Friday, May 05, 2006

TLA Conference: Final thoughts and wrap-up

Between sessions, I had time to do a couple of things for fun. For one, I went to see the Precision Book Cart Drill Team Competition. Who knew you could do all those things with bookcarts? The ballroom was packed, and it was great fun to watch.

I also had time to visit the exhibition hall during the three days. I mostly took my time and wandered about as a gypsy librarian would. I quickly learned the lesson of don't grab it if it is something heavy that you will have to carry back. You don't even have to bring a bag; they give you a few. I got a few free books, mostly those advanced copies, which I will be reading over time. Much of the books are YA, so I see it as an opportunity to read in an area I don't often read. I did buy a couple of books on a good deal, too. During the second day, I also had a chance to watch some storytellers and performers. Two of the acts I caught were Trixie Bond and Julian Franklin, both magicians. Hey, you do magic, and you definitely have my attention. I still have a strong sense of wonder. They both use their talent to promote reading and books. Ms. Bond uses a very whimsical and playful approach. Mr. Franklin used a secret agent approach to make reading and libraries cool as he searched for his missing bunny. There were various performances throughout the day, about every half hour or so. There were also various authors, mostly YA, on hand signing their works. I did meet Barbara McBride-Smith, performer and author of Greek Myths, Western Style. That is one book I am looking forward to reading. I have been hooked on myths since my mother put a copy of The Iliad in my hand at a very young age (not an abridged one, mind you). I even picked up some manga samples, so we'll see as I read them.

In wrapping up, I have to say that this was a very positive experience for me. I enjoyed being surrounded by other librarians and learning about what they do in other settings. I did not attend any of the social events, since I was commuting, but overall, I did not feel I missed out much given the rest of the conference. Sessions were good overall, informative and useful. I came back with many ideas, some of which I would like to try out in my library at some point in the future. So, will I go next year? It's San Antonio for next year. Well, certainly the conference is not terribly expensive for one, and it is a local thing, which makes travelling a bit easier. Additionally, in a case or two, I found myself saying that I could do a presentation at one point. So, at this point in time, I think I would like to go, but we'll see. I think if my employer provides me a vehicle for travel, I just might. Year after is supposed to be up in Dallas, which means I can stay with my folks in Fort Worth.

So, with luck, I may see some of you next year. Best, and keep on blogging.

P.S. One of the things I was slightly "miffed" about is that there were many good sessions happening at the same time. I still have not figured out how to clone myself (haha), so I had to make choices. One of the sessions I missed was Michael Stephens' and Jenny Levine's on Social Software. However, Professor Stephens did post the information about the session on his blog here. While some of it may be stuff I know already, it does not hurt to have a little extra.

Additionally, Loriene Roy has made her remarks to the General Session available on her blog here.

P.P.S. On a different note, I may have mentioned before that I find it very useful when people blog about conferences and sessions that I am interested in but cannot afford to attend. However, one should view blog notes from conferences with a bit of a critical eye. At least, that is the view of Robert Berkman, the Intelligent Agent who gives some tips on how to supplement blog notes from conferences here. To my readers, I say feel free to shop around. My notes are exactly that, my notes (now, I am a pretty skilled notetaker, having done it for pay in college for the campus office of disabled student services. Let's just say you learn to take good notes). While I aim for accuracy, I am still only human. At any rate, Mr. Berkman's observations provide some good food for thought.

P.P.P.S. (Can you even have this many "p's"?). On the final thought, and I mean it now. If you get slightly bored at a particular session, maybe it is not quite what you expected, you can find a nice way to keep yourself amused here, courtesy of the Librarian's Guide to Etiquette.

Update Note (5/22/2006): Mr. Stephen Abrams, VP of Innovation at SirsiDynix and blogger at Stephen's Lighthouse, has made available his TLA presentations, one on Millenials and the other a trend forecasting presentation. I took a look at them since I missed them. As noted before, a small problem for me was too many good things happening at the same time. So, you can find his blog post with the links here.

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