Tag Archives: cildc

This year’s #cildc

16 Apr

It’s a sign of how fraught 2013’s been for me thus far that I never posted about Computers in Libraries in the run up to the conference, and didn’t even manage to put out a blog post during the week. I’ll try to rectify that now, though I’m gonna have to fall back on bullet-pointed quick hits:

  • I gave a workshop on digital repository issues and strategies on Sunday, and it went very well. This is the third year I’ve given this workshop at CiL, though it’s the first time at CiL that I’ve had to lead it without Amy Buckland, and she was missed. Still, it went well: well-attended for a CiL pre-conference, with a good mix of folks who came in with excellent questions and hopefully left with some cool ideas to implement in the next year.
  • The Issues and Challenges track run by Jennifer Koerber and Michael Sauers was once again awesome, and I’m glad I got over there for several sessions. Rudy Leon’s discussion of the core mission of library’s was great, and resonated strongly with me, and Ben Bizzle and Susan Considine’s lead in to the Next Big Thing discussion was wonderful.
  • What I liked most about the Next Big Thing — and why it gets its own bullet point — is how quickly it went from a presentation to microphones getting passed around the room so folks sitting in the “audience” could talk about their next big thing. This was by design, both of the presenters and moderators, and it was magnificent. I love hearing about what librarians are doing, because librarians are badass.
  • I wish I’d seen Jason Griffey speak, because LibraryBox is awesome. Glad I got to talk with him a bit, at least.
  • Krista Godfrey gave an engaging and edifying talk on the creation of a culture of usability. She is doing very cool things at Memorial.
  • On the topic of UX, I was happy to go to two presentations on the mobile side of the question, one from Len Davidson and Emily Robinson, the other from Nina McHale. My next year may involve more web design than I’ve had to do, well, ever, and I’m firmly in the camp that say mobile sites are the way for libraries to engage with patrons using mobile devices. These presentations were tremendously useful, and I left with a much longer reading list than when I came in.
  • Blake Carver’s Hacking 101 talk was entertaining, even as it was terrifying. Terrifying.
  • It was wonderful seeing 17 students from my alma mater, Syracuse’s iSchool, in attendance. Not just in attendance, actually: presenting, engaging, networking, and tweeting. Also playing laser tag, which I too indulged in.
  • Speaking of indulgence: Dolcezza. Just, Dolcezza.

Overall, good conference: I found sessions taught by passionate people about things I needed to know more about. I got to network with folks I’ve known for years, and meet new faces. I talked shop, played games, and enjoyed warmer weather than I’d experienced in what felt like years.

Good stuff.

Day 3, or 10, of #cildc: In which I present

30 Mar

This past Monday, I tweeted, “We could not purposefully design a more elegant and hideous tool for crushing post-conference enthusiasm than the flooded email inbox.” Turns out, the tool in question also works on blogging.

A week ago, we was getting ready to check out of the Washington Hilton, not yet realizing that our car’s battery had died during the week and we would be spending a decent chunk of the morning wondering if it was just a dead battery, or if your venerable Honda CR-V had decided to permanently give up the ghost in a valet garage 350 miles from home. Luckily, it was the former, and the issue was resolved two solid hours before I had to present.

Plenty of time, that.


My first presentation, on prezi: http://prezi.com/vljiwo6wy3gd/plural-of-anecdote-cil2012/

Birth to earth, baby.

First off, thanks to all who enjoyed the presentation, including all the folks who tweeted about it. Y’all warmed my cold, cold librarian heart.

Secondly, I want to make clear one quote that shouldn’t be attributed to me directly: the bit about needing to learn how patrons work, rather than asking them what they need. I saw that on twitter, missed who said it, and it came to mind as I was talking. I explained that, but saw someone tweet it like it was mine. It’s not, and I don’t want to claim credit. (Also, I think we need to do both. But that’s a side note.)

Some things I did say, and I’m glad they seemed to get some traction:

There is no antagonism between data and anecdotes. An story without data to back it up has no foundation. And as soon as you start collecting data, you’re beginning to build a narrative — simply by deciding which questions to ask. By the time you start putting that data into charts and graphs, there’s absolutely a narrative involved, so you need to know what it is rather than shying away from its existence. If you don’t put the story in someone else will.

Stories will tell you what data to get, and the data you get will always lead to more questions, which will be answered by a combination of more data and more stories.

The surest path to obsolescence for our profession is to design systems and resources that put us between our users and their work. If we instead aspire to create systems and resources that make positive changes in our users, and those changes both manifest and propagate without us, we will never be obsolete.

That was a really fun one.


Right after that, I went and talked first-year experiences. I co-presented with the most excellent Jenn Colt-Demaree from CUL’s web team, and we talked about the Get Started! 2011 efforts I described in part last August. Our prezi is here: http://prezi.com/terkzxm3l1un/cil2012-get-started-2011/

We only had ten minutes or so, as we were sharing the time slot with folks from Washburn and Drake. But it was great to present with Jenn; she got to tell them about the excellent changes we made to the first year website, and what our goals were the future were. And people loved the video and the Z-cards. (I’m thrilled Jenn remembered to bring several of the latter; we gave them all away.)


After that, there was bourbon and farewells in the lobby, and then I hopped on a train. Another great CiL. Looking forward to next year.

Day 2, #CILDC 2012: Maker culture, falafel, podcasts, BattleDecks, and KARAOKE

23 Mar

I gotta say, I think the high point of this day for me was Fiacre O’Duinn talking maker culture. He laid out a very understandable historical content for hackerspaces and other elements of maker culture, spoke a while about the more common variations of same, put out a call to librarians not only to embrace that culture but push it further, and quoted Audre Lorde and Ani DiFranco along the way.

I was hooked. I posted a bunch of stuff on twitter about it, but he really did get me questioning my day to day, and how much I was actually using my privileged position as a librarian to make the world around me better. My mind’s bubbling with ideas, and I’m glad I’ve already set up time with some folks back at the Big Red Ranch to talk about them. It’s gonna be tough to push any of this to fruition, and there’s no way I could do it alone.

Then there was some awesome falafel for dinner, the speaker’s reception, a brief appearance on the T is for Training podcast, watching my first ever BattleDecks competition, and finally: karaoke. Some of these are CiL traditions for me, others were firsts. All were crazily fun.

So yeah: good day.

Day 1 of #CILDC, CiL2012 that was

22 Mar

I’m worried I’m gonna run out of interesting ways to incorporate both hashtags before I run out of conference days.

My major item(s) of note from Wednesaday came from Track F, Library Issues and Challenges. Organized and moderated by Jennifer Koerber and Michael Sauers, the track mixed a bit of the traditional presentation stuff with a whole lot of discussion and break-outs, complete with microphones being flung around the audience and craft paper and crayons on the table for work and feedback.

It was awesome. I got to hear some great stuff from Hamilton Public Library’s Ken Roberts and others that was exciting, and hearing about what different people in the room were working on was really inspirational. There are some great ideas out there, and they need to be acknowledged, celebrated, and then mercilessly stolen.

I confess I’m feeling a bit of a session grind this go-round. Non-traditional nigh-unconferences like this ameliorate that tremendously.

Day 0 of #CILDC, Day 1 of #firecon

21 Mar

I’ll say this: it makes the first day easier when you only do one pre-conference workshop. My first and only was at 1:30PM, when Amy Buckland and I talked shop about repositories with folks.

I really dig this workshop; I feel like we really pack in a ton of info, and we do some nice interactive stuff, too. We had the attendees, whose repository background and staffing situations were nicely varied, list all the possible stakeholders in a repository project, and then figure out what these stakeholders could bring to the project — not vice versa — and then how we could get them to buy in.

Good stuff.

After that it was the Gaming and Gadgets Petting Zoo. It’s really cool how that eventy has evolved in the five years I’ve been attending. This year it was all about tablets, and the biggest draw was folks playing Plants vs. Zombies on a big screen.

The evening ended with dinner and FireCon, two elements that help make the DC location far superior to Crystal City. The restaurants are great, and sitting around a fire with a drink and a crew of badass libraryfolk is an experience that simply cannot be beat.

Looking forward to Day 1.

Day -1 of CiL2012, aka #CILDC

19 Mar

Back in DC.

Last night we departed Ithaca for my parents’ place in Binghamton. We had a wonderful visit, broke our fast with them this morning, then headed south. Lunch found us in Carlisle, PA, enjoying lamb stew with Elise and then getting a glimpse of the lovely Waidner-Spahr Library at Dickinson College. We had dinner with my sister and her awesome family in Maryland, and afterwards I watched an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold with my 4-year-old nephew. Who was dressed as Batman at the time.

In short, this day rocked.

And now, DC and CILDC. Settling in, looking forward to tomorrow, and all the awesome that this conference, its speakers, and its attendees bring year after year.