Professional Development

Lauren P at ALA2012

Monday, July 2, 2012 4:32 pm

photo 3.JPGThis was my second ALA in Anaheim. The main thing I remembered about the last conference that was held there was that I had a very hard time making it to events on time. The blocks in Anaheim are longer than they appear on a map, and hotels are very spread out. Luckily, this time, my meetings were all in the convention center or the headquarter hotels. Unfortunately, even the buildings take longer to navigate than you would expect, and I still found myself running late for things on the first day and a half. Lesson learned: you can never overestimate how long it will take you to walk in a city designed for cars! Once I had that under control, things were much more smooth sailing.

I was lucky to get to room with Molly from work again, which is always fun and another example ofphoto 4.JPG how sometimes it seems like it takes traveling across the country to catch up with local colleagues. I managed to get a meal with Hu, Carolyn, and Erik, and catch up with colleagues from UNCG at several events. Very fun times in the middle of a very busy conference!

ALA is increasingly becoming more and more about meetings for me, which is actually fine by me as I care a lot about the future of the organization and the meetings I’m in tend to at least have the potential to impact that. In an effort to make some sense of the seeming randomness of my calendar, I’m summarizing by type of meeting here:

American Library Association: Council

# of official meetings: 7
# of hours in official meetings: 14

I’m now over halfway through my term on council. I really enjoy this work, and plan to run for election again. This is the body that makes policy recommendations for the organization. When there are controversial issues, Council considers them. Council is responsible for (and considers updates to) the backbone documents of our profession such as the Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights.

This time most of the resolutions were from the Social Responsibilities Round Table and focused on several issues that are particularly important to that round table of the association, including Wikileaks issues and the treatment of homeless library users.

It was at this conference, perhaps in a change of culture, or perhaps because I’m getting my feet under me in this role, when it became very clear that there is a growing demand from members to focus instead on issues that are clearly library related rather than general issues that have a less obvious connection to libraries (such as Wikileaks). I suspect this is because many libraries are dealing with very real threats in their day-to-day operations whether it’s funding, access to materials that patrons want (*cough* *cough* ebooks *cough*), or the massive cuts some school districts are seeing in their libraries. When facing such fundamental issues, the feedback we get is that some intellectual freedom issues seem like a luxury and misplaced energy by the governing body of the organization.

At the same time that I’m noticing this, council is going through a self-assessment, of which we spend an hour of working on while at the conference. It’s clear that councilors understand that the really big important library issues of the day come to council and get turned into taskforces or committees, and the minor ones don’t. Those minor ones don’t necessitate the creation of a group, so the council hashes them out, leading to the feeling that the council spends time on fringe issues.

Small insight, perhaps, but a really useful one for me, and will help me better move forward issues in Council in the future.

Library and Information Technology Association: Board of Directors

# of official meetings and programs: 9
# of hours in official meetings: 20

I’m a Director at Large for LITA, and am as far into that term as I am the Council term. However, the organization could not feel more different. The big news, for me, for my LITA experience at this conference was that I was elected as the Director-at-Large to the executive committee for LITA. The executive committee is empowered to act for the board of directors between regular meetings (their decisions and actions are subject to review by the board at its next regular meeting).

LITA is going through growing pains and is evaluating how to be more transparent in a way that makes sense across the Board (literally) so these meetings feel like there’s actually potential to see some change go through. I’m excited about contributing in a larger way to this association which was my first real home within ALA and gave me leadership opportunities when I was still just in library school.

LITA also hosts several programs that are notable at annual conferences, and I attended the Sunday afternoon sweep of sessions including Top Tech Trends (Where it was good to see another instructional technologists on stage. One of her two trends was “this will be the year librarians learn instructional design!”) and the President’s Program (The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Research, Digital Scholarship and Implications for Libraries featuring Tony Hey, Microsoft Research; Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information). Both were fascinating sessions, despite their disruption due to a fire alarm in the convention center!


# of non-business related programs: 2
# of hours in these programs: 4

photo 1.JPGI never count on getting to see sessions that are not part of another obligation that I have, but this time I got to see two! On Friday I heard William Kamkwamba, or, the boy who harnessed the wind, at the Movers and Shakers lunch. If ever there was a more cognitively dissonant ALA experience, I’m not sure what it would be. We were at a very nice restaurant, eating fancy meals, while hearing about the poverty of Kamkwamba’s village and the extraordinary efforts he went to in order to find ways to bring water and electricity to his community. If you haven’t heard his TED talk, you really should.

photo 2.JPGI also got to hear a favorite author of mine, David Weinberger. His books tend to be interesting reads dealing with the rapidly changing information environment. His most recent was one of the books our group read here in the library, Too Big To Know.

His talk focused on his most recent book, and the subtitle of the book says it all: “rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.”

In his talk he talked about how rapidly information moves today, about the bubbles we all live in in our online interactions, how it’s increasingly challenging to get access to other perspectives, and even a bit of postmodernism. Good times, as far as I’m concerned!

Connections, Friends, and Mentoring

But perhaps the best part of any conference is connecting with friends and mentors and finding out what’s going on in their lives, getting perspectives on your own, and finding connections between interests, projects, and passions of others in the field. This is one of the rare opportunities we have to get together with library folks from all different types of libraries, types of jobs, and ranks of position within their own organization, and that broad picture is one of the best takeaways of the conference for me.


photo 5.JPGI wrapped up my time in California with a bit of consulting for a company that is looking at their training, which was great fun. It was a totally different experience from working with librarians, but fun in entirely different ways. That meant several opportunities to get together with people from the organization, a day-long workshop, as well as a chance to get some of the work done for them that I had promised to do (as you can see here).

A red-eye back, an afternoon catch up with Leif, and a mountain of laundry later, I’m about to get started on my to do list that grew by miles while I was at ALA. Luckily, the conference was rejuvenating enough that I have the energy to tackle it!

3 Responses to “Lauren P at ALA2012”

  1. Nice wrap up, Lauren. It was a big conference but you put it all together into nice sized chunks. I enjoyed the summary and your analysis.

  2. Thanks for the report. It sounds like you had a successful conference!

  3. Thanks, Mary Beth and Susan! It was a good one for me!

ALA Annual
ALA Midwinter
Career Development for Women Leaders
Carolina Consortium
CASE Conference
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
Coalition for Networked Information
Digital Forsyth
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Elon Teaching and Learning Conference
Entrepreneurial Conference
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP)
Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA)
First-Year Experience Conference
Handheld Librarian
ILLiad Conference
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
Journal reading group
Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
Library Assessment Conference
Lilly Conference
LITA National Forum
Mentoring Committee
Music Library Association
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
North Carolina Serials Conference
online course
Online Learning Summit
Open Repositories
Professional Development Center
Site Visits and Tours
Society of American Archivists
Society of North Carolina Archivists
Southeast Music Library Association
Sun Webinar Series
TALA Conference
UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
University Libraries Group
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

Powered by, protected by Akismet. Blog with