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ACRL 2009 Saturday Highlights

Saturday was another very busy one that started out with a 9am poster session for me. It started out a little slow as people trickled in. I kept trying to make eye contact and rope people into coming over and talking. I now know how vendors at the booths feel.

But after a little bit the questions became pretty steady, and I was occupied the whole time either talking about my poster or listening to what others are doing. It was a great experience and I’m very glad I submitted a poster. Thinking and talking about it allowed me to understand our library and our situation better. People ask questions that you never think of and you grow and think in different ways because of them. I hope to do more presentations in the future.

For lunch I attended a round table discussion about Emerging Technologies Librarians. It was pleasant to hear from other people who have similar jobs and interests to me. The most interesting thought that came up was is a position like this even going to be necessary in, say, ten years? One would think that by then many of these skills that we possess should be standard among librarians. It is pretty fascinating though how we our pioneers in this area of librarianship. I met a lot of great people there and we even have a facebook group now so feel free to join if you have a similar job and want to network.

A spectacular session called “Mapping Your Path to the Mountaintop” was moderated by Steven Bell, Lauren Pressley, John Shank, and Brian Matthews. My colleague Sarah Cohen captured the gist of the presentation, but a few things jumped out at me. First there are some questions I should be asking myself to have a thoughtful and deliberate career:

  • What is my mountaintop (not everyone has the same one)?
  • What’s the next step in my career?
  • What is the catch phrase for my career path (a fun one)?

Questioning is important in all aspects of our life and our career is no different. Another idea was that publishing and presenting are great tools for advancement and contribution to the field. I would like to do more of both in the near future.

There were two papers at the end of the day that also did some questioning of their own. One was about whether or not LibGuides justify the buzz about them.  It turns out they do, except the 2.0 features do not get as much mileage out of them as we think. The other session was called “If You Build It Will They Care?” This session was especially useful for me in thinking about my own job. I am not immune to technolust and thinking new things are really cool. But the most important thing is building technology services that that are useful and used by students. I think I am doing a pretty good job so far. I haven’t jumped into creating Second Life or Twitter services for our library because I just don’t think that our students are there. But the idea of an environmental survey is a good one and I would like to read their paper and possibly create a survey of my own to find out where students actually are.

Andy Burkhardt

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