Tuesday, April 25, 2006

NJLA Conference

I went to the NJLA conference today. Very cool to be in a place surrounded by fellow professionals. I am very passionate about librarianship, and it's nice to know that I'm not some crazy freak sitting all along thinking about ways to better market library services to the world. There's quite a few of us freaks out there.

Tried to go to as much programming about YA that I could, but of course there was conflict among items and there were non-YA specific things I wanted to see, too. All in all I'm very glad I went. I'm looking forward to next year and hope to get the chance to go to the big dance one of these years.

This conference was very different from all the science fiction conventions I normally go to. The biggest thing was that there was no one in costume. The whole thing was different. Instead of people arguing about books and characters on TV shows there were...librarians arguing about books and characters on TV shows. No seriously, it was great to be there and hear fellow professionals talk about things that they've encountered in their libraries and what they did to fix the problem or to enhance services to their patrons. A lot different from hearing four or five authors talk about world building or making the vampire story new and inventive. Both types of conventions have their merits and I enjoy both, but for very different reasons.

It was great to see a bunch of former classmates and catch up on what everyone's been doing since we finished school. Also nice to meet some people who I've only seen virtually (like Sophie Brookover). And of course, it was great to make some new contacts and hopefully start to network and get my name out there.

You see, I'd like to do something to give back to librarianship. Whether it's presenting at conferences, or judging books for an award, or writing papers, I want to take my new career and make a splash. I want to be noticed. I guess that's part of what this is.

I'm new to the library world, but I've been working for a long time and there's a lot I know that could be applied to libraries. One of my former classmates and I were talking about some of the resistance to change that exists in librarianship (and any field that people have worked in for a long time) and how coming into it from another field opens your mind to change and the willingness to try something new, even if it fails in the end.

There's a lot out there to try at a library (from blogging to wikis to RSS to podcasting to marketing and so on) that I think I'll never grow tired of my new career. Libraries are in transition and I find that very exciting. I like the challenge of taking a venerable (and important) institution and making it fit into modern lives.

OK, it's late, I'm tired, and I've rambled all over the place. No good specific information about NJLA here, just me typing like mad off the top of my head. Thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far. :)

And back to yesterday's post, I started my Five Laws list today at the conference during some down time. I have almost 50 items on my list. I'll work on getting that up here in a few days.

More from me tomorrow.

John Klima

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