My take on conferences

For our post #2 in the Reflective Writing Club, I will speak about my experience with conferences, a valuable lesson I’ve learned, and how I share what I’ve learned when I’m back on campus.

I’d love to go to more conferences than I do but the costs make it prohibitive.  For California Community College Librarians there are national, regional, state and local conferences and workshops to attend every season.  I have to pick and choose wisely, and I try to attend at least two conferences a year.  There is one though that I attend EVERY year and that is   The California Conference on Library Instruction (CCLI).  It’s a local, homegrown Northern CA conference and the organizers book well-respected experts from around the country as keynote speakers and leaders of breakout sessions.

enhanced photo of the tower and dome of Univ. of San Francisco
University of San Francisco where CCLI is held every year. (Prisma filter)

Every year comes with important takeaways to share with my librarian colleagues on new teaching techniques, new perspectives on information literacy instruction, and what our peers are experimenting with at their institutions.

The most valuable and enjoyable experience of attending this conference is brainstorming with peers on how to integrate the value of library services (especially instruction) throughout the college curriculum–whether that be  information literacy skills,  the library’s role in open education, or how to instill critical thinking skills in online education, just to name a few.

CCLI happens every June, so sharing what I’ve learned is typically shared via email and links, but on a few occasions the librarians plan an impromptu summer retreat at the local coffee hut to talk shop.  When the new academic year begins, we sometimes host a breakout session during the college’s All College Day.

Michelle (@Brocansky) was at the EDUCAUSE conference this year. I’ve always wanted to attend EDUCAUSE!  Michelle, I hope you got a lot out of it!

Yes, I’m late this week 🙂  Will try to catch up with Prompt #3 shortly!

In constant learning mode, and I like it

photo of Maryanne MillsA little history lesson

This is my first post as part of @One’s Reflective Writing Club.   To give you a bit of history, I became a librarian during the heady days of CD-ROMs where thousands of documents could be stored on a disc. Boy, we in the information industry thought we were so cutting-edge back then!   I accessed articles and reports stored on ancient databases where I used a 2400 baud modem to  access content via IBM DOS machines. Millennials will have no idea what I’m talking about 🙂

My chance at being a Gazzillionaire?
sun microsystems data trailer
Sun data trailer by NapoliRoma is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I’ll never forget the day back in 1996 when Sun Microsystems came to my company’s parking lot in a gigantic walk-in trailer to show off a new tool called Java that was somehow going to transform the World Wide Web–at that time a bunch of static text-based pages. I did not get it. At all.

Fast forward a few years to the time when a friend told me a startup based out of Stanford University was looking for librarians to help them refine their search engine algorithm.  It was a chance to get on the ground floor of something big. I declined–why take a chance on a startup when I had a decent full-time job that paid the bills?  If I knew then what I know now, I would have applied to that scrappy little company called Google!

Maybe not Google, but still in the game

I doubt the above example is what @brocansky  was thinking about when she created this Prompt #1 . OK, so I expanded on it a bit.  What I can say is that I love being an instruction librarian at a community college.  My job has kept me in constant learning mode on new trends in education technology. Over the years I’ve wedded my passion for helping people find stuff to helping them create stuff (think makerspaces, digital labs, learning commons). An EDUCAUSE Review article from 2014  inspired me to pursue this new role for librarians.  The academic library of today is so much more than books and databases and I’m so excited to be a part of it.  I’m also happy that I found this Reflective Writing Club because while I have had this blog for a while,  I am horrible at keeping it current. I’m looking forward to networking with everyone in the club and learning from each other!

Write On.