Very busy day today! Lots of wonderful sessions which makes it hard to decide what to attend. In the end, the three sessions I chose today taught me a lot and were enjoyable.
Session 1) LITA’s Linked Data and Next Generation Catalogs covered a broad base of what Linked Data is, why libraries should lead the charge, and how to do so. Different libraries and vendors on the panel talked about the topic generally while also delving into specifics of projects and current use of Linked Data. Unfortunately, attending the all-day Linked Data workshop yesterday at the pre-conference meant that some of the speakers also presented at this event as well and while they weren’t the same presentations, there was overlap. But being new to Linked Data, it was good to have things reiterated and spoken about more broadly. A few others from yesterday came as well but doing one or the other would have been sufficient, especially since this session lasted 4 hours and covered lots of ground.
Lesson learned: Instead of trying to hit all the same topics, vary your sessions to learn more and expand your horizons–plus you have the chance to meet so many more people of all different types.
Session 2) Transforming Technical Services: Growing IT Skill Sets Within Technical Services Departments provided a practical realistic look at how to increase tech savvy among TS staff. Several libraries each gave their take on what it takes to increase, encourage, and support professional development in application development, software training, and bringing more tech into library work to ensure projects are done by librarians who understand the system, users, and needs rather than hand it off to already busy IT people. Oddly enough, all the speakers rounded back on the same or similar tips and concerns but each offered their own way of how they handled their situation and what their solutions and realizations were. So useful. And not just for TS–this applies to libraries in general as well as general business. In a nutshell, talk the the staff to find out what they use and need but remember that they don’t know what they don’t know at time, encourage and support relevant learning that will make their work easier and more effective, start with small and meaningful projects that are achievable and leave a lasting impact to increase buy-in, and work within the knowledge and abilities of the staff to drawn on the best of what they can offer pairing it with the technology to increase their effectiveness.
Lesson learned: Though libraries are becoming more techie and librarians with tech savvy skills are needed and necessary these days, as one speaker said “Remember, we are not growing programmers”.
Session 3) Traveling the Spectrum: From Interstellar Adventures to Epic Fantasy, the influence of Science Fiction and Fantasy on the World Today (i.e. the George R.R. Martin talk!) was my guilty pleasure session of the day and a great way to relax and enjoy a fun author-talk. Besides George R.R. Martin, Blake Charlton also spoke and, for some reason, Lois McMaster Bujold wasn’t billed but was on the panel as well. Each talked about themselves, their paths to reading and writing books, and how Sci-Fi and Fantasy shaped them and the world. Though I’ve not read a word by any of these authors (I LOVE the HBO Game of Thones show), they are now three of my favorite authors and I vow to read their works as soon as my year of reading my bookshelf is up, which isn’t going so well this month, lol. Each was so humble and had tough lives that lead them to not only books that engaged and inspired them to read and eventually to write. Authors that talk realistically about writing and what it took to get their win me over instantly because, like most things, book writing is not magic and neither is getting published. Hard work and persistence win out. Once I finish Camp this June, I might be crazy enough to write another 50,000 words in August for it again and this time return to my roots of Fantasy and Sci-Fi as well; it’s been a decade since I began my Fantasy novel that never really got off the ground but after this talk today, I’m ready to commit a month to returning to those worlds and characters and actually writing the novel now.
Lesson learned: Listening to them all made me realize that fantastical literature/fiction is escapist for a reason; most Fantasy and Sci-Fi authors and readers lead hard lives, in one aspect or another, and the release and travels and adventures that those genres provide enrich everyone’s life who writes or reads them. And as with most genres, there is quality and fluff so there is something for all tastes and preferences and if you haven’t read any, find out about them (use Reader’s Advisory at your library) and crack open some books and see what they are all about!
Now, time to briefly look over my schedule tomorrow to set a game plan for more sessions! Are you ready for yours?