ACRL 2009 Friday highlights

My first full conference day of ACRL has been long but filled with a lot of great stuff. I am going to give the condensed version with all the highlights.

Percolating the Power of Play: Sarah Cohen, Tim Miner, and Lauren Nishikawa presented on Information Literacy games they are creating. It was both well attended and an excellent presentation. I could sense the excitement in the room about what they were working on.  People also asked a lot of questions afterword.  It was a great session.

Poster Sessions: I really enjoy poster sessions because you can get great ideas by seeing what other people are doing. I enjoyed Carissa Tomlinson’s poster about making subject guides more interactive using widgets and other web 2.0 technologies.  It gave me some ideas.  I also like a poster that talked about on the street interviews with patrons about how they get and use information. It was a pretty neat idea.

Cyber Zed Shed (Pop Culture Multimedia for Instruction by L. Nedra Peterson): She discussed using different clips from High Fidelity, The Ring, and others as instruction tools. When students make an emotional connection with something (humor, fear, etc.) it aids in storing and recalling the information later. In addition, engaging multiple senses helps in info retention so video in addition to speaking is helpful for student learning. I really liked the idea of seeing information literacy in our everyday lives and pop culture and then bringing it into the classroom to start a conversation.

Face It! Reference Work and Politeness Theory Go Hand in Hand (A. Aldrich and C. Leibiger): This was a great presentation and I can’t wait to read the paper. Reference was related to politeness theory. What I took from this presentation was that it is not just about answering the question, but relating to the patron and communicating well with them in order to have a successful reference encounter. It is fascinating stuff and I encourage you to check out the paper.

You got to be kidding me. Librarian in the room (K. Lenn): A funny, honest conversation about freshman and how they relate to the library. The speaker’s contention was that we should not devote as much resources to freshman instruction because it is not that useful to them. Their minds are a thousand other places, but not the library.  They are trying to cope with time management and adjusting to college and the library can’t keep up with that. Spending less time in freshman classes or catching them in later years may be a better course of action.  It was a fascinating session and definitely could use more dialogue on the subject.

Keynote – Sherman Alexie: Alexie, who I (embarrassingly) never had even heard of about before the conference is a prolific, funny, and engaging speaker.  He read some of his poetry and had the crowd in stitches the whole time. But he also made you think about Indians and Americans, but mainly humans. We are trying to figure out “what is going on inside that persons head? What are they thinking? Why do they do what they do?” It is really us trying simply to connect with others, and in doing so we realize that we have so much in common. And when we’re trying to figure things out, our thesis always “goes to shit.” Whether it is research or life, when we think we have the answer, new information, surprises, and the unexpected is always thrown in shattering our previous assumptions. Life is an uncertain, messy jumble. I’m glad I was introduced to Alexie, his humor and his humanity.  He also talked about how he came on Colbert and owned him…enjoy:

Andy Burkhardt

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