NCLA 2011

2011 NCLA Hickory, NC

As promised a run down of how this year’s NCLA conference was. But before that I wanted to do a little comparison from all the way back in 2009. When I went to NCLA for the first time. I was just starting out in the program and it was the first professional conference I had attended. This year I’m a recent graduate, newly started librarian. In 2009 it was held at the coast and this year it was held in the mountains. I love the mountains so much, especially during the autumn. It’s just breath-taking! When I attended NCLA back in 2009 I had no idea what to expect, in truth I had never been to a conference, let alone a professional conference. I didn’t have any set plans on sessions to attend or any expectation of people I would see. When I attended it this year…I still had no set plans on sessions and I had hoped I would see people I knew.

Once again I only attended a day at NCLA, this time by choice as I didn’t want to miss more than I needed to at work. So I went down for the day I was to present. As I mentioned before I was slated to co-present a session on Public Library Design and Technology. It was a session to talk about the results of the study I did from this past spring. I wasn’t really forthcoming with details about that study because I was of mixed feelings with it. Now don’t get me wrong I loved every minute of researching, collecting data, writing up the paper and collaborating with my professor, it’s what I do. What I didn’t like was that I was left holding the bag when my partner basically flaked on me. I wasn’t going to mention it, and just leave it up to karma to deal with. But I’m a firm believer in telling it like it is and darn the consequences (well in my head I like to pretend I’m like that…). And truth be told this kind of thing happens all the time in the world, is it fair or right? No, but it’s life. There are more people who respect those who work hard than those who slack off. In the end I worked and created something that I’ve very proud of and I hope will have lasting benefits. I was very happy when our proposal was accepted for a presentation, and very shocked when it was an actual session. I was thinking poster session, honestly. But hey, yay me!  In preparation for the presentation I worked with my professor combining his work with the work I had done to create a very interesting presentation if I do say so myself.

We spoke on the use of technology in public libraries, how was it being used, who was using it, and was it being offered in the most effective way. It was an hour and 15 minute long session and we had close to 30 people show up. It makes me feel a little giddy to know  that there is interest in something I created. Afterwards we had a lot of people come up and tell us that their libraries were in the process of building a new building and were interested in seeing more from the study. Some expressed interested in getting my professor and I to come out and do some consulting work with them. We had one lady whose library had just finished building a new branch and she thought that my results were right on point about what they had experience with the new space usage (it sounded as if they had a lot of space that was going unused for lack of good planning) and was so glad she came to hear us as they were in the process of planning for a new branch. I gave out my new business cards like a pro. The director of my work was in the audience and she said she was impressed and assured me I would be on the committee now that we’ve been approved with our own bond to build a new main library.

The whole experience just renewed my drive to do more with this study. There’s so much more that I want to do and need to do, and the next step is publication to a journal. That’s after we’ve collected more data and wouldn’t it be nice to collect data from public libraries across the state? We will be putting the presentation and a source list up on the web, and as soon as that is done I’ll put up a link. And one of these days I’ll actually write a proper post about it…

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