I’ll spare you the Vegas commentary, as you’ve already heard it from my desert-dwelling colleagues, but I will say that I quite enjoyed Vegas as a conference destination–easy to get around, lots to see and do, and a far cry from the humidity we’re so used to here. I also now have lots of ideas for ridiculous uses of space–reproduction of a Venice canal in the atrium, anyone?
If you remember from my post from Midwinter, I’ve been working for the past six months on a project for ALCTS as part of the 2014 class of ALA Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders poster session at Annual marked the conclusion of our projects and the beginning of our time as “emerged” leaders. My phenomenal team did a tremendous amount of research for our project, which was to evaluate the social media practices of ALCTS and to come up with recommendations for how that division can use social media to increase its membership. We put together a survey of tech services professionals that was designed to give us a better idea of how those in that segment of librarianship use social media and what they expect out of the social media presence of organizations like ALCTS. We received more than 850 responses and were able to make some pretty well-supported recommendations, if I do say so myself. Feel free to check out our project’s website (and the poster) if you’re interested.
Lots of people were really excited to see Stan Lee (I was, too, but was turned away–grr), but I was more excited to see Jane McGonigal during the opening session. If you’ve not heard of Jane McGonigal, her thing is leveraging gaming and game design to solve real-world problems. Check out her TED Talk to get the gist of what she said in her opening session. It’s always refreshing to hear someone who is completely sold on an inspiring idea and has the data to back it up. If you’re at all into gaming, check her out.
On Saturday, I presented as part of a panel sponsored jointly by the ACRL Distance Learning and University Libraries Sections. We spoke about “Leading from the Side,” or how we’re working toward positions of influence on our campuses (especially regarding distance and online education) without being in positions of leadership. This session was very well attended, we received many great questions, and I made one very important contact in co-panelist Jade Winn, who works with the online MSW program at USC, which is developed by 2U, a company WFU was, until very recently, also working with.
As seems to be a pattern with ALA Annual, my batting average with picking sessions was pretty terrible. I was shut out of a SRO session on online information literacy instruction, ducked out of a session on what I thought was going to be about connectivist learning theory, but was really about makerspaces in public libraries (again), and then had to make the impossible choice between three sessions that all promised to be amazing. LITA’s Top Tech Trends won out, and I had some excellent conversation on the back-end as some of the panelists made some provocative predictions. TTT is always a good choice.
Aside from that, I helped out during the first LITA Board meeting (welcome, Thomas!), saw and hung out with a lot of my Camp ALA friends, and managed to sneak away to see the Hoover Dam, which was breathtaking.
Great conference. Looking forward to San Francisco next year!