ALA Annual 2011 Write Up

ALA11 Badge

My ALA Annual 2011 Meeting Badge

In January I received an email from the faculty advisor of our Library and Information Studies Student Association (LISSA) to ask if I would be interested in attending the 2011 annual ALA meeting. My hotel, registration, and some food costs would be paid for in exchange for being a Student to Staff worker. For my work, I would take notes, carry materials, and do whatever assignments given to me by the Office for Technology Policy (OITP).

Look below the cut for good experiences, observations, and notes from presentations!
Let’s be honest first: if I could have backed out last minute I would have. I was offered by Darien Library to come work for them at the beginning of June, so the rest of the month turned into a frenzy of finding an apartment in Connecticut, finishing up various internships, contacting my freelance gigs and packing. Amidst these few short weeks I would have to spend nearly a week away at a big conference. Fortunately, the conference is now over and I am writing this within my apartment located about half a mile from the sea.

Good Experiences: Every meeting I attended for OITP was very insightful and fascinating. I got to meet LITA President Karen Starr (My new boss and one of the people I look up/mentor are LITA directors-at-large so I wonder what the organizational structure is) who told me they were actively recruiting new members for office. I laughed and told her that between the upcoming wedding, new job, and moving to a different part of the country I could not make any promises. However, I definitely will look into it once things have settled down again! The OITP director, Alan Inouye, also pointedly introduced me to some speakers which was embarrassing! It did feel amazing to be introduced at meetings as a new hiree for Darien instead of “actively looking for work, here’s her business card!” I also met Micah Vandegaft (again!) and Annie Pho of HackLibSchool along with @librarian_kate.

New Orelans Museum of Art

New Orelans Museum of Art


  • Benchmarks. I went to a couple OITP meetings where they wanted to figure out what were the different tiers of services libraries should be offering. From outstanding to basic. The term benchmarks is a reference to service standards that a library could look at and compare themselves to. Where do we fall on this scale? I look forward to what OITP offers as benchmark settings.
  • Cutting-edge service and technology is within reach. I saw four techie meets outstanding customer service presentations and the take away message was not that these services were revolutionary. In fact, many of them seemed so natural that your impression was “Of course, we would evolve to do that…” How do you create these services? Have a dedicated team to work on them while also having an administration that will let the team do the job they are paid to do.
  • Everyone is Confused about Ebooks. One of my jobs was to put out some materials about OITP’s tips on ebook usage in a session about ebooks. The place was packed thick as thieves and people picked up every offered material without looking at the title. Here is the OITP ebook tip sheet as provided by Librarian by Day. Also a report on an OITP ebook Task Force meeting with HarperCollins.

Presentation Notes:

I look forward to having my own presentations to present very soon!

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