Friday, May 6, 2016

OLA2016 (or, How I Learned Stuff While Tweeting)

(I wrote this post weeks ago, and somehow never took it out of drafts. So, here it is, better late than never!)

I've been a "real" librarian for just over a year. And for a couple months of that year, I was on maternity leave, which is why I didn't attend Oklahoma Library Association conference last year (I think -- all that time period is kind of a haze). So, I was very excited to attend this year, for my very first time. I even missed it as a student, since I was working full time and didn't have the vacation days available for it.

But this year. THIS YEAR. I'm here. And I've loved it. I've been Tweeting like crazy, making librarian friends across Twitter, and finding out all kinds of great things about this library world. I feel invigorated by ideas and excited about what is coming next. I also feel worried for many of our librarians who depend on state funding, since our budget is in the toilet this year. (And next year. And probably every year hereafter until we figure out how not to be so dependent on oil.)

Here, in no particular order, are some things that I've felt were interesting/important or otherwise memorable:
  • Jamie LaRue, keynote speaker and President of the Freedom to Read Foundation made us all think about how we talk about our library. One of my favorite things that he said was that libraries don't write down our own stories, but we spend all of our time buying other people's stories. it's about time we learned to collect stories about our success, so that we can use that information to help increase funding and support of the library.
  • I was reminded, yet again, that for embedding to really work I have to go meet with departments. I have this fear of "inconveniencing" people and taking up their time. But they need library support, and they don't know what they don't know. So, I'm going to have to learn to be a little pushier. I think I'm going to start showing up in people's offices unannounced, and bring them treats and information.
  • LGBTQIA needs are something I want to learn more about, and I attended a session with some librarians who are very good at making that section of our users feel welcomed and understood. This is something I want to see happen at my own institution, and we are currently in the very beginning stages of doing that now.
  • I heard from OU LIS students and the interesting research they are doing in their program. I was especially interested to hear a presentation on social media, and it gave me a few ideas on how to increase our presence.
  • In a presentation from the University of Tulsa staff, I learned about some fascinating collections that are available in their special collections, including enormous photography collections from prolific Tulsa photographers. 
I'm an education freak. (As are many librarians, obviously.) Getting to spend two days hearing from librarians all over the state has been like going to Disney World. I can't imagine what it would be like if I actually got to go to ALA AT DISNEY WORLD. I'd probably have a complete meltdown. Sadly, due to aforementioned budgetary ridiculousness, the only way to do that is if I were to pay my way and take some vacation time. Alas. Maybe someday!