We learned a lot, networked happily, made discoveries that tickle our imaginations. The conference has ended, insofar as the scheduled programs have run their course, the exhibits have shuttered, and we’ve probably done some amount of traveling to get home, or on to the next location on our personal calendars.
And now is when we need to plan–and actually do–the real work. We were able to get to the conference, to be exposed to ideas, methods, tools, and most of all our library and information peers. The staff back at home? Nope. They kept the store open, or couldn’t even do that in an economy that required us to get to the conference on our own personal dimes, dimes they didn’t have to spare. But in bad economic times or good, those who attend professional conferences do so with the professional obligation to pay it forward, to do more than complete an adminstrative form noting when they went, what they attended and three things that were on offer of interest to their own institutions.
Sharing what we saw and inspiring ideas may seem straightforward, but we need to share, not dump or brag or undersell. And that takes the networking piece. How do we bring the networking home to those in our libraries who weren’t there?
We draw a bigger network. We invite them in. We provide more than a passed along business card with the message to contact the name on it. Instead, we make the initial call a three-way one and introduce the local person to conference colleague in real time. We ask our library Tweeter if she knows that someone we met at conference is an avid Twitter fan of hers–and provide her with that colleague’s Twitter handle. We invite a conference speaker who touched our imaginations about a way we might be able to take our local library forward to join the managers, via Skype or FaceTime, in an upcoming management meeting to discuss the concept more fully with the lead team.
What’s next after the conference? Getting the conferrence home, connecting our staff to the possibilities it not only offered but which, in fact, are still possibilities for them to meet and consider. We need to network across time as well as space.
Throughout the ages, librarians have taken on the task of unmuddling attempts at communication about ideas. It seems as we all head off to San Jose for CLA 114, we’ve already got techniques for unmuddling to unmuddle.
As of now (actually as of yesterday afternoon), the really truly official hashtag for those Tweeting the conference events–and I hope that is many of you!–is #CaLibConf. Other suggestions were made–and texted, Tweeted and blogged. On a personal note, I plan on just following all three, betting on some folks as unnimble-fingered as I to want to stick with either all caps or all lower case, and that some archivally minded will absolutely have to add a numerical designation in order to breathe more easily.
Infopeople, via the energies and imaginations of those clever Eureka fellows, are going to be offering us all some Mad Library Science at Booth 314, in the exhibits. These Mad Library Scientists can get you started on planning your trail through the rest of the exhibits, too, thanks to the annual treasure map Infopeople provides.
Meanwhile another group of library scientists, at Booth 118, plan to teach conference attendees how to see the library world as a chemical experiment–or an endless array of experiemnts as local and world elements change.
So, we’re putting the science back in library science–and communicating about the conference on multiple channels. I like that, actually: scientists need community to do their best work, and their best work definitiely needs all manner of communication! Wait, that’s not “their” but “our”.
On Sunday, during the coming weekend’s 114th California Library Association conference, you get an extra hour sleep (we revert to “standard” time from daylight saving) and the opportunity to hear master speaker Dr. Jonathan Reichental, at 2 pm. Dr. Reichental brings to California librarians that enriching mix of public and private experience, from the world of business and from that of government. In the tradition of CLA master speakers, this is the opportunity not only to hear about innovative and inspired outlooks but also to experience how to deliver a message to a large group and keep everyone focused and engaged in hearing it.
Dr. Reichental’s presentation begins just after the exhibit hall closes for the conference. That means you can attend his talk and get your fill of exhibit discoveries beforehand.
So put together your Sunday schedule now, starting with that extra hour of sleep, visiting the exhibits (if you start at Booth 314, you can collect a treasure hunt map to help you focus on where else to go there), and remembering to come learn from a master speaker as well.
Exhibits open this Friday, at 3 pm, in the San Jose Convention Center. Be sure to arrive and get your badge in time to join the excitement! CLA exhibitors, of course, include a variety of businesses providing library-specific goods and services. But there are also nonprofits that provide essential library and library staff services year round and provide valuable presence in the exhibit hall as well.
How often, for instance, do you get the chance to walk up to representatives from California Center for the Book to see just how your new branch based discussion group can tap into their book club box program? Or get a guided hands-on experience with OCLC’s up and coming utilities?
And then, there’s the ever popular Infopeople booth ( that’s Booth#314) where each year the theme itself can help you revisualize the possibilities contained in the phrase “library staff development.” This year, the Eureka fellows have been tapped to put some of their rare and wonderful innovative talents to work in designing the booth theme. Eurekans will be staffing it as well, so be sure to come by and talk to some of the folks at California libraries’ cutting edge.
Now that’s an exhibit hall treat that won’t leave you thirsty or wondering if you could work a better deal elsewhere.