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Exhibit Hall

My first full day at ALA Midwinter 2010 was chock full of meetings, discussions, exhibits and renewing acquaintances. Our hotel is close to Boston Common, not far from Beacon Hill. The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is farther than a walk away, so the first order of business was to familiarize myself with the conference shuttle system. Roz and I headed down to the center to check in, eat and get access to the Internet to get prepared for the day (Our hotel’s Internet access is sketchy at best).

I headed to the Exhibit Hall as soon as it opened since I have a real mission there this time. I wanted to talk with book scanner vendors to find out if there is any chance of a scanner within our price range (doesn’t look good…..). I always take a spin by the Alibris booth to say Hi to Bill. This year I had heard a rumor that Alibris was raffling a Kindle. Turned out it was just a rumor, but I was glad to give Bill a good laugh!

Lauren P. has been involved with the LITA Distance Learning Discussion group for many years and since the subject is one that I am hearing more often around WFU, I thought it would be interesting to attend. I ran into Debbie Nolan on the way and she came to this session also. There was a good exchange of talk about different tools people are using to provide virtual learning experiences, including facebook, twitter, LibGuides and Sakai. One of the most interesting topics, in my opinion, was about the level of text reference. Most in the room are offering this service, some using libraryh3lp (as we do) or text-a-librarian. But, uniformly, everyone reported that they do not see high use figures for text messaging. Everyone agreed that it is early in the game so things might change. On a side note, I enjoyed sharing our South Trip facebook story with the group and I think they found it interesting.

Debbie joined Roz and me for the Ebsco luncheon. Roz reported on what we learned there so I won’t be repetitious. I ducked out early (but not before dessert) to catch the shuttle to attend a session titled “New Campus Partnership Roles for Librarians.” The session was facilitated by Barbara Jenkins at the University of Oregon. She is the Director of Instruction and Campus Partnerships. When selecting her title, they made a conscious decision not to use the term “outreach.” “Outreach” has a one way sound to it, where “partnership” evokes a two way relationship. This set the tone for the session where participants discussed the importance of going beyond successful one-on-one relationship-building to building relationships that connect into the campus infrastructure. The main premise was that only through effective on-going partnerships do librarians become part of the “living/learning” experience in the university. It was a very interesting exchange of ideas.

Over the course of the afternoon while heading from here to there, I connected with Elisabeth Leonard, Beth Barnhardt, Jim Galbraith, and Eleanor Cooke. I also had a brief Steve Kelley sighting….

My final meeting of the day was my “real” purpose for being here. I am on the LITA National Forum Planning Committee for the 2010 conference that will take place in Atlanta this coming fall. We spent the meeting discussing all of the details for securing keynote speakers, and preconference/concurrent session presenters. It’s fairly amazing the amount of details that are required in putting on a first class conference (almost as many as putting on a first class 5K race!).

This evening Carolyn, Roz, Elizabeth Novicki and I ventured out to a fabulous restaurant, Legal Seafood, where I had the best non-Maryland crabcakes ever (and that is saying a lot). Now we are back at the hotel and ready to turn in. Tomorrow is another full day of conference activities.