After hearing about the Charleston Conference for many years, this year I finally had the opportunity to attend, and it did not disappoint! Thankfully I had veteran attendees from ZSR to orient me to the conference, as it is structured very differently than other conferences I’ve attended.

I really enjoyed the one-day exhibit hall, as it enabled the vendors to fully participate in the rest of the conference. It also gave me an opportunity to talk to known and new-to-me vendors and learn about their products. And, not all of these products require subscriptions! For example, in a conversation with East View, I learned about their Global Press Archive, a fully OA collection of international newspapers that is supported by CRL. We have already added this resource to our Databases list, along with another collection of OA primary source resources from Reveal Digital that Molly learned about at the conference. We also got advance looks at several other new products, many of which Roz shared in her post.

This year’s conference was fully in-person, but the keynotes and sessions (including the Stopwatch session I presented with Kate Silton) were recorded for later viewing. Knowing that most, if not all, of the sessions were being recorded enabled me to prioritize in-person meetings with vendors and fellow librarians. I met with representatives from ProQuest/Clarivate, Sage, Readex, and Adam Matthew, and I had informal meetings with several others throughout the course of the conference. I also enjoyed meeting up with colleagues at the ASERL gathering on Thursday evening. The social scene at Charleston in unparalleled in the conference world!

As someone who is relatively new to the world of collections, I found the conference to be a crash course in the hottest topics in this area. I learned a lot about the wide range of OA initiatives and learned about multiple approaches to collection development and assessment in both large and smaller academic library settings. I am still thinking through many of these ideas and how they might intersect with/apply to my work on the Collections Executive Committee and with our liaisons. I also really enjoyed the famous “long arm of the law” session on Friday morning, which was devoted to the topic of AI and copyright law and some of the current legal cases in this arena.

A few of the presentations/ideas that stood out to me:

  • The collection assessment project that Clemson University Libraries is undertaking over the next 3 years
  • Ideas for collaborating with faculty to promote the library as a critical partner in the university’s mission
  • The inclusion of policies on OA, privacy, and data at many libraries (this list of resources was provided to me by a colleague at Iowa State)
  • Not related to collections, but I also learned through a side conversation about Davidson’s recent efforts to reckon with its past, including this report and their plans to construct a monument on campus to the enslaved people who contributed to its existence in numerous ways.

I am also still making my way through the recorded sessions and I appreciate having more time to digest all of this new information on my own time, as conference fatigue is real!

All in all, I found Charleston to be a great conference for me in my current roles, and I look forward to attending it again in the future!