefully, those of us at the roundtable will collaborate ourselves… we came up with a few big-picture ideas that sound fun and useful.

Next up I participated in an ACRL Focus group for people under 35. It was a good session, focused on the changes that we’re expecting and are comfortable with, as well as things that could help improve the association and conference experience. Important questions when really useful, informal, and free professional networks are popping up online!

After that I heard a paper about assessment to innovation for interdiciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing. Important stuff, and though the program was informative, I got in a minute late and knew from the beginning I want to read the paper to get the full story.

My panel was coming up, so I went to sit and prepare a bit when I ran into Molly Keener! We chatted for a while, which was fun. It’s always amazing to me how often you only chat with some of your local colleagues at conferences across the country. We’re going to have to get coffee in Winston-Salem sometime!

My panel was “Mapping Your Path to the Mountaintop.” Steven Bell organized the session, and he, John Shank, Brian Mathews, and I were on the panel. The session was about strategic career planning, but early on Steven was wise to begin discussion about how to make the session more interactive and interesting to the people who would attend. We had an audience of about 300 people, talked for short pieces, showed videos of other librarians who spoke for short bits, and made space for audience contributions. Afterward, people said very positive things. There is a very kind write up on The Sheck Spot. Somethings for me to keep in mind in the future, as so many of my professional talks are much less participatory.

Roz’s Google Docs talk was next on my agenda, so I went to hear hers. It was a very good introduction, with ideas for both people who had never heard of Google Docs to those who have already been using it for a while. She also got a laugh when “shushing” the audience. :)

Roz, Susan, Mary Beth, and I were navigating our way through the convention center when we ran into Jim Galbraith. It was good to catch up and see what he’s up to. I was sad to miss the WFU dinner, but was happy to be able to catch up with a friend from high school (and a Wake grad). And we all finished the day back at the Experience the Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum.

This morning I missed a session on information literacy assessment tools (so I’ll be listening to it on the virtual conference site) so that I could go to a session on User Experiences. Two of my co-panelists were on this panel. It was a great talk. Informative, interesting, and it made great use of slides.
funnest slides ever

After that, we had the great fortune to see Ira Glass speak. But before, the organizers had set up a slideshow of pictures, tweets, blogs, etc, all tagged with the official acrl2009 tag. It was great fun! I saw a bunch of my friends on the big screen and my Flickr ACRL album page was up there for a few seconds!

But the real show was Ira Glass. He gave a beautiful talk. He discussed the research process for his show, how to use narrative to make a point, and he declared war on the Topic Sentence format of writing. He’s good at telling stories (as This American Life listeners/viewers know), and he’s good at it on stage. He started with the lights down, just talking. He used that to make a point about intimacy and attention, but then broguth up the lights. He talked about using suspense and drawing in your audience. He had me rethinking how I give presentations and try to make points. Great stuff all the way around.

Now, I have some work type stuff to do, and some friends from past lives to meet. I’m supposed to write up the first time experience for ACRL, so I’ll try to finish that. The flight leaves in nine and a half hours, so I’ll most likely see you all on Tuesday.

ACRL has been a great conference for me. It’s amazing to be at a conference without any meetings, where the entire focus is on learning and meeting people. I’m looking forward to trying out some of what I’ve learned, and getting in touch with some of the people I’ve met. Good times!

One Response to “Lauren’s Weekend at ACRL”

  1. I agree Ira Glass was so inspirational. He’s a great storyteller.


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