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OLA Superconference: part 2

I shall continue to narrate my conference experience (which was great).

Thursday

I attended the morning plenary session at which Craig Kielburger spoke about his work with Free the Children and how it really all started with the help of a Librarian. It was an interesting talk and very passionate, but I’m entering a stage of apathy in my life. I can’t do anything, so why should I try to do something? I am helpless. What can I do to help children half way across the world? Even though craig said we shouldn’t hold guilt, that’s not part of his mmessage, I still feel that way. I received his book “Me to we” for free, so maybe I’ll read it and see what I can do.

After the plenary, I went to a session on “How to Understand Manga and Anime”. It was pretty good. A very factual presentation in which the speaker gave suggestions on manga librarians or schools should (or should not) purchase for various age groups and genders. He also made sure to point out that the ratings are created by the publishers so librarians should either be familiar with the manga, or buy from a trusted source (i.e. him) since something that is marked all ages may still have cleavage – something which a school library may not really want. I enjoyed this session and did end up visiting The Beguiling‘s booth and purchasing three manga: the first volumes of Beet, Nausicaa, and Dream Saga. I’ve already read the Beet and Dream Saga books and enjoyed them. Especially Beet since by that time had become adjusted to reading right to left and to the black and white drawings. I plan on handing those off to my godkids now (although I do have to check with their mother about the pages that have cleavage – to me it’s nothing, but I don’t know what mothers are like).

The next session I went to because a friend was going to it. “Always fresh: Fast content for your website with RSS”. This session was by Darlene Fichter. She is supposed to be a good speaker, but other than her introduction I wasn’t really thrilled with it. Perhaps it was simply because I knew it was too over the head for my friend and I knew she didn’t understand it and was bored. Although I do also think it wasn’t quite as streamlined as it could have been. I will keep my eye out on work by Fichter though because I think she does really know her stuff.

The next plenary session featured Clifford Lynch. I was not planning on going, but again tagged along with friends. I left early because I started to nod off. Besides, I had to meet with my new supervisor.

I went up to the expo area and met with my new supervisor. We walked over to Williams coffee pub where another co-worker (from marketing) was already having coffee, so we sat with her and chatted until we needed to get down to business (at which time she left). So I chatted with my supervisor about the training process, we discussed wage, and we left the start date open. So as soon as I find a place to live I can start work. I’m excited. I can’t wait to start work.

From the coffee shop I went to my next session to which I was 20 minutes late. It was “Blog your way to a more dynamic website” by Jenny Levine. This was most interesting. I was upset that I didn’t get to see it all. I am glad I saw the last bit though. After this session I met briefly with my mentor and we decided that I’d send him an email when I’m all settled with my new job and make a visit to his library. Around this time I ran into that librarian from Windsor and she started talking to me again about the programming committee and asked me if I wanted to stop by a meeting the next day.

At this point I met up with a few friends, but everyone was going one way or another so I ended up going to dinner with one friend who is in her 2nd term at FIMS. We ate at Casey’s and decided to splurge so I had a peanut-butter brownie sundae. I deserved it anyway. After dinner I went back to my room, started reading Dream Saga and then went to bed.

Friday

Again I went to the opening plenary and was dismayed to see such poor attendance. (although I just realized there were two plenaries and I ended up at the one I hadn’t planned for). It was not something I was particularly interested in but I was happy I attended. It was an author forum at which there were five authors and an illustrator who talked about they books they wrote that were winners in the OLA Forest of reading program. I really enjoyed hearing what the authors had to say about their books and about going out to meet the chldren who read and voted for their books. I don’t know much about the reading program, but hopefully I’ll see it at my library this year.

The next session I went to was “why librarians should care about Digital Rights Management”. It was fantastic. I learned a lot from this session. I really had very little understanding of DRM, but this guy (Ian Kerr) was pretty good at clarifying the concepts and making sense of it all.

The next plenary session had Stephen Lewis telling us about his work abroad. He is a very passionate man. With him I felt a bit more inspired than guilty as with Keilburger. It is really heartbreaking the stories he tells and what is sad is I know he has a thousand more stories that he hasn’t told us. Sometimes the world just sucks. At the closing luncheon yesterday someone mentioned that Ken Roberts may be trying to start a “books for Africa” project. I hope that works out. It’s a shame that civil wars often (or always) destroy schools. Especially when it is a tactic to turn the schoolchildren into soldiers or “domestic servants” (i.e. slaves). So this was a fantastic session and Stephen Lewis recieved two standing ovations from the audience.

After this, my friends went on to lunch while I sat in on the conference programming committee meeting. It seems each section of the OLA is responsible for arranging speakers as well as other tasks. I would be working with the women on the OLITA programming team. That is if I get the approval from work. They said it’d be a good thing to double check first before committing to it. It would entail near-monthly meetings in Toronto and then a lot of grunt work. I’m up for it though. Besides getting involved will get my name out – although not certain I want to get my name out so soon.

In the afternoon I went to “The art of the reference interview” by my former prof Kirsti Nilsen and Dean Catherine Ross. It was interesting to see their presentation although there was little I didn’t already know. It was fun to think “I’m one of the stats they’re using.” Makes me feel a part of it. I also attended “Musing on Digital Librarianship and Virtual Libraries” with Karen Scneider

. She was as great a speaker as I expected her to be! It was really great hearing her speak. There was just so much information. Admittedly I knew absolutely zero about podcasting, so I enjoyed her talk on that aspect. I can’t remember everything that she said, but that’s okay since it is posted on her website.

After this, I went to the OLITA annual general meeting where they presented the OLITA award for technical innovation to Huron county Library for their digital library on Reuben R. Sallows. The woman who accepted on the library’s behalf made a great speech. This was followed by a reception (with free food and alcohol) where I talked a bit with some folks, however at this point I was getting a headache so quickly ran off to the all-conference reception. Here I spent a miserable hour or more. I enjoyed much the conversation, but I was feeling so very unwell and noone came to tell me when they were leaving for dinner so they went without me. I ended up just going home, buying some tylenol flu from the corner store and going to bed without dinner.

the story will conclude tomorrow. I need to go look for a place to live now.

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About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.

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