We all know the adage, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? Well, there are some things from Vegas that certainly can stay: the noise, the lights, the heat, the scuzzy hotel bathroom (shudder), the overwhelming BIGNESS of it all. But other things shouldn’t stay; they should be shared, which is the whole point of conference going!
This was an unusual ALA for me, with very uneven experiences with the conference itself. My meetings were great—my sessions, less so. The first great meeting was Friday afternoon when the ACRL Scholarly Communications Roadshow faculty presenters convened. In May, we welcomed three new presenters to our group, and bid farewell to another. Two of the three new presenters were able to join us in Vegas for our meeting, and I am excited about the expertise and energy they are bringing to our group. It’s hard to believe that this is our 6th season offering the Roadshow. For this season, we issued the call for applications several months earlier, which stretched out our season from February to July (our last Roadshow this year is next Friday, down in Mississippi). This expanded timeframe was much easier to accommodate with the presenters’ schedules, so we will once again issue the call for the 2015 Roadshows in mid-fall. We are also going to revise the first module of the Roadshow, as we are finding that some of the basics we cover—defining scholarly communication, open access, etc.—are no longer new concepts for the majority of our participants. Instead, we are going to develop a handout defining common terms and issues for those who do still need some grounding. Related to the Roadshow, later this summer, I will be co-presenting an ACRL webcast, Cultivating Creators: Copyright in the Information Literacy Classroom, as an extension of our programming. Both the ACRL Board and the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (of which I’m a member) have encouraged us to develop supplementary web content for several years now, so I am excited that I am working with a fellow Roadshow faculty member to finally launch this aspect of our program.
My second great meeting was the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (ReSEC) meeting Sunday morning. In addition to discussing our own ongoing business, which includes programming for the SPARC/ACRL Forums, advising the Roadshow, and maintaining the ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit (which will be migrating platforms soon), we also heard updates from the ACRL Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy Task Force, ARL, SPARC, and the Library Publishing Coalition. One big piece of news from SPARC is that, as of August 1, they will be an independent association. This move will allow both SPARC and it’s former parent association, ARL, to exercise greater leverage in lobbying Congress on legislation furthering open access to research and openness in education. One new work area for ReSEC this year has been our partnership with the ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group to address the need for ACRL to provide training on data management. Through discussions at Midwinter and a late winter conference call, a proposal for a data management preconference at the 2015 ACRL National Conference was developed. The Board approved the preconference, and planning is currently underway. I have joined the planning group for the preconference as a dual liaison from ReSEC and the Roadshow, and am lending expertise on how to structure daylong workshops, advising on scheduling, activities and exercises, and general planning. This new role is exciting, as I have much to learn about data management. The hope is that this preconference might itself turn into a Roadshow program.
As I mentioned above, my session attendance this conference was, on the whole, disappointing. The one good session I attended was also attended by Lynn—”Libraries in the Publishing Game”—and I concur with her assessment. The other sessions I attended did not present any information that was new to me (which, in some ways, is reassuring, in that I hadn’t missed anything big), nor did the Q&A reveal any innovative opinions or approaches. The one session that might have been excellent was too far to get to, given my previous timeslot’s meeting location, which was a frustration. However, I used that time to attend an Emerging Leaders program, where I saw Lauren P., Kyle, and several librarians from my EL cohort, so the time was not lost.
My official ALA time ended Monday morning at the ALCTS President’s Program on introverts as leaders, about which many of our colleagues have already reported. Fortunately, my Vegas sightseeing ended on a high note, as I busted out of Vegas proper with four of our colleagues for an afternoon excursion to Hoover Dam, which was impressive (and HOT at 119!!!).
Of all my ALAs, this was the one I enjoyed the least, which might have been due, in part, to my ambivalence about being in Las Vegas. But I had productive meetings, and capitalized on multiple networking opportunities over lunches and dinners, so I can say I “won” in Vegas!