The 36th Annual Charleston Conference was held in Charleston, SC, November 3 through November 5. This year’s theme was, “Roll with the Times or the Times Roll Over You.” To reflect the theme many of the sessions revolved around change; changing how to evaluate collections, changing how to collaborate with faculty, and changes within the field.
Along with traditional presentations about standard topics such as acquisitions, assessment, and technology, the conference added the “Charleston Fast Pitch Competition.” Modeled after the television show, “Shark Tank,” presenters were asked to pitch their library projects to a panel of three judges in a limited amount of time. The judges selected two winners during the presentation and the winners received $2500 to fund their proposals.
Another session of interest was titled, “Rolling with the Punches…and Punching Back: The Millennial Librarian’s Budgets and Acquisitions.” This session featured a panel of four millennials who shared their experiences of ageism within the library profession. Their examples included being infantilized during job interviews, told at professional development programs their contributions were not valuable to more established librarians, and managing staff as young librarians in higher level management positions.
My contribution to the conference was co-presenting a session titled, “Beyond Usage: Measuring the Value of Library Resources.” I presented with a colleague from UNC Charlotte and two publishers. The panel began the session by presenting multiple ways to determine a resource’s relevance rather than solely depending on standard usage reports. We then asked attendees to break into small groups to share their own collection assessment experiences. We wanted this session to help librarians learn alternative ways to assess relevance, but, we also wanted publishers and vendors to understand that a librarian’s evaluation process to decide whether to continue or discontinue a resource’s subscription is based on many factors.
The Charleston Conference always offers numerous sessions with varied topics and experienced speakers. There is no shortage of presentations to explore. This is my third time attending the conference and each time it has integrated something new.