I’m going to do this. I’m going to write about my month of conferences, starting with ACRL. This is tough because it was such a marathon, so a lot of it is a blur. There may not be much depth to this but I can recount some snippets.
ACRL was conveniently in Indy this year, just an hour-long drive from Bloomington. I was awarded a student scholarship, which covered the cost of registration and my hotel stay–thank you ACRL!
I met Chealsye, Hack Library School writer and awesome tweeter. I met Annie–the former Managing Editor of HLS who passed the torch to me! And I met Micah, founder of HLS. (I thought he would be burly and bearded due to an avatar I kept seeing of him! So when I met him I was like, quoi? Nope, not burly, not bearded. Still awesome.) In other Hack Library School news, I had an important meeting that changed the trajectory of a certain project. Sorry for the mystery, but the cat’s not out of the bag just yet so I can’t spill.
I met more folks I knew virtually and had met at other conferences–lots of happy meetings and reunions. I also met plenty of new people. I spotted library celebrities with my very own eyes. So.many.librarians.
I presented a poster with my former co-worker and friend Ted Polley (hire him!). There was considerable interest in our visualization of Wabash College’s library collection. We even had librarians follow up with us so they can try the workflow with their library’s ILS data! It was a great reception and I couldn’t have asked for more thoughtful questions and perspectives on our visualization. [Just a note: if you are reading this and would like to see the complete poster and workflow, just DM me on Twitter @notsosternlib and I can arrange for a way to share the file.]
I went to several meetups and social events. Librarians love to drink. Granted, I never found a hotel room booked by the conference organizers simply to store massive amounts of booze (this happened at WAAL – but that’s Wisconsin, so no surprise there). Instead, librarians just flocked to local bars.
Henry Rollins was the only keynote speaker I heard and he rocked it. I sat in the THIRD ROW so he was literally right in front of me. I think the ACRL organizers were trying to make the scholarship recipients feel like VIPs, because we were sitting in the reserved section with actual VIPs (for instance, the director of the IU Libraries was in the row behind me). Well, it worked. I felt like a VIP. I guess someday I’ll have to run an impressive library that will sponsor ACRL speakers and programs. I’m indebted since I saw Henry Rollins’ face up close and personal. Good tactic, ACRL; well played.
I helped with ACRL THATCamp. I ran in and out of sessions. It was Friday, so my mind was almost useless after a mere two days of conferencing. I saw the posters and tended to my emails (including some stress-inducing bombshells).
Overall, I had an ideal first experience with ACRL. It’s easy to imagine this being the conference I go back to every two years. The 2015 conference is in Portland, Oregon, and I will definitely be there. I plan to get involved with ACRL committees and sections within the coming years as well–as soon as I figure that mysterious process out.