It was a hard conference…ACRL2011

The Association of College & Research Libraries – ACRL 2011 conference was held in Philadelphia, PA March 30- April 2. I attended most sessions with my on-the-cusp Library Administrator hat. There was not much smiling, much less guffawing, in the sessions I attended. If there was a theme – it was assessment. One presenter tried to take the sting out of the word assessment…think of it as “critical consideration,” he said…still, not very smile worthy.

I have pulled the ACRL 2011 papers I want to read from this conference and the list is daunting. I have pages of notes on assessment management systems, from sessions and from vendors. I did learn that embedded librarians are now known as integrated librarians. I want to go back and read everything on IL (Information Literacy) and Reference Services – all the sessions I didn’t attend. And I need to find time to see all of the  ACRL Virtual Conference sessions.

Both keynote speakers, Raj Patel “these are dark times” ; and Jaron Lanier “Google and Facebook are the consumer, we are the product” urged librarians to re-envision libraries to save the world – as one tweet put it – no pressure. I did buy their books:

The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier


Technology at this conference didn’t “WOW” me – but again this was a serious issues conference – in this serious time – and it looked like the “fun stuff” was on the periphery. I didn’t see many QR codes and only used 2 other session twitter hashtags – #acrl2011 #revorevacrl11 –  @KMH_nowinVA.  Though, I heartily agree that according to  PAscibrarian “Caffeine and sugar [act] as elixirs to scholarship.” #acrl2011 and RT @cclibrarian: If you can use “fun” things in a relevant way, great! But I think worrying so much about being “cool” isn’t always useful. #acrl2011. Good to know, as I am seriously uncool. I am disappointed that I didn’t get to bump anyone’s smartphone! I did pass out lots of cards and received many to contact this week.

The highlight of my conference was lunch on Friday with Holly from Webster University in St. Louis at the Reading Terminal MarketPearl’s Oyster Bar. As Holly and I discussed the friendly midwest and how much I missed it; two ex-Chicago and now Philly residents across the bar from us advised me to embrace East Coast living. That Lobster Bisque I had for lunch was very good – along with the smiles and laughter we shared.

Maybe that was the point. These are serious times and we need to humanize and celebrate the human connections.

I drove to Philly from DC – and got lost in NJ going home. Figure that. Getting from here to there…is hard.




About Kimberly Hoffman

Twitter: KMH_nowinVA
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