Libraries, the universe and everything


#SLA2015
July 1, 2015, 16:54
Filed under: CPD | Tags: , ,

Friday June 12th saw me heading up to Boston on a Greyhound bus for SLA’s 2015 conference. After the conference in Vancouver last year I had a much better idea of what to expect, and it being on my ‘home’ coast meant that I knew a lot more people who were going to be there, so it was much less of an intimidating prospect, although I was probably just as excited to be there. Before it all began I spent a very pleasant afternoon exploring central Boston (having visited there previously I didn’t give myself much time for sight-seeing), followed by a lovely dinner with friends, and then jumped into the action rather earlier than I usually prefer to be up and about on a Saturday morning. 

Since returning home life has been pretty hectic and I haven’t had time to reflect properly on any action points or take-aways, so for now I’ve just been through and recorded all the sessions I attended, as an aide-memoire, with a few general thoughts below:

Saturday 13th
Open Board meeting
European Chapter dinner
LMD drinks

Sunday 14th
Opening general session and awards
Keynote
Info-Expo opening
Quick take: What to do when they say “give me everything you have on…” and not freak out because they want it in an hour
Cultivating seed libraries …>>>…  A conversation with NY Times’ R&D lab
Leading from the middle: strategies, advice and perspective from senior leaders
Info-Expo reception
Be Revolutionary! Joint poster session
DPHT Networking social
Joint Divisions open house

Monday 15th
Cultural diversity and working in a global information environment
Crescendo session: Open digital repositories on a shoestring
Competencies task force update and discussion
Chapter and Joint Cabinet meetings
East Coast Chapter reception
International reception
IT Dance party

Tuesday 16th
Public Relations Advisory Council meeting and discussion
Habits not hype: startup thinking 101
Be bold, be brief and be gone: secrets on how to successfully navigate the C-suite
Info-Expo networking lunch
Contributed papers
Closing general session
Annual business meeting

I only had one instance where I session-hopped (as I discovered in Vancouver this doesn’t really work for me), and actually I took something away from both part-sessions. I enjoyed the Expo a lot more than last year as I was much more relaxed about just saying hello to vendors. I made a concerted effort to sample the different types of sessions on offer, which meant that I attended a poster session and one of the contributed papers slots, neither of which I’d been to before and both of which I liked very much. I knew that I enjoyed the quick takes, but only managed to get to one this year, and I also tried a Crescendo session as I loved the concept – I’m not 100% sure how successful the one I attended was in terms of the crescendo idea, but the content was solid so I’m not complaining! And of course I dived right in to the networking sessions too, including accidentally attending the Pharma division’s open house (a friend of mine was working the door and invited me in) where I met some lovely people, including a potential new SLA NY-er, who I wouldn’t otherwise have encountered! This year was a little unusual in that as well as the conference content we were all busy discussing the consultants’ report on the future of SLA, so lots of politics was happening all over the place and I had an amount of related business to conduct myself – all good experience.

The one thing I totally failed on this year was leaving myself enough time to eat properly during the days. Partly this was down to the location of the conference centre, and of course my dietary issues don’t help, but probably my biggest learning point for future conferences was to remember to include sensible meal breaks in my schedule! I’m also blaming the conference program, which was absolutely packed with excellent-sounding sessions – in each time slot there were almost always at least three, if not more, presentations I wanted to attend, which made it even more difficult to break away for any length of time.

I’ve written up some thoughts on two of the sessions I attended for LMD, and will link to those posts once they’re published. I have lots of good intentions to write up some more of my notes for this blog, so if that happens I’ll add those links too… Meanwhile, suffice it to say that by the time it was all over my head was full and I was totally exhausted. I learned some new things, had stuff I already knew reinforced or reinvigorated, reconnected with old acquaintances and made several great new contacts – overall I had a fantastic time, and can’t wait for next year!

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