Libraries, the universe and everything

My #SLA2014 schedule
July 15, 2014, 11:47
Filed under: Events | Tags: , ,
I don’t imagine this will be of tremendous interest to anyone other than myself, but I wanted to keep track of everything I attended at the conference and this seemed like the easiest way. I am blogging separately about some of the sessions in more detail (links below), but otherwise a few brief notes will suffice.

Friday 6th
18:00 SLA Europe dinner
The SLA Europe folks were kind enough to invite us to join them for dinner, and very pleasant it was too – I knew some of them already, and it was lovely to meet others.
Saturday 7th
17:00 Fellows and First Timers meet
One of the best networking receptions I’ve ever attended, where all the senior people were more than keen to speak to us newbies. Everyone was friendly and interesting, I made plenty of new connections, introduced myself to some people who I’ve previously only interacted with on twitter, and caught up with old friends too. It was also good to start putting names to faces, particularly in the case of the candidates for the 2015 Board – last year I found it hard to vote meaningfully as I only knew one of the candidates, but this year I feel I have a better sense of things (although since they all come across as enthusiastic, dedicated professionals with much to recommend them voting may not actually be any easier!).
Sunday 8th
08:00 An early start in order to meetup with one of my SLA NY colleagues and discuss our strategy for talking to vendors about our conference in September. She was a fellow first-timer, and I appreciated the opportunity to head into the general session with a companion, it made it all feel a little less intimidating.

09:00 Opening session, awards presentation, keynote
It felt a little strange to be starting the conference with an awards ceremony, but it was a nice enough opening to the proceedings. In a brilliant move by the organisers, a First Nations Elder (forgive me if this isn’t quite the right way to describe him) came onstage to welcome everyone to Vancouver. He spoke to us in his language, and sang for us too – a really special moment – and his words were actually much more inspiring than the following keynote. John Wilbanks was the keynote speaker, and in my opinion he gave a perfectly interesting talk, but it didn’t feel suitably keynote-y to me (and judging by conversations I had afterwards a number of others felt the same way).
11:00 Info-Expo grand opening
Met with another SLA NYer, this time a much more experienced conference-attender, who had kindly offered to mentor me in the art of talking to vendors. With her support I quickly realised that they are not at all scary, and I also appreciated the chance to get her insights about all kinds of SLA and conference-related things.
13:30 The Reluctant Intrapreneur – becoming the Info Center CEO
Mary Ellen Bates
15:30 How not to run a meeting: facilitation skills 101 for librarians
Dave Pollard
Presented in part by means of a play acted by 5 volunteers from the audience – a brilliant way to engage attention and keep people interested. Lots of discussion opportunities too.

17:00 Info-Expo reception
Drinks, networking, talking to vendors. What more can I say?!
20:00 LMD/KMD Open House
A lovely relaxed time of networking over a glass of wine (my favourite kind of networking!). I made some nice new connections and got to know a few existing contacts a bit better – definitely a quality over quantity kind of evening.
22:00 Karaoke party
I intended to stay for just a couple of songs, finally dragged myself away at around 23:30 (and that only because I knew I had some email to attend to). Fun times hanging out with the SLA Europe ECCAs and admiring the performances of those who ventured on stage, some of whom were excellent – including Rosie!

Monday 9th
08:00 Monitoring social media beyond lurking – data mining and putting the pieces together
Zena Applebaum
I didn’t stay for all of this but was interested to hear Zena’s take on extracting useful stats from the information to be gleaned on various social media platforms.
09:00 Quick Take – Networking Naturally: getting to the heart of information sharing
Tom Rink
09:15 caught up with an SLA NY colleague then headed down to the Info-Expo
10:00 Finding those who don’t want to be found using social media and other cyber tools
Julie Clegg
Very sadly I left this session before it got interesting, and by all reports it turned out to be one of the conference’s top events. The room was absolutely packed, and I’ve heard great reviews from a number of different people who did stay. The main take-home points as I understand them is that location services on your mobile devices are a huge give-away, no matter how private you think your online activity may be, other people (especially family members) can inadvertently reveal a huge amount about you, and geofencing is a powerful way of stalking the unwary online. Having extricated myself from the crowd at the back of the room I drifted in and out of a couple of other sessions, then headed down for another quick take (on online mapping tools) only to discover it had been cancelled, so headed out to get a coffee and some fresh air before the next item on my list.
11:00 Quick Take – Technology tools for instruction
Amy Buckland
12:00 Rising Stars and SLA Fellows roundtable
I hadn’t originally intended to go to this but was glad I did – a really nice opportunity to get to know a bit about the new fellows and current rising stars.
14:00 Info-Expo
16:00 Big data and job opportunities panel
Amy Affelt, Daniel Lee, Jane Dysart, Kimberly Silk
17:30 SLA Chapter Cabinet meeting, and
18:15 Joint Cabinet meeting
Attending these was an interesting opportunity to understand a little bit more about the inner workings of the organization – as a regular member it can be easy to feel excluded from the higher-level processes, and I’d encourage people to take opportunities like this whenever they arise, as I certainly found it valuable.

20:00 International reception
Another very enjoyable gathering.
21:30 IT dance party
Brilliant fun – we ended up dancing until midnight.
Tuesday 10th
08:00 Digital Humanities: what does it really mean for libraries and cultural institutions
Laurie Allen, Amy Buckland, Trish Rousseel
09:45 Social media for everyone and every library: how to use new apps and tools in innovative ways
Cheryl Yanek
11:00 60 sites in 60 minutes
John DiGilio, Gayle Lynn-Nelson, Sam Wiggins
Another must-attend, and just as much fun as I’d imagined it would be. We were introduced to a fantastic variety of sites, only a few of which I’d come across before, and I really must go back an look into some of them in more detail…

12:00 Info-Expo lunch
Other than a snafu with the gluten free meals (why ask us to provide this information and then not make sure the order gets to the venue?) this was perfectly pleasant, although slightly sad as we began saying goodbye to people with early flights.
14:00 Developing and leading a knowledge sharing culture
Jim Stewart
16:00 Annual business meeting
Another great opportunity for members to hear an update on what and how the organization is doing.

17:00 Closing general session
Featuring TED-style talks from Brandy King, Josh Maleeff, Heather Piwowar, Sarah Glassmeyer.

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