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NCLA marked my first experience as a member of a conference planning committee. I managed the poster sessions with my excellent co-chair and long-time friend of ZSR, Iyanna Sims. I didn’t get to attend that many concurrent sessions, since I frequently needed to help the next poster session set up.

The most relevant session to my daily work was about the e-preferred approval plans offered by YBP. In an e-preferred approval plan, you pay up front for the e-book instead of auto-purchasing a print book. The speakers were from NCSU and Duke. The main thrust of their presentation was about streamlining workflow for these orders as much as possible. Personally I was more interested in why rather than how they implemented it. Having heard their experiences, I’m still not convinced that an e-preferred approval plan is the way to go here at WFU. Since they are both significantly larger than us, it’s likely that many more books would pass the high-use threshold, and buying in advance is the best policy for them. From the WFU experience thus far, I believe that a school our size is better served by just-in-case DDA. It was notable that Duke has dropped DDA altogether, while NCSU wants to investigate integrating DDA and e-preferred approvals, two ordering streams which are currently completely separate.

Some of this goes back to one’s philosophy of an approval plan (or a standing order for that matter). Are we buying these books because we think a library like ours should have these imprints regardless of use, or is it because we “know” these titles will get used? If it’s the former, than an e-preferred approval plan is a good idea. If it’s the latter, then maybe our DDA set-up could someday replace most of our approval plan. This is not an academic question for the future. I’m working on a project (sidelined by the whole poster session thing, but I’ll get back to it soon) to identify cases where a book series is on auto-ship and also available DDA. We would need to decide if we want to buy the series as an e-book, or just turn on DDA and let nature take its course.

Other memorable moments from Hickory included a delicious dinner at the Olde German Schnitzel Haus (does that count as liaison work?) and a near-death experience caused either by the poster sessions’ proximity to a dog show or by a literacy program featuring live dogs. Thank God and Priscilla Lewis for Benadryl!