Monday, August 1, 2011

Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference in Rochester, MN on October 8, 2010

I had never been to a professional conference before.  I chose to join MLA this year in part because I know I want to remain in the Twin Cities after graduation so it just seemed smart to have an association more focused on this state/area than a national association.  And also since Rochester had been chosen as the next conference site, it was not incredibly out of the realm of possibility that I could arrange to attend.  Plus the reduced conference fee for being a member (AND taking advantage of the early bird registration!).

After consulting my schedule and polling other MLIS students I determined that the last day of the conference, Friday, was really the only feasible option for me this year and that Jill Wujcik was able to also attend that day.

We set off early but perhaps not early enough as after finding parking and our name badges we only had a few minutes for breakfast.  Another attendee commented that the breakfast the previous day was only pastries while our day included a number of hot items - eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon.  We ate with Professor Sook Lim who was presenting later in the morning.

The first session we attended was “Playing in the Stacks: Using Incentives and Collaboration to Make Weeding Enjoyable.”  It was presented by a couple of librarians from Concordia College who had make a 5 year project of “designing and implementing a comprehensive weeding project for an academic library.”  In the two years of the actual weeding, they began with about 300,000 items in the collection and removed over 10,000.  Some of the ways they made it less of a dreary task were to have people work in teams of two and have “prizes” hidden along the way.  These prizes included certificates for a free pencil and a cup of coffee, and a gift card for Barnes & Noble.  They talked about the criteria used to determine if an item should be kept or not, and tasks that were given to student workers.  They also spoke of the different ways they used to dispose of  the weeded items.  

After picking up a free can of pop between sessions, we walked to another part of the Mayo Civic Center for the next session chosen: “Things in a Flash: The Latest Web 2.0 Tools.”  As part of the presentation, about 5 different people spoke about a new-ish tools about 10 minutes each including: Storybird, Evernote, HootSuite, Jing, Mind Meister,, and 60Second Recap.  Wordle and Prezi were referenced during the presentation and these were also quickly shown to the audience as well.  I can see myself looking into about half of these items.  
  • Storybird is a site for 3-13 year olds that has sets of story-art all set.  You choose either and artist or theme and then have a selection of artwork for your story.  After choosing your art for the page there is only a little room to write - like a sentence or a couple short paragraphs.  When your “book” is finished it can be shared online.  LeAnn Suchy suggested it was for reluctant readers or writers and also noted that name-calling and violence will not be approved in books for online sharing.
  • Evernote makes me want a fancier phone.  The Evernote motto is “Remember Everything.”  Evernote is a way to record and file things you want to remember/reference/share.  The presenter demonstrated that she had a file with images of business cards, potential vacation destinations, and books she wants to read.  You can email URLs into your Evernote account, put in photos, recorded voice, screenshots, texts, etc.  The presenter really encouraged tagging your notes to make them easier to find, though Evernote does have searching and organizing features.  Evernote works with computers, phones and mobile devices so it can be accessible nearly all the time (as long as you have one of these devices with you and internet access).  I often think of things I want to remember for later and this seems like a handy way to do so.
  • I also want to explore 60 Second Recap a bit more.  They are one minute videos of Jenny enthusiastically doing explanations of classic books.  Sort of a more-fun Cliff’s Notes.  Each of the classic books has a set of these recaps including characters, theme, overview and various other aspects of stories.  Jenny has also been doing a “Pick of the Week” which is just one video on a more popular and recent book (mainly from the 2000s) and in which she also gives her opinion, which she does not do with the classics.  LeAnn Suchy was a bit disgruntled with Jenny as they had differing views on a couple Pick of the Week books.  As I scroll through, I have not read most of the books included in either section but I want to take a little time to watch those that I am a bit more familiar with.

At our table at lunch were two board members - Ken Behringer and Kristen Mastel.  I had talked with Kristen on a previous occasion about being a librarian and getting her MLIS, so it was nice to run into her.  The keynote speaker was Bruce Schneier.  He has a TED talk coming up and test drove that by us - “Reconceptualizing Security.”  He scheduled talk was on “Security, Privacy, and the Generation Gap.”  He made a number of good points and was also very funny.  

I then ate a second piece of cake and we began the trek home.

Sonja Isaacson

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