June was a blur. An absolute blur. It started with IASSIST 2012 in DC, a week of data, beer and cows (long story), and ended with ALA 2012. Basically ALA Annual conference morphs for me every time I go. My first year was awful because I didn’t know many people and I couldn’t find a niche. The second time things started to change because I was in the Emerging Leaders program. I knew more people and was starting to find a place. Last year I worked for Against the Grain as a reporter and went to sessions I would have never attended on my own and learning tons. This year I was still writing for ATG, but I didn’t have time to attend a lot of programs. Why? Because I’ve started working more closely with a few groups, especially the ACRL Law and Political Science Section.
This is why I call it the grown-up ALA. I barely had time to visit the exhibit hall and the one time I was able to look for ARCs I was actually supposed to be at the ACRL conference table (I was lost, but eventually found it), so the whole ARC controversy is lost on me. I also could barely attend a program that wasn’t related to my section or round table. I attended some great receptions, but often that was the only time I could catch up with old friends or meet anyone new. Don’t get me wrong; I much prefer this ALA to my first, but it is a fundamentally different beast now. That being said, it is really difficult to condense my activities into a pithy post, but here are the highlights of my ALA Annual 2012.
My official kick-off for ALA was the ACRL Leadership Council on Friday where I was able to meet some of the ACRL leadership and learn about plans for the next year. I am the incoming convener for the Data Interest Group and the incoming Vice-President for LPSS so this event will become a new “must attend”. My unofficial kick-off is always the Emerging Leader Poster session and I love seeing the projects. Here were my a few faves:
- Team C: Professional Development for Online Instruction Librarians (Yes, please. I would love to see this as an ongoing project that follows up with their recommendations. We need it!)
- Team I: Promoting International Innovation (I’m biased on this one because the team included Amanda Click, my first practicum student. She rocks! And so does their project!)
- Team H: Video Game Review Criteria (Not just for public libraries! This is a great tool for selecting video games for any library.)
Along with most of the government information world I attended a launch workshop on the new interface for ProQuest Congressional. If you want my notes, just email me. They are switching the interface in August, but no final date yet. Oh exciting!
I tried to attend a few of the data sessions like the LITA Presidents’ Program, The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Research, Digital Scholarship and Implications for Libraries. It is nice to see more data-related sessions at ALA, but I wish the groups could collaborate more. For instance, DIG would love to collaborate with anyone interested in data issues. With the upcoming conference changes (fewer program slots), we are required to collaborate. So get with us.
This year’s DIG meeting was great and covered some of the major topics in the data world. It was nice to talk about data issues beyond just research data management though. There are many other issues that data librarians need to think about (licensing issues and proprietary software being just two). We decided at this meeting to pool together some of our resources, such as data collection policies, and make those available to others wanting to support secondary data. I’d basically like to have something to update the Numeric Data Products and Services: A SPEC kit, which is starting to get out of date.
My last big event was the ProQuest breakfast for GODORT. This was the first year I could attend the breakfast and it was fab! The speaker was Julian Bond, a former President of the NAACP and a civil rights movement figure. He was invited to celebrate the History Vault’s The NAACP’s Major Campaigns. His presentation reflected on his life as a leader of SNCC and included a large number of photographs of him with other leaders. Such a great speaker!
The conference closed out with my first ever ALA Battledecks! I plan to stay until Tuesday now just to see this. Quite a good time. My favorite didn’t win the judges’ prize, but got the audience favorite. I have to give a BIG shout out to my fave boybrarian John Jackson who threw his name into the ring, was chosen, and did extremely well! So proud! Someday I want to get up the courage to compete. Hmm, maybe Las Vegas!
So, that was my ALA. Again, a fab conference with many great sessions, meetings, and conversations with new friends and old. Looking forward to an equally wonderful 2013. How was your ALA? Anything particularly exciting?