LRS @ ALA 2007

LRS staff recently returned from the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. We enjoyed soaking in the conference, and wanted to share some of our experiences with you.

Jennifer’s Top 5 Tips for First-Time ALA Conference Attendees

5. Stay in a hotel with colleagues. After a day of socializing with strangers it’s nice to share thoughts and ideas about the conference with a buddy.

4. Dress in layers. Walking from each location can cause you to heat up fast, but most of the conference spaces are very cool.

3. Choose several sessions for each time slot. Having alternatives allows you to change plans at the last minute due issues such as location or overcrowding.

2. Don’t be afraid to exit or enter sessions during presentations. Due to the scope and variety of the conference, it is impossible to see every thing in its entirety. Also, presentations may turn out to be not what you expected.

1. Wear comfortable shoes! Although it is a professional conference, comfy shoes are acceptable. Plan for lots of walking and standing on concrete.

Nicolle shares:

Over and over again I heard how one thing or another compared to Library Thing. Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/

Take a look at the tag cloud at University of Pennsylvania’s PENNTAGS. “PennTags is a social bookmarking tool for locating, organizing, and sharing your favorite online resources.” PennTags: http://tags.library.upenn.edu/

Keith shared with AASL (http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslindex.cfm) members and other conference attendees preliminary findings from the first annual school library survey, School Libraries Count (http://www.aaslsurvey.org/). Look for more at the AASL conference in Reno this fall.

Also, look for an update from the ALA Committee on Research & Statistics: http://www.ala.org/ala/ors/orscommittees/corsagendasminutes/corsagendasandminutes.htm

I (Zeth) spent most of my conference time immersed in sessions revolving around the topic du jour in the world of libraries – Library 2.0. I heard a lot about blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networking and, or course, Second Life. The thing that struck me most, though, was the fact that there is a lot going on by way of open source software in libraries. Examples:

Evergreen (http://www.open-ils.org/), and open source ILS first implemented by the Georgia Library PINES consortium, has some pretty great functionality.

Ann Arbor District Library (http://www.aadl.org/) has transformed their website using Drupal (http://drupal.org/), an open-source content management system.

The University of Rochester is working on an extensible catalog (http://extensiblecatalog.info/), to interact with existing catalogs to provide better services.

All of these could be great opportunities to customize your ILS/website, especially if you have staff that can program.

If you went to ALA and would like to share your experience, let us know in the comments. And, for more conference highlights be sure check out ALA Conference Highlights: http://link.ixs1.net/s/ve?eli=3130100&si=y98459802&cfc=3html.

Daphne’s Highlights:

I attended several sessions covering a wide variety of topics from Global Librarianship to Social Networking ~ Harnessing the Hive and a session with researchers presenting their library research.

I was so happy to see one of my favorite mystery writers, Patricia Cornwell. During her session, she spent a lot of time answering questions from the audience and also had a few questions of her own for librarians. She concluded with an inspirational message for us all, “Touch one person, do one good thing, and collectively we will change the planet”.

Beth Strickland’s Two Cents:

If the rest of you are anything like me, you will find that after attending your first ALA conference you’ll have an unexplained craving to plan on attending every ALA annual conference until you retire (and even then, that probably won’t keep you away).

Although the majority of sessions I attended were about academic libraries and diversity issues, I was able to attend a session about designing video games for college students which teach information literacy skills. If this is a topic you are interested in, I suggest finding related articles on the ASIS&T (The Information Society for the Information Age) website located at: http://www.asis.org/ or, go to the blog address listed below which provides a forum for librarians interested in using video games to teach, a space to discuss a variety of topics: http://bibliogaming.blogspot.com/

Lastly, if you are interested in LIS research and want to get a glimpse of new research coming down the pipeline I suggest attending the session about the research being done by LIS graduate students from around the country. Some amazing work is coming from some PhD students at the University of Maryland: http://www.clis.umd.edu/research/students/ Check it out if you want idea of where the future of LIS research is going.

Oh, and quick little P.S. here…but if you are approached by vendors trying to sell you something you’re not interested in, just tell them you are an LIS student. This is a sure fire way to make sure they leave you alone.

See you next year!

Carla’s observations:

I was impressed and overwhelmed by the variety of topics covered at ALA. I had a hard time choosing between some of the fun-sounding new technologies sessions and those discussing the more traditional topics. It was interesting to select from session topics that dealt with rural libraries, or how library resources are used to help in the preparation of theatrical productions of Shakespeare’s plays, and even one on The European Union Today which discussed the changing European identity and its implications on libraries and scholarship. It was a fabulous experience and I came away from it with lots of new information for me to think about and new ways for me to get involved.

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