Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Things I Hate About Conferences (part nine, I think)

Posted by lpearle on 24 June 2009

It’s conference season, and for the first time I’m off to NECC and ALA (usually the overlap and the timing is just wrong). Yes, I’m excited to see friends/colleagues and to have the opportunity to learn from experts and share with peers.

But, of course, there are downsides. Here are three recent you’re kidding me moments:

  • From a vendor wanting my business: As you may know, we are offering free access to any academic subscription database throughout the summer months when you order by June 30! The sooner you subscribe, the longer your students, faculty and staff can enjoy unlimited, multi-user access courtesy of [vendor]. You won’t be invoiced for your renewal until August 2010. Great! I’m… undewhelmed. Why? Because my faculty and students won’t be available until September. So this wondeful summer freebie isn’t helpful. At. All.
  • From one of the divisions, trying to grab members’ interest: If you’re in a session, liveblogging provides a great back channel for audience participation. Missed a great line from the speaker? Someone else in the room could be tweeting it right now. Wish you could see the video that just got mentioned in passing? Oh, look–one of the editors just plugged it into the liveblog. Thanks, but no. For me, liveblogging doesn’t work. As I said to @wsstephens, “ok – call me a Luddite – I’d rather read one good, summative post w/analysis than a bunch of in-session tweets!”
  • And from other divisions, there are book awards and summer reading programs to excite students about great new books. The problem? School librarians can’t participate. Why? Because the programs aren’t ready to go in time for most of us to start getting the word out, and they end too close to the start of school for us to really rally the troops. A great opportunity lost, if you ask me. But another example of school librarians being the redheaded stepchild at ALA.
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