Friday, April 8, 2011

My Day with the OLA

Yesterday was the first day of the annual OLA conference, and like a good library student, I not only went but also presented a poster. My classmate, Nyssa Walsh, was organizing the poster presentations - and who can say no to a *library* science fair??

I presented the work I have been doing on some project support at my job. For the past year I have been collecting matadata for a 2,000+ historic article collection we have, as we prepare to digital the collection for additional preservation and improved access.

I was pretty nervous preparing for the conference. I was worried that no one would want to hear about a metadata collection progress report. And my poster was looking like something a 6th grader came up with. But it was such a great experience. I learned the importance of developing a pitch, having to explain the project in a few short sentences. And it was amazing all of the feedback conference goers were offering. The most common question asked was about the platform for the digital collection. Since we haven't gotten that far in the project, I had no idea. But everyone who asked had great recommendations and ideas. It was like a mini-workshop, getting fresh perspectives of the work we are doing. The experience left me pretty exhilerated and full on new enthusiasm for the project.

After the poster presentation, I attended a session given by the Oregon State Library's Library Development Staff on LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funded projects. I learned about all of the programming that LSTA grants fund, and was able to participate in a discussion with members of the LSTA Board about their upcoming efforts of creating their five-year plan. This was their first discussion with librarians from across the state about some of the different programming, initiatives, resources and services that we would want to implement, allowing the board to form their guiding principles and purposes for their plan. I felt lucky and honored to be there.

After lunch - which included an inspirational speech from retiring state librarian Jim Scheppke - I attended Nikki Williams and Eliane Gass Hirsch's session, which focused on their library's impressive marketing skills. The Watzek Library (at Lewis & Clark College) has an impressive marketing team that incorporates good design with strategic planning to create impressive marketing campaigns. From their facebook page to impressive events, this session offered a lot of great ideas. I particularly enjoyed the ways Watzek library outreaches to the college's staff, and I think that this is something my own library could improve upon.

Other than presenting and attending the sessions, it was great to connect with so many of my classmates, and meet with so many Emporia SLIM alumni. We seemed to have taken over yesterday's #ola11 twitter feed, it was fun to see what my classmate's posters, and it was motivating to see the various jobs the alumni found after graduation.

My favorite part about attending the conference yesterday was that I was seeing iterations of library school lessons in every session and every conversation. Digital initiatives, collaborative efforts, user-centerdness, strategic planning, community analysis, assessment: it was all there and it reinforced the fact that I am on still on the right path.


  1. Way to go! I love going to OLA's conference, it always leaves me feeling inspired and rejuvenated, not to mention delighted with all the interesting connections between what I learned in library school and what's being used in libraries.

  2. I agree, Lisa- This was definitely one of my favorite conferences so far!