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statue in a churchyard beside the convention center

statue in a churchyard beside the convention center

Monday, 11 August 2008 – a.m.

Started the day at a session on Library Associations.

I take that back. I started the day on a bus ride to the convention center with Claudia, another GSLIS student who is also one of my roommates at the conference. Claudia is from Romania and she’s very motivated to see improvements in Romanian libraries, but she has seen roadblocks and stubborn administrations that we, as Americans, can’t even imagine. She’s been telling me about some of the frustrations she has in both GSLIS classes and in the sessions / speakers we see at conferences like this. In this North American context, change is trumpeted as The Way, The Hope, The Light. And we assume that change is a given, that everyone knows it should be embraced. But Claudia has to then process the recommendations and ideas from these sessions and think of a way to incorporate them into a library culture where change is not embraced at all, and the role of libraries is seen very differently… especially by the librarians themselves. Talking with Claudia has been very good for me — reminding me of the huge assumptions that are made in these speeches, posters, and presentations.

Okay, so the session on Library Associations. This topic holds a special interest for me, in fact I’m considering pursuing library associations or consortia when I’m on the job market (in May… gulp). Keith Feils of ALA spoke briefly about the Global Library Association Development (GLAD) Program of IFLA’s Management of Library Associations Section (MLAS).  Keith talked about the purpose of library associations, such as mentoring (between individuals *and* institutions), advocacy, and library development.  The mentoring issue was an important topic and it really intrigued me, this idea of an entire library mentoring another library, shifting the perspective of the whole level at which mentoring takes place.  I wonder, how does that affect individual development?  Is there a tricle-down training for staff skills?  Or is it a blanket improvement?  Hm.

Next up was Stephen Abram, of SirsiDynix and current president of SLA.  After Stephen’s talk, I was *really* kicking myself for missing the SLA Conference in Seattle this past June.  He highlighted several training and staff development tools introduced on the SLA Innovation Laboratory site.  His slides should be up on his blog soon.  He was motivating, entertaining, and seemed to get people engaged.  I found very interesting his emphasis on encouraging librarians to work together across generations.  He said something along the lines of taking the strengths of experienced librarians and combining them with the skill sets of new librarians, but that all of us, young and old need to “pull the pickle out of our butts and build a sandbox”  and play.

Update: Stephen Abram’s slides are up.