Computers in Libraries 2008: The Good, the Bad and the Loopy

I left Kansas City on a pleasant, sunny day and arrived to a haze of gloomy drizzle in Crystal City, VA. The weather matched my feelings about Computers in Libraries. I just wasn’t feeling excited about the conference–seeing my online librarian friends, yes, but not the actual conference.

I left DC on a warm, sunny, beautiful day and returned to a cold, rainy Kansas City. The weather again matched my heart: while I was happy to be going home to my family, I was sad to leave my conference friends and a great conference experience behind. Computers in Libraries 2008 was terrific from start to finish.

One big highlight: this was my first time presenting at a national conference. I honestly wasn’t nervous before the presentation, but afterwards I was completely drained. During the presentation? I was in a great place, like when you’re doing improv on stage and you feel yourself click with your fellow performers. In this case, my fellow presenters were Steve Lawson and Rikhei Harris, and I would happily, enthusiastically present with them again, any time, any where, on any topic. Our presentation was on the Library Society of the World and it was a glorious mess, complete with inside jokes, non sequiturs and Rickrolling. I had a great time in the presentation, and we seemed to make people laugh, so as far as I’m concerned, it was a success. I’m not objective enough to say more about it, so I’ll link to what other’s have said about it:

I should also give props to the our co-presenters, Hannah, Laurie and Kate of Infodoodads. Not only were they game enough to not denounce us after our ramshackle presentation, they gave a good presentation of their own. And I personally find Infodoodads to be an extremely useful blog.

I attended some other really good sessions which have sparked all kinds of thoughts in my head. But I’m not going to expand on that now, because I think these thoughts warrant a blog post all of their own. Outside of the sessions, I had an outstanding time reconnecting with old friends (including a very old friend, someone I haven’t seen since we were both in elementary school), connecting with new friends, sharing, exploring, bonding with people. Any words I type will not do justice to how crucial the social aspects of these conferences are, but I’ll say this: just before I left to return home, I was on the verge of tears. I was so moved by the generosity of these people, so happy and honored to know them and spend time with them, and so heartbroken to leave them behind. If it weren’t for the fact that I can stay in contact with them through the magic of the intertubes, I’d be crushed.

Was there badness at the conference? Well, the wifi situation wasn’t great. But it was immensely better than the last two years at Internet Librarian, and after talking with some people from Information Today, I know that they really tried to make the wifi situation better. So, as frustrating as it often was to try to get and keep a wifi signal, I have no complaints for ITI.

For more on the conference, I recommend listening to the latest Uncontrolled Vocabulary podcast (and you should be listening to UV anyway, right?).

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Gaming? A Capital Idea!

I’m looking forward to going to DC for Computers in Libraries. One of the great things about this trip is I’ll be having dinner with an old friend of mine that I haven’t seen in person since we were at GenCon in 2001 (when it was still being held in Wisconsin).

Another cool thing about CiL is Gaming Night. Aaron Schmidt has blogged about it, and it sounds like a blast and a half. (He also asked us to spread the word, which is partly why I’m writing this post.) My inside sources say there may even be some tabletop role-playing game action going on that night. Plus, some cool board games (like Ticket to Ride, which is one of my favorite games). I may miss most of Gaming Night to have dinner with my friend, but hopefully I’ll get some gaming in at the conference (even if I have to run In a Wicked Age in my hotel room one night).

Going to the Show

The presentation proposal I submitted with Steve Lawson and Rikhei Harris has been accepted, which means I’ll be attending and presenting at Computers in Libraries next April! It’s awfully exciting, as it will be my first time attending that particular conference and my first time presenting at a big-time, out-of-state conference. It’s also exciting because we’ll be presenting about the Library Society of the World!

If you’re expecting the three of us to rock the house, we will try not to let you down.