First thoughts, #AASL13
Posted by lpearle on 15 November 2013
Initial impressions of AASL13? Smaller than usual in some ways (fewer than 2500 attendees, about 1/3 the size of my first AASL back in Portland) but larger in others (I’ve never seen so many people at an ISS gathering! Good for us!). The exhibits were sparser than the last couple of conferences, too, perhaps because of the lower attendee rate and the fact that NCTE is next week, while YALSA’s Lit Symposium was just a couple of weeks ago.
This is my 9th AASL and as much as I may pretend, it’s not all about the swag. It’s about the opportunities to learn and grow with people in similar situations as well as learn from people in schools very different from mine. Looking over the conference offerings and seeing new names with new ideas presenting is always such a thrill – not that the old names are bad, but isn’t it wonderful that others are sharing as well? I know that many of my friends feel the same way as they examine the offerings, sussing out what is a Must Attend session and planning a few Fun to Attends.
So why so many fewer people? Here’s my guess: it’s not just about the economy, or lower budgets. It’s about a glut of PDOs (aka Professional Development Opportunities). When I was a sweet young thing just starting out, the options were ALA and AASL, with the former very large and confusing for newbies. Then along came the SLJ Leadership Summit, YALSA’s Lit Symposium, AASL’s Fall Forum, Computers in Libraries, ISTE and BEA. I can reach my PLN and learn via Twitter and Facebok and Nings and Pinterest and… and… and… If I need more formal learning, there are webinars and MOOCs. Choosing where and how to spend my time and treasure is more difficult than before due to the sheer number of choices. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that we constantly feel as though we’re scrambling to keep up simply because we hear so much more frequently about the things that others are doing.
No real conclusions here, just some Friday morning musings.