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This is my first ACRL and I’m enjoying the size (smaller than ALA) and the focus (almost every program is relevant in some way!) I’ll try to convey the great energy at this conference in my blog post, but I’m sure I can’t do it justice.

I’ve always liked Roz’s theme approach to conference blogging, so I’ll try to frame my posts on a few themes. My first theme is “Doing it Better”. I started the day at the Poster Sessions and Exhibits Hall. Both offered me some new ideas. First, I saw several posters use QR codes (which Roz discussed in her Cyber Zed Shed program) that allowed me to quickly and easily gather information about the presentation in an electronic format. This came in very handy in a crowded venue where poster viewing was a challenge. I also saw some uses of LibGuides as a way to create mobile browser ready content (now I just need to figure out how to leverage that feature of LibGuides!) and I saw a new version of the ScanPro software for our microtext Reader that should make life even easier for our users of microtext. (I’ll be installing that free upgrade on our ScanPro station next week!) Throughout the conference I keep jotting down ideas to improve my teaching and technology skills.

Another theme was “The Embedded Librarian”. As I find more and more opportunities to be embedded in my role as an Instruction and Outreach Librarian, I’ve become more interested in this theme. One session in particular compared the virtual embedded librarian to the librarian physically embedded in a program at McMaster University. Both were very effective, but it was clear the virtually embedded librarian, available through a learning management system like Sakai or Blackboard, could reach far more students than a physically embedded librarian, thus reaching more students. What was unclear was if the physically embedded librarian was more effective based on the face to face contact. I think the real take away here is that no matter how you embed, the point is getting the users what they need when they need it in whatever format works.

“Outreach” was another theme that appeared (and is very appropriate for an “Instruction and Outreach Librarian” One presentation that was of particular interest to me was “Unraveling the Mystery of the Library: A ‘Big Games’ Approach to Library Orientation” Librarians at Lycoming College, a private liberal arts college held a library “mystery” game during freshman orientation that introduced students to the library as space and to some of the library’s services and collections, while staying fun and simple.

Char Booth’s “The Librarian as Situated Educator: Instructional Literacy and Participation in Communities of Practice” was a compelling session. She discussed the four elements of Instructional Literacy: reflective practice, educational theory, teaching technologies and instructional design.

Here is some Raj Patel video. Roz was right, he was an incredible keynote! Hearing him explain how a $1 hamburger has a real cost of over $200 was an “A-HA” moment for me!

The conference schedule and links to posted articles and presentations can be found here!