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ALA Annual Recap

By Michelle Wong, MLIS


ALA 2007 conference exhibits
(photo courtesy of Wanna Net)

A handful of rarin' future librarians ventured to Washington, DC this June for the annual American Library Association conference. Bethany Klassen, Nancy Lou, and Michelle Wong were among the 21,466 registrants who wandered the streets of downtown DC to hear presentations by prominent librarians from across the country.

Here are highlights and lowlights as reported by each student.




From Michelle Wong:

HIGH: the storytelling session on Saturday night with Won Ldy-Paye, Dianne de las Casas and Miriam Lang Budin. Budin told a couple of funny Jewish folktales, de las Casas encouraged the audience to participate in her stories, and Ldy-Paye shared some of the stories of the Dan people of Liberia that his grandmother told him. It was nice to sit back and relax and hear some master storytellers...and to not have to learn anything necessarily, but just enjoy the magic of stories.

LOW: having so many interesting programs seemingly scheduled at the same time--prime time seemed to be Saturday afternoon, where there were a lot of high-profile technology programs happening at the same time and not near enough so that I could pop in and out very easily.



From Bethany Klassen:

HIGH: Hearing about the PINES library consortium in Georgia and the open source ILS they've developed--Evergreen. It was exciting to hear about how different libraries are trying to address their specific challenges (in this case a very large and complex system of libraries) and how their solutions may be applied to offer other systems greater flexibility and sophistication in their ILSs.

LOW: This is more of a personality thing, but I was rather overwhelmed by the thousands upon thousands of people swarming the place. As a newbie, it felt really easy to slip through the cracks and wander around aimlessly because I couldn't decide which program to go to.



From Nancy Lou:

HIGH: One of the more interesting sessions I attended was titled "Harnessing the Hive" by RUSA and showed examples of how libraries are incorporating social networking technologies into their services. There were great examples of how wikis were being used as content management systems as well as resources for sharing topical reference information among library staff to improve reference services. Use of web 2.0 technologies is even being incorporated into many public library systems where patrons can add their own reviews and tags to records which are viewable in the catalog. LibraryThing creator Tim Spaulding gave an interesting talk on social cataloging". It was fascinating to see how real libraries are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into their systems to the benefit of staff and patrons.

LOW: I felt like I had to miss a lot of sessions either because they were scheduled at the same time, too far away from each other, or were too packed to even get into.



September 24, 2007
Vol. XII Issue 1

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