Day 2 of ALA

Yesterday afternoon I did quickly do the rounds of open houses for RUSA and LITA.  At the latter, spoke to the chair of the Next Generation Catalog section, who is a systems librarian at UCLA.  She was pretty enthusiastic about all kinds of different things she wanted to try out to improve the catalog.

This morning began with the ACRL general session and conference 101 stuff.  there I ran into a guy I met last year who had applied for the Instruction/Ref job at MM.  In the event, he’s ended up in Lake Charles, LA and what sounds like a nice position.  At the end of the session, i spoke briefly with someone from the Law and Political Science Section.  I’m interested in looking more into that section.  I mean, I’ve got the background, so i might as well capitalize on it.  Basically, I’ve got to finally decide which section/division I really want to get involved in and just jump in.  The problem is, there are so many areas I’m interested in that it is hard to decide.

Next I went to hear about Koha, and open source ILS.  Regrettably, this was off at a hotel some distance away from the convention center, and the walk over was rather uncomfortable (a little hot and even a bit humind; note to self: get more comfortable shoes!).  Anyway, I don’t know if Koha is really right for us, but I should would like to play with it some and see what I can learn.  the  presenter was from a company called Liblime, which provides support for libraries wanting to implement Koha.  Some links:

koha.org

liblime.com

blog.palinet.org/dt (podcast of the session, I believe).

The key to migrating to Koha appears to be getting your data into a standards compliant format.

some libraries who have implemented Koha to check out:

smfpl.org

Florida Southern Libraries (group of academic libraries)

Waldo Consortium (academic libraries in NY)

Not clear that Koha would actually save much money, if any, if you have to contract out all of the development support.  But, if the cost is equal to what we have, it looks like a nicer, more robust ILS all around.

took the shuttle back to the convention center for an EBSCO presentation/lunch featuring their new interface.  Looks nice.  Food was okay, but the veggie option was pretty weak.  Met any interesting pair of siblings who were originally from Malawi, but now live on the east coast.  They were shocked when to learn I knew where Malawi is.

From there I went to a session on Developing Cultural Competency.  I thought it was going to be about cultural competencies in terms of interactions with patrons, but as it turns out, while that was part of it, it seemed the bigger focus was internally, i.e. on developing a cultural competent workforce.  It was interesting and I would like to get more into.  Lots to think about in terms of understanding where everyone is coming from and what they have to contribute.  One presenter noted that the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has well developed cultural competency standards, and the suggestion was that ALA/ACRL should do the same.  Still, I did end up leaving before the end as it was a four hour session and conflicted with other sessions i wanted to attend.

Now I’m off to learn about RDA and FRBR.

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