Although last month was my third time attending the Charleston Conference, this was my first time attending the conference from start to finish: last year, Chelcie and I attended the two-day preconference seminar, then dropped by the Vendor Showcase before heading home; and in 2008, I attended for a single day to co-present a Lively Lunch on library support for the then-new NIH Public Access Policy. So it was a treat to be able to experience the Charleston Conference in full–and what a full conference it was!

In recent years, Charleston has offered more sessions tailored to scholarly communication interests, from copyright to open access to changes in publishing. I attended sessions on how and why faculty share articles (key takeaway: they share because it’s natural behavior, it’s easy to do, and they aren’t too worried about violating copyright or licensing agreements), on Creative Commons licenses and open access (there’s some unease around CC-BY because it allows commercial reuse), on open access publishing (innovative approaches I’m excited about, especially those from UC Press and Ubiquity Press), and on open access workflows (must acknowledge that the research life cycle is separate from the publication life cycle, but faculty are in both simultaneously).

The plenary sessions I attended were interesting, with Jim O’Donnell’s Star Wars-themed plenary giving me much to think about regarding the future of academic libraries. And the privacy plenary the next day provided one of my favorite moments: a lawyer’s a cappella performance of his derivative version of a Frank Sinatra song about Google and online privacy!

One panel made me feel good about our mentoring practices at ZSR, as everyone on “The Young and the Restless” panel acknowledged that having a mentor is critical to professional growth, but that finding a mentor is not always easy. While I know our mentoring program is internally focused, emphasizing the importance of mentoring reminds all of us of its value. Whether we officially mentor someone at ZSR, or in our various areas of librarianship, or unofficially mentor someone, I believe that the spirit of mentoring is infusing our library faculty beneficially.

Finally, as with all conferences, networking with librarians and vendors was of prime importance. I strengthened several key connections with other scholcomm librarians, and had fruitful conversations with several vendors and publishing reps.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Charleston Conference, and anticipate that it will now be one of my annual go-to conferences.